Thursday, June 6, 2019

Provocations: Designing and Implementing Creative Ideas!

What is a provocation?

Provocations are simply put, invitations for learning. They can range in what they look like from a simple picture or prop to something more intricate like a sensory bin apparatus.

Instagram: @jnovakowski


Are there different types of provocations?

We love in the book, Reggio-Inspired Mathematics, that Janice Novakowski explains three types of provocations.

Direct Prompt: could be written or shared with students.
The educators use a direct prompt along with materials to guide/invite the children to explore and learn.

Implied Prompt: educators will stage or set up materials with a specific prompt or idea in mind, but will not provide a direct prompt. Children may explore the implied prompt or use the materials in a different way.

Open Exploration: educators share a collection of materials for students in a basket or on a table without a direct or implied prompt of any kind.

We have found that these definitions have helped us to think about the different provocations that we set out for our students to explore. We want to ensure that there is BALANCE - we don't want too many of any of these types of provocations! If you have too many direct prompts the students may feel restricted and if you have too many open explorations going on you may find it challenging to support, foster and document all of the learning happening.

How do we find new ideas?
As a new, or experienced, Kindergarten educator it can be a daunting task to think of and create provocations for the students in your classroom. Many educators will turn to social media (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for inspiration and ideas.

We always encourage educators to explore and become inspired, but to remember that we want to root the learning happening in the classroom in what we are seeing and noticing about our students. What works with one group of children or in one classroom may not be successful in another!

We have found that documenting and spending time with children in play both indoors and outside provides us with inspiration and ideas for new provocations. When we slow down and listen to what the children are saying, exploring or doing it can really guide your practice.

BUT...this skill takes time. The first few years, many of our provocations were very prescribed....and we are ok with that! We were and are always learning. We have reflected on past provocations and why they have worked or not worked which helps us to grow as educators!

Our Reflections:
We have learned and reflected on the process of creating and setting up provocations over our time as a team. Some of these "a-ha" moments are below:


  • LESS is MORE: be sure that when you set up a provocation there is space for the children to learn! We don't want to cover an entire table or learning space with an elaborate provocation with no space for the children to learn. Keeping it simple and slowly adding materials can be really successful!
  • Don't SPEND too much: often times educators feel as though they have to spend money and purchase new materials for every provocation that they set up. Ask for donations, collect recycled materials, collaborate with other classrooms and find ways to create without spending.

We asked educators for some inspiration to share - here are some of the provocations that they have set up for children to engage with:

Instagram: @naturallycuriouschildren

Instagram: @naturallycuriouschildren

Instagram: @naturallycuriouschildren

Instagram: @naturallycuriouschildren

Instagram: @naturallycuriouschildren

Instagram: @naturallycuriouschildren

Instagram: @naturallycuriouschildren


Educator: Carina Quinn

Educator: Carina Quinn

Educator: Carina Quinn

Educator: Carina Quinn

Instagram: @darlamyersclass

Instagram: @darlamyersclass

Instagram: @darlamyersclass

Instagram: @darlamyersclass
Instagram: @littlegingerstudio
Instagram: @littlegingerstudio
Instagram: @steph.soj
Instagram: @steph.soj

Instagram: @darlamyersclass




Educator: Debbie Dasios and Karen McAdam

Educator: Debbie Dasios and Karen McAdam


Educators: Jen Clarke and Lori Schaefer
Educators: Jen Clarke and Lori Schaefer

                                   
Instagram: @jnovakowski

Instagram: @jnovakowski
Instagram: @kinderkim1691
Add caption
Instagram: @kinderkim1691
Instagram: @kinderkim1691
Instagram: @cintaandco
Instagram: @cintaandco
Instagram: @cintaandco
Instagram: @cintaandco
Instagram: @cintaandco
Instagram: @cintaandco
Instagram: @cintaandco

Thank you so much to all of the incredible educators who have allowed us to share these provocations! We hope that they inspire you - be sure to visit their blogs or instagram pages for even more inspiration!