Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Montessori Grammar: Noun, Day 3

Today the boys were introduced to the "grammar farm."  In many albums this lesson is called something like "labeling the miniature environment."  The farm lessons could be done with a nice train set or a dollhouse as well.  We used the boys' toy farm right out of their toy collection.  I posted about our farm set in detail way back in 2009!

Kal-El began our work by reading the nomenclature card for "noun" to us again.  They also picked up the pyramid and piece of coal again and talked about their relationship to the concept of "noun."  Then, I pulled out the labels I made for the farm and we talked about why they were mounted on black paper.

Prior to the presentation I had separated the labels into two bowls.  I put all of the phonetic labels in a bowl for Me Too and Kal-El's bowl held everything else.

Here Me Too has read the word "duck" on his own and is proudly labeling the duck on the farm.

 Me Too labeling the "pump."

Here are some glimpses of the completely labeled farm:

Yes, this was Kal-El's first experience with the grammar farm.  I chose to hold him back in grammar intentionally.  The introductory grammar lessons at the primary level are nearly identical to the introductory grammar lessons at the elementary level.  Frankly, you can't go further than the introductory lessons unless the child is a fluent reader.  In fact, many describe the grammar lessons at the primary level as "reading practice" more than "grammar practice."  I felt that implementing the primary sequence for the first time was full enough without stuffing one more thing in.  I chose to wait and introduce it to Kal-El as an "elementary child."  Another reason I did this was the result of a tip I picked up from the book The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. The book addressed how difficult it can be to have multiple ages of children all in different places across the timeline of history.  They suggest that because history is cyclical (covered three times across a classical education) there is no harm in adjusting the start times and positions of your children in order to have everyone in the same place at the same time and make it a little easier on yourself.  I feel that this revisiting of material at increasingly deeper levels is something that Montessori and Classical education have in common.  I also lean toward an interpretation of the Montessori grammar sequence that involves cyclical revisiting.  So, it made sense to me to wait for just the right time so that the boys could begin grammar together.

Me Too will participate in all of the earlier presentations for each part of speech and Kal-El will be free to continue on to some of the more advanced works.  As we revisit each part of speech each year they will still be together, but working at their own level.  Me Too will have a more typical primary/elementary experience with the materials.  Kal-El's has been slightly adjusted, but I see little harm in it.

Today, Me Too was able to read words like: duck, pond, pump, well, chicken, rabbit, pig, sheep, dog, goose, and cat.  Kal-El proudly tackled words like "cauliflower" and "blackberry."

As you can see, I chose to make my farm labels from scratch.  Something about handwritten labels appeals to me in the case of the farm.  I also have been going through a LOT of ink lately and thought mounting the labels on colored paper would save us a little cash.  The extra minutes spent cutting and gluing were made up when I didn't have to sort through a pre-bought set to eliminate what didn't match our farm and add labels for things that would not have been included.  So, I like to think it all worked out.

Other posts in this series:

Montessori Grammar: Noun, Day 2
Montessori Grammar:  Noun, Day 1

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  1. Great lesson! I am enjoying your grammar thread of posts. You are doing a great job differentiating the lessons to meet the needs of the boys. I am impressed with how much Me Too's reading has taken off.

  2. Great lesson! I love your farm set, too.

  3. Awesome lesson! I think that I should get my farm out again for bunny. Now that she is reading some, she could lable things better. Maybe she would get some good prctice in too! Thanks for sharing all your great presentations! You are the best Montessori mama ever!

  4. What a great lesson!! The boys did a fantastic job ;-) I would be honored if you would consider linking your post to our Polish version of Montessori Monday here:

    Warm hugs from Poland:-)

  5. Thanks all! I had been dreading grammar for some unknown reason and have been enjoying it tremendously. It might even be my new favorite part of Montessori!

  6. You have a lovely handwriting. Your Farm set is so inviting ;-)
    Great lesson!!!


  7. I LOVE your grammar farm! It's so inviting for any child! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and just added your photo and link to my grammar farm post at

  8. I really enjoyed reading your take on grammar. You are very articulate and thorough. Your labels look great:) Thanks for sharing.


  10. Wow what an amazing lesson! I love your grammar farm! We are just getting ours set up and starting the presentations on it. I am adding your post onto my Montessori Grammar Farm post, and pinning! Have a wonderful week!


  11. This is the most amazing grammar lesson I have ever read about! It is an excellent read, without a doubt! Your work is much appreciated by hundreds of people. As soon as you are completed with the second part of your article, you are welcome to visit our blog post, which is dedicated to grammar day special to each American!