Friday, March 2, 2012

Montessori Paper

Me Too is relishing his recent "big boy status" now that he gets to use the golden beads too, and he gets to use the movable alphabet too.  Whenever Kal-El and I work on Handwriting Without Tears I feel a jealous little mouth-breather peeking over my shoulder.  I usually keep Me Too involved right next to us with his sandpaper letters, his sand tray, an a chalkboard.

Kal-El is in the "kindergarten" book Letters and Numbers for Me.  We finished the capitals section in the fall and I thought we were going to go straight into the lowercase section right away.  However, after completing the capitals he went into a phase where he did a lot of free writing daily on his own writing stories and making books...which is how it should be.  So, I felt no motivation to sit down and do a workbook.

Things have changed because now he has asked me to practice the lowercase letters with him in the book.  Since we are about to start the lowercase section fresh I thought Me Too could come along for the ride.  He'll just skip the capitals section and we'll come back for it later (he has only worked with lowercase sandpaper letters so far).  In fact, the "first grade" book, My Printing Book, that Kal-El will do next starts with a section on capitals just like like the "kindergarten" book so I can probably time that to keep them together but in their own workbooks.  I anticipate that Me Too will have to do the first book twice.

Me Too is SO excited to have his own workbook with his name on it and his own blackboard with double lines.  Today we started with pencil pickups which they both love.  I photocopy the page from the workbook so that we can do these over and over.

The papers used in HWT are very similar to traditional Montessori papers.

Here is a picture of traditional Montessori "squared" or "quadrille" paper:

Image from Montessori Paper

Here is a picture of HWT "grey block paper":

Here is an image of traditional Montessori blue/green lined paper:

Image from Montessori Paper.

Here is an image of HWT double-lined paper:

The best place I've found that talks about the different kinds of paper used in a Montessori environment is the book Montessori Read and Write.  I would recommend reading that book to understand the purpose of the different papers, when to use each, and why.  I am happy with the HWT papers and am using those because the purposes and timing of the papers is nearly identical.  

Free, printable Montessori papers are available for download through Montessori Materials.  Their version of the shaded paper is simply called "handwriting paper" on their site.  The have a second version of it that comes in handy that has handwriting lines on the bottom half and is empty at the top for illustrating.  That version is called "story paper."  

Edited to add:  Here is an even better link for finding free, printable, Montessori, handwriting paper:  Logic of English.  They have several styles, including traditional Montessori in several color options.

Any site that lets you create your own graph paper for free is a good place to make your own quadrille paper.  The purpose of this kind of paper is simply to restrict the child's letters to a certain size.  You would start by creating a paper with 1-inch squares.  The size of the squares should be strategically reduced as the child matures to help them reduce the size of their handwriting.  If you wind up using Handwriting Without Tears, you will notice that the size of the grey blocks is reduced at each level.

Happy handwriting!

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  1. That is cool that they are inspiring one another. Thank you for sharing about the paper at Montessori Materials as well.

  2. Awesome!!!!! I love all the cool ways the boys work together!!!!! I also love the explaination of how Handwriting with out tears works! I think that Bunny and I are going to have to do this. Do you have just the workbooks and chalk board, or do you have the wooden letter block too? I am a little confused by all the differnt products!

  3. Stephanie,

    We have the workbooks, the slate chalkboard (, and the double-line chalkboard. We also have the wood pieces for capital letters and for lowercase. Definitely don't buy the lowercase wood pieces, they are not pedagogically sound. The boys are most interested in the capital wood pieces at 3 and 4. Kal-El is not interested in them at 6.

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