Monday, May 21, 2012

Animals and their Young

Congratulations to "Montessori Mama", the winner of the animal-themed grammar materials bundle from the Montessori Print Shop!  

The giveaway winner will have a chance to use the work that Me Too completed today, "Animals and their Young."  

He has sorted the adult animals and young animals into separate groups on one rug.  Then he matches and pairs them on a second rug.

Kal-El was jealous because Me Too had all these pictures of cute baby animals.  For this work, they both could have used the same cards.  However, I had already made Kal-El a homemade version without pictures.

Once again, the list of what to put on the cards was from the Montessori R and D Elementary Language Arts, volume one.  Most of you know I also have the Karen Tyler primary albums and this work can be found ready to print in her Zoology album as well. Her albums include all the printables you need to do the works. I even had it already printed as I printed those albums in full.   The reason I didn't use them is that they had a control that wasn't usable for us.  Here is a picture of one page of the control chart for the "animals and their young" work:

This is one of FIVE pages of the control chart for this work.  It is much to intimidating and in too small a print for Kal-El to use.  What it is great for is that it is a nearly comprehensive list of any animal you might ever think of, 138...perhaps double the number that are included in the R and D version of the work.   So, when the day comes that Kal-El or Me Too asks me what the special name is for a young chinchilla I'll have that information at my fingertips.

This reminds me of another point.  The Montessori R and D versions of the work I made for Kal-El have approximately 60 examples for each work.  Kal-El started the first group we did, "animals and their homes", enthusiastically but started to lose steam.  The boys know they can continue big works over several days if they wish and I didn't push him to finish.  He did choose to finish the work the first day but complained that it was "too big."  So, for the subsequent works I sorted the cards into three different envelopes and labeled them levels 1, 2, and 3.  He was much happier doing the work over three days with a group of only 20 animals or so to match.  I don't know what is normal in a regular Montessori they give the child all the materials at once?  Do it in one day?  Over several?   Or, do they break it up into several smaller works?  I have NO idea, but I wanted to let you know how we adapted it.

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  1. I have this same work on the preschooler's shelf. They love it too!! I know with my own kids I only put one set out at a time, like maybe ten matches. This helps them to stay focused. They also don't mind recording the work in their journals when the work is smaller. When they record the work in the journal they made it a bigger WORK. When they have mastered that set I put another set out. This goes on and on until the concept has been mastered. I think this helps them keep from getting bored working with the same matches, and the work is still appealing. Thank you for sharing. I love the pics.

  2. The primary albums I use insist on using small groupings - no more than 8-10 pairs of items; and even control charts are intentionally kept "incomplete" - to encourage the child in the understanding that "there is more" available for research and discovery; as well as rotation for appropriate times.

    I know my own son struggles a bit with being a "know-it-all" in some situations - so we purposely pare down how much I present all the more - so that he HAS to go looking for more information and get it out of his head that he already KNOWS all the answers. :)

    He loves to make his own sets of cards and booklets and guides which both stems from and leads to lots and lots of additional research, reading, visits, videos, projects.

    So I wouldn't worry about not having a comprehensive control chart out, or all the cards out at once (though it is SO nice to have our own guide as adults with limited "research" time ;) ). When he's ready and wanting, he can mix up all the cards again and do it all at once ;)

  3. Working on smaller chunks, definitely makes them stay more focussed and makes that work easy to master. Though not exactly the same, I've posted a similar problem with grouping all the chains and the problem that it posed with my child.

  4. Discovering Montessori,

    Ack. I'm such a slacker. It didn't even occur to me to encourage them to master a set. I was just happy they were "exposed." Figured I'd leave the cards on the shelf in case they are seized by an urge to do them again some day. Thanks for the reminder to actually "have a standard" occasionally :)

    Does anybody else find it difficult to encourage them to remember that a group of "plovers" is a "congregation" when they don't even know what a "plover" is? I feel like if I've made it 37 years without encountering a plover I probably don't need to know a group of them is called a "congregation" and my kids probably don't need to either ;)

  5. Jessica,

    There we go...that sounds pretty good to me.

    Do YOU know what a plover is?

  6. Mommy to the Princesses,

    I feel you! Thanks for the moral support :)

  7. I actually DO know what a plover is! Only because my son has recently delved into all things birds - not only is he trying to count how many varieties he's spotted (sometimes I think he embellishes the number...), he LOVES the sound of this bird's name.

    Now if you asked me 2 months ago to identify one? Nope. Not a chance. I think I knew it was a bird, but that was it ;)

    Montessorians (ie parents and teachers) are supposed to be "enlightened generalists" - know just enough about every subject to entice and maintain a child's interest. But not so much we get in the way of the child's exploration :)

    The primary level is great for memorization, but really the exposure lays the foundation - the memorization just happens if/how/when it will. I see mastery at this age as having a brain that is organized, and can pull up some information on each topic, and to know how/where to look for more information. The more natural, the more is retained. :)

    I wonder if there are any plovers in your area.... ;)

  8. I'm in Karen's course currently, and literally just asked her the questions you posted above about what would be expected in a classroom vs. at home. I even was thinking of making picture matching cards for my pre-reader!

    For your older child, was the work to match the words? If he can read, was the goal that he would match the words to the control and therefore be exposed? Maybe these sound like silly questions!

    I do feel that knowing all of them is like preparing for a baby shower with one of those games asking attendees to write down as many baby animal names as possible ! I really enjoy Jessica's responses to your questions, and at this point, I feel as though it makes sense for me to introduce these as we learn the animals (since I have a 3.5 year old) to emphasize, as Karen mentions the aim of the activity is, to know that most animals live in groups.

    I appreciate you taking the time to blog all of this. I wish I had more time in the day!