Thursday, September 13, 2012

Montessori Grammar: Articles, Day One

We jumped back into grammar today!  I tag all of our grammar posts.  You can find our previous grammar work by clicking on the "grammar" tag in the left-hand sidebar.  We finished our first cycle of noun work in the spring, so today we picked back up with articles.  

I liked the key presentation from the Cultivating Dharma and Keys of the Universe albums, but I also liked the key presentation from the Montessori R and D album which was considerably different.  So, I gave both.

CDh and KotU both start with sentences that are missing the article.  I like how this demonstrates the awkwardness of the missing article.

Montessori R and D begins with a collection of objects.  Some of the objects stand alone while others are in sets.

You ask the child to bring you "a pencil" or "the vase."  The objects and labels are placed into columns.

After all of the objects and labels are in columns we allow the child to discover the rule ("an" is left out at this time).

There seemed to be some disagreement among my albums regarding the Latin word for "article."  CDh provides the world "activus", Montessori R and D (and another album I can't remember at this moment) refers to "articulus", KotU doesn't do the etymology cards alongside the grammar work (I think).  I found more support for "articulus" so I went with that.  I copy the etymology cards from Montessori R and D.  The CDh cards are wordier, in this case "The word article comes from the Latin word 'activus' which means little limb.  An article is like a limb hanging off of the noun."  I might use the CDh cards in a future year when the boys are both elementary students.

Afterward, the boys found objects around the room and we made labels for them.  They helped me decide whether "a" or "the" should precede the noun.

Both boys recorded the objects we labelled in their language binders.  I made Kal-El special paper with enough space above and below the lines for him to trace the grammar symbol (see his work above).

They each have a homemade grammar symbol stencil in the pocket of their language binders.

Above is Me Too's work. He wrote the same four things his older brother did.  He has a tendency to start too far to the right on his page so he quickly runs out of room and starts to write in circles around the grammar symbols.  In the Handwriting Without Tears program Me Too is still at the stage in which he uses separate paper to practice capitals than he does for lowercase.  For this reason I gave him blank paper today.  I should probably give him squared paper so that his work is legible the next day.

Most of the work they will do in upcoming days regarding articles will be from the Montessori R and D album.  Both CDh and KotU go straight to grammar boxes after what we did today because it is assumed that the other work would have taken place in primary.  I held off on Kal-El's grammer presentations until I could do them with both boys so we are doing a primary/elementary combination.  The Montessori R and D elementary grammar album has all the presentations I need for this, so I will likely stay in that album most of the time while referring to the others when I choose the key presentations.

We are happy to be back on the grammar band wagon!  Our first "school day" was only last week Tuesday.  I haven't started the great lessons yet, but rather am working on getting us back into our routine.  I have mentally divided the Montessori scope and sequence into numerous "threads" and I am reintroducing a "thread" every few days.  To date we have begun reading, spelling, operations (math), memorization (math), linear counting (math), geometry, music, practical life, sensorial, and some physical science.  You'll notice a lot of threads are still missing (fractions and geography just to name two).  I am trying to get most of the non-science/non-history threads into motion before we begin the first great lesson.  I know the first great lesson will provide a big kickstart for all of the science and history threads and that they will easily take over, making it harder to start other threads after that lesson.

We obviously don't do something in each thread every day.  I mostly let the boys choose their work and keep track of which threads they worked in throughout the week.  When I see that they haven't chosen work on a particular thread I give a presentation to keep them moving. The result is that they make great progress along threads that they are currently interested in.  They move much more slowly along threads they are not choosing, but the presentations I give or work I'll ask them to do keep providing a "bite" of that work so that they might GET interested.

  Montessori Monday


  1. I love this post! It made me laugh at myself ;)

    I was thinking as I read "but AMI albums start with the objects... did I mess that section up again?" (groaning at my own idiocy) But nope - you're right! And I'm right too, but I'm still wrong ;)

    The primary AMI albums start with the objects (and I admit I start with objects with new elementary children rather than the actual oral introduction in the AMI elementary album). And elementary starts with an oral presentation of the sentences without the article. I like those cards with the fill-in-the-blank though! That is something I can add to my own repertoire!

    That's what I get for having both albums floating in my brain at the same time ;) hehehe.

    It IS nice to have a few different ways to teach the same concept, and still have them all be Montessori ;)

  2. I like the fill in the blank work, it is a great way to check for understanding as well. I come to the conclusion that using objects if the real thing isn't available goes well with all age groups. I also love how you are introducing threads, it makes for a nice way to introduce the work that they may need to know to go to another level in areas that the child isn't interested in, also they still feel like they are still choosing their work. The " Could I show you something", always works. I just forget to use it sometimes!! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Amazing as always!!! You are an inspiration! I totally did what you did with starting and then adding things slowly! it seems so much better and then Bunny was ready to start thinking more about what she wanted to learn when we got to the great lessons! I love that you handmade the stencil for the grammer symbols! I need one so badly! Did you have a template for the size or did you "whing" it? I also love how your broke things up and plan to keep things going! I think I may have to steal your plan! ;) Thanks for sharing and I hope your school room goes super well! Happy Schooling!

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Jessica, I know what you mean! Of course, I'm trying to have the primary and elementary in my head at the same time ON PURPOSE right now. My head may be loose by the end of the year.


    Thank you! Thinking of the information in threads rather than a "web" helped pull me out of my elementary panic attack.


    I own a set of the regular 3-D grammar symbols (the solids) and also the set that comes in a box and has many of each of the flat version of the symbols.

    I traced around the flat versions to make the template so that there would be a relationship among the sizes.