Thursday, 31 July 2008

Grammar: Article

Little-N has been practicing with the article grammar cards. This is what we did:
Have a basket with several objects [4 cups, 3 pegs, 2 dogs....]
A noun Card for each object [with a black outline or on black card]
Article Cards [with grey outline or on grey card: You will need to have an 'a' card for each object and abt 6 'the' cards.
  1. Take the basket to the mat.
  2. Lay out the cards [I place the articles at the top in two piles an 'a' pile and a 'the' pile. Then below them I would have a pile of noun cards. Place the noun cards in order so that the child will read cup, then cup, then cup ex..']
  3. Remind the child of the 'Nouns' and ask the child to place the object and word together on the mat. Ask the child to read and place the next card and object on the mat [this would be cup again]. Do this until the child has read all the words that say 'cup' and matched them with the objects.
  4. Point at the article cards and tell the child that we place these before the noun cards. Take an 'a' card and place it in front of the 'cup' card. Invite the child to place an 'a' card in front of the other 'cup' cards.
  5. Next remove the additional cup objects and cards and leave only 1 object and 1 noun card. Remove the 'a' card and tell the child that when there is only one we can put a 'the' card.
  6. Do the same with the other objects and cards.

After the child has understood this concept extend the activity. Provide the child with a basket of objects in which you place some objects in doubles and other in singles. ask the child to place all the objects in groups on the mat. Next ask the child to label the objects with the noun cards. Provide enough article cards and ask the child to place them in front of the noun cards ensuring that 'the' is placed for the single objects and 'a' is placed for the double objects.

Montessori Maths materials are not out dated

Today a homeschooler said ' The montessori math materials are out dated, mathematics has developed since'. She said that there are plenty of modern materials that are better for teaching mathematics!!!

The montessori mathematics materials are not outdated!! Not by anyway. There is an amazing actvitiy to teach each concept and all the materials come together in a way or the other linking all areas of mathematics together and even linking mathematics to other areas of development. The only way someone can assume that the montessori materials or method is outdated is if they have not yet developed a deep enough understanding of the materials and principles. And if you don't have enough knowledge about the materials or method you can't Judge!!

The mathematics materials teach complex and abstract concepts in a concrete way that even the younger children can learn with ease. Each step is carefully planned and each new activity has just the right amount of challenge.

The materials that she said were better, were not concrete, worksheet based and nothing continued into other concepts to allow the child to build their understanding step by step. If I was a child I would get so bored and confused by them. I'm not just saying that to defend Montessori but honestly whats fun in a work book when you can work with Golden beads??

Once you get to the Elementary level you really understand how fun mathematics is. The materials are not just GREAT their SUPER!!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Additon with Short bead stairs

In this picture Little-N is working with an addition workbook I got form Tescos. He is using the Short Bead Stairs to find the answers. I introduced him to the idea of 'counting on'.

Grammar with theme game

The montessori Grammar activities are carefully planned, they may seem very simple but as they build up one after the other Little-N will have developed an understanding of English language that will allow him to enjoy creative writing.

An important thing to do when you present the grammar materials is to take it back to the THEME GAME. This is where all the grammar will come together, so that one day the child is no longer labeling objects, but forming stories.

My theme game for Little-N is a dolls house. Most montessorians use a farm set. In the pictures he is labeling all the nouns in the house. As you can see there are many [and when i by more furniture there will be more]. The next step will be to bring in the articles, but I first have to present the Article and Noun game which i will be posting shortly.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Count through till 99

Each time I work with a Montessori Material I fall more in love with the method. There is an activity for everything and a purpose for every activity. Here Little-N was working with the ten's beads. He already knows the quantities and symbols for 10,20,30,40...90 so it was time to give him the hard part 21,22,23,24,25....98,99,100.
Before doing this activity its best you teach the quantities using the ten bead bars by the 'Three Period Lesson' [10, 20, 30]. You should also teach the symbols for 10,20,30..90. Then when the child has mastered that you can go on to this activity.

Materials for this activity: 9 golden ten bars and 9 golden units

  1. Lay out the materials with the box on the top left corner, the ten bars vertically next to it and the units in a vertical line next to the ten bars.
  2. Take one ten down. Ask the child ' Can you remember how much this is?' If yes bring down another ten and ask the same question.
  3. Next bring down one unit and say ' Now its 21', bring down a unit and say '22' and continue until you reach 29. Then say 'and if we had one more we would have 20 and 10'. At this moment bring down a 10 bar and place it next to the 20, then move the units all back up to the starting place. The child should already know that 3 tens are 30. Ask the child if he knows how much 3 tens is.
  4. Continue in the same way counting all the way to 99.

Straw hanging thingy

First he cut the straws.
Then I tied a bead to the bottom of a string and he threaded the straws on.
He made 5 strings and then we stuck them to a piece of bamboo.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Grading colours

Little-N has been working with colours box 3.

First he scatters the colour tablets.

Then he finds the darkest and lightest. Next he grades the other tablets in the middle.

He attempts a few more with great success.

Montessori Degree

For the first time in the UK a degree in Montessori Education will be available from September 2008. This is excellent news for Montessorians who are not university graduates, would love to further their studies, but don't want to have to study anything other than Montessori.

The Degree is awarded by the university of Greenwich and will be taught at the Kent and Sussex Montessori Center in Kent. The course is available on a full-time or part-time bases.

For More information visit this website

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Fun with Grammar

This summer I plan to introduce the grammar materials to Little-N. Today I presented Noun Box 1. This is a box with six black cards each has a 3 letter phonetic noun written on it. The words should relate to objects in the environment. Explain to the child that a Noun is a 'Naming word' and ask the child to read the words and get the corresponding objects from the environment.

Counting in 10s

Little-N has been working with Seguin Board B. He did Ex2 combining the beads with the symbols. Little-N discovered that he can count to 100 in tens.
Next he decided to make a Short Bead Stair book. He drew each bead stair, coloured appropriately and then wrote the numbers.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Check the blog list

I have found many many lovely Montessori blogs, you can visit them from my blog list. Its lovely to see what other Montessorians are doing around the globe.

Addition Strip Board

Little-N has been working with the addition strip board. Its amazing how easy it is for a Montessori child to master the use of new materials. I believe this is due to the firm foundations that are set down by the early Montessori materials that a child works through when they first enter a Montessori school. It is essential that the child always starts from the beginning of the Montessori sequence and move through the materials appropriately. I have observed children who missed out on materials [for example the spindle box] and I have always found that it takes them longer to progress on other materials later on.

When I have a child entering Montessori at 5 and they can already count and know the letters, I still take them to the beginning of the Numeracy and Literacy curriculum and allow them to work with the materials following the correct sequence. Doing this has always brought about great success and achievements. Each Montessori materials has a direct aim which we know [ for example that the child practices counting to ten] and there are also Indirect aims and these are as important for the child to absorb. SO if the child can count to 100 I would still start with the sandpaper letters.
Here is Little-N working with the addition strip board.

The little Starfish in the picture is his new favourite toy. It came in a basket of shells for £1.50 from the local gift shop.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Working on his Addition

The holiday started and now Little-N has a Montessori Teacher all for himself. I'm planning to cover a lot during the holiday to compensate for the past few months were he didn't learn much as he was adjusting to a new school. First on the list is working on addition. He's quite good with adding on his fingers and has memorised some basic sums, but I prefer that he masters the materials before moving him on to further sums.

We started with the Positive Snake game, here are some pics of how to do it.


For the basic presentation you will need

  • two sets of the short bead stair,
  • 9 golden bead bars
  • a counter [bit of card with a slit cut out for the child to use when counting]
  1. Show the child how to build the bead stairs, one starting from 1 and the other starting from 9. Then ask the child to lay out the Golden beads vertically beside the short bead stairs.

  2. Show the child how s/he can make a snake by taking on bead from the top of the first bead stair and one from the top of the other bead stair [i.e. 1 and 9 then 2 and 8]. Continue in this manner.

  3. Once the child has built a snake with all the beads, show the child how they can count the beads in the snake starting from the left [The child can use the counter if they wish, Little-N prefers to count with his fingers]. When s/he reaches 10, show the child how they can replace the coloured beads with a golden bead bar. Place the coloured beads at the top of the mat/table vertically one on top of each other.

  4. Continue in the same manner, counting to ten, substituting for a golden bead bar and placing the coloured beads at the top. Continue until all the snake has been changed to gold.

  5. Once the snake has all been changed, show the child how they can take the golden beads and place them next to the coloured beads.

  6. Next you can show the child how 1 and 9 made 10, 2 and 8 made 10 and so on.

In the last picture Little-N wanted to double check that the beads made 10 so he counted them again.

Friday, 11 July 2008

The GREAT Lesson

The great lessons are the core of the Montessori 6-12 curriculum and as their names suggest the lessons are great!

Maria Montessori felt it was important to give the children a 'Vision of the whole universe' and this is why she designed the Great Lessons. Maria Montessori says ' We shall walk together'...'on the path of life for all things are part of the universe and are connected together to form one whole unity'.

The Great Lessons were first mentioned in Maria Montessori Lecture in London 1935 but her Idea was taken aboard by Mario Montessori [her son] who developed the stories together with Margaret Stephensons.

Traditionally there are 5 great Lessons:

  1. Story of the universe

  2. Story of the coming of life

  3. Story of Man

  4. Story of Writing

  5. Story of Numbers

There are also other Great Lessons that have been added since Mario's time. Each Great Lessons is told once a year. The teacher tells the story and uses visual aids where possible. Maria Montessori stresses that the 6- 12 years teacher must be a good story teller who can excite the children's imagination. However the purpose of the stories are not to teach facts, but to excite the child and stimulate an interest in a variety of areas. After a story is told, the teacher must wait two weeks in which she will observe the children carefully to see where the story has sparked off an interests for each particular child. The teacher can then start to present 'Key Lesson' for that area of interest for child.

The traditional stories have a religious background however the modern stories have a more scientific background. Once you understand the stories it is easy to change or adapt them to suit your particular beliefs or culture. Personally I feel that it is first important to teach the child the story that is culturally appropriate for their beliefs. Then once the child can understands their version they need to know: then they can learn the other versions.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

End of Year

It has been a while since I posted! I have been extremely busy with end of year preparations.
Reports, paper work, updating files, making portfolios for each child and practicing for the end of year party. Personal time goes on hold while I try to end the year as best as possible.

I'm saddened as many of the children will be leaving to go to a Reception class next year. I spent the parents evenings explaining to some parents how their child will learn nothing new in reception class since they can already read although they are only four years. I'm praying that each child teacher next year will see the gems inside them and allow them to flourish. I hope their freedom will not be taken away and the their individuality will not dissolve.

Luckily I have three 5-6 year olds coming back in September. Together with the three of them we will start our first Primary class [Elementary]. My summer will be spent, building, painting, furnishing and creating our class. Its exciting, I have been searching so long for a school in which I can do what I love most.

Today I was given a Montessori DVD 'Discovering Montessori with Tana Ramsy'. It has a good introduction to the Montessori method and lovely video clips of Montessori schools in the UK. You can get a free copy from Its ideal for parents or students who are considering embarking on the Montessori path.

Lots of work to do, not time to knit or sew!!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Special Start to July : Butterfly Eggs

Yesterday during the workcycle a butterfly flew to the planted vegetables in the garden and laid eggs on the Radish leaves as the children watched. It was Magical, an amazing learning experience. If you closely at the picture u can see a tiny white egg.

Fish Nursery

Little-N went to visit a fish nursery. He got to see many sea creatures and his favourite was a Coy Fish that was bigger then him.
I liked the crabs!


Red Crabs

Pig Nose Turtle

Ray Fish