Function of Words
Children who have begun to read independently are ready to learn about the function of words. To accomplish this, Maria Montessori developed special grammar symbols that make the study of the nine parts of speech a sensorial experience. These colorful symbols highlight the pattern created when words are put together a certain way and thereby assist the children in absorbing the structure of language. Grammar helps children become better writers.
The sequence of introducing the grammar symbols is as follows: Noun
(black equilateral triangle)
(small blue equilateral triangle)
(medium dark blue equilateral triangle) Verb
(small orange circle)
(purple isosceles triangle)
(small pink rectangle)
Noun - a large black equilateral triangle
Introduce the noun during a group lesson. Distribute cards/labels with names of people (classmates), places (restroom, playground, office, etc), and things (classroom items). Have the children bring these objects to the mat.
“Look at all these objects! We have a book, a chair, a vase, ... Oh, Linnette, you’re not a thing; you’re a person, aren’t you. Welcome! And the bathroom! What happened to bathroom? You couldn’t bring it, could you? It is a place.”
“Let me tell you about all these words. All these words are matter. And Maria Montessori came up with a symbol for these kinds of words.” Use a square-based pyramid as a prop to tell a story about the oldest things in the world. Add picture cards or postcards as needed. “Look at these pyramids. (Show picture.) They have been around for 5000 years at least; they are some of our oldest structures still standing. And coal has been forming in the earth for thousands of years; it is black. Montessori took the side of the oldest buildings in the world and gave the color of one of the oldest substances in the world (coal) to the oldest words in the world. (Show the symbol.) Noun. Can you say that word? Noun. Nouns are names. (Begin distributing black triangle symbols as you review the labels on the mat.) They’re names of persons (oh, Linnettte is the name of a person, isn’t it?), places (What about the bathroom? That should get a symbol too, shouldn’t it?), and things (box is a noun; vase is a noun; chair noun,…). Look at all these names; these are all nouns. Persons. Places. Things. These are very old words. Early humans came up with these words a long time ago. And you know what? If you invent something, you get to name it, and it becomes a noun.” Additional activities:
make a noun collage, classify according to person/place/thing, discuss singular and plural, introduce common and proper nouns
Have a basket of objects and their labels (use a black background). Use words that early readers can decode. The children can place black foam triangles above each word. Then they may write the words in their journals, use a template to draw a black triangle above the words, and also draw a picture (helps with comprehension).
The function of this activity is for extra practice. The feminine, masculine, and baby animals on the farm is also preparation for foreign language.
Take the objects out and name them. Take the labels out and put the object on top (one label for each object). Put the black triangle above the triangle. Record the words in a journal.
Article - a small light blue equilateral triangle
Introduce definite/indefinite articles as a group lesson. Set out all the objects in your articles basket. “Who wants to play a game with me?” Ask a child for a dog. Then tell the child that the object he has given you...
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