Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spelling Contents in AMI Albums

From the Tables of Contents in Primary Montessori Language and Elementary Montessori Language:

First things first: exposure to the key 40-44 sounds in your dialect (presuming English language - numbers differ in each language). This is done through a keys-based experience with the presentation in the spoken language, writing, and phonetic reading portions of the language albums.


Phonogram Cards

Phonogram Alphabet Exploration

Phonogram Commands




Personal Dictionary

Reading: Puzzle Words

Puzzle Words (primarily reading, but helps with writing too)

Reading: Function of Words

All word lists can become dictation games. 

Word Study

All Word Study lists can become dictation games. 


Chapter II: Grammar and Syntax

           All Word Study provides dictation exercises. 

                        Introduction to Word Study



                                    Compound Words

                                    Word Families


                        Parts of Speech

                                   Each grammar box provides some spelling rules
                                      on one level or another. 

                                    Introduction to the Noun

                                    Oral Presentation of the Noun

                                    Grammar Box II: The Article

                                    Definite and Indefinite Articles

                                    Noun: Number

                                    Noun: Gender

                                    Classification of Nouns:

                                                Common and Proper

                                                Concrete and Abstract

                                                Material and Collective

                                                Classification of Abstract Nouns

                                                Classification Chart

                                    Grammar Box III: The Adjective

                                                Adjective Command Cards & Classification

                                                Comparison of Adjectives

                                    Introduction to the Verb

                                    Grammar Box IV: The Verb

                                                Verb Commands and Synonyms

                                    Other Grammar Boxes & Commands Cards - Notes

                                    Grammar Box V: The Preposition

                                    Grammar Box VI: The Adverb

                                    Grammar Box VII: The Pronoun

                                    Grammar Box VIII: The Conjunction

                                    Grammar Box IX: The Interjection

                                                Additional Grammar Symbols

                                    Personal Pronouns

                        Introduction to the Tenses of the Verb
                                practice in changing the endings with the verb tense

                                    Simple Tense: Present

                                    Simple Tense: Past

                                    Auxiliary Verbs

                                    Simple Tense: Future

                                    The Perfect Tenses

                                    The Infinitive and Moods

                                    Negative Form of the Verb


Chapter III: Written Language

            Written Language Part I & II

            The Content of Children’s Work

          Be checking for spelling issues here; develop the child's dictionary with words and needed rules from here. 

Appendix: Vendolia’s Rules for Writers

Appendix: Singular/Plural Chart

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Montessori Phonetic Approach

From the Introduction to the Language Primary Montessori Album:

We provide the keys to reading, writing and spelling and the children learn spontaneously and joyfully. While we use a phonetic approach, we do not use it in a traditional manner – we use 42 sounds where a traditional phonetics approach uses 150 or more.

So yes, Montessori uses a phonetic approach to reading, writing, and spelling - but that is a huge difference between 150 and 42! Those long series of graded readers? Simply not necessary. Children go from little/no reading to 2nd grade reading level in no time, and within weeks are 5th grade and higher. If they are not, then a crucial key was missed (or too many unnecessaries were thrown in). Or there is another influence within the child (a particular developmental need that should be met another way).


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spelling in AMI albums

When looking for spelling practice in the AMI albums, look for the following concepts:

  • phonograms (booklets, cards)
  • the word "dictation" in any follow-ups or extensions (think anything with a word list, including the phonogram cards and word study)
  • (or turn any/all word lists into dictation games)
  • function of words 
  • let the children come up with words on their own - dictate to each other
  • note typically mis-spelled words in their writing - cover those needed rules through games or direct instruction

Not much, but powerful. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Snake Games, Part 2

There are only THREE snake games:
As started in first post, when it says gray with red binding,
actually DO that. Everything shows up nicely on GRAY. 

  1. Addition Snake Game
  2. Subtraction Snake Game
  3. Negative Snake Game

(for the first Montessori Nugget on snake games, visit this Montessori Nugget from last June)

Addition and Subtraction are done in primary or very early elementary (can be continued through lower elementary as practice is needed).

Negative Snake Game is an elementary material when we are preparing the children to work with truly negative numbers (in a way, subtraction is already "adding a negative" but with the negative snake game, we can actually get an answer below zero).

Each Snake Game has verification steps.

The verification step 2 of the addition snake game has the child grouping his original snake by lengths of bead bars and multiplying each group to see if his golden snake matches. (details are in the album)

Presumably, you can do that work with all of the snake games in the appropriate places.

Some people are calling this a separate snake game: Multiplication Snake Game. It's not a different snake game. It's a verification method on the addition (and again, presumably the other snake games).


Friday, February 21, 2014

Elementary Geography: Human Geography

There is a chapter WAAAAAY way at the end of the Elementary Montessori Geography album (AMI - I'm not sure where it is in other elementary options)

Oh, those chapters at the ENDs of the albums are sly little creatures ;) Because they almost always have something for the youngest elementary children that builds into the later more complex work for the older elementary children - and yet, we don't get to them, because, well, they're at the end of the album, and shouldn't that be for the older children?

Interesting thing - all those math skills that are allegedly missing from the albums? Many of them are found right HERE in this section! Reading maps, using graphs in various forms, some introduction to statistics.... Yep. All here ;)

There are two sections with Human Geography
1) Interdependence of Human Beings in Society
       This one could potentially begin in primary, but officially could start with the Fundamental Needs of Man and stem from there. We talk about the people in the process of making things (whereas so many other resources focus on the process of making things, but less on the people themselves). Books, videos, card material (available for purchasable download or can be teacher-designed) - the materials are simplistic enough, thus this whole area is SO easily overlooked!

NOTE! This is NOT the interdependencies from the Biology Album ecology chapter! (which should also be introduced earlier rather than later - another "back of the album - early work" chapter ;) )

2) Economic Geography
      This area include the study of natural resource, study of consumption, comparison of production and consumption, imports and exports, volume of world trade, world commerce.
Materials needed: study resources, possibly the internet, and the economic geography stamps (the linked ones correlate with the AMI albums)

From the Introduction to Human Geography: 

Here with the interdependencies is a prime place to emphasize that Montessori is not so much a method of education only – but a way of looking at life and interacting with it.

Many of the following activities seem very, very simple – and they can be easily overlooked. I urge you: DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE.

Emphasize the connections between all humans – past, present and future. All those who came before us left us many gifts (and us adults will add “and many problems”). By focusing on these gifts, and passing them on, along with new gifts that have their foundation on the past gifts, we will pass fewer problems along to future generations.





We are all here together. Now. We have come from a common past that has taken many branches. Establish in your children the above listed traits, and they will have the tools they need to promote healthy relationships everywhere life takes them.

Lower Elementary: Interdependencies
Upper Elementary: Economic Geography
FOLLOW THE CHILD, regardless of age – ages are guidelines ONLY. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fifth Great Lesson: Story of Numbers

The Fifth Great Lesson is the Story of Numbers. This story does not open up a new album area so much as introduce the child to the history of mathematics through the development of number usage. It ties together the child's previous and current studies with human development, further establishing and solidifying the experience of cosmic education.

The materials are a set of 8 charts in "half-size" (assuming you are using full-classroom size charts), with various cultures and time periods represented. The charts are used during the story to highlight various aspects.

It is perhaps not as "fantastical" as the first couple of stories, but really ties together cosmic education for the children and should come early on in their elementary experience, and repeated at various times and levels with new information as the children do some of their own research. This story helps them to gain appreciation for the gifts of our ancestors, the developments of civilization and communication (even through numbers) through time, and responsibility to pass on these gifts.

We hope that the children will have a strong foundation for how mathematics (and the mathematical mind of the human being) connects us to one another: past, present and future.

  • General search for Great Lessons on Montessori Nuggets
  • God With No Hands
  • Coming of Life
  • Coming of Human Beings
  • Communication in Signs
  • Numbers
  • Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    Fourth Great Lesson: Story of Communication in Signs

    The Story of Communication in Signs is the fourth Great Lesson - it is found in the Language album. This story does not open up a subject album as such, because the children have been using language their entire lives - and developing language skills throughout their primary years and early elementary months.

    Some children may hear this story before they do the "key lesson" on the Hand Timeline; while others may use the Hand Timeline first, then hear this story - the ideal is to do the Hand Timeline first, followed by the Story of Communication in Signs. The story should be modified accordingly.

    Our goal is appreciation for written communication.

    • Materials: The only materials are a set of 8 impressionistic charts showing some of the writing styles through time - the charts are optional during the telling of the story. If they are distracting, we keep them aside and use them for follow-up; if they enhance the telling, then they are used during the story. Using 2-3 is generally most helpful. 
    • Timing: 5th or 6th week of the school year (repeated whenever the children like)

    Most children love to copy the charts and highly appreciate books and videos that correspond with the topics introduced in this story.