Saturday, June 9, 2012

Grammar Boxes - when to present

This Montessori Nugget is previously discussed over at Montessori Trails.

Grammar Box Order of Operations:

1) There is no *ONE* right way – just as there is no identical child or experience.
2) There are many wrong ways:

  • --don't follow the child
  • --insist on waiting far too long (if it accidentally happens, it's fine)
  • --insist on presenting too much too fast (unless the child is asking and is obviously capable)
  • --requiring copywork of this material
  • --following any one procedure for all children
3) the enclosed is based on AMI album pages and training
4) The enclosed is based on a child starting in 1st grade at age 6, with primary experience. New children at older ages will just work at their own pace – pretty quickly through quite a bit of it; let them take their time wherever needed. 
       4B) The enclosed is a guideline - it is a general guideline so should be flexible enough for most situations. If it doesn't fit for you, adjust it. It's ok :)

Oral and reading introduction as given in primary is ideal - all parts of speech, only receiving an explanation of function, not the name of the part of speech.
If the child is young enough, consider giving the primary style presentations first with the child doing an oral activity followed by the same activities in reading. We hope the children have done sentence analysis in primary as well, but it is not absolutely necessary.

ELEMENTARY - in no particular year, though suggestions noted - just start as soon as possible and move forward:

First - Oral Presentation of the Noun
Second - Grammar Box 2: the article

PARALLEL – keep the initial introduction of grammar boxes in order of one another; otherwise the exercises and personal work can overlap or keep cycling through:
Continue to utilize filler boxes in Box 2
Definite and Indefinite
Noun Number
Noun Gender
Classification of Nouns: Common and Proper
Grammar Box 3 (could be introduced before the above noun items)
     Adjective Command Cards and Classification
     Comparison of Adjectives
Grammar Box 4 – Verb
     Verb Commands and Synonyms
Grammar Boxes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
     follow each with appropriate command cards if available for that box
After Grammar Box 7:
     Personal Pronouns

The above is likely to be year 1, if you started at the beginning of the year and have a child who plugs right along in this and other work; it is very possible and highly likely there is additional work to do in the above areas in the 2nd year. Just pick up where needed; everything reviews on previous knowledge, and all past presentations are available to the child (this may need to be reminded to them).

The following is almost always 2nd year, could be end of the first year – and runs parallel with the above if the child is still working with the above --- 

Begin these at the appropriate age, regardless of the above work, just after introducing the noun:
Classification of Nouns: Concrete and Abstract (age 7-7 1/2)
Classification of Nouns: Material and Collective (age 7-7 1/2)
Classification of Nouns: Classification of Abstract (age 7-7 1/2)
Classification of Nouns Chart (all work with other classification of nouns - this is a consolidation)

WHENEVER READY: (could be any year, any age)
Additional Grammar Symbols

Generally, verb tenses will be done in the 3rd year; with some children starting some of the work in the 2nd year. Try to assure this work is at least presented in the 3rd year, and the children may need to finish working in their 4th year. The only real pre-requisite here is that the child has done work with the personal pronouns.
VERB TENSES: (personal pronouns should be done; all grammar boxes are likely presented, even if the child is still working with them)

  • Simple Tense: Present
  • Simple Tense: Past
  • Auxiliary Verbs
  • Simple Tense: Future
  • The Perfect Tenses
  • The Infinitive and Moods
  • Negative Form of the Verb

There is a lot going on in Language and in all the areas. Overlapping with the grammar boxes is Word Study; and you may or may not work with the earliest presentations in Logical Analysis before finishing up grammar. Follow the child on this overlap. There is plenty of time for Logical Analysis in 3rd year and higher, but strong readers who are also adept at the grammar box work, may appreciate the extra challenge of the Logical Analysis work mixed in.

If the children have needed to do remedial language, the grammar box work will pick up orally while they are working with remedial language; but you might wait until they are comfortably reading to start the boxes themselves; sometimes the short phrases of the grammar boxes are a nice little encouragement to work on reading skills; so introduce them slowly, closely observing if they are a help or a hindrance until the child is comfortably reading.
(the child does not have to read these cards out loud – he just has to GATHER the materials – reading aloud is best for a struggling reader AFTER he has proven he knows what the card says (“get a pencil” for example – he brings the pencil, you say “yes” and he then reads the card))


Follow the child's interests and abilities. The child is using interjections and conjunctions every day, why wait until age 7 or 8 to introduce them? Why turn a fun interesting game such as the grammar boxes into a tedium of a series of exercises that may or may not be beneficial or any longer enjoyable because they are presented as such?

We want the children to LOVE language, to PLAY with language, to EXPLORE with language.


Have fun with it! 


  1. I read your all posts and save in my folder.

  2. Wonderful!

    Let me know if there is any topic you'd like to see in particular :)