Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why have Work Plans in Elementary?


Why do Montessori children have work plans? 


To aid in the development of responsibility. 

To aid the child in going deeper with their work. 



If the work plans you are thinking of are going to minimize a child's depth and not aid in the development of responsibility - you're thinking of work plans that probably "dictate" rather than guide what is already in the child. As a primary child "plans" his day in his head, an elementary child plans his day, his week and eventually his month both in his head and on paper. So he is making a visual plan of what is in his mind - in a way that the adult can guide him in areas of weakness and further develop areas of strength.

It becomes a contract - with the teacher, yes, but MOST importantly: with himself. He is committing to following through on his plan that HE developed with the adult to aid him in constructing himself.

Click here for additional Montessori Nuggets on work plans.


Benefit to a properly constructed work plan: the child will more effectively see the results of procrastination - or over-planning - helping him set realistic goals to achieve high standards.

And the adult can help guide him away from any developing bad habits - just as we do at toddler and primary where we nix any bad behaviors in the bud before they become a habit. Now that the child's sense of organization is internalized, we need this external visual to aid us the adults in guiding the child's proper habit-formations.

an early Montessori-homeschool work plan


Monday, December 16, 2013

Dot Game in Primary Montessori Mathematics


The dot game is a primary Montessori experience that parallels work with the stamp game, but comes after the child has done several addition problems with the stamp game.

The dot game is only for addition.


We don't use color. WHY NOT!? We've been teaching our children the colors for the place values - and elementary materials continue the colors, so why don't we have color here???

1) The "color" that is visible focuses on the carrying over. This is becoming less concrete and more symbolic - so we want to reinforce the creation of ten-bars, carrying and....
2) the comma.
3) Most importantly though: this is where the children can really start seeing the place values specifically because of their place - not by their colors (which they will get again in future materials - it's not lost!), not by colored columns some people use for the stamp game paper (color also not necessary there since the color is in the squares and we want to focus on the zeroes for that work) and not by the shape of the objects contained in that place (i.e. the golden bead units, bars, squares, cubes). Right now we are looking at value based on place - only.

One baby step along the way. We neither need to hand the child everything on a tri-colored platter, nor do we ignore their needs for visual aids.

We give them just what they need when they need it.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Third Great Lesson: Coming of Humans


Human beings being creative on a beautiful day
The story of the Coming of Human Beings is the third in sequence, coming a few days or a couple of weeks after the Timeline of Life - where a human shape appears at the very end. Now we are going to focus on that particular moment.

The Black Strip (a key lesson, not a Great lesson) may or may not have been presented - depends on the children you have before you. The Hand Timeline follows the third Great Lesson on the coming of humans, but is not specifically a follow-up to it.


  • No materials
  • The focus is on the human connection itself - particularly on love; the children can look at their own arms and legs to see that they do not have specialized protection as animals do. 
  • Note: The two timelines called "First Timeline of Human Beings" and "Second Timeline of Human Beings" are follow-up work in the history album. They are not part of this Third Great Lesson. 
Our Goal with the Third Great Lesson is a development of appreciation for all mankind. 



Notes from the AMI History Album:

            3rd great lesson; can be presented as a shortened version and use different examples as appropriate but it must include the key elements of the story. There are no materials. Because this is another great lesson, we invite all the children who are new and other children are invited but have a choice. There are no suggested follow-ups after this one. Leave the children free to contemplate, discuss or pursue other topics. 




Meher Montessori version of telling the story
(I can only condone this video because the gentleman teacher is AMI-trained - I have not watched the entire video)




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

  • Sunday, December 8, 2013

    Wooden Hierarchical Material - Number Cards


    This material is a clear indicator of the differences between primary and elementary, even with the same material. It is also a perfect example of how the outward appearance of Montessori changes with each plane of development - so for those who jump ship after primary because they instinctively know that the primary experience is not appropriate for their second plane child, here is just one teeny tiny example of how Montessori addresses those very needs. 

    At primary, the children can receive this presentation – it uses place-value colored number cards with spaces between the hierarchies, NO commas. These cards are available for download in a number of locations – free or for purchase – or can easily be handmade.
    DIRECT AIM: focus on place value and the new hierarchy (millions) - counting the zeroes. This age does not need the comma for this presentation. (they do get the comma with the dot game and can use the comma with the division with racks and tubes work)

    At elementary, the child should get this work again (or for the first time), because now, there is a new component: The Comma. The primary level colored cards can be used, just add a green comma after each number, such that when the cards are stacked in number formation, you have the following number:
    1, 111, 111 

    Those of you who have been following the recent blog posts and various discussions may recall one more aspect: some elementary albums describe the elementary number cards as being written in black (and still with a comma).

    FINAL RESULT in the Real World: 

    • Primary: colored, no commas 
    • Elementary: colored OR black numerals, with commas to match (either green or black)

    Homeschool option:
    Take the cards from the Elementary Bank Game cards if they are laminated, use a dry-erase marker to write in the comma for this presentation; then remove it for Bank Game work.