Montessori Conjunction Work

The traditional Montessori method for passing on grammatical information is first through an impressionistic lesson. The lesson is meant to provide the child with a mental hook so that she remembers the concept being passed along.

Normally the basic parts of speech lessons are given to six year-olds. The traditional items used in the conjunction lesson are a pink ribbon, a pair of scissors, and various colors of flowers.  The flowers are laid down and the sentences is written on adding machine tape pieces torn off after each sentence.  “Bring me the blue flower.  Bring me the white flower.  Bring me the yellow flower. Bring me the red flower. Bring me  the orange flower. Bring me the purple flower.”  The flowers are laid down by each color word.

Scissors are never used in any other grammar lesson.

After explaining the history and meaning of the word conjunction – “cunjungere”  to unite, make a circle using the pink ribbon.

Look at all these sentences.  “I wonder if there is a way to shorten the number of sentences we are using.”  Take out the adding machine tape and begin writing again.  “Bring me the blue flower and the white flower and the yellow flower and the red flower and the orange flower and the purple flower.” (Make sure to use AND and not commas. This is harder than you think.)

Put the flowers in the circle.  Read it out loud again. This time emphasize the “ands.”  Breathe heavily at the end.  Explain that the sentence is so crowded. “And is used so many times – let’s see how we can change it.  In English we have a sign that we can substitute for the “and” to make the sentence shorter.”

Cut the sentence with the scissors all the “ands” out leaving the last and.  Replace the empty spaces with commas and tighten the sentence up.

Explain that the  last “and” can not be removed.  It is the only word that tells the reader that everything must be taken together.

Pull all the flowers together and tie the pink ribbon around them.

I didn’t have flowers. So, we used colored pencils.

The children were older and the lesson went well by making the really long sentence and placing the colored pencil by the color word.  When the “ands” were removed and the commas inserted, the pencils were left in their original spots to show how much shorter the sentence became.

We went ahead and covered the lists of possible conjunctions:  “and, or, neither – nor, either – or, but and so.”

They then went through a series of sentences finding the conjunctions.


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Filed under BW, DW, English Language, Grammar, Letter Work, MMcC

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