Category Archives: Letter Work

BW – writing at third year

BW began researching three of the four European Upper Neolithic groups.  He even began by writing a rough draft of each paragraph.  His dedication didn’t make it through the whole project.  Bu, he showed us that his writing has come so far and he is approaching the third year’s expectations.

To be working at a third year level means that the child has moved from just being able to make lists of items into outline form (first year), through the process of writing simple sentences into paragraph form (second year), and into writing multiple paragraphs based on a theme.  I also would hope for a bit of a conclusion at the end of the paper.


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Filed under "Coming of Man", BW, European History, Geography and World Studies, Letter Work, Students

DW – Australopithecus

Australopithecus was a early hominid.  Australopithecus Africanus lived 2.66 million years ago to 1.66 million years ago.   Males were four and a half feet tall, while females were three and a half feet tall.   They lived in Africa, mostly found in Ethiopia and Tanzania.   Africa was covered in abundant rainforest and forest.  They were half-way between human and great ape, because they did not fill all of the fundamental needs of man. But they were more than just apes because they walked on two feet.

Australopithecus ate beetles, other insects, plants, fruit, small animals and fish, and roots.  They were not hunters, they were scavengers.  A small animal would have been a treat. They mostly ate plants and fish.  They did not cook their meat, and ate it raw.

Australopithecus sheltered in the woods.  They mostly tried to use shelter that was already there, rather then make one.  If they had to make a shelter they would cover themselves with leaves or shrubs.  They did not have any clothing.  Because they were living in Africa, they were warm.

Walking was the only means of transportation.  They used simple tools and weapons.  Their tools and weapons were like chimp’s tools and weapons.  Chimps use primitive tools out of grasses and sticks.

They did not have art because they were not advanced enough. Many scientists believe they did have religon. While others say they did not.  There are also two theories that they talked or had means of communication. While the others say no.

They did not have clothes, art, like we do. They did not bury dead like we do.  They might not have had a religion or communication like we do.  But we know they are more advanced than great apes because they walked on two legs.

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Filed under "Coming of Man", DW, Geography and World Studies, Letter Work, Projects, Students, Writing

Vocabulary has its roots in Latin and Greek

In the search for using more challenging words in our writing and speaking, DW and MMcC are working on words rooted in Greek and Latin.  It is extremely challenging for all of us to use these books.

MMcC makes cards with the various definitions and their words.  DW and MMcC play “Pick a Card any Card” until they get the definitions down.

They are really challenging.


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Filed under English Language, Letter Work, MMcC, Students

Principal Parts of the Verb

We’ve been working through some upper elementary lessons on principal parts of the verb – just to know the words and to help us understand when we switch verb tenses mid thought.

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Filed under AV, BW, DW, English Language, Grammar, JV, Letter Work, MMcC, Students

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

Montessori Prepositions

Montessori uses “multiple intelligence theory” to aid in differential learning.  All those big words mean that Montessori classes do many things to learn one concept.  I’ve discussed the last box that goes with the grammar boxes in sentence analysis – indirect objects.  BW isn’t ready for advanced sentence analysis.  We are doing parts of speech.  He is working on prepositions.

1.  Montessori lesson on prepositions.

2.  Identifying parts of speech in sentence context.

3. Placing tickets with prepositions in the “position” of the preposition

4.  Placing yourself in the “position” of the preposition.

Today BW did number 4.  Here are his results.

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Filed under BW, Grammar

Pronouns and nomenclature.

Well the game is pronouns.  Did you know that there are competing nomenclatures for pronouns?  I’ve made it through life as a pretty geeky grammarian and didn’t know that.  Nor could I classify all the different sub-groups in the world of pronouns.  But, in 6th grade this is apparently pretty important.  So MMcC must learn them.

Bring new meaning to me, myself and I. For all of you wondering out there, myself is a reflexive pronoun not a personal pronoun.

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Filed under Grammar, MMcC, Writing