How To Present A Montessori 3 Period Lesson
Even if you are not into Montessori or you don’t even know what Montessori is, if you have a child at home that you want to help to learn, then this method is extremely effective.
I was actually taught this method when I did my ESL teacher training, it wasn’t until years later that I found out it was based on Montessori’s principles.
This method is used across the board for introducing concepts to children in a Montessori environment and it is exceptionally useful for introducing new vocabulary. It is an easy concept to learn but you should practice without a child before getting stuck in. (Rope your partner into helping!)
There is nothing complicated, in fact keeping it simple is the best way forward.
1. The Naming Period
Quick note – when ever setting things out, do so from left to right, top to bottom, the same way that you write – unless you are doing this in say Hebrew which operates from the right. Subtle movement like this mirrors the left to right movement in reading and writing and subtly helps the child to do this automatically when they start to read and write.
Start by setting out three objects or cards on a mat or at the table, in front of your child. As remembering things at the start and end of a list is easier, put the easiest object to recall in the middle. For this example we will use 3 types of penguin. The naming period is basically just that, name the object/card.
Point to the first card and say “King Penguin”
Repeat several times then ask “Can you say King Penguin?”
The child may or may not repeat the word, don’t worry about it, just continue, don’t force him or her to repeat.
Now point to the second card and say “This is a Rockhopper Penguin” repeat as you did with the first card and then go through with card three.
Ask the child to point to each card in turn “Can you point to the Galapagos Penguin?” etc.
Do this several times until you feel like the child has got the hang of it.
2. Recognition & Association Period
Shuffle the cards and lay them out again. Use the following style questions to get the child to show they recognise the cards, again, don’t worry if they don’t talk. This period will take longer, shuffle the cards or objects a number of times and think of variations to keep the lesson interesting.
Try moving around the room, placing the cards in a different area of the room for the child to fetch, make it fun! The kinaesthetic movement associated with this part of the lesson helps with the child’s memory and recall of the objects/cards.
“Show me the King Penguin please”
“Point to the Galapagos penguin”
“Pass me the Rockhopper penguin please”
“Put the King Penguin in the basket”
“Put the Rockhopper Penguin on the shelf”
Also take it in turns being “the teacher”
IMPORTANT: you should not start this stage unless you are confident that the child can succeed. If the child is not yet ready, continue with stage 2.
If, the child can’t recall the names of the object/cards then do a quick recap and then finish the lesson, end it on a high note so that the child doesn’t feel like they have failed.
This is like the testing stage of the lesson and it should be the first time you ask the child to recall the names of the objects.
Put the cards/objects in front of the child and ask
“What is this?”
Repeat with the other objects, just to be sure, shuffle and repeat.
You can use this with pretty much anything you want to introduce, although it is tempting to add more cards, it’s not advised. If the child grasps the first 3 words quickly – older kids often will, then introduce three more.
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