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The almighty verb 馃敶

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

As you may have noticed, recently I've come back to creating (revisiting) the materials for younger students. The Preposition Blocks came first, then the Do You Like game and today it's time for some vocabulary work with the verb.

It's one of my teaching regrets that I haven't incorporated more grammar symbols in my teaching when my kids were in grades 1-3. This post is about how I'd introduce them to the verb if I were to go back in time.

Montessori verb symbol is a red circle. It is supposed to symbolise the Sun because just as the Sun gives life to the Earth, so do verbs give life to sentences. How powerful is that sentence, right?! This is where I'd start, by really emphasising the importance of the verb and its function. During the presentation I'd hold the Montessori wooden 3D symbol or a small red ball.

As I'd talk about the verb, I'd let the kids touch it, hold it, pass it around to really ingrain this image in their heads. I'd also give the kids a round red cushion to sit on during this lesson. If you live in Poland you can find them in Teddy.

After the presentation, I'd play a game with the children in which I would say and show an action of a verb to them, and they'd have to repeat it after me. I'd repeat each verb a couple of times to try and make the children remember the words. I would be doing all of that while standing on a round red rug! Of course, if I had more round reg rugs available in the classroom, I'd make each of the students stand on one as well as they perform the actions.

After the game, I'd let the children move on to learning the verbs by working in pairs. As stated in Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius:

"Many studies show that people learn better when working collaboratively than when working alone. (...) From a Piagetian perspective in particular, interaction is crucial to learning, and the more of it there is, the more one would be expected to learn."

They'd read the verbs out loud from command cards to their partner who would have to show they understand the words by performing the action. The child performing the verb would, of course, use the round red rug. In Montessori teaching, command cards are nothing new or special. As Angeline Stoll Lillard writes:

"Montessori teachers say that the cards seem to increase inspiration for reading among younger children; for all children, they help make clear the parts of speech."

How would I, however, make sure that they're pronouncing the verbs correctly and whether they actually remember what the meaning of each one is? For TEFL purposes I needed something a bit more than just a word or a sentence on each card. So I created new cards for the teachers at my school who work with younger learners.