Updated: Nov 13
I've been using vocabulary enrichment cards since I started working at a Montessori school. I've been introduced to them during the training time at my, then, soon-to-be-workplace. I immediately thought of using them in teaching English as a foreign language.
I really like having things in matching sets. When I looked through what was available online at that time I wasn't too happy. I found many Montessori three part cards but not on topics that I needed, like human body parts or school supplies. Or if I did find a set that I liked it wouldn't match the style of the other sets that I found. So I decided to make my own three part cards.
At that stage I did not know much about what Montessori materials should look like and I needed something fast! So I used ... clipart ... Montessorians all over the world are screaming right now 😅😅 I used pictures which are available for free on MES English. MES English has a wide collection of flashcards for most EFL topics that you might want to work on in primary school. So I downloaded all of them and turned them into three part cards: I added written words to all of them, created the error control card for each picture and put them into sets.
Now, if you're not a Montessori teacher you might be asking yourself "what'a an error control card?". It is a card with a picture and a word written underneath it. So when kids match the pictures and words they can then look at the error control cards to see if they matched their cards correctly.
The cards caught on immediately with the kids but I did need to teach them how to work with them. We started with each child choosing one set of cards for a week. We did that each week on Monday. They would work on that set going through all or some of the stages of the whole learning process: cards - spell check - picture dictionary (more on that later).
To work with the cards the kids would need a rug to display the cards on. Then they would match all the written forms of the vocabulary items to the pictures and, finally, check their work with the error control cards.
Once they were done they would ask the teacher to work with them on the pronunciation. I would read out the words and they would repeat them. I would ask them to point to a specific picture card; I would take one away when they had their eyes closed and ask them which one was missing; I'd point to a card and ask them what it was. It was my variation on the three period lesson which I didn't even know existed at that stage of my Montessori adventure 😅
From the first moment I started working with three part cards I knew I wanted my own! I mean, all matching sets with beautiful one-of-a-kind illustrations on topics that I'd like my students to cover during their time at school. Drawing all the pictures proved to be very time consuming and I had to rely heavily on other people because, trust me, you do not want to see my artistic talent or, more precisely, lack thereof 🤣 So right now, after many years, the cards are finally being made with real photos. I've splurged on a Canva Pro subscription and I must say I'm very happy I made that decision.
At this moment the cards made with Canva are available as READY MADE products. That means I print, laminate and cut them for you. That is because, as it turns out, you cannot sell digital products made with Canva PRO content ... bummer. But then again, it saves your time because the cards come to you ready to use ☺️
The Vocabulary Enrichment Sets are composed of more than just three-part-cards, though. It's a vocabulary learning system which helps your kids learn the pronunciation and the spelling of the word, with the whole process being finalised by the creation of an individual picture dictionary for each student. When you buy your first VES, you'll find a description of the whole system in the document, toghter with some ideas on how to use and implement it. The system is great for a Montessori school with free work cycle but also for homeschooling or even for traditional English lessons, for example at the beginning of each class.
Majority of the VES sets are available in three different fonts to choose from so make sure you add the right one to the basket 😉 The choices are: Montessori Script, Elementarz Dw, and Century Gothic.