Vocabulary Enrichment Sets and how to work with them. Part one: three part cards

Updated: May 24, 2020

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.

these are my original cards not their clipart predecessors 😅

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.