For our NAMC Upper Elementary (9-12) Diploma Program students, as well as new Montessori teachers who may be setting up a Montessori upper elementary classroom and looking for some guidance as to where to begin with limited funds, here are a few suggestions that I hope will help.
Upper Elementary Montessori Teachers – Tips for Classroom Material SetupDo you have all three ages (9-12) in your new upper elementary Montessori classroom? Some schools start their Montessori upper elementary level with only the fourth-year (age 9) students. If this is the case, I suggest looking at NAMC’s Upper Elementary (9-12) Mathematics Mastery Checklist (available on your NAMC 9-12 Curriculum Support Material CD) to see which lessons are suggested for fourth-year students. Then, look at the materials for those lessons and see what you need to start with.
Consider your Montessori Math materials first. Montessori upper elementary students are moving toward more abstraction but the concrete Montessori Math materials are still of great importance as students begin their advancement into upper elementary math concepts.
If, however, you have all three ages (9-12) in your classroom, I would suggest that you look at the Montessori materials on hand that you can share with your Montessori school’s lower elementary (6-9) classroom for now. I believe these would most likely include:
- Bead Cabinet and Material
- Checkerboard and Beads - multiplication
- Racks & Tubes (Test Tubes) – division
- Algebraic Pegboard & Pegs
- Decanomial Material
- Golden Bead Material
- Fraction Circles and frames
- Fraction Circle Box
Next, look through the three NAMC upper elementary math manuals and look under the “Teaching Materials Used in This Section’s Activities” in each section. Most likely, you will need to begin by obtaining materials for work with decimal fractions. While the cubing material is beautiful and something you should strive to have in your Montessori classroom one day, I have had Montessori upper elementary classrooms that never had cubing material because of the expense.
Luckily, in the Language area of the Montessori upper elementary classroom, there are much fewer materials needed. Many of the UE Language materials can even be hand-made at little or no cost. In Language and the rest of the subjects, my best suggestion is to look through your NAMC Curriculum Support Material CD for each subject. There are many great materials that you can print, color, laminate and use right away.
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.