Friday, November 02, 2012

My Favorite Upper Elementary Montessori Material: Sentence Analysis Material

NAMC montessori material favorite upper elementary sentence analysis boy writing

Many upper elementary Montessori teachers I know will tell you they love the Montessori Cubing Material best. While I agree it is a truly beautiful work, my own preference is the more humble Montessori Sentence Analysis Material.

NAMC montessori material favorite upper elementary sentence analysis

The Sentence Analysis Material actually has its origins in the lower elementary Montessori environment.

My Favorite Upper Elementary Montessori Material: Sentence Analysis Material

Lower elementary students learn to analyze simple sentences: subject, verb, direct object, indirect object, and adverbial extensions. Sentence analysis differs from conventional sentence diagramming as it looks at the functions of words in a sentence rather than at individual words.

For example: John read us a book today in the library.

NAMC montessori material favorite upper elementary sentence analysis
It is not until you get into advanced Montessori sentence analysis that it really start to get fun. Through literature and writing, students have been exposed to more advanced sentence structure. Analyzing these sentences becomes more challenging as students deconstruct complex and compound sentences. Now they are looking for:
  • Predicate adjectives and nominatives
  • Objective complements
  • Appositives
  • Direct address
  • Complements of specification
  • Attributive adjectives
  • Phrases: prepositional, participial, gerunds, infinitives
  • Clauses: independent, dependent, subordinate, adverb
Hence, you get into something wonderfully complex like this: Advanced grammar, which challenges logic, is sometimes difficult, but is also fun.

NAMC montessori material favorite upper elementary sentence analysis
So, you can see how a seemingly simple work becomes a BIG work as the students gain knowledge and interest. Deconstructing sentences such as these is like a big puzzle. All the pieces have to work together. My upper elementary students enjoy challenging each other by seeing who can create the most difficult sentences to analyze.

Only after students have truly mastered advanced Montessori sentence analysis are they invited to learn conventional sentence diagramming. They are frequently amazed at how easy diagramming is after having learned and practiced with the Montessori Sentence Analysis Material.

Elizabeth II, queen of Great Britain, likes Corgis.
NAMC montessori material favorite upper elementary sentence analysis diagram
There is an ongoing debate among conventional educators over the validity of teaching grammar in today’s society. The [American] National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) released a position paper that states, “As human beings, we can put sentences together even as children — we can all do grammar. But to be able to talk about how sentences are built, about the types of words and word groups that make up sentences —that is knowing about grammar. And knowing about grammar offers a window into the human mind and into our amazingly complex mental capacity.” Learning the intricacies and systematic rules of grammar prepares our students to think logically. They develop higher level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and creation as they work first with the concrete Montessori advanced Sentence Analysis Material and then by abstractly using conventional sentence diagramming.

Advanced Montessori sentence analysis is not just about learning grammar; it is about learning to think!
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.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Friday, November 2, 2012.


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