An Hour of Grammar

My 5.5 year old just spent an hour working on adjectives.

Incredible, right? Only if you’re picturing a lecture, a workbook, and lots of writing.

Of course, that’s not what happened. We are learning grammar through the Montessori philosophy. Now, I’ll admit, Daisy is a little young for this particular activity, but she’s seen her big sister work with the materials and wanted to jump in. Daisy is really working on the Primary introduction to Parts of Speech, while this work falls into the Elementary category, but no matter. She can repeat this work again and again over the next few years if she so wishes.

The Elementary Grammar Sequence consists of several parts. First comes a key experience, making the part of speech memorable. Second comes work with Grammar Boxes – cards laying out phrases or sentences demonstrating the parts of speech. Concurrently while working through a part of speech with the Grammar Boxes, there may also be work with a miniature environment, Grammar Command Cards and Grammar Experiment cards. In particular, the Experiment cards are cross curricular – let’s take a play-by-play of our hour, and see just how many different academic areas are woven in besides just grammar (1 area):

Adjective Experiment Cards

10:33am – A basket on our language shelves draws Daisy’s attention. “Mummy, can you do this job with me?”

Color Gradation

10:36am – Reading (+1 area: reading) the experiment cards, laying them in order, lightest to darkest, and playing the appropriate adjective labels under the paint chip. (+1 area: visual discrimination)


10:40am – Following the experiment card to group counters in to sets of few, some, many, none. Labeling each pile. (+1 area: grouping)


10:43am – Following the experiment card to lay out sets of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 counters under the correct label. (+2 areas: ordering, counting). At this point we had a short discussion about what an adjective was and that a number can be an adjective because it describes how many of a noun (in this case counters) we have. I asked Daisy if she knew what a noun was:
Daisy: a soft cloud
Me: that’s three words, which word is the noun?
Daisy: the cloud
Me: and do you know which is the adjective?
Daisy: soft because the cloud is soft

properties of materials

10:48am – Looking through glass, wax paper, and black construction paper to determine which can be described as translucent, transparent, and opaque. (+2 areas: vocabulary, properties of materials)

Tactile Discrimination

10:52am – Sorting fabric swatches and labeling with texture adjectives. (+1 area: tactile discrimination)

10:54am – Labeling shelves in our bookcase with ordinal numbers, bottom to top. (+1 area: ordinal numbers)

10:58am – Repeating the same experiment on her bunk bed ladder.

11:01am – Labeling fraction sticks with comparative adjectives. (+1 area: comparing)

11:03am – Repeating the experiment by labeling books with comparative adjectives.

Scientific Concepts

11:08am – Comparing and labeling concave and convex shapes. A discussion followed of some other concave and convex items in our house. (+2 areas: scientific observation, properties of water)

Who gets to use pillows for grammar??

11:14am – Comparing and labeling pillows by weight. (+1 area: weight)


11:17am – Labeling the positive, comparative, superlative by comparing sizes of similar shapes. (+1 area: similar shapes)


11:22am – Labeling the positive, superlative, and opposites by thickness. (+1 area: opposites)

More Ordinal Numbers

11:23am – Working with ordinal numbers and a line of counters.

There is so much in this little card

11:25am – Space hopping throughout the house (a lot) to demonstrate quantitative adjectives. Funball joined us to help with the multiplication! I saved this one for last on purpose! (+4 areas: quantitative comparisons, multiplication, division, oh…and PE!)

There is one more grammar experiment we missed – the card got wet on a previous use and I found it scrunched up in the bottom of the basket as we were cleaning up. Never mind.

But wow! Besides all that grammar, I count:
2 language areas covered: reading, vocabulary
2 sensorial areas covered: visual discrimination, tactile discrimination
10 math areas covered: grouping, ordering, counting, ordinal numbers, comparison, similar shapes, opposites, quantitative comparisons, multiplication, division
5 science areas covered: vocabulary, properties of materials, observation, properties of water, weight
oh…and PE!

I’m sure I’ve missed other cross-curricular areas too – but what a lot to fit into a grammar lesson!

Adjective Experiment Cards and Labels

My grammar materials are from Branch to Bloom. I just print on paper and cut, since we tend to be light on materials (aforementioned wet slip of paper aside…). I chose to purchase the pdf version and made my own felt pouches.