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Writing

Classroom Content Montessori Extras

Why child made mini books are important-Montessori Extras

By Anitra

Making mini books is an activity I learned in my training.  Not all training programs discuss or touch on mini book making.  I am very fortunate that my training did cover it, because it is something that I use on a regular basis.  Before I get into what mini book making is, I should give you a little insight about where the mini book originates from.

 

Mini books come from Nomenclature cards.  Nomenclature cards; or 3 part cards as they are frequently referred to in a Montessori classroom, are cards that come in 3 parts; hence the name!  The word “nomenclature” comes from the Latin word “nomenclatura“, which means to give or assign names to things.  The first card in the nomenclature set is the label card, which is a picture and a word associated with the picture.  The second card in the nomenclature set is the picture card, which is just the picture.  The third card in the nomenclature set is the word card.

 

Nomenclature cards; 3 part cards Butterfly Life Cycle

 

Nomenclature cards are the basis for mini books.  I try to use mini books often in my monthly curriculum.  Mini books are child made books that represent the parts of ____, the life cycle of ______, or the can be the inhabitants of _____.  Child made mini books have benefits to child’s overall development.  Mini books are a good way for older children to begin to associate pictures with words and their meanings.

 

Mini Books are blank copied mini pages of a given parts of ____, life cycle of ____, or inhabitants of ____.  The teacher provides a “Master Mini Book” that has either been handmade or commercially copied (with permission).  I tend to use a combination of both handmade and commercially copied.

 

The Master Mini Book is colored or copied by the teacher.  I normally copy my masters onto white card stock for durability.  Once I have each of the pieces of the master book colored and cut out, I then glue it onto another piece of card stock.  I normally chose a color that compliments the colors of the mini book.  I use various ways of completing the label part of the Master Mini Book.  I use writing, printed words, or a label maker to make the label for each part.  It just depends on your personal preference.  After this, I laminate all of the Master Mini Book pages.  I ALWAYS laminate EVERYTHING that the children will handle on a regular basis.  It provides more durability, and a longer shelf life for the work I create.  SIDE NOTE: *If you don’t have access to a laminator, you can use a roll of clear contact paper*.  After I laminate each page of the Master Mini Book, I use a single whole punch and punch a whole in the top left corner.  I then attach a medium sized book ring, so that it is easy for the children to flip through the book to get to each page.  And that’s it…easy instructions on making a Master Mini Book!

 

Along with the Master Mini Book, I also provide the necessary coloring tools to complete the book, and a pencil for labeling the book.  I tend to put all of my materials for mini book making on a tray, so that it makes it easier to present it to the children.  It also makes it easier for use for the time we are studying a certain subject.

 

Parts of a leaf mini book

 Parts of a butterfly mini book

 

As I stated earlier, mini books have benefits to a child’s development in many areas.  Mini books nurture a child’s language development; such as their communication, literacy, and interest. Mini books also contribute to their cognitive development; such as inquiry, curiosity, and knowledge.  They also help with fine motor skills, while having to color within the lines, a certain part or area, and use of pencil writing skills.

 

Ways that mini books benefit a child’s language development

1.They foster and build vocabulary

Mini books foster and build a child’s vocabulary.  When a child colors and labels each part of a mini book, they are learning new vocabulary words.

2. They help with identifying part of a whole

When children make mini books, it teaches them the various parts of a whole or characteristics of a given subject

3.They help with recall(memorization)

When children make mini books, they are able to take them home, and hopefully will share about each part of their mini book, which helps with recall skills.

 

Animals of South America mini book

 

Not only do mini books provide a child with enhanced vocabulary, knowledge, fine motor skill development, and memorization; they also are a fun and interesting way to introduce new topics.  Making learning interesting is the best way to ensure that children will openly and willingly want to learn and become the natural learners that are.

 

Anitra

 

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Language Writing

How to introduce young children to the process of writing

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

For young children, learning to write can be a drudging process.  There are many things that go into teaching young children to write.  Can you just give them a pencil and let them figure it out and explore writing on their own?  Sure you can.  But unfortunately, most children will wither stray away from writing letters or get tired of writing the same letters over and over.  By all means, it is a good idea to give children writing tools and let them creatively “write” things on their own.  At some point, there will need to be some sort of formal introduction of the writing process for children, so that they are able to form the letters correctly and legibly.

There are many activities that young children can engage in as a way of introducing them to the process of writing.  The activities listed below are not an all inclusive list of activities; it is just an idea of what a teacher or mom can do to help introduce children to the world of writing.

Before introducing letter writing and formation, you can provide opportunities for children to trace shapes or objects.  These shape tracing boards have been laminated and the children use a washable marker to trace the shapes.  Once complete, they use a wet sponge and wipe the boards clean. 

Start by having them use fat markers, fat pencils, and fat crayons.  For their small hands, it will make it easier in the beginning for them to grasp and hold the writing tool.  Also, providing young children the opportunity to create and write creatively is important.  Provide various writing tools and blank paper, so that they can practice making shapes; and eventually letters on their own.

Another good tool to use are stencils.  Larger stencils of various shapes, animals, and letters are good for writing practice and for pencil grip functions.  The small letter stencils provide more of a fine motor practice of writing and still allows the children the freedom to explore creatively and independently.

Once they have had practiced using the tracing boards and stencils for awhile, they may be ready for name tracing cards.  Of course, many factors determine if a child shows readiness for tracing their name.  Each child progresses at their own pace, and each child should be assessed on a individual basis.  Name tracing cards are sentence strips that are cut in half, that have their first name written on them.  I then have cut strips of tracing paper that I paper clip onto their name card.  The children trace over the letters in their name, and can take the tracing paper home.  This is especially effective for children who have difficulty holding or grasping a pencil or for those who may not have strong fine motor skills.

Once a child has developed strong fine motor skills and correct pencil grip, they can then be introduced to what I call their Name Paper.  It is created with a font software in a computer.  In the beginning, they trace over their name in print, and practice a few lines on their own.  I eventually add their last name, still using print.  Once they have mastered the correct formation of all of the letters, I introduce their first name in D’Nealian, and then finally adding their last name.  If they master D’Nealian, I introduce them to cursive.  Using the D’Nealian font makes an easier transition into teaching cursive.

 

 

I have used, and continue to use these activities and others in my Montessori classroom. These tips and activities can help aid in the successful introduction and implementation of writing for young children.

Anitra

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