Homeschool Montessori - Language Arts Curriculum


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Sample Lesson - Sandpaper Letters

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p. 1

sandpaper letters purpose · · to help a child identify the sounds represented in graphic form to teach a child the correct writing direction of the letter shapes age 3­4 years old prerequisites introducing the objects i spy background information using the sandpaper letters your child becomes familiar with the shapes of letters in a very concrete way dr montessori designed the sandpaper letters to integrate letter and phonetic recognition through touch sight and sound children find this material appealing because they are in their tactile stage of development working with the sandpaper letters also familiarizes your child with the movement required to form each letter as she traces a letter with her fingers your child is learning how her hand will move when she writes the letter when your child is tracing the letters with her primary fingers show her how to make her movements smooth and continuous most letters such as m and d can be formed using a continuous stroke emphasize this fluid motion to your child and demonstrate how her fingers should not leave the surface until she has completed tracing the letter so your child may start using the letters she learns as soon as possible introduce most of the vowels in the first 15­17 letters/sounds presented also consider introducing letters/sounds in an order that emphasizes the differences in their physical construction as well as their sounds the following table illustrates an order many montessori educators find works well for presenting the sandpaper letters start with the top row and work left to right mlabsiontwcrehpyuzdqfkjvgx 3-6 homeschool ­ language arts 26 © namc north american montessori center


p. 2

you will need · sandpaper letters to create your own sandpaper letters please use the following instructions you will need · · · sandpaper letters templates see material sandpaper letters control chart see blackline masters blue corrugated plastic or foam core board with blue paper adhered to it precut into five rectangles each measuring 4 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches 12 x 14 cm · · · · · · · pink corrugated plastic or foam core board with pink paper adhered to it precut into 21 rectangles each measuring 4 3/4 x 7 1/2 inches 12 x 19 cm fine sandpaper scissors hot glue gun and glue sticks utility knife 26 red and 26 green self-adhesive dots box 3-6 homeschool ­ language arts 27 © namc north american montessori center


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preparation stencil the sandpaper letters templates on the back of the fine sandpaper remembering to trace the letters backward cut out the letters from the sandpaper affix each letter onto the precut rectangles vowels on the blue rectangles and consonants on pink with the sandpaper side up using a hot glue gun adhere one green and one red dot on each rectangle as indicated on the sandpaper letters control chart note · before presenting the sandpaper letters to your child practice tracing the letters many times yourself first refer to the sandpaper letters control chart see blackline masters to study the direction in which you trace each letter practice will help keep your movements fluid and light during presentation and · when your child begins working with the sandpaper letters create a phonetic letter scrapbook for her which she will begin using in the activity phonetic letter scrapbook this scrapbook should have 26 pages and each time you introduce a new sandpaper letter include the date and the dot-to-dot letter in the top right-hand corner of the page a photograph of your child may be taken on the day she works with her first letter and then added to the front cover of the scrapbook along with a short biography of your child for example this is maddie today is a special day for maddie as she is beginning to learn the phonetic alphabet maddie is three years old presentation · · invite your child to work with the sandpaper letters at a table select three distinct letters that are easy to sound out e.g m a and s and place them on a table 3-6 homeschool ­ language arts 28 © namc north american montessori center


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· set the first letter in front of you place the primary fingers of your dominant hand at the green dot on the sandpaper letter slowly and lightly trace the letter ending at the red dot demonstrate the letter formation using a continuous stroke without lifting your fingers from the letter · · · · · · when you are finished tracing clearly state the phonetic sound of the letter e.g m repeat this process two more times each time tracing slowly and lightly and stating the sound clearly after completing the process three times invite your child to trace the letter and state the sound remind her to trace the letter slowly and lightly ask your child to listen for that sound at the beginning of a word e.g mat emphasize the initial sound invite her to offer some words that begin with that sound repeat the procedure with the second and third letters invite your child to repeat the activity and remind her to return the material to the shelf when she is finished note it is important that you maintain a written record of your child s progress with the sandpaper letters this can be easily done by printing the alphabet on an index card in the order recommended and then underlining each letter as your child is introduced to the sound it represents review these letters/sounds with your child every few days when she masters a letter/sound circle it on the index card 3-6 homeschool ­ language arts 29 © namc north american montessori center


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variations · conduct a three-period lesson for the sounds of the letters m a and s trace the letters once for each period and · · · choose a few letters to which your child has been introduced position the letters on a table beside a shallow tray with a layer of cornmeal in it demonstrate how she can create each letter in the cornmeal by using the two primary fingers of her dominant hand and · · · · · · · after your child has been introduced to several sandpaper letters carry all of them to a mat and ask her to review their sounds with you repeat the three-period lesson with any letters that she cannot recall correctly and invite your child to a mat and arrange random letters facedown on it explain how to play the knock-knock game knock on one letter as you would knock on a door saying knock-knock ask your child to say who is there turn the letter over and allow her to trace the letter and say the corresponding sound repeat for all of the letters on the mat 3-6 homeschool ­ language arts 30 © namc north american montessori center


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and · use modeling dough to show your child how to roll out long narrow strips and shape them into the letters with which she is familiar note any color modeling dough can be used and · invite your child to take turns tracing letters on each other s back guessing which letter was formed 3-6 homeschool ­ language arts 31 © namc north american montessori center



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