Adjectives & Symbols of the Noun Family

Adjective & Symbols of the Noun Family

…3 like objects differing only in color
…blank labels, red and black/blue pens

Presentation 1: Game of Three Objects

Review: All things have names; the names of things are nouns. Nouns are often linked with articles. In our language we have three; a, an, the. Other languages have many, while others (e.g. Japanese and Latin) have none. Nouns also have another kind of companion. These help us to understand nouns better.

The three objects (flowers) are placed on the table. The teacher asks for a flower. But this is not the one I want. I want a white flower. It’s not enough for me to say a flower. How did you know I wanted this one? I told you which color of flower I wanted. The teacher writes a label: the white flower (the adjective is written in red; the article and noun in blue or black). The child reads it and places it on the right object. This continues until all three are labeled. Now each noun has a companion. The child identified the noun and article. This word: white is an adjective. The second and third period follows. (adjective: from Middle English from Middle French from Latin adjectivum, adjectivus meaning added.)

Presentation 2: Symbols of the Noun Family (could be same session)

…3 pyramids – lg. black, medium blue, small lt. blue
…small dishes containing the symbols charts of the noun family

Instead of writing the words below to identify nouns, adjectives and articles, the three symbols – pyramids are presented, identified and placed above the corresponding word of a label.


Who do you think invented the symbols for grammar? Maria Montessori. Why did she choose a pyramid? She wanted something old and special, like nouns. The noun is very special in every language and it is as old as humanity. The pyramids are ancient monuments which are still preserved today. Therefore the noun is represented by a pyramid. She choose the color black, because it represents something very old – coal.

Because the article and the adjective always need to be with the noun, they are represented by pyramids, also. They are smaller and blue. In order to identify all of the things in our environment, we would need a closet full of these pyramids. So Maria Montessori
made things simpler for us.

The symbols are shown to represent one face of the pyramid. These are substituted for the pyramids. The child then puts symbols next to each label.

Charts are shown which identify the noun family, that the article and adjective are dependent on the noun. To call attention to the relative positions, the teacher writes the red flower on a strip of paper. The child reads it. Then the strip is torn into three pieces.
The child tries to arrange them so that it will make sense, and sees there is only one logical way.

Etymology: noun, from Latin “nomen”, meaning name. It is one of the most important parts of a sentence. Without a name, a thing cannot exist.

article, from Latin “articulus”, diminuitive of arto, extremity. It gives movement to the noun; it can be definite or indefinite.

adjective, from Middle French “adjectif”, from Latin adjectivum, which means added. It expresses a quality of the noun, so as to limit and clarify.


1. Game of Quality

Materials: a folder which contains several cards, on one is the definite article; on another is a noun, and on several others are adjectives. Above each word is the appropriate grammar symbol. The length of the article card and one adjective card is equal to the
length of the noun card which is equal to one half the width of the open folder.

Various impromptu objects are placed about the room. The objects differ only in quality, i.e. the torn paper, the
wrinkled paper, the lined paper, the printed paper, the blank paper, etc. The teacher arranges the cards in the folder, i.e. the lined
paper, and asks the child to read and then fetch the object indicated. While the child is gone and has his/her back turned, the
child rereads the cards, brings back the first object and gets the different one. This continues for several different qualities.


2. The Detective Game #1 (Teacher and Child)

Materials: an envelope of 54 triangles of 3 different colors; of 3
different sizes and 6 types:
9 acute-angled isosceles triangles
9 right-angled isosceles triangles
9 obtuse-angled isosceles triangles
(three of each color)
9 acute-angled scalene triangles (three of each size)
9 right-angled scalene triangles
9 obtuse-angled scalene triangles

The triangles are scattered on the table. The teacher says, I want only one of these. Can you guess which one it
is? The child may guess or choose one. No, that is not the color of the one I want. The child guesses the color and isolates all of
the triangles of the right color. The guessing goes on, each time eliminating some triangles as the qualities are narrowed down. As
each correct quality is identified, the teacher writes a label, i.e. after the child has found that the triangle must be green, the three
labels are arranged: the green triangle. At the end, when only one triangle is left, the adjectives cover all of its characteristics: the large green obtuse-angled isosceles triangle.

The child reads the labels. It was necessary to use many adjectives to find the right triangle from among that large group. The labels are taken up and mixed and lain out again. With the same adjectives we would still be able to find the correct triangle, but the arrangement/order of the adjectives usually sounds best in only one way. The child rearranges them to find which order sounds best.

3. Detective Game #2 (Child Alone)

Materials: the 54 triangles

white labels on which are written:
the triangle, and the eleven adjectives

The child takes the labels the and triangle and chooses the adjectives he/she wants and places them between the and triangle.
(The child will see that he/she can only choose one of each category, because it is not possible to be, for example, small and large at the same time.)

Once the labels are arranged, he/she sets out to find that triangle.
He/she may draw it or trace it and write (copy) the qualities beneath. The symbols may also be added.

4. Detective Game #3: (Group of Children)

Materials: the 54 triangles
54 prepared labels (strips) on which is written the
description of one triangle for each label, i.e. the
red large acute-angled isosceles triangle

Procedure: The labels are given out to the children, so that all of the labels are distributed. The triangles are now scattered over a
large space. All of the children proceed to find their triangles. In the end none should be left.


5. Exercise of Logical Agreement: An Object and a Quality

Materials: 20 nouns on black cards
20 adjectives on brown cards (to match grammar box)
(Note: The adjectives used should be objective, i.e., not “good” or “pretty”.)

Presentation: The noun cards are given to the child and he/she reads them as he/she lays them out in a column. The teacher reads an adjective card, and the child guesses with which noun it should be paired.

For a little amusement, after all of the adjectives have been matched, they are collected, shuffled and placed again in the
column. The child reads each combination and states whether or not it could make sense. Some adjectives are very particular, while some can describe many nouns, ex: a sharp knife

The teacher selects three nouns at random and isolates them. The child is given all of the adjectives and tries to match as many as possible.

6. Exercise of Logical Agreement: A Few Objects and Many Qualities

Materials: 3 or 4 nouns on black cards
many (20 or 30) adjectives on brown cards

The noun cards are placed in a row and read. Taking the stack of adjectives, the child reads one and places it with one of the nouns, making a column before each noun.

7. Adjectives in the Miniature Environment

Materials: the pieces of the miniature environment
corresponding reading labels which now have the article, adjective and noun
the grammar symbols

Presentation: The children each bring an object from the environment and place them at random on the table. The teacher writes a label; the broken plate, which has the adjective written in red. The child reads it silently and places it with the object. He/she identifies the function of each word, placing the symbols over the words. Each child receives a label. Here again the exercise of tearing and rearranging the words may be done to emphasize the position of the adjective. Each child may draw and copy the label, pasting the symbols appropriately in his/her notebook. The old miniature environment labels which had the article and noun should be replaced by labels including adjectives.

8. Noun – Adjective Charts
On a chart or piece of paper the noun and adjective symbols are pasted at the top. One noun is written under the noun symbol. The
child thinks of adjectives that agree and writes them in a column. This may be done by one child over a space of time or by many
children collaborating.

Note: Before going on, check the child’s comprehension with questions in reference to adjectives: How many adjectives are needed to distinguish between two like objects? May I change the positions? May I use just any adjective? no

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