two similar objects (i.e. red flower and yellow flower)
strips of paper, black and red pencils
the symbols previously used, conjunction symbol
The teacher writes one label for each object (in black). The child reads each and places each object with its corresponding label, then places the symbols over the words. The teacher writes and on a strip of paper in red and places it between the two object labels. The child reads the new phrase. What does this mean? The two must go together. So a ribbon is used to bind them together.
This new word is a very important part of speech. This one little word unites these two objects. It is a conjunction.
Etymology…..(conjunction: from Latin con – with, together; and jungere – to unite, thus conjunction is a word that unites others)
Symbol…….The symbol is this small pink bar. It is like the little line we use when we come to the end of a line and haven’t finished a word. That little line unites the two parts of the word that had to be put on different lines.
The child places the symbol over the word and. The child is invited to change the positions of the words to see if they will make sense in another way. He/she finds that the red flower and the yellow flower can be changed to the yellow flower and the red flower, but the conjunction itself must stay in its place: between the objects that it unites.
Conjunction Exercise: The Comma Replaces the Conjunction
Materials: several cards on which and is printed in black on one side, a comma on the other 1 red and card
The teacher writes several separate labels for various different objects. The child reads each label and places it with the object, in a row on the table. The black and cards are placed between the labels, and a red and card is placed between the last two objects’ labels. The child reads the whole thing and interprets it; that is, he/she/she places the objects close together in a group.
Observe how awkward it sounds. If necessary the teacher should read it again. Let’s try turning all of these cards (conjunction cards) over. On the back of each one is a comma (in red), except the last, which still says and. Instead of putting and between each thing, I can put this comma. The comma tells me that something is missing, but it is understood. The comma tells me to make a short pause as I read this list. The teacher reads the new phrase.
The last and must remain. It shows me that in place of those other commas, the word and is understood.
Note: It is important to make the child see that the comma takes the place of the conjunction, and that we must always have the last conjunction.
Note: Maria Montessori’s original symbol was two golden chain links to represent this unifying word. That symbol was abandoned because it was too difficult to manufacture.