Oral Language

Language Activities

Enrichment of Vocabulary

Introduces oral activities while encouraging order, orientation, and therefore independence by ensuring the child knows the names of the objects in the environment, especially the names of things which sound or physically are similar. Also use group games, teach verbs by giving the activities name, adjectives through sensorial activities and nouns when introducing the materials, also use the Three Period Lesson.

Material Description:

Objects in the environment and Sensorial Materials

Presentation:

  • Cylinder Blocks

short, shorter, shortest

tall, taller, tallest

thin, thiner, thinest

thick,thicker, thickest

shallow, shallower,shallowest

deep, deeper, deepest

large, larger, largest

small, smaller, smallest

  • Pink tower

large, larger, largest

small, smaller, smallest

  • Brown Stair

thin, thiner, thinest

thick,thicker, thickest

  • Red Rods

short, shorter, shortest

long, longer, longest

  • Geometry Cabinet

circle, triangle, square, rectangle, equilateral triangle, right angle triangle, acute triangle, scalene triangle, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon, oval, ellipse, curvilinear triangle, quatrefoil, rhombus, parallelogram, right angled trapezoid, isosceles trapezoid

  • Colour Tablets

red, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange, pink, brown, grey, black, white,

light, lighter, lightest,

dark, darker, darkest

  • Rough and Smooth boards and Touch Tablets

rough, smooth, rougher, roughest, smoother, smoothest

  • Names of fabrics
  • Sound Boxes

loud, louder, loudest

soft, softer, softest

  • Bells and musical activities

high pitch, higher, highest

low pitch, lower, lowest

  • Baric

light, lighter, lightest

heavy, heavier, heaviest

  • Thermic Bottles

warm, warmer, warmest

cold, colder, coldest

cool, luke warm

  • Tasting Bottles

salty, sweet, bitter, sour

  • Smelling bottles

names of medical, kitchen and perfume scents

  • Geometric Solids

sphere, ovoid, ellipsoid, cone, cylinder, square based prism, rectangular pyramid, square based pyramid, cube

Direct Aim:

  • To help enrich the child’s vocabulary
  • To help with the classification of the Environment

Indirect Aim:

  • To prepare for further studies in the Casa and at Elementary Level

Age at Presentation:

As soon as the child is ready for Elementary Activities

Environment Cards

Material Description:

A series of eight to ten pictures, representing the classification of the Child’s Environment.

Set 1 Pictures of the entire room of a home with typical items

  • A bedroom with bed, table, wardrobe, chair, curtains, lamp, soft toy, books,
  • A kitchen with cooker, fridge, freezer, microwave, sink, dishes, pans, utensils,
  • A living room with sofa, chairs, cushions, magazine rack, coffee table, flowers, pictures, television
  • A dining room with a large table, upright chairs, cutlery, fruit bowl, crockery, rug, standing lamp

Set 2 Pictures of the neighbourhood with typical items

  • A Park with benches, lake, ducks, climbing frame, swings, slide, bins, picnic tables
  • A street with vehicles, dog on a leash, shop fronts, children walking with carers
  • Stationary shop with pens, pencils, writing books, art materials, counter, till
  • Green Grocers with fruit, vegetables, scales, till
  • Bakers with cakes, pastries, different shapes of bread, till
  • Bus station with buses, kiosk, information desk, queuing people, bus driver
  • Petrol Station with pumps, air, kiosk, till, car wash, mechanics area
  • Post Office with stamps, sweets, magazines, parcels, scales, envelopes

Set 3 Pictures of Cultural extensions with typical examples of

  • Plants
  • Wild animals
  • Pets
  • Famous buildings/landmarks
  • People wearing national costume
  • Dancers
  • Landforms
  • Science Experiments
  • Visual Arts
  • Musical Instruments
  • Types of transportation
  • Types of Houses

Presentation:

  • Invite the child, “Let us look at some pictures of … and see if you can recognise some things”
  • Fetch the set and put it on a mat
  • Show one picture of the entire room and let the child identify it
  • Discuss the objects found in the room and how they are used — rephrase the child’s ideas in full sentences
  • Encourage the child to speak — make conversation
  • Put the card face down and identify and discuss the next picture
  • Put unfamiliar cards on one side and if the child is interested give her the names in a Three Period Lesson at the end

Exercises:

  • Exercise 1
  • The child names the cards herself, encourage her to speak further by asking questions, and asks for unfamiliar vocabulary
  • Exercise 2
  • Introduce the second set
  • Exercise 3
  • Introduce the third set
  • Exercise 4
  • Once the child is familiar with all the sets encourage her to arrange, sort and classify cards from two different sets
  • Exercise 5
  • Conduct a short small group presentation with some cards from all three sets in which the children can share with others the names they know

Direct Aim:

  • Give vocabulary and the opportunity to practice extending their known vocabulary
  • An opportunity for the verbal expression of the awareness and experience the children have
  • An opportunity to check known language for precision and further refine it.

Age at Presentation:

Two and a half years

Footnote:

Change the pictures regularly. Later bring in real items, books, videos and visit the places related to the pictures to connect further with the ‘real world’

Orientation Game

Presentation:

  • A group activity to explore what is known of a child’s immediate environment
  • Say, “Listen, see if you know how to do the things I will say. Only move if I say your name”

Part One

Give a series of instructions around an object using it’s full name, the children always have a right to refuse

  • “Jane, please point to the window”
  • “Fred, please close the door”
  • Tom, Please pass me the map”

Part Two

Ask the children to choose one set from the Exercises of Practical Life and set up the material in a suitable place, as for a presentation.

  • Give the name for each piece of material in the set

Part Three

  • Later, give it’s function, show how it is held when carried and give a typical action connecting it to its use

Part Four — Classify Objects

Ask several children to select from anywhere in the Living Room one type of object. Put the different types of the same objects together and show how they are used.

  • ‘Brush’ can include a dustpan and brush, hair brush, shoe polishing brush, toothbrush
  • ‘Handle’ can include the handle of a brush, door handle, handle on a knife, handle on a bucket, handle on a mug
  • Lid can include lid on sensorial materials, lid from a bin, a tupperware box from lunch.

Doing this encourages the child to re-explore the environment and materials, to compare their use and check similar names

Part Five

Give all the details and parts of a familiar object

  • e.g. a cup has a rim, base, handle

Part Six

  • Also play these games in the garden and on nature walks

Direct Aim:

  • Orientate the child to the environment
  • To help the child develop and consolidate language

Age at Presentation:

As soon as the child is ready for Elementary Activities

Conversation

Rectify missed opportunities for verbal expression with adults by listening to children and speaking with a rich and varied vocabulary. This is most commonly done by using pictures to stimulate a conversation with an individual or small group. It is also done by;

  1. Greeting each child individually as she enters the Casa each morning , ask about her morning so far, what she ate, what she is wearing and how she is feeling — prompting her as necessary to give information.
  2. Show interest in a child’s work, when discussing brushes ask if she brushes her own hair and knows how to tie it, pouring ask him what he enjoys drinking at home and if he makes himself and younger siblings drinks, when using frames ask about the fastenings of shoes children have at home. Older children will pick up on your genuine interest in the lives of the little ones and speak to them about things they have in common, like pets, siblings, favourite cartoons, they are also more likely to offer to help younger children they know.
  3. Younger children directly and indirectly receive lessons in Grace and Courtesy and use them in the classroom, e.g. “May I watch you work?”, “Please can you hep me?”
  4. Festivals, birthdays, new siblings and pets, parents getting married, holidays and changes in routine, such as a teacher being absent and preparations for visitors and trips offer natural opportunities for discussion.

I SPY Game

This is a very early activity to be begun as soon as the child is settled. Have a box with objects ready. Use phonics and not the names of the Grapheme

Presentation:

Stage One — beginning sounds

Indicate parts of the body, clothing and accessories to ask for words by their phonemes

  • “I Spy with my little eye something on my wrist beginning with (the phonic) ‘b’”
  • Repeat pointing to the object
  • Indicate to one child who answers, “bangle”
  • Continue with clothing and then objects from the I SPY box
  • “I Spy with my little eye something in my hand beginning with (the phonic) ‘p’”
  • Repeat pointing to the object
  • Indicate to one child who answers, “pencil”
  • Over a period of time cover al the common phonemes so that the child becomes familiar with the concept that all words begin with a phoneme

Stage Two — beginning sounds

Have two objects whose names begin with different phonemes, e.g. a glass and a pencil

  • “I Spy with my little eye something in my hand beginning with (the phonic) ‘g’”
  • Repeat pointing to the object
  • Indicate to one child who answers, “glass”
  • Increase the amount of objects for the child to choose from as her ability grows

Stage Three — beginning sounds

Once the child can select an object by its initial phoneme choose any object from an area in the environment

  • “I Spy with my little eye something in that corner beginning with (the phonic) ‘ch’”
  • Repeat pointing to the object
  • Indicate to one child who answers, “chair”
  • Increase the area of the room in which the child can choose from as her ability grows, until the whole room is included. Let the children select the objects too.

Stage Four — ending sounds

Have an object in your hand, and give it’s first and last phonemes

  • “I Spy with my little eye something in my hand beginning with ‘p and ending ‘n’” (using the phonics)
  • Repeat pointing to the object
  • Indicate to one child who answers, “pen”
  • Widen this version of the exercise out to a corner and then the whole of the Living Room

Stage Five — middle sounds

This stage evolves naturally out of Stage Four when the child is ready.

When the child answers, “pen” as above, say;

  • “Are there any other sounds that you hear when you say ‘pen’?”
  • The child may say, “e”
  • Use words with more phonemes e.g. ‘table — T AY B UL’, ‘chair CH AIR’

Stage Six — (without materials)

  • Say to the child, “I will give a sound, you tell me what words have this sound at the beginning, middle or end, “m” .’ (using the phonics)
  • The child replies “mat” or “camel” or “jam”

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child become aware of the phonemes that make up her spoken language
  • To help analyse the words of her spoken language into phonemes

Age at Presentation:

Two and a half years

Footnote:

  • Play I SPY daily
  • Give the names of those objects the children do not know first

Question Game

Presentation:

  • Invite a small group of children and give a theme the children are familiar with, e.g. father bakes a cake or mother eats a desert

Stage One — Ask questions around the VERB e.g. (“What is it that father does?/What is it that mother does?”, the children answer, “Father bakes a cake/Mother eats a desert)

Stage Two — Ask questions around the SUBJECT e.g. (“Who is it that bakes the cake?/Who is it that eats the desert?”, the children answer, “Father bakes a cake/Mother eats a desert)

Stage Three — Ask questions around the OBJECT e.g. (“What is it that father bakes?/What is it that Mother eats?”, the children answer, “Father bakes a cake/Mother eats a desert)

  • This is sufficient for younger children to experience the different parts of a sentence
  • Ask more complex questions around the same topic to older children, for example; “Why?”, “When?”, “Where?”, “Whence?”, “How?”, “What kind of?” (“By means of what?/By means of who?), “With whom/With what?”, “To whom/To what?”, “For whom/For what?”.

Direct Aim:

  • To help the child develop a logical pattern of thought
  • To build up information around a theme
  • To increase vocabulary
  • To develop logical analysis

Indirect Aim:

  • To help prepare for logical sequencing, which is required for later written compositions

Age at Presentation:

Two and a half years

Footnote:

  • Using question words trains the child’s thoughts around a theme, giving the structure of the sentence, preparing for analysing the parts of a sentence.
  • As the older child answers questions, the adult can provide the relevant details as the game progresses
  • When the child writes she will explicitly use these question words to structure her ideas.

News Period

This is always done with a small group, generally it is a spontaneous response to an event.

Presentation:

  • Invite a small group of children and ask a child with news or ideas to share to express herself to the group, standing up and using a clear voice (If no child is ready share your own news first)
  • Give an opportunity for each child to share their story. Some children may prefer to say it just to you and you can convey the story to the group
  • Insist that the children choose only one piece of information at the moment, if they are desperate they can share the news with you or their peers at another time

Direct Aim:

  • develop confidence
  • give the opportunity for children to express themselves to a small group
  • give the opportunity for children to listen to each other, developing turn-taking

Age at Presentation:

Two and a half years

Footnote:

Over the course of a week each child in the Casa should have a turn to speak. Stress that this is not a time to share jokes, it is the formal presentation of facts.

Stories

Children enjoy hearing stories and retelling them, they are soothed by familiar stories sooth them while exciting ones stimulate children and encourage them to re-explore. Keep stories simple and appropriate to their experiences while enriching the child’s life and vocabulary. Choose a relevant story based on the groups interests, answering their questions, conveying positive values and allaying their fears. Story telling is an ancient art, once conducted by professionals to bring news of the outside world — politics and religion, to strengthen regional identities and for entertainment to nobel families and the illiterate masses. Ancient tales existed as oral narratives passed down from master to apprentice long before they were recorded and made available by the printing press.

Short stories are a tool to enrich vocabulary and, for the young child, to reexamine her daily life, family and animals the Directress can improvise parts of the narrative following the groups interest and energy. When sing illustrations find a way that reassures the children that they can all see very well, smaller groups will find this easier. We show beautiful books which speak to the child beginning with geographical an anthropological ones, and biographies of famous lives from artists and scientists from all fields. While narrating the story we can show photos, postcards, and give examples of the work of those famous people. These stories provide sustenance for the child’s writing later, especially as we link the authors t the books saying, “One day someone sat down to write a story, her name was…, she wrote…”

I The story teller

Let the child participate, offering ideas and improvising a story around them, ensure it has a happy ending, that troubles are resolved, to develop a child’s confidence at solving problems, handling real events and their concerns.

A Fluency

  • flowing pace
  • ability to look ahead into the narrative
  • be aware of key words for meaning
  • make full use of the information

B Creating Interest

  • Employ a variety of paces and pitches
  • Convey punctuation
  • Emphasise key words
  • Have a rhythmic fluency

C Posture and delivery

  • Sit comfortably upright
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Hold the book and illustrations carefully and comfortably
  • Ue gestures and facial expressions

D — The methods employed to create and sustain interest depend on the topic and audience

E — The reader is responsible for conveying the content and feel of the story

II The Narrative

Content should

  • relate to the child’s life
  • have an emotional range, with problems resolved into a happy ending
  • At age five to five and a half begin giving fantasy

III The Audience

  • Gives suggestions for content
  • Can dramatise the story to retell it (this helps the Directress evaluate understanding)

Stories can be divided into:

  1. Non-Fiction of the Present- Cultural aspects of the present time e.g. botany, the neighbourhood and school, regions, religious festivals
  2. Non-Fiction of the Past — avoiding stories of war, present the lives of positive historical figures from all fields
  3. Fiction — enjoyed by older children who are grounded in reality
  4. Myth-Histories — again for older children telling of legends, e.g. King Arthur, Finn McCool, Ancient Greek Myths
  5. Non-sense stories — for older children
  6. Ballads — for children over 6

The aim of giving stories is to inculcate a love of reading — show them that you value reading and encourage parents to do the same, encourage children to take books home and read them, insisting that they are handled carefully. When the children write let them read each others stories.

Poetry

Written or spoken language in verses, originally evolving from folk songs and oral epics, e.g. Iliad, Ramayana, recited and sung. Children will have been introduced to lullabies and continue by enjoying the mythic quality of brief, simple poems — which can be used as effective tools or language development. Poems show how writing can be condensed, concisely summarised in a few words, while retaining it’s meaning. Introduce young children to rhythmic, rhyming verse which are simple and brief and whose content tells a brief, factual story about animals or everyday life. The musical quality stimulates the child’s brain activity, the child learns language by repeating rhymes and patterns and can then transfer the meanings and apply the words in new contexts.

Poems help children to develop oral language by focusing their attention on the sounds and patterns of language while extending the total vocabulary. Read and sing poems often, make a book of the classes favourite poems and act the poems out, doing so provides stimulus for the development of the child’s own poetry.

Multiple Languages

We recognise different languages by their unique cadence and phonics that we can hear even if we cannot understand the meaning of the language. To encourage fluency expose the child to poetry and materials from all languages being taught in an orderly way, include cultural aspects which support them, for example use poetry and develop actions which will help the child consolidate her understanding and demonstrate understanding to the Director.


Originally published at Montessori Commons.

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