Every Montessori teacher has been trained to teach geometry concepts using the classic Montessori materials. Over the years, I discovered that students really can move at their own pace, and don't need to learn geometry lessons as a group on a weekly schedule. Instead, they can be take assessments that place them in their perfect zone of proximal development and move through the curriculum independently, with minimal teacher support and guidance.
While working with one teaching team at American International Montessori (AIM) in Berkeley, I have been helping the lower elementary team realize their goals to focus on their target languages (Japanese and Chinese). In order to make this happen, we needed to ease up on the weekly math and geometry schedule and move toward more student independence and differentiation.
The geometry shelf is an inviting and attractive display
I set up AIM’s geometry shelf with Montessori Research and Development cards and various classic materials to create a sequence that mirrors the Montessori Teacher Education Center's geometry training. Incorporating common core concepts, the sequence aligns with state standards. The geometry materials are color-coded by level and I created a scope and sequence, command cards, assessments, and record sheets to match.
Assessments reinforce instructional differentiation
Generally, the first-years will work on red and orange, the second-years will work on yellow and green, and the third years will work on blue, purple, and pink. A color-coded system helps students locate the materials and learn concepts across many subjects at the same time (money, time, fractions, measurement), at approximately the same level. When students get excited to learn more, they can keep going, and don't have to wait for the group to finish or for next week's lesson! They can autonomously follow their interest, which is intrinsically motivating.
After creating 100's of command cards and all the supporting materials, it was ready to go! The teachers are very happy with the system and all the supporting elements, which makes me a happy educational consultant!
Materials are color-coded to support self-directed learning
They walk down parallel lines, will they ever meet?