Thursday, August 11, 2011

Make Montessori Grammar Boxes...

If you are looking for excellent full lessons for 3-6 grammar that include the Grammar farm (play yard or house...whatever miniature environment you are using) check out Montessori Research and Development Manual - Language Arts V Early Childhood.
Grammar boxes are used a bit later...depending on your child.
Montessori Research and Development Manual -  Language Arts Volume 1
I chose to paint these boxes in the colour of each part of speech.
The elementary materials I am making for the boxes are with cards that are not colour coded as were our earlier works with the grammar farm.
There are a series of lessons for each box. My MR&D Manual (above) provides full details of all lessons/command cards, and word card content for each box, that you can make yourself.
You will also use your grammar symbols with these boxes.

I found (in an earlier post) a cheap and really nice box to hold the grammar symbols I made from foam. So now it's on to the grammar box to hold the cards. I was reading about grammar boxes at Montessori for Everyone here and decided to try and make a version that makes sense to me based on everything I have read. I think that these grammar boxes from Kid advance here or Alison's Montessori here are beautiful, and fairly priced considering what others charge for them - upwards to several hundred! So...given that we home school only 2 children, and only one is of the age at the moment for this material...I decided to come up with a solution...again...based on what I've seen others make.

Now one thing I also found a bit confusing was that the grammar boxes available to buy from a couple retailers listed above are in the original color grammar box cards that we can purchase from Montessori for Everyone (my personal favorite cards) are in a different color scheme - not far off the old but a couple of changes were made for example... adjectives are no longer brown but blue. I do not know the reason for the change. The grammar cards for elementary are not colour coded, but these cards are still for the grammar farm that are?

I came up with a very simple and inexpensive way to construct the boxes quite true to form without individual slots labelled with colours.

 So these are the parts for the Adjective box.
My husband took a 2x4 (use a nice one, or trim it up to get really nice straight edges) and riped it on the table saw to make a long wedge - the long triangular piece was then cut into 3'' wedges to form the card slots - the dividers are simple lattice molding cut down a bit to cover all four sides of the wedges, with two small pieces placed between the wedges.
The bottom is just a square of left over Masonite - but you can use whatever you have on hand to make a bottom. Everything is wood (carpenters) glued, and you could use tiny finish nails (and clamp) or in our case my husband pinned it together with tiny brads. I hope this doesn't sound complicated because it was so simple to make and sturdy.

 This is the assembled Article and Noun box and Adjective Box.
I really liked the boxes that were painted in a solid color to match the part of speech.  Montessori for Everyone kindly gives all the information you need to present this material.  The cards are placed in the slots and the long space on top is used for command/lesson cards please see the video link above. 
We also made  our own grammar solids and template very easy to make:) 
I really hope this is helpful!!!

Verb Box


  1. This is absolutely gorgeous! Nice job.

  2. Wow... thank you!!! We love how they turned out :))

  3. Wow! These are fantastic!

    I just wanted to point out about the colors. It's not so much that they've changed, as some people have been a touch confused by them, so made some changes for what they "thought" made sense.

    The noun is black - always.

    But the other parts of speech in THIS material (the grammar boxes) do not match their colors with the symbols - so that the children don't just associate the color with the part of speech, thus making this a matching activity, rather than a thinking activity, where they have to read the word and decided what part of speech it could be (and it emphasizes that some words can be varying parts of speech as they first make mistakes with some of the words, or decide to "pretend" it is a different part of speech and make a silly phrase with it :) ).

    The other thing that confuses people (I don't see this in your post, but thought I'd add it just in case anyone is interested) - is that the boxes are numbered according to how many compartments they have. For example, there is no noun grammar box (that "would be" box #1). So the article is the first box presented, but is named "box #2".

    I hope that is helpful :)

    I do wish I could make these grammar boxes! (you might consider making and selling them..... ;) )

    1. Thank you for your kind words:))

    2. thank you for sharing why the traditional elementary grammar boxes do not match the colors of the symbols...makes sense now!

  4. This is exactly what I was looking for.

  5. I would love to make these. You are so talented. Do you know the angle for the wedges? 30 degrees? Thank you

    1. Hi Shelley!! My husband said he will check when he gets a second. I will post a diagram:))

    2. Hi Shelley,
      I have a diagram posted now:)) Good luck!!! Let me know if you have any questions:))

  6. I would also really love to know the angle details, as I have some of the boxes in my classroom, but am missing two. I have cards, but need boxes for adverbs and pronouns. My father-in-law could easily make them, though! Thanks!

    1. I did not get a chance to post anything on angles because we have had many things on the go as of late. I will get my husband to take a look:))

    2. I have posted a diagram...I hope it helps:)) If you have any questions about it please ask!! Good Luck!!!!

  7. Cherine, what are the dimensions of a single space (let's say for the noun cards) and also of the bigger space (to put the sentence strip)?

    Thank you!

    1. I do have a diagram posted above to check out - the small wedges are 2 1/4" deep x 3" the sentence strip wedge would be proportional to that...does that make sence?? Basically he laid in the smaller wedges and cut the longer ones to size as needed. He dry fit all the boxes before glue or brads. I hope that is helpful:))

  8. Aoh, and another thing
    I know you work with Montessori R&D grammar album. But you were talking about educating Dharma's one as well. Do you think it is as good, or are you happier with your MR&D one?

    Thank you so much!

    1. I was talking about Cultivating Dharma I think he has some great lessons. I will be using MRD Albums for our main guide line, and add in what I like from else where. There is such great stuff out there, and it's hard to choose but I find the MRD stuff so well laid out and easy to follow - I start there and work out the rest:)) Good luck!!!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this information, I was looking at ways of building them, and here you provide everything! Thank you a million!

    1. Thank you!! This was a cheap relatively easy way to build them!! I am noticing though that the purchase price for these boxes have come way down!! It was cheaper for us to make them though:) Good luck with them!!!

  11. Hi Cherine,

    Please could you tell me if this is the right Manual as I can't make your links work above:

    Many thanks!

    1. It is Monique!! Sorry!! I have so many links to they - they had a website changeover so many of my links are now invalid but the manuals are all still there and available on the new site :)

  12. Hi Cherine,

    Sorry for starting another message but I couldn't make the reply button work!
    Thanks so much for your reply! Greatly appreciated!

    I am just starting out on our Montessori journey. I have to say that LA and Grammar is one of the things that terrifies me most. Will this manual help me to get started or is there something else that you would recommend to get me going?

    I love your blog! It has inspired me many times with the resources I have been creating! Bless you and your family! x

    1. HA!! They did me as well Monique!! The later lessons in the Early Language Album include the Grammar Farm work, and early grammar introductions. I am not sure where you are at, but Xander loved these lessons so much. Most of my posts about grammar so far are from this album - with help from Montessori for Everyone blog posts. We have started Grammar Box work and it's a bit more dry:) He is enjoying it, but these early hands on lessons really captivated him. I will be posting our Grammar Box work, and printables for each lesson we work on. The manuals really do make everything clear. I appreciate your comments, questions, and very kind words!! I wish you great success on your journey!!


I greatly appreciate your friendly comments and feedback. I love to see what others are making, so please feel free to include a links and share your site with us!!! If you have any questions regarding any of the materials we have made...I'd love to help!!! Thank you for visiting us:)

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