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Bess began working with Microsoft SharePoint in 2003 and has worked with every version since, including 2016 and Office 365.  She enjoys leveraging her business analyst skills to assist organizations in getting the most out of their Microsoft investment.

During her Information Technology journey, Bess discovered the joys of improvisation.  She has traveled the country to study improv, including the top three schools in Chicago – The Second City, iO, and The Annoyance.  She performs locally with Dinner Detective and is the director of Indy Improv Collaborative, an improv troupe nominated for Nuvo’s Best of Indy in 2017.

Bess combines her improv skills with her 20 years of corporate experience in Information Technology, allowing her to specialize in collaborative solutions.  She is the owner of Collaborative Ventures, LLC.

Bess lives in Indianapolis, IN where she is raising her three children.

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Mini Grammar Environments


If there's one thing all my children love, it's miniatures.  As a result, our collection of Toobs continues to grow.  I began to wonder how I could capitalize on my children's interest in all things small.

In a traditional Montessori scope and sequence, grammar is often explored through a material called the grammar farm.  It is a detailed model, complete with realistic animals.  Children experience grammar concepts by using sets of cards to label items within the farm; increasing the difficulty to full sentences with practice.

I was excited to discover that there were several farm themed Toobs I could use to recreate the grammar farm.  The smaller size was easier to manage and was far more budget friendly.  But as I put my farm set together, I wondered, "Why stop there?"  I subsequently began creating simple miniature environments for each of my children's favorite Toob sets.

 This ocean environment features the Coral Reef Toob by Safari Ltd.  It was very easy to create.

The box includes:
  • Toob Miniatures
  • Aquarium Plants
  • A Standard Blue Felt Square
  • Brown Felt Cut Freehand for Floor
  • Ocean Grammar Labels - See below to download for free

Children are free to explore the contents to create scenes.  

Before introducing the cards, review the names of everything in the box via the three period lesson.  

Once the various parts are known, introduce the noun cards (black outline).  If your child is a new reader, it may be helpful to simplify the noun set by removing more difficult words.

As your child progresses, you can begin to offer more words.  Here are a few examples of how the experience can progress over time.

It is not necessary to name the parts of speech.  In fact, it is often more meaningful to the child if they independently discover how the various color coded sets are used.  The cards have been color coded to match the Montessori Grammar Symbols.  An older child who has experience with that material will be able to make the correlation.

But the fun doesn't stop there!  Here is an example of our Musical Instruments mini environment.  I was able to purchase a full set of matching grammar cards from LDA Montessori.

As you can see, you can turn any Toob set into a miniature environment to help expand vocabulary and explore grammar.  I prefer to store each set in a small box so my children can choose.  However, if space is limited, you can rotate the available option.


Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and join me at Montessori Homeschooling.

This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Series.  I am truly honored to be part of this endeavor.  Don't forget to visit all of the participating blogs to learn more about Language Arts.

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