Parts of Speech

The Verb


The children will have completed a great deal of work with the noun family and will be familiar with the noun box, symbols and impressionistic chart.  They will have the impression of the noun as a very solid, stable part of speech.and that the noun is not easily used.  The red ball which is used to introduce the verb must be one with will never stay still, to emphasise that this new part of speech is constant movement, the solidity of the noun and the constant movement of the verb helps to form an impression.  The verb chart shows how the verb illuminates the noun family, giving energy.  Consider the noun as eternal matter and the verb as ever changing energy.

Here we pass from the phrase to the sentence as the verb gives a whole new grammatical structure.  Montessori sees the verb as the energy of the language.  The term ‘verb comes from the Latin ‘Verbum’, meaning ‘the verb’, it bring the language to life.  As the verb relates the ‘doer’, it points to the subject of a sentence, between the pronoun and the verb.

This work builds on work in the Casa where the children were exposed to transitive and intransitive verbs and the past and present tense – which gives the timing of the verb, some actions take place quickly, other longer, even complete actions have a weight of time.  The perfect tenses tell us more precisely the timing of the action, The Present Perfect, ‘You have loved’, while the Past Perfect, ‘You had loved’ and the future Perfect, ‘Will or Shall have loved’. We give the simple tenses as the past is gone, the present is now and the future can only be spoken about, the future tense needs to be spoken about with ‘auxiliary’, helping verbs.  The Proto-Indo-Europeans had no future tense, and used adverbs, so the lesson on the verb links to the History of Language, from Middle English onwards ‘shall’ for the first person singular and plural (I, we) and ‘will’ (you, he/she/it, they) were used to indicate obligations.  Continuous tenses are marked by ‘ing’ at the end of the main part of the verb, e.g. (Past) ‘I was loving’, (Present) ‘I am loving’, (future) ‘I shall/will be loving’.


The Story of the Verb

Material Description:

Symbol for the verb and it’s base and symbol for the noun, grammar box 4 and filler box 4a and symbol box.


Oral Introduction

Say, ‘Remember how we said that the pyramid represented the very old words , the nouns, the woman, the child, the table, the door?  The words we are going to talk about today are like this ball, they are always moving.  Can you move? (yes) Who moves you? (myself) Can the pyramid move? (no, not unless we move it). Do you think the ball  can move the pyramid? Push the pyramid with the ball (yes).  Today we are going to look at the action words, like run, talk, pull which move the noun.’



Ask the children to place the filler cards into the grammar box and shuffle them, ask them to decide who will do the reading and who will do the action.

One child reads, the first part, while the other performs the reader sets out the cards on the table.

Then the child reads the second part and the second child does it, now she changes the cards.



The symbols are placed over the cards, ‘We use this circle instead of the ball for the words which describe the action’.


Put back the objects, cards and symbols before repeating with all of the Long Cards.


Name Lesson

Remove the cards which name the parts of speech from the Grammar box, revealing the verb last.

After working through all the cards, say, ‘Do you remember how we talked about the articles, nouns and adjectives? Today we have used a very interesting part of speech like fold, scatter, collect, called the verb, from the Latin ‘Verbum’ which means;‘the word’ it is a superword, like superman.  It is the action word’. Ask the children to identify verbs, from the three sets of cards, for any verbs they can think of, for adjectives, nouns and articles and to describe the parts of speech.

To put away

Shuffle the cards


After the lesson:

The children continue to work with the filler boxes for some time, show the chart with the verb shining on the noun family.  Join the children as they work and show them how to transpose the words.

Move the cards away from the symbols and read the sentence.

Move the verb to different places, read it and ask the children if we speak like that, do this to both places.

Remove the verb and read the noun phrase.



It is not necessary to do transposition after every presentation.

It is not necessary for the child to complete all the filler boxes before being introduced to another part.



Command Cards with the Verb

Material Description:

Verb command cars, dictionary



To be done with a small group.

The child takes the cards, reads one acts it out and then a discussion is made about finer discriminations of meaning.

The children are more likely to need adult support tan when doing the adjective and use the dictionary for further clarification.



For these activities the other children act as a control of error.


When to give the lesson:

After the adjective



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