Montessori AMI Primary Guide
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Three Period Lesson
Oral Language
  Oral language exercises
  Enrichment of Vocabulary
  Language Training
Written Language
  Written language exercises
  Graphic Symbols and their Key Sounds
  Sound Games
  Sandpaper Letters
  Moveable Alphabet
  Metal Insets
  Sorting Symbols
  Writing on Paper
  Upper and lower case letters
  Capial letters, Periods, Commas and Questions Marks
  Creative Writing
  Phonetic Object Box
  Phonogram Object Box
  Activity Words
  Puzzle Words 1
  Little Booklets
  Reading Folders
  Phonogram Dictionnary
  Puzzle Words 2
  Reading Classification
Total Reading
  Function of Words
  The Article
  The Adjective
  Logical Adjective Game
  Detective Adjective Game
  The Conjunction
  The Preposition
  The Verb
  The Adverb
  Logical Adverb Game
  Aspects of the Verb
  Continuation of Commands
Reading Analysis
  Simple Sentence Stage 1
  Simple Sentence Stage 2
  Word Study
Language Summary
  Writing and Reading
Cultural Work
  Music and Dance
  Biological Science
  Physical Science

Metal Insets


- Two stands with a slopping back and a narrow cornice at the bottom on which rest ten metal frames with matching metal insets. The square frames are pink and the insets are blue. In the corner of each inset is a knob by which to hold it.
- The insets are square, triangle, circle, rectangle, oval, trapezoid, pentagon, curvilinear triangle, and quatrefoil. They are exactly the same measurements as the wooden insets of the geometric cabinet.
- Boards which are 14cm x 14cm.
- A plentiful supply of white and colored paper, which is the same size as the frames and boards.
- Colored pencils in pencil holders.
- Box for finished work.
- Tray to carry the material to the table.


  • Work should not be rushed.
  • Each stage of Exercises should be done well, before introducing the next stage.
  • The series offers a great variety of possibilities, and this sustains the child’s interest.
  • They enjoy making booklets at every stage of the work
  • Metal inset works reveals the measure of normalization in the individual child and in the classroom as a whole.
  • Work with insets is sometimes done carelessly, or used as busy work. Children use it to avoid other work. If there is great misuse, they should be taken out of the class for a while. They can then be introduced later with great attention to the care of use.
  • Be sure to write the child’s name on the finished work, if child is not yet writing. (Most will not be writing in the beginning Exercises.)
  • Occasional, the afternoon class can all do insets all together. Beautiful music can be played as a background to this work.
  • Save a sample of the child’s work from time to time. This will show the child’s progress and will be useful in parent conferences.

Points of Interest

Child will learn how to grip and guide the writing instrument.
He will experience the effects of pressure on the pencil.
The very great variety of movements involved in this work, helps the child with control of the writing movements but also with changing directions.
Keeping the point of the pencil on the edge of the frame or the inset, helps the child steady his strokes. The movements will go from left to right.
The child can learn to make one continuous stroke. This is particularly helpful in cursive script, but some letters in modified print call for it.
This work demands eye-hand coordination.

Presentation 1: Double Outline

  1. Assemble the material: the tray, the pad or board placed on the left side of the tray, place the paper onto the pad, choose an inset and place it on the right part of the tray, place the frame on top of the paper and the inset inside of the frame, and choose a pencil holder.
  2. Place the pencil holder on the right side of the tray and then choose two pencils.
  3. Bring material to the table.
  4. Teacher will demonstrate: take the pencil holder with the pencils out, take out the inset and place it to the right of the tray, place the frame to the right of the paper, take the paper and board and place it in front of you.
  5. And finally, place the frame on top of the paper.
  6. Select a color pencils, and show the child that we start the tracing at the bottom of the frame while holding the frame steady with your left hand.
  7. Then trace around the frame, making sure the pencil touches each corner and changes direction each time.
  8. Replace the pencil, put frame on tray, and observe the square that was drawn.
  9. Cover the square with the inset, use the other color pencil and trace around the inset, keeping the point of the pencil always against the inset and changing directs.
  10. Replace inset on try.
  11. See the double outline
  12. Set the finished inset drawing to the side, place materials in front of child, ask child to draw the double outline.
  13. Child does as shown by the directress.
  14. The child can be encouraged to repeat on the backside of the paper.
  15. Child's finished product has name and date written on it.
  16. Tell child to place finished work in the box.
  17. The child is encouraged to take another piece of paper and to continue the work.
  18. Once finished, put work away.
  19. Replace the pad, with the frame, then inset into frame, pencil and pencil holder to the right.
  20. At shelf, replace pencils, pencil holders, remove the inset and place on try, put frame up and inset in. Replace board/pad.

Exercice 1

Child works with any of the ten insets as shown in the presentation. (At some point, you can suggest making a booklet of all of double outline.)

Exercice 2: Double Outline Filled in

Stage A: Lines far apart
Stage B: Lines closer together (progressively)
Stage C: Completely filled in (this should go on for a long time)

Art Variation:            Single Outline- Insets only (one colored pencil)

Exercice 3: Dark and Light (Pressure)

Stage A: Half dark and half light
Stage B: From dark to light progressively

Trace inset as before and illustrate for the child how strong pressure produces a strong mark and a light pressure produces a light mark.
Later show the child how he can begin with strong pressure and progressively lighten the pressure to create a lighter color.

Exercice 4: Two contrasting figures (two pencils)

Trace two insets of contrasting shapes on top of each other.
Then color one shape with one colored pencil, and the rest of the other shape with the other colored pencil.

Exercice 5: One figure - two ways (two pencils)

Trace one inset two times in two different directions.
Color one shape in completely in one color.
Color the rest of the second shape in a different color.

Exercice 6: Three contrasting figures (three pencils)

Choose three different insets and trace them one over the other using three different colored pencils.

Exercice 7: One figure - three ways (three pencils)

Choose one inset and trace it in three different directions.
Fill in one of them in completely in one color.
Fill in the rest of the second with the second color pencil.
Fill in what is left of the third with the third color pencil.

Exercice 8:

Designing – use lead pencils for tracing and several colored pencils to fill in.

Art extensions

  1. Use two colors to make another (paper on color; pencil another).
  2. Cut out the figures and paste it on a page.
  3. Make booklets.


To acquire mastery of the hand in using a writing instrument.
Direct preparation for writing ONLY.

To learn to make designs

Control of Error
To keep within the outlines

4-6 years

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