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The Three Period Lesson

The Three Period Lesson is to be given after the child has had much experience with the material itself. The reason behind the Three Period Lesson is to give the language of the material the child has been using. It is meant to teach the names of objects and the names of the qualities of theses materials. The Three Period Lesson is divided into three steps, so the language will be more easily absorbed. There is the Three Period Lesson for naming an object, and for grading an object positively, comparatively, and superlatively.

The Three Period Lesson for Naming

# Step 1: Naming Period

The directress presents the child with three objects of contrast and isolates them on a mat. The directress then experiences the objects one at a time by feeling the object thoroughly. Then the directress will encourage the child to experience all three of the objects. The directress will look the child in the eyes and clearly give the name of one of the objects. For example, “This is an ovoid.”  Then the directress will repeat the naming for the other two objects. Then the directress will repeat the names of each of the objects.

Step 2: Recognition and Association Period

Once the child has clearly heard the names of each of the objects more than once, the directress will now challenge the child to recognize the objects by their names. To do so, the directress will ask the child to do something with the object she names. For example, “Please place the ovoid in my hand.”  Or another example could be, “Please place the ovoid here…”
The child should then move to the correct object the directress has just asked for. By doing this step, the child will be putting the names of the objects into his long-term memory.

Step 3: Recall Period

Once the child has successfully placed the names of the objects into his long-term momory, the directress will challenge the child to name the objects himself. This will ask for the child to associate the name of the object to the object itself. For example the directress might point to one of the objects and ask: “What is this?”  The child should then respond, for example, “This is an ovoid.”

The Three Period Lesson for Grading - Positive

Step 1: Naming Period

The directress places two objects of a group and isolates them on a mat. (For example, a long rod and a short rod.) The directress then experiences the two objects one at a time by feeling the object thoroughly. Then the directress will encourage the child to experience both of the objects. The directress will look the child in the eyes and clearly give the names of the difference of the two objects. For example, “This is the long rod.” And for the other object, “This is the short rod.”  Repeat this but replace one of the objects with an object different as to the one taken out. For example if you are grading rods, the directress could take out the short rod and replace it with a shorter rod. Then, what was the short rod becomes the long rod and the new rod becomes the short rod. This way the child understands that the grading of an object depends on what it is being graded to.

Step 2: Recognition Period

Just as in Step 2 for the Three Period Lesson for Naming, the directress will then have the child match the object to the name. For example, the directress might say, “Please give me the short rod.”  Or she may say, “Please place the long rod here.”

Step 3: Recall Period

Just as in Step 3 for the Three Period Lesson for Naming, the directress will ask the child, “What is this?”  The child should then answer, for example, “This is the short rod”.

The Three Period Lesson for Grading - Comparative

Step 1: Naming Period

The directress places two objects of a group and isolates them on a mat. (For example, two shades of the blue color tablets.) The directress will look the child in the eyes and clearly give the names of the difference of the two objects. For example, “This is dark.” And for the other object, “This is darker.”  Repeat this but replace one of the objects with an object different as to the one taken out. For example if you are grading the color tablets, the directress could take out a darker blue than before. Then, what was the darker becomes the dark and the new tablet becomes the darker. This way the child understands that the grading of an object depends on what it is being graded to.

Step 2: Recognition Period

Same as Step 2 of above but this time the directress will ask the child, “ Which one is the darker tablet?” Or, “Which one is the dark tablet?”

# Step 3: Recall Period

Same as Step 3 of above: “What is this?”

The Three Period Lesson for Grading - Superlative

Step 1: Naming Period

The directress places three objects of a group and isolates them on a mat. For example, three shades of the yellow color tablets. (Remember: this is not limited to three objects.) The directress will look the child in the eyes and clearly give the names of the difference of the two objects. For example, “This is dark.” And for the second object, “This is darker.”  And for the third object, “This is darkest.”  Repeat this but replace one or two of the objects with objects different as to the ones taken out. For example if you are grading the color tablets, the directress could take out a darker yellow than the darkest and a lighter color than the dark tablet. Then, what was the darkest becomes the darker and the dark becomes the darker. This way the child understands that the grading of an object depends on what it is being graded to.

Step 2: Recognition Period

Same as Step 2 of above but this time the directress will ask the child, “ Which one is the darker?” Or, “Which one is the dark?”  Or, “Which one is the darkest?”

# Step 3: Recall Period

Same as Step 3 of above: “What is this?”

Video
This Montessori Video shows how to present a child with the Three Period Lesson.

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