Over the past few months, I have been receiving many emails asking about bilingual resources. The truth is, my home is not bilingual – you can actually hear four languages at any given time of the day over here. It is a lot!
One of the strategies that I have been using to make sure we support our minority language (Russian) is with the use of simple 3-part cards. This is a classic Montessori resource that helps children to learn vocabulary. For us, using Russian 3-part cards also helps to expose my children to Cyrillic letters and words.
What Are 3-Part Cards
3-part cards are a material that you can see in any Montessori classroom you enter. They are called 3-part cards because they consist of 3-parts:
- The image card
- The label card
- The control card consisting of both the image and the written word
Why Use 3-Part Cards
Using 3 part cards is a great for helping children to understand and master information. In this case, children learn about a variety of of fruits.
Please Note: In using 3-part cards, the goal is not the child to complete a matching work, but rather to fully grasp the information presented on the cards.
Bilingual 3-Part Cards
When it comes to using 3-part cards in order to support a minority language, specifically one with a different alphabet, I add a bilingual component to our printables.
This typically means that I will either present the material fully in our minority language or I will add both the majority language and minority language on our cards. In other words, I make sure I expose my children to Russian print and not only English print.
This set of cards includes two versions: one with 3-parts and one with 4-parts. In the bilingual version, I have created labels in both English and Russian.
The printables are editable which means that you can change the text to fit any language you need. You will need to download the PDF and save it to your computer. Afterwards, you can change the text. Just make sure that you save as you go so you do not lose your work.
Use the image cards in combination with a Montessori 3 part lesson to teach new vocabulary to kids. If you are using this particular set of Fruit 3-Part Cards, you may want to limit the amount of new vocabulary you are presenting at one time.
Depending on the skill, patience, and familiarity of the child with the material, you can present 5-10 cards at one time.
3-Part Card Presentation:
- Take the tray and place it on your mat on the ground (or table, wherever you work).
- Lay out the image cards in front of you. Leave enough space for control cards to the right of each image card, and labels underneath each image card. Say the name of each image as you present it. Your child can say the word with you, if they wish.
- Next, match the label cards to the image cards. Place them underneath each image card.
- Check your work by adding the control cards to the right of each image card.
- Gather the materials, and put them back on the tray.
- Bring the tray back to its spot on the shelving unit.
Now it’s your child’s turn!
To make this material even more interactive, you can add fruit figurines or real fruit for them to match to the cards.
The key to 3-part cards is not that the child should simply memorize the words. We are aiming for the child to truly learn the material presented. This means that your child will need to practice using the same set of cards several times. Remember, repetition is key for mastery!
They may even make errors when using this work. It is not necessary to point this out to the child. After you have made the initial presentation, you can observe your child using this material. 3-part cards are self correcting. Your child will be able to see if an error has been made when they are matching the control cards to the set.
If you do notice that your child is making repeated errors or is becoming frustrated, you may want to repeat a presentation of the material again.
When it comes to learning language, practice is essential. Because this material is covering fruit, you can add this new vocabulary to your everyday lingo! For example, if your family is preparing fruit for a snack. You can say, you can say “This is an apple” in your minority language.
Alternatively, you can provide a basket of fruit for your child to use. Offer the label cards from the fruit 3-part cards set. Ask the child to label the fruit provided.
These cards can be used for rainbow writing. Rainbow writing means that a child writes (or traces) a particular word multiple times. This is a fairly new literacy strategy. In Montessori methodology, writing is taught using hands-on materials, such as the movable alphabet before writing with a pencil is introduced.
Alternatives To Writing
If your child is not quite ready for tracing with these vocabulary words, you might try using another small manipulative to cover the tracing words instead. They can fill in the letters with different manipulatives to build their fine motor skills as a separate task or as part of a matching activity.
Ideas For Manipulatives:
- Dry beans
- Pom poms
- Pipe cleaners
- Play dough
- Lego bricks
- Small stones or gems
- Or anything you have!
In addition, you can use our printable letter tiles to write the word. This allows the child to practice spelling, and exposes them to the alphabet in the minority language. The control cards or the writing cards from the Fruit 3-part cards set can be used as a control of error.
For children who can read in both languages, you can use only the label cards for a translation work. Children can match the labels in both languages.
For a control of error, you can use the control cards. Alternatively, you can add a matching sticker (or draw a shape) on the back of the cards to represent the matches.
Such a work is more advanced and would be appropriate for strong readers.
Colors And Word Cards
To add another component to the work, you could present the Montessori Color Box 3 alongside the word cards. Here, you can see we have laid out 3 cards and matched the corresponding color tablets.
This type of exercise can be done after the child has mastered the fruit cards. Then, you can practice colors and reinforce the names of the fruit in the minority language.