A Brave Sentinel: A Letter B Story
Holding tight to Mrs. Applebee's hand, Michael eagerly followed her down the grassy path. Expecting to stop at another magnificent tree, Michael was surprised when Mrs. Applebee paused before a clump of flowering herbs growing in the shady ground. He admired the beautiful purple-hued flowers which grew upward in proud stalks. But something strange began to happen. One of the purple flower petals began to gently move.
Rising out of the flowers, a tiny winged boy carrying a purple bugle on his waistband made his way to Michael and Mrs. Applebee.
"Who's that?" whispered Michael, as his eyes grew wide.
"I am pleased to introduce my son the Bugle Fairy" replied Mrs. Applebee.
And as she offered the introduction, the Bugle Fairy made such a bow that the tip of his pointed, purple hat touched the damp ground.
"My name is Bugle and I begin with B," announced the Bugle Fairy as he stood at attention, raising his purple bugle to his lips to trumpet the beginning of a beautiful song.
As the Bugle Fairy finished, he handed Michael a lovely purple flower which he quickly added to the Apple Blossom.
"Before you leave, I want to tell you a story about a heavenly friend whose name begins with B. St. Bernadette was just girl when Our Lady appeared to her and showed her where to dig a spring from which miraculous water flowed."
The Bugle Fairy opened his red book and read to Michael the story of St. Bernadette.
As the Bugle Fairy gently closed his book, Mrs. Applebee held out her hand to Michael once again.
"We must be on our way. You've only met two of my children and there are still many more to find."
Taking her hand, Michael and Mrs. Applebee set off once again on the grassy path in search of another flower and friend.
Presentation: You can use the drawing of St. Bernadette in An Alphabet of Catholic Saints as a visual when telling this story. You may want to copy it to card stock and add it to your child's main lesson or sketch book.
Use the Letter B of St. Bernadette as an introduction to letter formation. Have the child trace the B with his or her finger. Practice the Letter B by copying the model drawing. Older children can draw the picture of Bernadette as well. Use the short poem in An Alphabet of Catholic Saints as copywork and place it with the picture in your child's saints notebook.
(Don't try to do it all--these are options for science and nature study)
- After the story has been told, you can research the botanical information and plant idenification and record them in a sketchbook or main lesson book. Or perhaps you would prefer flower storybook paper for letter writing practice and copywork. (An older child can do this independently, but a younger child can give an oral narration which you write or keyboard for him or her.)
- With your older child, you might choose to work through Apologia's Discovering Creation with Botany. Read a section and then ask your child to narrate the information in his main lesson book. Always encourage your child to illustrate his narrations. Work on the experiments that you feel would be most beneficial for your child. Take a picture of the finished project and add it to his main lesson book. The pace at which you move through this book is not as important as the child having an opportunity to really understand the material. Go at your child's pace. I highly recommend the notebooks to go with the botany book, for both older and younger children.
- We've had great success encouraging older children to take their flower narrations well beyond what is provided at the Flower Fairy site. These children are able to truly appreciate the vast varieties of flowers and to see God's creativity when they consider the lilies of the field.
- For some children, a living books/picture book approach seems to resonate and be more meaningful than any other approach. Consider choosing meaty picture books to teach the same concepts. If you choose to pursue this course of study, here is a science-themed picture book study for this letter:
Storybook Science: B is for Birds
- St. Francis and His Feathered Friends
- Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Birds
Using the illustration in The Flower Fairy Alphabet Book, ask the child to sketch the The Bugle Fairy in the main lesson book. A younger child can color the The Bugle Fairy in the Flower Fairy Alphabet Coloring Book . Perhaps on another day the child could model the fairy or flower with modeling beeswax. (Sources of excellent quality modeling beeswax can be found on the right sidebar.)
For this week's picture study, Museum
ABC focuses on BOAT on the B page.
It's interesting to look carefully at just one segment of the painting in the book. The children can discuss what they think the rest of the painting might look like before you show them the print. The full image of Thomas Eakins' The Champion Single Sculls is here .
Really look at the picture. Soak in the details. Ask your child to narrate with a prompt such as, "Pretend that I am going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time and want to find this painting. What details could you give me so that I could more easily find it?" Keyboard the narration and ask your child to sketch the work of art. A younger child can copy the painting while an older child can narrate from memory and discover how much detail he remembers by attempting to sketch it from memory. Over the course of this unit, consider collecting the narrations and sketches in a single album and create your own family art history book.
(The goal of Picture Study is to train the eye toward the beautiful. Biographical information about the artist is secondary. Set the work of art as your family computer's wallpaper or screen saver or print the painting on card stock and display it on the refrigerator. After spending time with a picture and really taking the time to look at it, your child will make a connection. There is no need to explain a great deal, especially to a young child. Allow the child to make his own connection with the art. )
An Alphabet of Catholic Saints: St. Bernadette. Learn the rhyme this week.
An Alphabet of Mary: This lovely book is a new addition this year. We're so excited to create a Mary notebook, with the children making a page for every letter, learning titles of Our Lady and how to love her more as we go.
Read about St. Brendan in Letters from Heaven. Letters from Heaven offers a scripture verse at the bottom of the page. Look it up with the children and commit it to memory. (Letters from Heaven introduces saints from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. St. Brendan is a saint in common.)You can download the watercolor of St. Brendan the Navigator here (Download b_is_for_brendan.pdf ) and use it as a visual when telling this story. You may want to print it on cardstock and add it to the child's main lesson or sketch book. Read the story of St. Brendan in Letters from Heaven. Older children can research St. Brendan and narrate his life by making a page on the saint in their main lesson book. Jean Fritz has authored a children's book on this saint as well.
Each week we will be making a Wee Felt Saint or two. Or perhaps you'd prefer to paint saints as Jessica did.
E is for Eucharist: This book is very meaty. Each page is detailed and worth considerable discussion time. B is for baptism.
There is much opportunity for narration and notebooking for all ages in reading lists of the Faith section. Read the selections aloud to all ages of children. Assign chapter book biographies to older children. Draw pictures and record narrations of the lives of each saint. Then, when the feast of that saint is celebrated in the life of the Church, revisit an old friend and have a a little party at tea time. These are stories to read and read again.
Read Faith Stories
I highly recommend this DVD: St. John Bosco: Mission to love.
Read about these saints in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints:
St. John Bosco (I know his first name is a "J"--Get to know him now or study him later--but be sure to get to know him him:-)
Read about these heroes in the Loyola Kids Book of Heroes:
Ideas for "B Week:"
Meet the Author: B is for Jan Brett
Suggested Books for Read-Alouds and Narrations (These are to be narrated both verbally and artistically. For the younger children it is often fun to keyboard an oral narration for them and then ask the child to illustrate the printed page.)
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
Peter in Blueberry Land
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Bedtime for Frances
The Runaway Bunny
Billy and Blaze
Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?
Bear Snores On
Blueberries for Sal
B is for Bookworm
The Legend of the Teddy Bear
The Legend of the Sleeping Bear
Fairy Tales, Tall Tales and Hero Tales:
In The Children’s Book of America, read:
The Children's Book of Virtues, read: Boy Wanted and Little Boy Blue
Poetry Memorization: Read "How Doth the Little Busy Bee" by Isaac Watts in Favorite Poems Old and New. Recite daily and make notebook page.
Young children are encouraged always to narrate aloud the stories which have been read to them. Occasionally, keyboard those narrations as the child tells it and allow him or her to illustrate the printed narration.
For more structured writing lessons for children who are in the 3rd-5th grades, IEW Fables, Myths, and Fairytales Writing Lessons dovetail nicely with the Alphabet Path theme.
Serendipi-Tea Time Recipes
Blueberry-Blackberry pie with Bumblebees (recipe forthcoming) and Blueberry Smoothies
Fun for the Little Ones