"A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U...U is our next fairy Mrs. Applebee!" he exclaimed.
"Yes! But little tricky U has a secret," she answered. Then, around the bend, Michael saw not one, but two new fairies. "Two?" asked Michael.
"Yes!" said Mrs. Applebee " U and V together!"
Oh good!" said Michael. "Are there two songs also?"
"No, just one song for two buddies!" said the purple and green fairy. He had his arm around the other fairy. Michael noticed that the other fairy looked rather plain.
"I'm Vetch and this is U. U doesn't have a flower, Michael," said Vetch Fairy.
"May I hear the song so that I know why U doesn't have a flower?"
"Of course!" said Vetch Fairy and he began to sing his song.
Poor Little U
Has nothing to do!
He hasn't a flower: not one.
For U is Unlucky, I'm sorry to tell;
(...the rest is in the Flower Fairies Alphabet)
"That's very nice of you to share all of your flowers with U!" said Michael "Do you really have Verbena, Valerian, and Violets, too?"
"Yes! But I mostly have Vetch because I am the Vetch fairy!" he said with a laugh.
"Well, do you have a saint for me?" asked Michael "Yes, I do! Just as you got to meet two fairies at this stop, you also get to make tow new saint friends, Saint Vincent De Paul and St. Ursula!" said Vetch "Oh!" exclaimed Michael, "So many new friends at one time, how lovely!" Vetch smiled and pulled out his red book and read to Michael. When he was finished, he folded his hands on his lap over the closed book and looked seriously at the little boy. "You see Michael, St. Vincent De Paul loved to help anyone that needed help. I like to do the same. And that's why I take good care of my little friend U!" said the Vetch fairy. "And St. Ursula found the courage to be holy from her wonderful friends," grinned the U fairy as he put his hand on Vetch's shoulder, "That's why having a friend like Vetch is so important to me!" Vetch handed Michael a vetch flower. Michael said goodbye, then turned to say goodbye to the U fairy. The U fairy, as simple and plain as he was, held out his hands with a sparkling smile. In his hands was a golden ribbon, which when tied into a bow, formed the latter "U." "I have no golden- stemmed flower to offer you," he said a bit apologetically. "But I am a vowel, just the same and so I'm offering you this golden bow." "What is this for?" asked Michael.
"Thank you!" said Michael "My mother will love this golden ribbon!"
Then Michael and Mrs. Applebee waved a cheery goodbye and walked down Alphabet Path towards the next flower fairy.
Presentation: You can use the drawings of St. Ursula and St. Vincent de Paul in the book (and pictured in a child's example) as a visual when telling this story. You may want to print them on card stock and add it to your child's main lesson or sketch book.
Language: Use the Letter U in the St. Ursula picture and the V in the St. Vincent de Paul picture as an introduction to letter formation. Have the child trace the U and V with his or her finger. Practice the Letters U and R by copying the model drawing. Older children can draw the pictures of of St. Ursula and St. Vincent as well and use the "Poor Little U" song as copywork. Sing the song as well and soon it will be memorized.
Continue reviewing what we've learned. This week we will add the letters "P" and "Q" to our alphabet main lesson book. Ask your child to consider the things in the world that begin with the Letters P and Q. Ask her to illustrate them in her main lesson book and label the pictures. You can write the word for your child to copy if necessary. If you have not yet made salt dough letters, now is the time to catch up. We are going to use those letters later along the alphabet path. If you are just beginning, you might consider letting your child paint the consonants green and the vowels gold (or yellow) to match the stems of the flowers in the story. All the flowers for the vowels will have golden stems.
(Don't try to do it all--these are options for science and nature study)
- After the story has been told, spend some time on the Flower Fairy site. Research the botanical information for the Tufted Vetch, Valerian, Verbena, and Violets and record them in a sketch book 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.
- 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 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:
Art: Using the illustration in The Flower Fairy Alphabet Book, ask the child to sketch the Vetch fairy and Poor Little U in the main lesson book. A younger child can color the fairies 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 UMBRELLA and VEGETABLE for the "U" and "V" 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 William Merritt Chase's At the Seaside can be found here and James Peale's Still Life: Balsam Apple and Vegetables can be seen 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. )
Make a Wee Felt Saint of St. Ursula or St. Vincent de Paul. Use your imagination to come up with symbols that tell the story of his/her life. If several children are making saints, consider adding saints from the liturgical calendar to your collection, as well.
Read about these saints in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints:
St. Vincent de Paul
Read about these heroes in the Loyola Kids Book of Heroes:
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan
Ideas for "U and V Week:"
Decorate an umbrella with your favorite flower fairies.
Have a Vacation Day. Play together, visit a nearby tourist attraction, lie on beach towels and pretend you're in the sunny tropics...whatever makes it feel like vacation to you. Look at vacation photos and share favorite vacation memories over dinner.
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.)
Suggested Books for Independent Reading (These are for older children to read and narrate over consecutive weeks. Allow your older child to illustrate his or her narrations. Expressing oneself both verbally and visually is a peak of communication.)
For the next few weeks, children can dictate or write the stories told in the Mother Goose rhymes. That is, instead of reciting the rhyme, they can tell what happened in prose.All children should illustrate their stories. Stories written by younger children can be used for reading practice. The written narrations are used by all the children in our families for Lively Language Lessons.