Michael and Mrs. Applebee were headed down the wide path again. "Michael?" said Mrs. Applebee, "Why do you look so glum?" "Because we're almost finished with all of the fairies!" said Michael. "But we're just beginning!" said Mrs. Applebee. "What do you mean?" asked Michael. "You shall see!" said Mrs. Applebee with an wink.
They walked down the wavy path until they got to a clump of yellow plants, and two little fairies chasing each other. "BOYS!" said Mrs. Applebee. "Oh hello mother!" said the fairy that matched the plants. "Yes, hello mother!" said the fairy that was only wearing an X shirt and small shorts - a little bit like the U fairy. "This is Michael." said Mrs. Applebee. "Oh my goodness!" said the fairy, "My name is Yellow Deadnettle." "And mine is just X." said the one with the X on its shirt. "I know it's not a very good name." "I think it's a fine name!" said Michael, "and I think it suits you perfectly!" "Why thank you!" said X. "So are you and Yellow Deadnettle very close like U and V?" asked Michael. "Well," said Yellow Deadnettle "listen to our song and you shall see."
You saucy X! You love to vex
Your next-door neighbour Y:
And just because no flower is yours,
You tease him on the sly.
(...the rest is in the Flower Fairies Alphabet)
"So you're not exactly friends?" asked Michael. "No." said X, "I love to chase Yellow around all of the time!" "It's a bit annoying sometimes!" said Yellow Deadnettle. "Well, you know what's next, Michael." said Mrs. Applebee. "A saint!" exclaimed Michael. "Not just one saint, but TWO!" said X. "Our saints are Francis Xavier..." "And Joseph Yuen." said Yellow Deadnettle as they both pulled out their own copies of the red book.
"Saint Francis Xavier spread the word of Jesus all around the world" said X. "He was very good at telling people about God." "And Saint Joseph Yuen did the same thing." said Yellow Deadnettle. "He spoke the word of God to others. He was killed while telling people about Jesus while in a foreign land."
"Those are good Saints. I think I will try telling people about God more often." said Michael. "Good!" said X as he put away his red book. "And maybe that will make you a saint also." said Yellow Deadnettle as he also put away his copy of the red book. "Well, I suppose it's time to walk to Z...OH NO!" said Michael. "What is it?" asked Mrs. Applebee. "Z! That's the very last letter, Mrs. Applebee!" cried Michael. "Yes I know. Zinnia is a lovely fairy. You will adore meeting her!" said Mrs. Applebee. "I think the fairies might have a little surprise for you also." said Mrs. Applebee with a wink.
Michael and Mrs. Applebee walked down the path. Michael was sad that they were reaching the end but happy because there was a surprise yet to see. And there have been so many great surprises already that he was sure this one would be simply grand.
Lesson Plans: You can use the drawing of St. Francis Xavier and St. Joseph Yuen in the book as a visual when telling this story. ( Download yellow_deadnettle.pdf )You may want to print it on card stock and add it to your child's main lesson or sketch book. It can be added to your child's main lesson book as well.
Language: Use the Letter X in the St. Francis Xavier and the Y in the St. Joseph Yuen picture as an introduction to letter formation. Have the child trace the X and Y with his or her finger. Practice the Letter X and Y by copying the model drawing. Children can use the small poems in the Catholic Alphabet of Saints for copywork and use The Song of the Yellow Deadnettle as copywork, too. Sing the song as well and soon it will be memorized.
(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 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.
- 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 are two science-themed picture book studies for these letters:
X is for eXperiments
The Everything Kids Science Experiment Book
The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions
Science in Seconds for Kids
Big Book of Play and Find Out Science Projects (and all the other Janice VanCleave books
Art: Using the illustration in The Flower Fairy Alphabet Book, ask the child to sketch the X and Y fairies in the main lesson book. A younger child can color the X and Y 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 EX on the X page and YELLOW on the Y 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 January (our X Picture) by Belgian painter Franz M. Melchers can be found here. The full image of City and Sunset (our Y Picture) by American artist Henry Farrer can be found 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.)
Read lots of MaX Lucado books this week in honor of letter X:
A Max Lucado Children's Treasury
The Oak Inside of the Acorn
Because I Love You
Just the Way You Are
If Only I Had a Green Nose
You Are Mine
You are Special
Your Special Gift
A Hat For Ivan
All You Ever Need
Read about St. Francis Xavier, and St. Francis Xavier Cabrini in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints
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 World of Peter Rabbit (This is the complete set and well worth the investment, as these are treasures you will visit again and again throughout childhood and well into the adult years.) Click here for even more Beatrix Potter inspiration--Mom is sure to be inspired, too.
Author Study: Jane Yolen
Serendipi-Tea Time (Breakfast and Dinner too!) Recipes: