Saturday, May 29, 2010

Language Arts Block III: Lower Case Letters & Nature Stories (con't)...

Please Send Help And Soldiers!

Marsha Johnson has a very short document on teaching lower case letters in her files section (located in Curriculum/Grade 1 and Grade 2).

She has a wonderful story about a king who is engaging in a battle that they are quickly losing. He needs more soldiers, so he orders his scribe to chisel a message into a tablet. Not using vowels or lower case letters, what the scribe chisels is "PLSSNDHLPNDSLDRS". Of course, the people in the village can not figure out what the message means and misinterpret, until they finally figure it out. They send help in the nick of time and the battle is won!

Afterwards, the King decides they need to figure out a better way to communicate and henceforth, writing on scrolls and lower case letters (and vowels) are invented!

So after telling the story to the girls, I got a large roll of easel paper out and wrote giant letters with them watching - first the capital and then the lower case right next to it. When we were done, we took the scroll outside and unrolled it on the grass.

The girls would start at one end, read each letter and then once she got to the end, she'd run back to the start again!

They then rolled it up and tied the scroll with a finger knit chain.

I then wrote out more of the letters on more easel paper and gave them paints and a brush so they could practice the letters. We broke the alphabet up to three days worth, as suggested by Mrs. M, and practiced each day writing with different mediums.

Done at last with this scroll!

We did some handwork, making some fleece shirts
for our stuffed animals...

Day 2 of the alphabet project consisted of writing the letters with our sandscapes - using stones, sticks, noses, toes, acorns, etc...both in capitals and lower case...

After the lesson, I read them a lovely, lovely story by Mrs. Alfred Gatty called, "The Butterfly's Children". I got my version from "Wholesome Childhood", but found another lovely version here. It is about a butterfly who, realizing she is about to expire, asks a lowly caterpillar to care for her butterfly babies. Both assume they will be born as butterflies and when the butterfly dies, the caterpillar panics, seeking out the wisdom of a lark who tells her that the eggs will hatch caterpillars! And furthermore, she will one day be a butterfly herself! She doesn't believe him - sure enough, they are born as such and she learns a wonderful lesson about faith! The ending is really touching (I won't give it away here)...

The story was actually perfect timing as we are participating in the "Little Flowers Girls' Club" which is for Catholic girls who learn about the Saints and their virtues. I'm really thrilled that this also plays in beautifully with our Grade 2 focus next year, which is on Saints and Heroes (and Fables)! Anyway, last month we learned about St. Catherine of Siena and her virtue was faith! (will blog pictures of the club in the future) - but the story was wonderful! Don't ya love it when things naturally fall into place as such :D

We then drew pictures in our MLB's and wrote a short summary...

Day three, we worked the alphabet with our lap chalkboards. We would start at the beginning, to repractice, and then continue on to Z!

Our nature story on Day 3 was from Margaret Peckham's "Nature Stories" book, called "The Butterfly". It's a sweet story about a butterfly who hatches one spring day. The Sun Fairies help dry his wings and he searches for someone else to play with. He mistakes a toadstool for a butterfly and meets a grumpy gnome and then flies to some flowers, thinking they might be butterflies and he drinks their nectar. Finally, giving up hope, he hears another exclaim, "Here I am, I will play with you."

And doubting that, he sees the Sun Fairies drying the wings of a beautiful butterfly and they fly happily away together.

We are now off on a nature hunt this weekend, in search of butterfly eggs, chrysalises, caterpillars, and butterflies!

We will begin our last formal June lessons next week by incorporating form drawing and nature studies to wrap up our year!


  1. everything you do is so lovely!!

  2. Jen, I am amazed by all you do with your girls, as always... I wonder if they always happily participate to the activities and lessons that you bring up. What do you do when they start doing silly things together (we both know twins are reknowned for that!) or when they do not feel like learning or paying attention to the lesson?

  3. Always such beautiful learning. We have finally finished our 4 processes - we ended doing it in bits whilst settling into life with new babe. Now a bit to wrap up early part of June then done. How fast and wonderful this first year has been. I have no doubt your girls have had such a fantastic year with all the love and commitment, creativity and Jen-power you've given for this first year. Best wishes to you as always, Jen!

  4. Thanks for the nice comments, Mommas! Catherine - I just lost a h-u-g-e reply to your questions (I think it was too long), so I am planning to do a post tomorrow morning and will address your questions there :D

  5. what terrific activities! my little ones LOVE drawing in the sand, or rice, or beans. I'm loving the scroll. Walking the letters has been one of our favorites too, we'll have to play this game!