The Ugly Duckling

Adventures in Storyland Ages 3-5 Charlotte Mason inspired story book studies

Under the Golden Apple Tree

Welcome to Mini Unit Studies for Mini Hands. Inspired by Charlotte Mason, the mini studies incorporates copywork, narration, dictation, living math and nature study for children ages 3-5.

Written by: Richele McFarlin
Thanks to my children who serve as an endless fountain of creativity, inspiration, challenges and sometimes exhaustion. Thanks to my husband for challenging me to always improve and move forward. Thanks most of all to a loving God with an endless fountain of grace and mercy.
Copyright March 2010 All rights reserved. No portion of this unit study may be used for mass printing or used system wide. For individual purposes ONLY. Reprinting of pages granted to purchaser ONLY.

Table of Contents
Copywork 1-3 Narration 4-6 Dictation 7-8 Letter D 9-11 Counting to 6 12-14 Nature Study 15-16 Craft 17

Duck swims.


Swan swims.


I see the farm.


Narration 1

Do you remember this scene from The Ugly Duckling? Who is in the picture? What is happening in the picture? Where is this scene taking place?


Narration 2

Who is the swan in the center of the picture? Is this how the swan looked in the beginning of the book? Describe. Is this the beginning, middle or end of the story?


Narration 3

The Ugly Duckling teaches us a valuable lesson on personal transformation. There is beauty in all of us and we choose to transform ourselves into swans. This is a beauty beyond the physical but reaches the spiritual. Discuss with your child the moral lessons of the story. How do you think the ugly duckling felt when the other ducks thought he was ugly? How do you think he felt after turning into a swan? How did those who made fun of him feel?


Dictation for Little Hands

The process of dictation consists of a child writing down exactly what a parent or teacher is reading to him. While, a 3-5 year old will not be capable of writing dictation for a paragraph or even a sentence in many cases, he can still benefit from this exercise. Letter by letter or simple word by simple word dictation is a tool allowing a child to apply his knowledge of the alphabet and phonics. Dictation Plan Day one: Introduce your child to uppercase “D” and lowercase “d”. Have him practice writing the letter from the activity pages in this unit study. Provide him with a piece of writing paper appropriate for his age. Tell him to write down exactly what you say as you say it. Now begin dictating: Uppercase D….uppercase D….lowercase d...lowercase d. This only takes a few minutes. For more advanced or older children: Dictate: Lowercase d….lowercase u...lowercase c…..lowercase 7

Then repeat a few times. Allow your child to see that he wrote the word “duck”! Day two: Practice dictating uppercase and lowercase “D” one more time. Then expand on this by using the first letter of your child’s name. Dictate as described on day one. For advanced or older children: Dictate the child’s name in letters. For instance: Uppercase “K”….lowercase “a”….lowercase “r”….lowercase “a” “K”...lowercase “a”...lowercase “r”...lowercase “a”. Then you child will have successfully written her name! Day three: Practice the Day two’s lesson briefly. Continue using single letters for young students. For older students, try dictating some fun words from our story, such as duckling, swan, farm, etc. For advanced or older children: Dictate, letter by letter, having your child space in between words, a simple three word sentence. Your child will be so proud to have written a real sentence! 8

Cut out the letter D around the border. Use a hole puncher to punch holes on every heavy bold dash. Using yarn, allow your child to lace the D. You may want to laminate the D before punching the holes for more durability. If you prefer you may just allow your child to trace the letter D with a pencil.


Circle the objects that start with D.



Trace the letter D and color the picture.


Six Little Ducklings

Count the ducklings. How many do you see? If one duckling swan away, how many would be left? If that duckling swam back how many would there be altogether? If two ducklings swam away, how many would be left? If all the ducklings took a nap how many ducklings would be left? If you had three ducklings, how many more would you need to get six? 12

Counting with Ducks
Baby duck has five brothers. Help him gather and count all his brothers..

How many ducklings? 1 2 3 4 5

How many ducklings? 1 2 3 4 5

How many ducklings have we found?

+ 1 + 2

= = 3

You found 3 ducks. How many more do we need to find?

3 found



How many left to find? Count the missing ducks.


How many ducklings? 1 2 3 4 5

You found two more ducklings. Do we have all of them yet?




Count the ducklings. Do we have five? Yes, you found all five ducklings because 2 plus 3 equals 5. We express the number sentence or equation as: 2+3=5. Baby duck is happy you found all 5 of his brothers. How many ducklings do we have in total? 1 Baby duck + 5 duckling brothers =? Count the ducks below for the answer.


Pond Nature

Isn’t the pond beautiful? What do you see? Who do you expect to see in a pond? Can you point out the lily pad? What color are the rocks? If you are keeping a Nature Journal, draw a picture of a pond and some pond animals like ducks, swan, frogs, fish, dragonflies and more!


This is a mallard duck. What color is his bill? What color is his head? Mallard ducks search for food near the surface of the water. This is called dabbling. He sticks his head just under the water which causes his tail to lift in the air.

This is a swan. What color is the swan? Do you see the baby swan following close behind? A baby swan is called a cygnet. Swans have the longest neck of any bird. Swans can have 250,000 feathers. Ask your child to tell you how ducks and swans are alike and how they are different. For instance both have feathers and webbed feet. They differ in size and color. Have your child draw a picture of a swan and a duck in her Nature Journal if you are keeping one. 16

Craft Time
Your Own Pond Things you will need:

Construction paper (blue, green, and other various colors) Glue Scissors Small sheet of bubble wrap Optional: stencils of pond animals or small pictures of pond animals

Instructions: 1. Cut green construction paper in approximately 3 inch strips. You will only need enough to surround your blue construction paper like a frame. 2. Fold your strips of green construction paper 2/3's of the way. Use your scissors to make a fringe, to serve as grass, one the longer side of your strip. 3. Cut or leave the blue construction paper as whole. You may cut in a kidney design, a circle, or leave in a rectangle. This will serve as your water. 4. Use your construction paper to cut out a few different animal shapes. This is where you can use any stencils you have or pictures of pond animals. 5. Glue fish and any underwater animals on the blue construction paper. 6. Glue bubble wrap, smooth side down, on top of the blue construction paper to give a watery look. 7. Glue the folded edge of the green strips made like grass around your water. 8. You may glue a green lily pad made from construction paper to the water and place a frog on top. You may place some animals in the grass. This is where you have fun and get creative!


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