For our first week of Preschool we used Blueberries for Sal, a classic children’s book by Robert McCloskey. The idea behind Before Five in a Row (by Jane Claire Lambert) is you read the story together every day of the week. Additionally, every day you do activities that help the kids learn & explore the book. Activities you could use for Blueberries for Sal include:
Retelling story by narration or pictures(reading comprehension skill)
Explore Blueberries (why are they good for you, where do they grow, how do they grow, canning for food later, etc.)
Study Bears – what they eat, hibernation (when, preparations, where, why)
Observation – what animals are in the story (good for memory & retention skills)
When was the book written? Take a look at the car & stove to see they don’t look like we have now. Look up what life was like in 1948
Activities practicing letter B (hunt finding things around your house that start with b or find actual letter b’s on books, sort buttons, stamp letter B, trace letter B with finger/sand/pudding)
There are some WONDERFUL free resources out there. Since this was my first go at it, I used a little of everything & can give you feedback on everything!
Homeschool Creations really does a bang up job! Jolanthe has put together a robust, well done pack to go along with Before Five in a Row.
We used many of this resource pack; check them out – you won’t be disappointed! The resources we used are: tracing words, pre-writing practice, which one is different, rhyming match up, what letter does the picture start with, Where is Little Bear? book (big hit at our house; you paste bear behind Momma bear, below crows, etc). Find this wonderful resource at: http://homeschoolcreations.com/BlueberriesforSalPrintables.html
Delightful Learning also has a gamut of wonderful resources for Preschool & Homeschooling Moms! Michelle has a section on creative ways to teach using the letters of the alphabet as well as a section on Before Five in a Row. You can find her resources at http://delightfullearning.blogspot.com/2010/09/blueberries-for-sal.html We used this pail; I put a number above to say how many blueberries to put in the pail & the kids put blueberry pom-poms in. Great for practicing counting! The kids LOVED it!
Before Five in a Row offers a digital download for $9 that includes: finger play, poems, songs, game cards, and crafts. Megan enjoyed the activity (right). The picture & information about bears was helpful & informative. If you don’t want to have to think or pull together resources on what you are going to do this is helpful. But honestly, I was disappointed and kept thinking – I could easily find the bear information, a poem, put pom poms on math mat, and plan a game for this. If you do use it the blueberry paint was a bust in our house – not very blue. You can find this resource at: http://app4.websitetonight.com/projects/3/6/4/2/364231/Before_Fold-and-Learn_.html
The Old Schoolhouse Store also offers packs to supplement. They are not produced by Five in a Row, they are done by Hands of a Child. These offer packs to make lapbooks – a new concept to me, but common in homeschooling. These are great to put a variety of visuals & games regarding a topic or book. You can display or reference them, but they don’t take up wall space. Plus, they are a lot of fun to make. My personal thought is this resource looked expensive. But I have their resource for Peter Rabbit and it looks excellent. With the cost being around $20, I would be more selective as to which books I would purchase this resource for. (Note: the resource comes already printed. Not an immediate download for those needing instant gratification, but you won’t waste colored card stock or ink printing these either!) You can also be creative & make your own lapbook!
Pretend you are bears & act out preparing spot to hibernate (like under table)
Make blueberry goodies: Jam, syrup, muffins, cake, or pork chops. Here is our super easy & delicious
Blueberry Syrup Recipe
1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup 1 TAB cornstarch
2 teas lemon juice 2 cups blueberries
Stir together all ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on full power 5 minutes. Stir & serve warm!
It was a great week. Blueberries for Sal is rightly a classic. It is a sweet story with a lot to unpack if you want to. The simple black & white illustrations are timeless. Whether you unpack the book over a week like we did or not, don’t miss reading this classic! Here are some other books we enjoyed reading to supplement our learning & exploration of Blueberries for Sal.
Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activites and FREE printables: www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com