Blueberries for Sal {Before FI♥AR}

I love this story. It has an old fashioned charm and appealed to me in so many ways. The story and illustrations are quaint and I thought it was neat that the author used his wife as a model for the mother in the story.

We used our first B4FIAR Fold and Learn for this story. (I'll say up front that while I loved the quality of the FNL, I was honestly disappointed in the price for what you get.)

Here is what we did while rowing Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey:

Blueberry Counting Game and Blueberries for Sal Math Mat Activity:

The Blueberry Counting Game is from the Blueberries for Sal Fold and Learn. This activity was too easy for Malachi but the perfect challenge for Eliana. I had her place pom-pom blueberries on the blueberries as she counted (number recognition) and then she matched the blueberries to the correct number.  We had a "blueberry" hunt with the leftover pom-poms. 

For the Math Mat Activity, she picked a number and then counted that many blueberries to put in the pail. 

Narration and Art:

I usually have the children narrate the story to me (as much as they can remember) and then draw a picture. This time, we painted blueberries. 

Eliana's Narration: (age 3 1/2)

Tell me what happens in the story:
"The daughter followed the bear and the little bear followed the mother."
Why were they on the hill?
"Because they wanted to eat blueberries and for winter."
{I love that she realized that both the mother and the mother bear were picking blueberries to store for winter.} 

Malachi also texture painted with green for the blueberry bush. 

Malachi's Narration:  (age 5 1/2)
"Little Sal and her mother went to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries. When Little Sal got tired of walking, she sat in a big clump of blueberries and ate. Then Little Sal and the bear get mixed up. They say, 'this is not my child!' and they go look for their child. Little Sal thought she heard the sound of her mother, but it was a crow. Then the mother knew what made that sound, 'Kuplick, Kuplank, Kuplunk.' Then they go home. The end." 
He is always very adamant that I add "The end" at the end. =) I don't have to prompt Malachi during his narrations anymore and often he will go on and on and I have to remind him that this is a summary. =)

Bears and Hibernation:

I read some information on bears and hibernation to them and printed a Hibernation poem for Malachi to illustrate. He drew a bear from Draw Write Now

The bear info and the following poems, songs and finger-plays came from the Blueberries for Sal Fold and Learn from FIAR.  

Lap Journal/Memory Book:

Make Blueberry Jam:

Of course, this is the reason the mother went to collect blueberries ~ to can them for winter. So, we made blueberry jam. And I loved that I personally could tie this lesson into preparing for winter, because I have been canning and dehydrating foods to put away for the winter myself. 

I wanted to go pick them ourselves ~ I planted blueberries at our homestead/cabin in Montana, but we have a resident black bear who must have beaten us to them. ;-)

Mali and Elli helped get everything ready and then I canned 7 half pints of jam.

I left a pint of jam unprocessed so that we could use it for syrup and had it over french toast. 
To make the bread, I used my favorite Challah recipe, divided the dough into 3rds, rolled the dough out to about an 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness, sprinkled it with cinnamon-sugar, then rolled it up tight (roll it tight to prevent air pockets like mine), put it in a bread pan, let raise and then bake (I never bake mine as long as the recipe says ~ check after 20 minutes and cover the top with foil if it is golden brown, then bake 5 more minutes ~ not the 40 minutes the recipe calls for). 

My kids loved it so much that I made several loaves to freeze so that we could have french toast more often. I'm a "grab a bowl of granola [for breakfast]"mom on school days. ;-)

Delightful Links:


  1. Michelle, I would love to chat with you a bit and was going to email but couldn't get that link to work. Could you email me, so I can get your email and get in touch?
    I have been homeschooling for 8 years with my sons. One is in college and the other is 15 1/2. I have to little girls and am basically going through my second wave of homeschooling. I have a strong desire to do it differently with the girls. I have been studying relaxed homeschooling, unschoooling, unit studies, Charlotte Mason approach....etc. I think I know what I want but can't quite seem to get there and really would love to chat with someone more in depth.

    Viki in Missouri

  2. Wow, you are amazing - I love this unit - my Z and I love this book, so fun! :) Great ideas! :)