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Montessori in a Dene Kindergarten – Montessori in a Dene Grade One Classroom

Blueberries, Blueberries, Blueberries Blue!

Posted by mrsmelva on 03/10/2009

The title comes from a rhyming big book that I co-wrote years ago. Back in the day when kindergarten classes were a good size (much smaller than they are now), two classes, with two teachers, shared my former classroom. My partner teacher and I came up with the words to the refrain of the book almost at the same time, after taking our students to pick blueberries. We worked after school to develop the rest of the text. We typed it up on an old AppleIIe computer, and printed it on a dot matrix printer and had one of the older classes illustrate the book for us. I am still using that book. Several of the artists are parents of my students in the past few years and one now works in the school as a special needs tutor. We went berry picking this year and brought back over 12 litres of blueberries. We ate “blueberries with sugar and cream, they melt in your mouth and taste like  dream” – that line comes from a poem I had on chart paper and retyped with photos to illustrate it. I had the chart paper version for years, I think it may have come from Robert and Marlene McCracken originally, but I am not sure. We also made blueberry muffins and blueberry pies. I didn’t get many pictures of these activities as I was too busy with guiding the students through the procedures. I did take pictures of each student at the berry patch to use in a writing activity.

Young berry pickers in the beautiful boreal forest where the blueberries grow.

Young berry pickers in the beautiful northern boreal forest where the blueberries grow.

It was a very warm day when we went to pick berries and we were joined by many pesky sand flies. Each child was given a plastic cup to pick into and they would spill their berries into a pail when the cup was full.

Cleaning blueberries, a genuine practical life activity.

Cleaning blueberries, a genuine practical life activity.

I sat down at the table to clean berries and just like Tom Sawyer and the fence painting, I soon had more eager berry cleaners than I had room for at the table. They took turns and worked very carefully to remove sticks, leaves and yucky berries.

Making individual blueberry pies.

Making individual blueberry pies.

The students are making their own blueberry pies in tart shells. It is a very easy process, put some berries in a bowl and then stir in a spoonful of sugar/flour mixture. Put that into the tart shell and top with a mixture of butter, flour and sugar and bake.

The writing activity that we did was mainly drawing with dictation although a few children put some letter like marks and magic lines on their paper to indicate words. I printed a page for each child with his/her picture in the berry patch in one corner and with the title Picking Blueberries at the top. The rest of the paper was blank to give lots of room for drawing and writing.

Next week we will make blueberry pancakes and then later on we will make more muffins with frozen blueberries. We will also learn about bears eating berries to prepare for hibernation. We read Blueberries for Sal before we went berry picking. Unlike Little Sal and Little Bear, we didn’t have anyone get lost or mixed up in the berry patch!


One Response to “Blueberries, Blueberries, Blueberries Blue!”

  1. Stephen King said

    MMMMMM! Where was I that day? Can’t get enough blue berries. My latest thing with blue berries is to make smoothies with them – no sugar added either!!!

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