B is for Blueberries, Bears and Books. Reflections, Week 38

We have been all things B this week!  Our book for the unit we finished up on Friday was Blueberries for Sal, which we have in English and in Spanish, and is a whimsical story of a little girl and her mom picking blueberries on Blueberry Hill and a little bear and his mom eating blueberries on Blueberry Hill, who happen to end up with each other’s parents.  It has been one of Elizabeth’s favorites, I think for a couple of reasons: 1 – It involves blueberries, 2 – It has a funny twist, 3 – It involves blueberries, and 4 – It has a funny twist.  With those things in mind, I planned out this unit most things blueberries, many things bears, some twisting, and some nature in our own backyard.  What I didn’t plan was that all things would end up with the letter B.

To kick off it off, we began with some books about bears, such as the National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia (which is awesome I might add, even if a little mature for a 5-year-old), and Animal World: The Bear, which is a good general book about black bears.  So, we read bears, drew bears, oh but didn’t end up play acting bears, oh well.

Then, we moved onto blueberries.  We ate blueberries, read about them, looked at photos of the three different kinds, discussed where they originated and where they are grown today and looked at the map to try to visualize it.  Then, we went down to our own garden and checked out what our blueberry bushes were doing – not too much yet, though the buds are swelling up and getting ready to open next month!

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What our blueberry bushes will look like in July.

After that, we came inside and did a kitchen project. The Moving Beyond The Page curriculum guide had canning blueberry jam laid out as an activity for this unit, and I can see where that thought would come from since Sal and her mom are picking blueberries to can as jam for the winter, but canning blueberry jam involves heat, as in everything is done with hot pots and hot liquid, and it just seemed to me that Elizabeth wouldn’t be able to do much more than watch.  On the other side of that, I am not very interested in canning blueberry jam, least of all from frozen blueberries.  I had intended to make the jam, I even got the frozen blueberries and the sugar but kept forgetting the pectin, but then we did another activity that I had added into my modifications, and I found that this was sufficient, if not better, because Elizabeth got to do it all herself and it involved ART…we made blueberry ink.  🙂

006I found a site on ehow.com about how to make blueberry ink, and that’s what we flew with.  I decided to paint a bear, while Elizabeth just went with painting the whole page.  We then speculated on whether the paintings would mold later, as I had tried to make blueberry ink in the 6th grade with my cousin as a school project and it had molded, so we ended up making aluminum can candle lanterns instead.  Luckily, our pictures did not get moldy, and we presented one of her paintings to my mom yesterday as a get-well gift.

Our last project for the unit was a Writing Workshop, which often involves the Superhero Notebook, but this time turned into a lovely little book.  I gave Elizabeth the option to use the notebook or make a little book, and asked her if she could come up with her own story that involved a switch like the one in Blueberries For Sal.  She decided that she wanted to make a book that told the story of Blueberries For Sal.  As she is only 5, I did not mind at all, for re-telling a story shows great comprehension, and she can re-tell the story pass for pass.  So, we made a little book, with me writing out the story and drawing the pictures (which was her idea), and then she wanted me to help her color them in as well, this time being more of a friendly sharing kind of asking for help.

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Our book turned out really nicely, and I was especially impressed that on the cover she had us put that the book was by Elizabeth and Mommy, just as any other co-authored book.  After we finished this, my mother ADD (not a technical term) was kicking in, but Elizabeth really wanted to continue onto another book about a Star Raspberry Patch, which I understood was to be a twist on Blueberries For Sal, but we only got it started as her attention was waning, mine was waning, and Brother had woken up and was ready to come upstairs (usually the signal of the end of our school day).  So, The Star Raspberry Patch is waiting in the closet for Monday now.

The last thing about this unit focusing on the letter B has been that the letter B has actually come up every day in our regular life.  Every single day, Elizabeth has thought about the words that she is speaking and hears and says, “That started with a letter B.”  Over the course of this unit, she noted that her Brother had a Birthday party with many Balloons, we ate BlueBerries and read about Bears, and we wrote a Book.  But everyday, she’d say to me, “I have another word that starts with B…” and then tell me whatever it was.  I can see and hear that she is on the cusp of starting to read, which is so exciting, I love this job!

Share your thoughts: What are some fun immersion projects you have done?

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