Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blueberries for Chloe

Each week I try - with the emphasis, especially lately, on the word try, to read a new book with the kids. This is really for the boys, since the curriculum I'm using is for preschoolers, but Chloe loves to join in. I've been using Before Five in a Row for the boys this year, and each day for one week you read the same book to your kids, and then there are all sorts of simple, creative learning activities that the book suggests to do.

This year when we got to Robert McCloskey's wonderful classic Blueberries for Sal, Chloe abandoned her handwriting immediately each morning and curled up on our reading couch to join in. This book was one of my favorites when I was little - I still have the little book plate with my name on it pasted on the inside cover - and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Chloe has loved it since she was pretty tiny. The combination of mischievous little Sal, ripe Maine blueberries, and a surprise visit from a bear makes for irresistable reading for the four- to six-year-old crowd.

This was right about the time we were hitting a few speed bumps in our daily learning process, particularly with math. Chloe was getting bored, and starting to express frustration with having to do the same old routine every day, so I decided to run with her interest in the book and create a week of learning activities around it. We started with math, making a big bowl of "blueberries" out of homemade blue playdoh.

Then I set out "pails," each one with a different math problem written on it.

Chloe read each problem (6+2, for instance, or 9+6), and then filled each "pail" with the number of blueberries that represented the answer.

The next day we began a lapbook.  

We started with learning about different bears in the world today - what parts of world they live in, what they like to eat, and so forth. We're looking forward to bringing this to the zoo with us as soon as the weather gets nicer and seeing some of these bears in person!

Then, of course, we moved on to Chloe's favorite activity - baking. In her lapbook she learned how to write and identify 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 whole, and after she pasted in examples of each, she was able to get some hands-on practice adding ingredients to blueberry crisp.

Here's the recipe we used. I wanted something really simple so that she could do almost all of it herself, and this was wonderful!!

 She paused in the middle of mixing to read a new book...

and then got back to business.

Ready for the oven!!

Chloe had a great time, and I learned a lesson about the value of mixing things up a bit and infusing our learning process with a bit more creativity.

No comments:

Post a Comment