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Wild Blueberry Poetry

The students will:
1. write a poem about wild
blueberries using one or more
forms of poetry.
2. edit and compile the poems into
a book or newspaper.
3. illustrate their poetry (and/or
book) using an art technique or
medium of their choice.
life skills:
Describing, developing appreciation,
developing vocabulary, editing,
expressing one’s self, illustration
(or other art forms), observing,
Blueberry barrens writing
BRIEF DESCRIPTION • Writing materials and paper
The students will explore poetry and art using the wild • Art supplies
blueberry as the object of their efforts. They will write and illustrate • Computer and CDs
a poem using descriptive language and read their poems to the class.
Estimated teaching time:
Two or three 45-minute class
Correlations to State of Maine Learning Results:
Parameters for Essential Instruction preparation:
Insure that the poster accompanying
Content Area Performance Grades 3-5 Grades 6-8 this educator kit is displayed where
Indicator Descriptor(s) Descriptor(s) students can see it.
English Language A2 f, g f
Arts B1 f c
Science and A1 a a
Cinquain, Haiku, Acrostic (Other
Technology E2 c, d, e b
vocabulary words will develop as
Social Studies D2 b b the students write.)
Visual and B1
Performing Arts

Wild Blueberry Poetry


Th wild blueberry has been part

The It begins like this:
of M
Maine’s history, culture and
You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
economy for centuries. The wild
To the village, through Patterson’s pasture today:
blueberry was an essential part
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
of the Native American diet and
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
culture long before settlers came
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!…
to Maine. It was eaten fresh in
the summer, dried for use in the Or in Pauline W. Moore’s Blueberries and Pulsey
winter aas a seasoning for stews and Weed: The Story of Lovell, Maine:
soups, and used for curing meats. The
When ‘Went A-Blueberrying’
crushed wild blueberry was made
was recorded it was really summer.
into dyes. It was also used
Blueberries were plentiful,
in medicine. Brewed as a
especially where the land
pungent tea, it was given
had been burned
to relieve pain. Blueberry
juice and syrup were used as
If it had been
cough medicine. It was and
an extremely dry
is a part of Native American
summer, the berry
legends and is believed to
pickers had to watch
have magical powers. Atop
out for bears that
each wild blueberry is a five-
stood up on their hind
pointed star that is the base
legs and reached for
of its earlier flower calyx.
the big ones just as
Legend has it that during
the humans did. Many
a time of starvation, the
bears have been seen
Great Spirit sent these “star
by blueberry pickers
berries” down from
but never has anyone
the heavens to relieve
been hurt. Both the
the hunger of his
bears and humans run
as fast as possible, the
When settlers arrived, only difference being
the Native Americans that the human drops a basket full of his
showed them the wild best berries.
blueberry barrens that
Nor can we ignore
had been cared for by
the unforgettable impact
burning on a regular basis
that Blueberries for Sal
and taught the many uses of
has had on young children
the wild blueberry. Colonists in 17th century
across the United States. In
New England created foods called Grunt, Slump, Mush,
the classic story, a young
Buckle, and Fool made from wild blueberries. During wild
girl in Maine wanders
blueberry season, one of these dishes usually graced the
away from her mother
supper table. From BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL
while blueberry picking to by Robert McCloskey, copyright
The importance of the wild blueberry to Maine’s come face-to-face with a 1948, renewed (c) 1976 by Robert
economy is still in effect today. It affects not only the mother black bear whose McCloskey. Used by permission
of Viking Penguin, an imprint of
economy, but also our culture and diet. One such example cub has also wandered Penguin Putnam Books for Young
can be found in Robert Frost’s poem, “Blueberries,” away to come face-to-face Readers, a division of Penguin
published in 1914 by Holt and Company in North Boston. with Sal’s mother. Putnam Inc.

Wild Blueberry Poetry

Poetry is also a part of our culture. It has allowed us ACROSTIC

to paint word pictures to express thoughts and feelings
about our experiences. There are many forms of poetry. Acrostic poetry uses a word written down the left side
Three of these are Haiku, Cinquain, and Acrostic. of the page. Using the letter of the word as the first letter
of another word or phrase a poem is written.

W onderful B lue
I nspired L ights
Haiku is a Japanese poetry form that always has L ovely U plifting
three lines that do not rhyme. The first line always has D elights E very
five syllables. The second line always has seven syllables. B erry
And the third line always has five syllables. It is usually E very
written about nature or the seasons. R ipe
R eady
Example: Y ear
Line 1, 5 syllables – Blueberry picker
Line 2, 7 syllables – raking blueberry barrens
Line 3, 5 syllables – summertime in Maine


The Cinquain is a five-line poem that is based on the

number of words or syllables. Each line has a theme and a
given number of words or syllables. Activity

Line one: a title written in two words or

1. Display both the poster and the folder that
contains this kit. Ask students to brainstorm and
Line two: a description of the title in four words
write a list of words that describe these images.
or syllables
Use both the inside and outside of the folder.
Line three: a description of action in six words
or syllables 2. Select one or more of the poetry types for the
Line four: a description of a feeling in eight students to utilize and have each write their own
words or syllables poem using words that have been developed in the
Line five: another word for the title in two brainstorming session.
words or syllables
3. Have the students edit their poems and reproduce
Example: a final copy onto a large sheet of construction paper.
Have the students select a medium and illustrate
Wild Blueberry.
their poems.
Sky-blue, round, sweet.
Raking on the barrens. 4. Have the students read and display their poems,
Sweet happiness in round, blue balls. then post their works or have the class compile them
Wild joy! into a book.

Wild Blueberry Poetry


1. In conjunction with the other lessons in this 1. Evaluate the poetry and accompanying artwork
educator kit, have the students each compile their as they relate to the style chosen.
own wild blueberry book that contains poetry,
2. As an evaluation tool, assign the students to
artwork, an advertisement, the life cycle description develop a greeting card that contains a poem and
and sequence, etc. is illustrated. Include these in a portfolio.

2. Create a wild blueberry newspaper and have the

students compile efforts from these lessons into
sections of the newspaper. 1. McCloskey, Robert. Blueberries for Sal. New
York: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers,
3. Have the students research other instances where 1976.
wild blueberries are used in literature, poetry, the
2. Lathem, Edward Connery ed., The Poetry
press, etc.
of Robert Frost. New York: Holt, Rinehart and
4. Have older students write longer poems and turn Winston, 1964.
them into song lyrics, create a rap song or write a 3. Moore, Pauline Winchell. Blueberries and Pusley
free verse. Weed: The Story of Lovell, Maine. Kennebunk,
Maine: Star Press, Inc., 1972.