Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spider Week - EEK!

I do not like anything buggy / insecty / creepy-crawly.

Once when I was handing out lunch tickets at the cafeteria doors, one of my students came up in line, holding something in his hand.

"Rolly polly!" he cooed, holding it up for me to see.

"OH, WOW," I said, a little too loud.

He gently set it on the ground. "Make sure he doesn't get stepped on!" he said, and then bopped off to lunch.

I watched him go and promptly stepped on it.

So this might be surprising, but in October, I like to do a Spider Week with my students. It's also surprising to me how much they love it every year!

There are SO MANY cute ideas for spider stuff on Pinterest and on TPT, but spider week looks a little like this in my classroom:

We make a KWL chart - first on the rug, with a shared writing activity. We write what we Know or Think about spiders in one column, and then questions we have in the other column. I give my kids a chance to record some of what we talked about on their K and W. I got this cute worksheet for free on TPT and it has worked great for me!

Then I read to them about spiders. I don't really have a favorite book....I always pick a different one from the library. Here is a great list of fiction and nonfiction books about spiders.

While I read, I have them fill out the L part of their chart, as well as a Can / Have / Are chart that I got from this cute mini-unit by Kindergarten Lifestyle - also for free and also from TPT! (She also has another KWL chart in there if you want it to match with your C/H/A chart.

How cute, right?? There is also a spider labeling worksheet in there that I love and plan on using next year.
Last year I wrote a story called "The Princess and the Spider" for Spider Week. The kids loved it....maybe just because I wrote it? But I actually do feel quite proud of it! Anyway, I read half of this on Monday, and we circle back around to it on Thursday. I put it on TPT if you are interested!


So blablabla worksheets and listening. On Tuesday, we played a super-fun game to review verbs and adjectives. Every student got one of these adorable free verb / adjective cards, which I got from The Applicious Teacher on TPT. There weren't enough cards for my class, so I just had the students who didn't get a card hold stuff for me. One student held the Verb sign, another held the Adjectives sign, and two other students each held a line of yarn. 

The kids holding the yarn and signs were my spiders, the yarn was the web, and everyone else was a bug. For Round 1, I called on students one at a time to stand up, say the word on their card, and then buzz / crawl / flap / inch / hum over to the webs. If there was a verb on their card, the spider living in the verb web had to catch them, and if they had an adjective, the adjective spider had to catch them. 

Just to keep things from getting out of control, I had two rules. 

1. If the spider touches you, you are caught.
2. No wrapping people up with yarn or throwing it over them. Just wrap the yarn once (gently) around their hand and be done. 

When a lot of bugs got caught in the webs, I asked them to participate by either saying "Come over here! Come over here! Come over here!" or "Stay away! Stay away! Stay away!" 
Here are our terrified bugs, all caught in the verb web. They just set the cards in a pile on the desk when they got "caught."
And here's the adjective web! (You can see the spider in blue and yellow stripes creeping in, about to eat one of them. 
It worked pretty well to just do one person at a time for Round 1. 
After Round 1, we did a "Blitz Round." Everyone had to write one word on their whiteboard, either a verb or an adjective, and then they all buzzed over to the webs all at once. My rule for this game was that if they wrote a verb, they couldn't hang out by the adjective web trying not to get caught, and vice versa.

I love the adjectives they came up wth! Red, ugly, gentle, poisonous, big....

I love my art project that goes with spider week! We worked on informational writing with this spider craftivity. Each student needs to come up with a main idea, either an opinion on spiders or a broad fact that can be used as their topic, and 8 details.

Then they glue it all together and put it on a half-sheet of black construction paper. You wouldn't believe how many spiders wear makeup these days!


This year, I decided to do a pumpkin book report. I'm sure you've seen a million versions of this idea on TPT or any number of teaching blogs, but I first heard about it from my teammate. I think it was Hope King, writer of Shenanigans in Second. Oh my goodness, she is a genius! I didn't use her version of the project - just made my own, but she was definitely my inspiration. 

Anyway, I wanted my kids to get a little practice creating a pumpkin character so they would know what I expected for their book report. On Thursday, I finished reading my "Princess and the Spider" book to the class. We split up into groups of 3-4, and I gave one pumpkin to each student. Since there are only 3 characters in "The Princess and the Spider," I had two groups in each class work on each character. (I just got the plastic trick-or-treat buckets that look like pumpkins, and a bag of 3 table pumpkins instead of getting big orange pumpkins). I pulled out a box of just a few art supplies, including pipe cleaners, googly eyes, construction paper, and cotton balls. Then I sat in my pink chair with my hot glue gun and let them go crazy!

Oh my heck, how cute did this spider turn out? 
I love how they put 8 eyes! Just one fact we learned about spiders this week.
Here's one of the kings. I love the pipe cleaner hair!
Pretty much every 2nd grader loves art, but this year I have a group of kids who are especially engaged whenever we do anything artistic. I loved watching them work together and get their creative on!
Part of our book report is also going to be a short, 3 minute presentation. We did that today just to give them some practice for when they are presenting their projects on their own. 
Do you see that face on construction paper glued on the pumpkin? One of my little guys came up to me very upset as we worked on our pumpkins. "Mrs. Shimp??" he said. "Those kids copied off of my face!" 

I looked where he was pointing. "Oh, did you make a construction paper face too?"

He shook his head. "I'm in the spider group," he said. "But that is my face. They're copying my face!"

I'm sure I looked very confused. 

"It looks exactly like my eyes, and my smile," he continued, very earnestly. 

"Wow! I wish they had copied my face!" I said. That made him feel better and he went back to his spider group. 

His eyebrows!! 

And that's it! Do you do a Spider Week in your class? What is your favorite activity for teaching spiders?

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