Spider Time!!Warning: this post has lots of pictures...lots. You've been warned; hehe.
Last week we kicked off our spider unit! It was a hit from the get go. I don't know what it is about these creepy, crawly, hairy little creatures that fascinate kids so much. I don't question it, I just roll with it!
We kicked off our unit by creating this graph. As you can see, the majority of the kids like spiders! I gave each student a piece of black construction paper that I cut into 3 x 3 inch squares (I may want to make them a smidge smaller next time). They used a white crayon to write the word "yes" or "no" and then I let them come up to the board and glue their card on the chart.
Then, we made these fun spider hats. If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you know that I love making hats. Thankfully, so do the kids! I tried to convince them to keep the hats at school for the duration of the unit, but they weren't having it and voted to take them home that night. I love how some got creative with the legs. So cute!
On day two, I read a book about spiders and then we started this anchor chart recording spider related nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Of course, some of the words they suggested weren't from the text (scary, creepy, etc).
In case you're wondering, the weird looking blocked out section in the adjective column is blocking the word predator. As we were brainstorming, I didn't catch that mishap fast enough. Oops! We've also continued to add words to this chart.
Next up, we read/completed this interactive mini book about spiders. It's a fairly challenging little book, so we completed it whole group so that I could guide them through each page. They enjoyed drawing a spider diagram, creating an illustration with a caption, comparing and contrasting spiders and insects, and more. I had the students refer back to the text repeatedly (still trying to drive home this important skill).
This week we continued learning about our lovely little arachnids. On Monday and Tuesday, we gathered information about spiders, as a whole group. First, I read a book and then lead the students in a brainstorming session where they shared facts that they recalled from the text. During this process, I like to model the process of going back to the text to confirm that we are recalling the facts accurately (I don't do this for every fact during the brainstorm, just a few).
I record the facts on an anchor charts (sorry, I only managed to get a picture of one of them), and then I task the kids with using that information to complete a graphic organizer (see below). We ended up making one anchor chart each day. All of this fact gathering is done to equip them with the knowledge they need to write an informative paragraph about spiders.
I had the students use the "notes" from our fact charts and turn them into complete sentences with this activity. So, not only did we participate in shared information gathering, but we practiced writing complete sentences using those facts.
Once we have gathered just about every spider fact imaginable, the students set out to write an informative piece about spiders. Below is a picture of the prewriting organizer I decided to have them use for this assignment. They will write their paragraphs tomorrow using spider themed writing paper.
We also spent some time sorting through various statements about spiders and determining whether the statement was true or false. I always love sorts like this because they challenge the students to think in a different way. Evaluating is a tough skill, but oh so necessary!
I have a few more activities planned for the next two days. First, we will practice using a number line to add and subtract. These little plastic spider rings are the perfect prop for this activity! I cut the ring part off and the kids will use them to hop up and down the number line as they solve various addition and subtraction problems. I realize that the spider prop is sheer novelty, but let's be honest, they need that sometimes!
Finally, we will wrap up our unit by playing my all time favorite game: Scoot! As the students scoot from desk to desk, they will determine whether the statement written on the card at each desk is a fact or an opinion. They love this game so, I already know that it will be a hit! At the end of any Scoot game, I go over all the answers with students.
I'm sad to see our spider unit come to a close, but all good things must come to an end.
These activities (and more) are from my Spiders! unit, which is available on TpT. (Note: the anchor charts and number line activity are not included).
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