I haven’t blogged in a week, but I promise you it wasn’t because I was off playing. I’ve been working hard on my spider unit, designing blogs, and keeping up with our classroom too. My husband and I managed to slip off to the pumpkin patch this weekend for a bit so it hasn’t been all work and no play, but close!
I wanted to share what we’ve been learning about spiders with you. I’m not a big fan of the little critters, but my kids just have so much fun studying them each October that I can’t leave the unit out. I tend to organize my reading and writing workshops around genres, but I’m often able to work in thematic units too. Spiders fit in perfectly with our Amazing Animal Project.
We start the week by reading Spiders at Work by Diane Hoyt. It’s out of our old basal and I haven’t been able to find it in print anywhere else, but it’s sooo good! It teaches students all about spiders, how they make their webs, and describes a few popular kinds too. Then I have my students follow the directions in the book to make their own webs on their chairs. They turn out so cute! Afterward, we turn into spiders ourselves and do a little writing. This reading/writing/kinesthetic/art activity reaches so many little learners.
After we kick off the week with the chair webs, I continue to weave spiders into reading, writing, science, math, and art activities throughout the week. We’re practicing highlighter and note-taking skills in guided reading while learning about spiders at the same time. We’re practicing double and triple-digit addition and subtraction problems on webs that the students get to color only if they remember to show their work (ha!). We’re even writing poetry about the little arachnids. My students are so into it they forget they’re working, which is the best part. I couldn’t link up the Spiders At Work book, but here are the others we’re using.
This year, our unit also aligned with the week first graders study spiders so we’re going into the first grade classes to share our poems and practice public speaking skills. When we’re finished, we’ll put the poems on our web out in the hallways beside our room. My spider feels kinda lonely up there right now, but the other spiders are going to look so cute when we’re finished.
I also wrote a mini book about spiders just for my class this year because they were so into it. I’m thinking they will be able to make their own by the end of the unit. My students are turning into little scientists right in front of my eyes. =)
I hope that gives you a few new ideas that you can use. If you want to get in on all
the spidery fun, you can grab my Spider Unit for Big Kids in my TpT store. It’s laid out a lot like my Appleseed and Pumpkin units if you’re familiar with those. For the first 24 hours, I’m putting it up for $3 instead of $4. There are more ideas in there than we have time to get to in a week, so that should provide you lots of variety.
Of course, I can’t share a unit with you without offering a freebie from it. This one is a just-for-fun coloring sheet that can also double as a cover for the students’ spider work folder. I’ve also used it for fast-finishers near the end of the unit.
Be on the look out for my monster pack because it’s up next. I have a couple pretty cute ideas to share with you for that one too. =)