Thursday, 20 October 2011

Aaaaargh! Spiders!

First off I want to say, "Wow!" I can't believe I have over a hundred followers. I was shocked when I checked in tonight! Thank you to everyone and I hope you all find something useful here!

So I teach in a "Halloween sensitive" area and although we are allowed to celebrate Halloween, we are encouraged to be sensitive to the families who don't celebrate it. I haven't gone full swing into the Halloween craziness like I normally would have... Instead we have focused on studying spiders for the last week and a bit and next week I hope to do some fun pumpkin activities. So we can be Halloweeny without saying Halloween ;) We are still having a costume party on the 31st which should be fun. Although Halloween on a Monday = Ick! I do have a P. D. session to go to on November 1st though, so I guess a sub gets to deal with the sugar-high kids. :)

Well, here are some of the interesting spider activities we have done this week. We started off with a KWL of what the students knew and wanted to know about spiders.

Here are some of the fun spider books I like to use. I have the book and movie version of Diary of a Spider. Today I showed the movie to my class and they thought it was super cute. Interesting fact of the day: The spider is voiced by the kid from "Two and a Half Men".

We talked about what a spider looks like and I drew (poorly) a spider on the easel. We labeled six main parts together: the head, the abdomen, the legs, the eyes, the feelers, and the spinnerets. My kids loved that word and they use it all the time! We also sang this spider body part song (to the tune of "Head and Shoulders"):

Head, eight legs, ab-do-men,
Ab-do-men, ab-do-men.
Head, eight legs, ab-do-men,
Eyes, feelers, spin-ner-ets.

Then students then labeled their own spider diagram. Click on the picture to download.

Next we talked about what spiders eat. My little bunnies couldn't believe that there are some spiders out there that eat things like fish and birds! That was pretty gross to learn! I also used Deanna Jump's science experiment "How do spiders eat their prey?" We did a little sort with things a spider eats and things we eat. Click the picture to download.

We did a little sequencing activity with the spider's life cycle. I made large cards to use all together on the easel and a small half sheet for students to cut out and glue in order. We glued these into our theme journals. The graphics on the cards are used with permission from You can download them for free by clicking on the picture.

Seeing as we were learning some new big words like spinnerets and abdomen, I thought I would throw in arachnophobia! We did a class graph to see who in our class had arachnophobia. There is an individual student sheet to go with it. I made another sheet to ask who in our class had ever caught a spider before.


One of my favourite spider stories is "The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle. It's a cute little repetitive story. After I read it once, I ask my students to be "actors" and assign each an animal from the story. I had my spider "making" her web on the white board at the front as the fly buzzed around her. When I got to each animal in the story they stood up and made their animal sound. It was cute and they all had fun being a part of the story. I made these little cards for each animal so the students knew who they were. You could also use it as a pocket chart sequencing activity. I just loved the farm animal clipart from Stockberry Studio. Super cute! Click to download your own cards.

 We also used this book in a Venn Diagram comparison. We looked at two different spider books: "The Very Busy Spider" and "National Geographic Readers: Spiders". We talked about the similarities and differences between the two books. I made a little Venn Diagram activity with fact cards to cut and glue into the appropriate spaces. I also made a blank Venn Diagram to compare two different books of your choice. Feel free to download it if you can use it!

Lastly, we took all of the information we had learned about spiders and completed a tree map.

You can download the tree map labels and a student tree map here.

We used the facts from our tree maps to do some spider writing. I was very pleased with their work. We have been practicing using capitals and periods in our writing and they did a good job on this. We also made colourful spiderwebs and spiders using Sharpies and oil pastels. I totally stole this idea from Reagan over at Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits. I loved it! We mounted our writing and spider webs on a large piece of construction paper. They turned out very cute.

I love the last line there... Spiders ar kol. (Spiders are cool.) So cute! You can download my spider writing paper here.

I also have a few spider math stations that I will be posting this weekend when I post Math Stations - Set 2. They are mostly spider and pumpkin related, so hopefully you can use them next week before Halloween! 

Have a great Friday tomorrow! Woo! :)


  1. Love all of your activities! Just what I needed to spruce up my unit. Thanks so much for sharing them!

  2. Thank you so much for all the freebies! We are reading Diary of a Spider and these will be perfect!

  3. Terrific spider materials and ideas! I am a follower/fan-for-life!

  4. You have absolutely the best blog! This unit is fantastic and I'm using everything! Thank you so much for sharing!!! Your students are VERY fortunate to have you.

  5. You had everything that I needed and wanted! Thank you SO much for sharing, I absolutely love this!

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  7. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing!