Spider Unit: Using Spider Activities to Teach the Standards this October
It’s October! Some of my favorite seasonal themes happen in October! Bats, pumpkins… spiders! What? This past week, we had a chance to learn more about spiders through our spider unit! By all means, I am no fan of spiders (they give me the heevy-geevies!) But here in Florida, spiders are E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. And some are very poisonous! So, I know that teaching my kiddos about spiders in the end is a good idea! Plus they love it… (the things I do for those kidlettes!) This spider unit also makes it easy to tie in so many of those reading and science skills in an interactive and engaging way! So, today I’m sharing with you some of our favorite spider activities from the week!
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Spider Unit Introduction
It was the perfect way to bring in some of our math standards into our learning for the day, too! YEAH! Bonus, this was an easy and fun spider activity!
Spider Unit KWL Chart
During our reading block, we were ready to share what we already knew about spiders. So, I pulled out our handy-dandy Spider KWL chart and had students use sticky notes to share what they “knew” about spiders already. After reviewing our answers, we then brainstormed some questions we had about spiders.
Spider Unit Vocabulary Preview
Before diving into our spider unit books for the week, I took a moment to preview some key vocabulary using these vocabulary cards from my Spider Unit. After reviewing the words together, students started in on a vocabulary “Read and Do” activity.
I only gave them a few minutes to start on it, then I had them put it in their center work folder to complete during their seat work center rotation. That way, once students completed the activity during centers, they could take home the sheet to study and review in preparation for our required vocabulary assessment at the end of the week.
Spiders Books for the Week
When we’re doing a big thematic unit like this, I like to take a break from our usual close reading routine. This allows me to pull a bunch of different spider texts through out the week so we can build our schema as we go through each book. Here’s a peek at some of books we read this week!
A great mix of fiction and non-fiction spider books!
Spiders VS. Bugs
One of the biggest things I noticed about my students’s KWL’s was that they often wanted to know more about this “bug”, but of course, spiders are NOT insects! They are arachnids. So we used the book, “Spiders” by Gail Gibbons to learn more about these amazing creatures and how they are different from insects. Then, we worked as a class to discuss how spiders and insects are alike and different by pulling information from the text. We documented our learning on this anchor chart.
Then, students headed back to their seat to complete this comparison tab-book on their own.
Spider Activities: True or False!
Later in the week, we were ready to start our spider research projects, but I first wanted to make sure that as we read more about spiders that students could in fact distinguish between fact and fiction when it came to spiders! So we first discussed what the words true and false meant. Then, we were ready to play a Spider True or False game using our newly minted spider knowledge!
To play, I had students sit in a circle on our carpet. In the middle we had two labels: Spider TRUE and SPIDER FALSE. Then in the bucket, I put true and false statements about Spiders. Taking turns, students passed around the bucket, read the statement then sorted it under the label they thought was best. As a class, we then confirmed or corrected the student’s choice by using the thumbs up or thumbs down signal. If the student got all thumbs up (and it was confirmed by me!) It stayed in that column. If the student got a few thumbs down, we’d ask for some coaches to come help the student, or explain why they didn’t agree with the placement.
After we played, I left the cards on the floor and students headed back to their seats to complete a spider true and false sort on their own. We made these cute little spiders with the finished work!
Spiders Can Have Are
To continue building our vocabulary and understanding of spiders, later in the week, we worked to fill in this Spiders: Can, Have, Are Chart.
This would set us up for a fun poem writing activity!
We used our new found word knowledge to create these uh-dorbs spider poems from Mrs. Lemon’s! (You can grab those for FREE here!) To make the spider web in the background, I used white glue to make the web on large sheet of black butcher paper. I then covered the glue web with silver glitter and laminated it! Now I use it year after year!
Spider Literacy Centers
Spider Research Project
Since we were learning so much about spiders, I thought it was only fitting that we complete a spider research project. To complete, students first chose a type of spider to research. Then, they used a combination of these information cards, different spider books, and the computer to fill out our research paper.
At the end of the week, students shared their research in small groups of two to three students.