Transform Your Classroom for Spider Week
October is a great time to do a quick unit on spiders! Not only are spiders a fun topic for kids, but it is an opportunity to give students background knowledge and vocabulary they can use later in school and in life. For a long time, elementary teachers have been focusing on teaching skills instead of content. Students need to learn how to decode words and write complete sentences, but without content their ability to comprehend what they read is limited.
Some kids get this background knowledge through home experiences such as reading books and visiting museums. Kids that don’t get the background knowledge at home can struggle in upper elementary grades and middle school because reading and comprehending complicated texts requires background knowledge.
On way to ensure all of your students will experience success at school is to integrate content into all of your lessons. The integration will provide your students with background knowledge and make the lessons more fun and meaningful.
To build the excitement of the week, make a “Welcome to Spider Week!” banner to welcome your students to school on Monday. Then, incorporate as many spider activities into your lessons as possible. Just replacing your regular math counters with spiders will get your students in the spirit! You can get this bag of 200 spiders at Amazon for about $8.
You can also bring some other props into your classroom to make the unit special for your students. These realistic spider models would be helpful for teaching students the parts of the spider. Kids can touch the cephalothorax and abdomen instead of just looking at a picture. Plus, three models are under $6.
I have created some spider sentences you can use to teach grammar lessons. The document is a Google Slide, so you can edit the directions and the sentences to fit your needs. Students can circle specific parts of speech, separate subjects and predicates, edit the sentences, and so much more. There are suggestions on how to use the sentences in the file. There will be a full version available for purchase at Teachers Pay Teachers or for download by Productive Teacher Members soon!
I also created a graphic organizer for students to record what they learned about spiders. Just click on the picture of the graphic organizer to download it!
If you are teaching a lower elementary grade, you will definitely want to create some adorable spider crafts with your students! The website below has fun ideas and pictures, so you can see examples of the crafts. My favorites are the paper plate and string webs to improve gross motor skills and the Oreo and pretzel spiders (because food crafts are the most delicious). There is also an addition game using plastic spiders and spider webs that would be so easy to prep.
Proud to be Primary has an adorable blog all about the fun ways she learns about spiders with her class every year. She has tons of pictures too!
These two websites are full of information on spiders. They would be helpful for upper elementary students researching spiders.
Here are some good videos on spiders. You can either show them to your whole class or use them as a resource for a personalized learning unit on spiders. Most are just a few minutes long, but the last video in about an hour documentary.