The following are ideas for using
The Very Busy Spider in the classroom.
- Submitted by Kim
Every year during August we explore a unit of insects and spiders. One classroom spider favorite is catching live spiders and keeping them in a closed container to observe. We then catch numerous other bugs and feed them to the spider. The students are curious how the spider catches them, kills them, spins them, and then eats them. Our observations continue until the unit is over and then we let the spider go. After students have observed real orb spiders webs on nature walks or from your classroom spider, encourage the students to notice the details and characteristics of the web. Then invite the students to create their own orb spider webs with spaghetti, glue and dark construction paper. Older students can also create great webs with white or colored glue in the bottles on dark construction paper. When the glue dries, have the children make rubbings with crayons and chalk.
- Submitted by Jill Hull
Our first graders made spiders and wrote sentences entitled “The Very Busy First Graders.” (__________ was very busy ____________ in school.) We pasted the sentences to the spiders and hung them from a web on our door. They were so cute!
- Submitted by Kathy L. Dacsenzo
After reading The Very Busy Spider, our Kindergarteners acted out the story. I made neck signs on 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock, assigning each child an animal character. The children sat in a circle on the floor, forming a spider web. The child who played the fly moved around the inside of the circle, bringing a gold thread with him as he moved. As we read the story, each animal would stand and hold on to the thread as the fly came over. We ended up with a beautiful spider web! Each time we act this out,the children take a new role.
- Submitted by Nicole Carter
I teach Kindergarten/First Grade and I make spider books with my students as a week-long project. Cut black construction paper and plain writing paper into circles of the same size. Staple the pages together like a book, using the black construction paper as the front and back covers. Each day the students will write one new spider fact in their books. On the last day, let students glue on a head, legs, and wiggly eyes. They love the finished product.
- Submitted by Maureen
One activity I do with my class is to make hanging Halloween spiders. Each student gets a wooden rod, and we take black yarn and knot it to the rod. We take a large black pom-pom and glue on tiny wiggly eyes and tiny black pipe cleaner legs. These spiders are great for scaring people! Another project is to take an egg carton and paint two of the egg cups. Pur class had already learned that although many spiders are black, others such as the Heather spider is hot pink, some are lime green, and the Zebra spider is striped! After painting the egg carton sections, we attached eight legs. What a great science project, all because of Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider and curriculum integration!
- Submitted by Wendy Gleich
For The Very Busy Spider, my special education class caught and kept a spider in a jar in our classroom. She spun her web, and we fed her flys. We also made spiders from plums and chow mein noodles, and flys from raisins and coconut flakes. We learned to count to eight, and participated in many interactive readings of the book with props. Mr. Carle’s books are good for the speech skills my students must master to succeed in school.
- Submitted by Becky Lock
Cut a white plastic egg cartons into sections. Children can poke black pipe cleaners into the egg carton sections to create eight legs, then paint the spider black or color it. Use black construction paper to create a web. Fill empty glue bottles with white paint. Children can squeeze the paint onto a piece of black construction paper to form a web. Place the spider into the web and let the glue dry.
- Submitted by Karen
I had my grade one students draw a spider’s web with white pencil on black construction paper. We used glitter glue to trace over the webs, giving them the same raised effect as in The Very Busy Spider. The next day the children made spiders out of shiny, metallic paper. The spiders and the webs looked great together.
- Submitted by Annie
I cut circles from a large polystyrene tray for my kindergarten class to make their own spider webs. The students snipped around the edge of the circle with scissors and then wound wool across the circle, slotting each strand into the scissor cuts. Then they added small toy spiders, and we hung the completed webs in the classroom. As we have dangerous spiders here in Western Australia, I use The Very Busy Spider to teach safe play: look out for the webs and leave the spiders alone!
- Submitted by Penny T.
I adapted this idea from AIMS to help my kindergartners understand why a spider does not get caught in its own web. I copied an orb spider web and traced over it with glue to make a raised surface. Next I put looped pieces of scotch tape on the web’s radial lines, but none on the “spokes”. The children experimented with plastic spiders (attached to a pencil or popsickle sticks) to see how a spider avoids the sticky parts of the web. Finally, we used a cotton ball to show how an insect becomes trapped in the web.
- Submitted by Sally
Here is an idea for a simple spider web. Have the children draw the spider web on a piece of cardboard. Use glue and yarn to outline their web. Simple and fun!
- Submitted by Jenny Neil
After reading The Very Busy Spider, my second graders made their own cut paper collage illustrations which we made into a class book. Each student illustrated and wrote a page of something he or she wanted the spider to do. On the facing page they drew their own spider webs with a pencil. After the pages were finished, I laminated each page. Then the kids used white glue to trace over their pencil drawn spider webs. After the glue dried on the laminated page, it left a raised spider web much like the one in the book!
- Submitted by Nick
Combining The Very Busy Spider with Dick King-Smith’s Emily’s Legs, we made a web (string stapled onto a board of black paper) for letters and wrote from “A Spider“ to each group, responding to group letters scribed by staff and individual letters sometimes scribed, sometimes in children’s own emergent writing in the character of the spider. A wonderful and complex set of images and messages followed, and was a major influence of that terms’ literacy work.
- Submitted by Michele Maglione
A great cooking activity that corresponds with The Very Busy Spider is making pretzel spiders. Dissolve 1 Tablespoon of yeast into 1 1/2 cups warm water. In a separate bowl mix 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 cups wheat flour, 2 cups all purpose flour. Add yeast mixture. Knead and form to make spiders. Brush with egg whites and salt. Cook 450 for 8-15 minutes. Kids love it!
- Submitted by Elizabeth Scudder
When I use The Very Busy Spider, I like to make a book nook using a large television box or refrigerator box, make a web inside the box with spider webbing from Halloween, cut out a doorway large enough for the children to see out of and feel safe, then add some pillows, a small chair whatever you have and a small lamp (a single lamp you would use at Christmas on a window sill works great) this reading area will make your youngsters feel right at home in their own web.