Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spectacular Spiders!

It’s been quite the week, my friends… and that is why my post was a bit delayed.  You know how it is, I’m sure.  It’s quarter-end and my life has been full of assessments, report cards, and individualized student goal sheets for the upcoming quarter.  Oh! I forgot to mention a 2 day out-of-town teacher conference too!  Just returned home today… and after some snugglin’ time with my kiddos, I have finally managed to find a few minutes to squeeze in some blogging time! #whoneedssleep

Just thought I’d share just a few activities from my



Like usual, it took some Thursday night prep...

This week the goal was to cover my room in spider webs and spiders, of course.  I just made a quick stop at Dollar Tree and for just a few bucks I had the room covered! (And YES.. that is a spider scarf I'm wearing!   Picked that baby up at the Dollar Tree too!)  The crazy spider headband is a few years old (got it at JoAnn's)...but I saw several similar ones at Michael's just a few weeks ago!   

We started the morning with a quick spider introduction, compliments of Scholastic's latest "Let's Find Out" Kindergarten magazine.  {LOVE how interactive these resources have become!}

Then we met up with our 6th grade BIG BUDDIES and made some pretty spectacular spider art!    

Want to know how we did it?  

First, we pre-painted the black construction paper.  To be more specific, we filled cups with white paint and threw in some marbles.  We placed the black paper into the lid of a paper ream box, threw in the paint covered marbles, and then tiled the box top all around.   WA-LA!  Awesome spider-web-ish patterned paper!  (We did this the day BEFORE we met with our buddies to assemble the project!)

Next, when our buddies joined us, the kiddos cut their spider-web-ish {Come on.. roll with me.  It SHOULD be a word!} black paper into thin (about 1/2 inch) strips.  The buddies worked together to form their own spider webs on the paper.
 While all the kiddos were working on their webs, I called the buddy pairs over to "my" table and I painted the kinder's palms and fingers (NOT THUMBS) with black paint.   They placed the first had down on a piece of white paper.  Then they placed the opposite hand, palm part overlapping the already printed palm print, so that the opposite hand's fingers stuck out like legs on the opposing side of the spider "body."   Immediately after that, I had the student make a fist and I painted the bottom of the fist with black paint... and had the child make a "head" print with the fist.  

Finally, we cut out the dried spiders and glued on the two "primary eyes."   Then... we took a Q-tip dipped in white paint and added the spiders two fore-eyes and four lower smaller lower eyes, just to be sure were attempting to be as anatomically correct as possible. (Most spiders have 8 eyes.)


On cue, "Dr. Science" {our early childhood director and one of my best friends} stumbled in like a hot mess, completely tangled in a ginormous spider web!  

Note:  I do all of the planning for what Dr. Science is going to do.  I prep the activities and "scrips"...but my awesome (and crazy-fun) colleague, Mrs. Kidd, brings it to life when she comes over and we "team teach" the content.  I LOVE IT!   We are getting pretty darn good at playing off each other to keep the kiddos engaged! #couldnotdoitwithouther  I'm telling you this because I've had followers comment things like, "Well, I couldn't do that because I don't have a co-teacher or an aide."  People, I haven't always had one either!   But if YOU are willing to do the planning, I betcha' you can beg a parent volunteer to come in and play along....YOU CAN do this! And it's FUN!   Your love for teaching will be re-energized and you'll be singing the ole' SMASHMOUTH "Hey Now, I'm a Rockstar" song in your head in no time!

"Did I hear you've been studying about SPIDERS??" she asks.

Of course, Dr. Science always brings specimens or tools directly from her lab!  This week, one the kiddos favorite  items was this large wolf spider.   {Oh YES.  It is real... and it is ALIVE!}

Then Dr. Science showed us a multi-media, spider-factual {Hey!  Look at me!  Making up all these new words!  Mr. Webster, you need to update your dictionary! Woo-Hoo!} slideshow movie.  It is just typed facts, pics, and music.  You have the read the words out loud to your kinders, which I kind of loved for this "Dr. Science" presentation.  The kiddos thought Dr. Science made it in her lab and just brought it over to share!

Interested in checking it out?  Click below...

Then, I shared this little snippet...

{BTW peeps, you should really check out the whole line of "All Things Animal TV" videos if you are ever in need of simple animal research or facts!}

Earlier, we had a class discussion on what we already knew about spiders and what we wanted to know.  {Le' ole K-W-L chart activity}  The kiddos came up with two REALLY great questions that I knew I needed to turn into research experiments.   

The first question was, "How does a spider eat its prey?"
So we challenged each student to use their imagination and take the roll of a spider.  I'll share the general idea of our experiment here for you....but it's important to let you know that the brilliant DeAnna Jump has a FABULOUS TPT science experiment packet that does a much more detailed and thorough experiment and data collection activity on this!   Not to mention, the packet contains DOZENS of other simple experiments that are PERFECT for every kinder-topic that you teach!   If you have special science activity days or "Fun Friday" days, like me,  it's a MUST HAVE!!!  
Check it out here:
  Simple Science Volume 1
  We used cups as our "webs" (I think bowls or even paper plates with webs on them would have been better!) and then placed some "insects" in the webs.   (We used sugar cubes to represent the insects.) Next, we put some "spider spit" (a.k.a. water) on our prey (sugar cubes) to mimic how a spider inserts venom into its prey, which then liquefies the insect.  Result: the water liquefies the sugar cube.   Then the kiddos used a straw to suck up their liquefied "prey," just like a spider! YUM!  

The next great question that they came up with was "Why do insects stick to spider webs, but the spiders never do?"  Well, again.... you have to check out Deanna's Science packet (above) to get all of the details, but let me tell you....the key is that spiders have oily feet!  Yep!  True story!

As always, a themed snack is an essential part of our Fun Fridays!   But this week, it wasn't me that was doing the preparation.  Our sixth grade buddies worked hard to create these yummy darlins'!  

(Chocolate donuts, pretzel sticks, frosting and m&ms)

We also headed to gym with a giant skein of yarn and made our own spider web!
Here are a few pics.   I wish I had more of us trapping our people prey in the web....but I was having too much fun playing along to snap pics at the same time!

Whew!  What a day! 
Again... filled with fun, but filled with rigor as well! Wish I had time and space to post about everything we did...but hopefully you picked up at least a few new ideas/resources!

It's all about "Setting the Stage 2 Engage" as my friend Hope King would say!
If you would like more information on this philosophy of engagement, check out this "change-your-life" e-book!

  Student Engagement: A Guide to Teaching Outside the Box

Oh, And I have to include this...

Never a dull moment, people. Never a dull moment.

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