IMG_1290My 1st graders just finished up a study on spiders.  We started with me reading a mentor text about spiders.  (National Geographic Kids’ Spiders!–I absolutely LOVE their books and try to use them as often as possible!)  In the mentor text it talks about the way spiders make their webs and how it differentiates between spiders.  Students watched 2 short YouTube clips of spiders making their webs and the different ways they hunt.  There were lots of ooos and ahhhhs as we could see the spiders pull the silky string from their spinerettes and hook them in different places.  This helped provide a nice foundation of how spiders work.

From there we went over some more difficult spider terminology such as spinerettes so when students came across it in their reading they wouldn’t struggle and also so they would be able to use those same vocabulary words in their writing.

Students then read their book All About Spiders and were asked to make notes about how spiders hunt, eat, build their webs, and how they look.  They placed sticky notes in their books for places they wanted to remember.

Together we created an anchor chart as a large graphic organizer on spider characteristics and how spiders hunt, what they eat, the webs they make, and IMG_1285how they look.

This was a good opportunity for students to see how different spiders really are.  This was a learning experience for all of us as we learned not all spiders have webs and not all spiders eat insects–some hunt for tiny fish and are so light they can walk on water and dive in the water.

Most of the spiders we see around our homes are brown/black so the kids were very surprised when we saw spiders of all shapes, sizes, and colors that looked different from the ones we usually see.  1st graders copied this information on their own individual graphic organizers and we shared the information so they would have it for when they wrote independently.

After we finished organizing our information on our anchor chart together we greated a group message.  For time sake I only chose to write about one thing from each category, but students were asked to include 2-3 details per category in their own writing.

IMG_1286After we finished our group message, students were able to choose a quiet place to write independently using their graphic organizer.

I was able to conference with students individually and help them refine skills they needed to work on personally.  One of the things I’m noticing is we need to make sure we are only using capital letters in the appropriate places and we especially need to make sure we are starting our sentence with a capital letter.  We briefly regrouped to highlight on our group message where we capitalize in the story.  We also were missing A LOT of punctuation so this was a good time to highlight punctuation as well.