Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Joy School - Bugs and Spiders

I had my first turn to host Joy School in our new school year, and it was so fun to be back at it. My week's theme was on Insects and Spiders. It was funny to see which kids loved bugs and thought they were totally cool, and which kids were grossed out entirely. Ha!

Lesson: I thought that a good place to start would be to talk about the similarities and differences between bugs and spiders. How would we know which is which?

I used a large paper and divided it in two. On one side I sketched a generic bug, and on the other a generic spider. The kids took turns pointing out things they saw on each of the critters, and we talked about that part of them.

Once we had their bodies down, we learned several other fun facts about them:

*Insects are found in nearly every environment on earth, including the ocean.
*There are more insects than all other types of animals combined.
*On average, you are never more than 6 feet away from a spider
*The largest spider is the Goliath Bird-eating Spider.

Video Clip: I showed a section from the Magic School Bus about bees and how they communicate with each other through dancing. It was pretty cool.

Art Time:

We made some fun hand-print spiders. They are super easy and something I like to to with my kids at Halloween. All you do is brush their hands with black paint, (except for the thumb) and they do two hand-prints with their fingers forming the legs, and their palms forming the two body segments of a spider. Then while the paint is wet, you can add googly eyes.

Music Time: There are so many bug and spider songs. This was a lot of fun. First we did the Insey Weensy Spider, then we did Arabella Miller.

Out last song was The Ants Go Marching, and I passed out instruments (shaped like bugs!) and as we sang it, we marched around the house in a parade. So fun. But, by the end of the song I was completely out of breath!

Lesson Time Part Two: We went back to the living room, and I passed out some great visual books with amazing picture about unusual and large bugs and spiders, one per child. Then they and their moms went though and looked at the pictures and the kids chose their favourite bug and read about it with their mothers. After a few minutes, they came up to the front and showed the rest of the group what they picked and why they liked it. We don't do much work in small groups, and I thought a little bit of public speaking would be good too.

Craft Time:

We made some pretty little butterflies for our craft. To make them, we coloured with washable markers on coffee filters, then used a spray bottle to squirt the filters with water when we were done. (The squirter makes the colours bleed together and it is very pretty).

After they had dried, we used clothespins to create the bodies of our butterflies. Last, we drew on a little face on the clothes pin.

Snack Time:

We made spider cookies. I made these last Halloween for our party, and the kids had lots of fun building them. I didn't have all the stuff on hand to make them the same as we did then, so we improvised a little, but they were stiff very yummy.

We used red licorice for legs, and icing for eyes.

Story Time: We read a few of Eric Carle's books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, and The Very Quiet Cricket. We also read Aesop's Fable of The Grasshopper and the Ant.

Wiggle Time: I had planned on using our Elefun game for our wiggle time, but I couldn't get it to work. I changed the batteries and everything, but nothing was happening. So instead we played hide and seek, where the hiders were pretending to be bugs 'camouflaging' themselves, and the person who is seeking was a spider looking for lunch.

Counting on the couch was very cute to watch.

And wouldn't you know it, not ten minutes after everyone left for the day, I got Elefun to work. Rats! So we played it just us two.

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