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Teacher Lesson Plans: The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

written by: Donna Cosmato • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 1/17/2012

The industrious spider ignores offers to play, run, or nap while she spins her web in The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle. Kids enjoy the visual prop used to teach this lesson, and teachers, homeschool educators, and involved parents love teaching simple lessons like this.

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    This fun lesson uses the book The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, and takes 30 to 60 minutes to present. Literacy teaching tips are included; use this as a stand-alone lesson or combine it with other lessons in an Eric Carle series.

    Objective: This elementary level lesson plan teaches guided reading, prediction, language arts, and prewriting skills. Students connect printed words with spoken words and develop vocabulary fluency, and word recognition.

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    Lesson Plan Supplies and Prep

    Before class, prepare the bulletin board by placing the push pins in a five point star shape – one at the top, two on either side, one each on the bottom left and right. Make a slip knot in the yarn and affix it to the top push pin. After the story is told, the yarn is looped from push pin to push pin to form a star as the discussion questions are asked and answered. The yarn is then looped around the outside of the star to form a web during the remaining question and answer session.

    Example: Start at the top middle push pin, wrap the yarn around the pin and bring it down to the pin in the right hand corner. Ask a question, let the kids answer, and wrap the yarn around the push pin. Bring the yarn up to the pin in the upper left hand corner and continue the pattern until a star pattern is formed

    The following supplies are needed for this literacy lesson plan:

    • The Very Busy Spider,by Eric Carle
    • One skein red thread
    • Five push pins
    • A small portable bulletin board or other board to insert the push pins.
    • Easel for bulletin board
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    Classroom Lesson Plans - Tell the Story

    Show the book cover to the class, and then point to the title and say it aloud. This helps emergent readers to connect the printed word with the spoken word. Since weaving the spider web requires hands-on activity, we recommend reading the story first. Mark the pages corresponding to the discussion questions with sticky notes, and refer back to those pages as visual clues to help the class answer the questions.

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    Teacher Resources – Discussion Questions

    Try these discussion questions to get the class engaged in the activity:

    • What did the horse invite the spider to do?
    • Why didn’t the spider answer?
    • The cow wanted to share her grass, but the spider ignored her – why?
    • What happened when the sheep wanted to run with the spider?
    • The spider did not answer when the animals spoke to her – was she being rude?
    • The goat tried to get the spider’s attention – what did he say?
    • What did the pig want the spider to do?
    • Why didn’t the spider chase cats with the dog?
    • When it was naptime, who took a nap? What did the spider do?
    • Who wanted to go for a swim with the spider?
    • Who caught the fly?
    • The owl wanted to know who made the web, but got no answer. Why not?

    For other Eric Carle lesson plans, please read "Fun Elementary Math Lesson Plan: The Very Busy Spider."

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    Recommended Reading List

    Try these books in your classroom or at home to extend the lesson of The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.

    Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth by Eric Carle

    The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle

    The Magic School Bus Spins a Web by Joanna Cole

    Learning About Spider by Jan Slovak

    On Beyond Bugs: All About Insects by Tish Rabe

Lesson Plans for Teachers The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Here is a series of articles supporting teacher lesson plans on the children's book The Very Busy Spider. This collection of articles includes a lesson plan and literacy building activities.
  1. Teacher Lesson Plans: The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
  2. Use The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle to Teach Math Skills
  3. Elementary Art Lesson Plan: Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle