The Itsy Bitsy Spider Storia Teaching Guide
- Grades: PreK–K
This itsy bitsy spider wears bright pink sneakers, a backpack, and climbs up a rope! Students will recognize the opening rhyme of the traditional tale as the spider gets washed out of the waterspout by the rain. But as soon as the sun comes out again, the spider climbs back up to the roof and sets to work building a home. With the help of blueprints and tools pulled from her backpack, the spider creates a sturdy and rainproof web.
And, then—not again—clouds cover the sun and the rain comes down! The itsy bitsy spider doesn’t worry though, because she is prepared. She pops open her purple umbrella, climbs the spout again, and settles into her fine new home.
Young students will have fun singing along with the story, practicing the finger play for the song, and meeting this engineering spider.
Teaching the Book
The itsy bitsy spider is climbing up that waterspout again. Only, this time, the spider brings along a bag of tricks! Use this colorful and surprising version of The Itsy Bitsy Spider to teach students how to retell a story with sequence words and how to listen for rhyming words. Activities engage students in learning more about spiders, making a spider web, and creating a variation on the traditional song.
Theme Focus: Traditional Song
Comprehension Focus: Retelling With Sequence Words
Language Focus: Rhyming Words
Get Ready to Read
A Favorite Traditional Song
Introduce students to the traditional song of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” by singing it or by playing a video of the rhyme with the accompanying finger play. You can find several renditions of the rhyme on the Internet. Show students the Kids Library website to see this animated version of the rhyme which includes the finger play set to lively music.
As students listen to the rhyme, encourage them to add the finger play motions. Then review the finger play motions with them.
- Show me how the itsy bitsy spider climbs up the waterspout.
- Show me how the rain comes down and washes the spider out.
- Show me how the sun comes out and dries up all the rain.
- Now show me how the itsy bitsy spider climbs up the spout again!
Preview and Predict
Ask students to look at the cover of The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Ask them what is special or unusual about this spider. Discuss the picture including the spider’s shoes, ruler, and hammer.
Encourage students to listen for the following words—and the words they rhyme with—as you read the book. Encourage them to look for clues in the illustrations for the words’ meanings. Use Resource #1: Vocabulary Cards and distribute copies to students.
Words to Know
Ask students the following riddles based on the vocabulary words. The riddles include a rhyming clue and a meaning clue. Have students volunteer the answers or hold up the vocabulary card that answers each riddle.
- It rhymes with spout and means the opposite of in. (out)
- It rhymes with done and shines during the day. (sun)
- It rhymes with stay and means to be gone. (away)
- It rhymes with strong and is the opposite of short. (long)
- It rhymes with ground and is the opposite of lost. (found)
- It rhymes with prepared and means frightened. (scared)
As You Read
Reading the Book
Model a fluent reading of the book, emphasizing the rhyming in the text that creates humor and also cues students to remember the sequence of events in the song. Project the pages onto a whiteboard or screen and guide students to follow along as you read.
Reread the book, this time encouraging students to say or read the rhyme aloud. When reading aloud, pause so students can fill in missing words. Project the book, and point out the illustrations to help them locate clues. Read the book another time to repeat the exercise.
Big Question: Critical Thinking
Ask students to think about this question as they read. Write the question on chart paper and display it. Explain that you will ask them to answer the question after they have read the book. What is clever about this spider?
Retelling With Sequence Words
Explain to students that in the song things happen in a sequence, or order. Words like first, then, next, and finally are called cue words because they help describe the sequence of a story in time order.
Use the graphic organizer on Resource #2: Retelling With Sequence Words to model for students how to use sequence cue words to retell the events of the rhyme. Project the page on a whiteboard or pass out copies to students. Then lead the students through a retelling of the first rhyme in the book using the sequence cue words.
Model: We’re going to retell the rhyme together. You can look at the illustrations in the book to help you remember the order that things happen. How will we begin telling about the itsy bitsy spider? We’ll start with the word first. First, the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the what? The waterspout! Then, down came the what? Rain...”
Have students volunteer the remainder of the sequence of events in the rhyme. Ask them to repeat the cue word at the beginning of each line as they fill in the missing words.
After You Read
Questions to Discuss
Lead students in a discussion of these focus story elements.
1. Traditional Song
Have you heard the song about the itsy bitsy spider before? Where did you hear it? Why do you think children sing and like the song so much? (Sample answers: My babysitter sang it to me. I like it because it rhymes and the hand motions are fun.)
2. Using Sequence Cue Words
What happens after
the itsy bitsy spider builds a web on the rooftop? (Sample answer: The web helps keep her safe from the rain.)
3. Rhyming Words
Which of the vocabulary words rhymes with say and day? (away) Which word rhymes with bun and run? (sun) Which word rhymes with song and wrong? (long)
Questions to Share
Encourage students to share their responses with a partner or small group.
What is your favorite illustration in the book? Explain what you like about it.
Have you ever seen a real spider? Where did you see it? Where do real spiders live?
What other rhyming songs do you know? What other songs do you know that have finger or hand motions?
Content Area Connections
Play games with students to build their auditory discrimination of rhyming words. Depending on their developmental level, have students match pictures that have rhyming names or display objects like a ball, a book, and a block to match with a rhyming word that you say aloud.
How are Spiders Different?
Explain to students that spiders are different from insects. Spiders have eight legs; insects have six legs. Project photographs of different spiders and insects on the whiteboard or screen. Have students count the number of legs and tell whether it is a spider or an insect.
Retelling with Illustrations
Pair students with a partner to retell the story using the illustrations. Have one partner tell what happens on the first spread, pointing out details in the illustrations. Then ask the second partner to explain what happens on the next spread. Have students take turns until they read the entire book. Encourage students to describe details in the pictures that are not mentioned in the text.
A Big Spider Web
Provide students with the materials needed to create a giant spider web in one corner of the classroom. Help them anchor points for the web, then give students yarn or string to spin a spider web. Encourage them to study the itsy bitsy spider’s web in the book’s illustrations. With black construction paper and pipe cleaners, guide students to make spiders to add to the web.
Teeny Weeny Monkey
Encourage students to make up a song about another animal to the music of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” You may want to lead the whole class in the activity or have students work with partners or small groups. One fun variation on the song is about “The Teeny Weeny Monkey.” Instead of climbing a waterspout, the monkey climbs a tree. Model for students how to write the song by first brainstorming with students to create a list of words that rhyme with tree. Then create the song together on chart paper or the whiteboard.
Don't Forget the Big Question
Give each student an opportunity to answer the big question. Encourage students to support their answers with details and evidence from the text. Tell them there is more than one right answer. What is most clever about this spider?
Make copies of the printable, Big Activity: Spider Legs! and distribute to students. Explain that they will draw eight legs for the itsy bitsy spider and then number the legs. They can also add shoes for the spider’s feet! Go over the activity directions with students and clarify any questions. After they have finished the activity, have students share their spiders with a partner.
About the Illustrator
Constanza Basaluzzo was born in Argentina and graduated from the Universidad of Buenos Aires. She has concentrated her career as an artist on graphic communication for students. Her style interprets the world from a child’s point of view with bright colors, humor, and attention to details. She works in a digital format, creating whimsical worlds that delight students around the world.
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