“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly.
Written in 1829 and loved by children and adults alike, The Spider and the Fly is a witty, cautionary tale that highlights human foibles. It explores what happens when the vain and gullible meet the cunning and devious. This packet contains two 45-minute lessons with differentiation and/or extension ideas, corresponding activity sheets and an editor’s checklist.
In the first lesson you will read The Spider and the Fly to your students then discuss as a group how the author, Mary Howitt, uses descriptive language to bring her characters to life. Students will examine the setting of the tale, exploring its effect on the story. Students compile a list of adjectives and corresponding synonyms that describe the personality traits and physical characteristics of the Spider and the Fly. This list can be used in lesson two and be kept writing journals or writing folders as a handy writer’s reference tool.
The second lesson explores how stories often have a moral lesson to teach us. After reading aloud The Spider and the Fly a second time, your students will discuss the personality traits and behaviors Mary Howitt is trying warn us against. Students will begin work on their own cautionary tales by writing a brief description of their story idea, clearly illustrating the lesson they want the reader to take away from their tale. They will develop 2 characters that are opposites of one another, much in the same way that the Spider and the Fly are opposites of each other. The story writing itself will occur over several writing periods.
Bonus! A The Spider and the Fly word search is included for a little extra fun!
Both of these lessons meet Common Core standards in ways that are interesting, exploratory and meaningful. Skills include listening comprehension, fiction writing, group discussion skills, vocabulary skills.
When I taught this book study I always used the edition illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. The drawings are amazing and really set the tone for discussions!
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