Anansi and the Magic Stick

Hate is a very strong word, but let's be clear....

I HATE spiders.

But then I met Charlotte...

And then there was this guy:

I guess that means I don't hate ALL spiders, I just hate REAL spiders.  Fictional spiders I can support.

Maybe that's why I enjoy reading books about Anansi, who happens to be a spider.  Anansi is an African folktale character who often takes the shape of a spider.  He has been written about for years, often in many ways.  My favorite version of his stories are retold by Eric A. Kimmel.

Today I want to share some of my favorite things to do with Anansi and the Magic Stick.  If you aren't familiar with the story, Anansi the spider steals Hyena's magic stick so he won't have to do his chores.  However, when the stick's magic won't stop, Anansi gets more than he bargained for!

Character Traits
Anansi is a little different from most of the characters we read about since he tends to have more negative traits than positive.  However, second graders kind of enjoy pointing out all of Anansi's faults.  Sometimes they just put the word 'not' in front of a positive trait so it means the opposite.  I will help them with the correct word (ie. not responsible = irresponsible).  This helps them build vocabulary and word choice:

I do keep these character trait cards handy, though, just in case.

After we're done, I'll have students choose words from the chart (or add their own) to a character web.  Once they are done, they color, cut around the border, and glue into their literacy notebooks.

Story Elements
At this point in the year I'm still working hard on identifying story elements and a story retell (oral and written).  Since we work on these skills a lot, I thought it would be fun to put a spin on things (pun totally intended) and keep things fresh and new.
Students who volunteer to spin are also volunteering to identify the story element the spinner lands on.  The good news is we can do this several times so even your students who struggle with comprehension can try to recall the important events and participate.

Book Extension & Craft
This next part would probably creep me out if it weren't for these spiders looking so silly (and fake, definitely fake).  In the story, Hyena and Anansi both use a chant to control the magic stick.  My students get to write their own chant for the magic stick and we attach it to the spider:

PS - I don't know if it's the black paper I used, or what, but seeing the lines was hard work for the kids (and adults in the room trying to help).  I think next time I'll either use dark gray paper or just make tracer templates for the kids.  I ended up having my kids trace around the spider heads with white crayon because they just looked like they disappeared into the bodies.


If you aren't big on pre-made crafts, you could always have your students draw their own spiders.  Here's a great video tutorial that your kids can try as you watch:
(video courtesy of Art for Kids)


Most of these activities are included in this Anansi and the Magic Stick pack.

But that's not all - look what else is in there:


Happy Reading!

1 comment:

Suzy Q said...

I just love your resources and these stories were among my favorites growing up! Even with your "disappearing" heads, the spiders are cute!

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