E.B. White's classic children's book, Charlotte's Web, has fascinated young readers for years. This chapter book is sure to pull your students in as they follow along with the adventures of Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton, and Fern. This simple farmyard tale holds deep themes as it is a story of friendship full of moments of tragedy and triumph. The memorable characters make for rich discussion and character analysis. This set of activities will help bring this book study to life for your students and make this a unit to remember.
1. Web of Words
Instead of giving a prescribed vocabulary list, have students collect words that are new to them as they read. Then add them to a class-wide web of words after discussing the meaning of the new word. By the end, you will have a beautiful visual representation of the vocabulary practice that happened. You can color code or add elements of the web for antonyms for vocabulary words as well as synonyms.
Learn more: Jennifer Badeaux
2. Character Trait Cut-Outs
Have students find character trait adjectives to describe a pet or a family member, just as Charlotte used words to describe Wilbur. Sketch out a simple spider-web and glue the words on. This is great skill practice in the use of adjectives and descriptors within the unit plan.
Learn more: There's Just One Mommy
3. Walkin' The Web
4. Persuasive Letter Writing
Have students write a persuasive letter from Fern's perspective to her father, Mr. Arable, convincing him to let her keep Wilbur. This is a great way for students to practice their understanding of characters and the formal structure of persuasive pieces.
Print out: Persuasive Letter Head
5. About Me Activity
In the book, Templeton has to collect scraps of newspaper to give Charlotte new words to describe Wilbur when they begin to run out of adjectives. Have your students collect scraps of words to describe themselves in this simple classroom activity. This can lead to productive class discussions about self-concept and how students see each other.
Learn more: STEAM Powered Family
6. Newspaper Article
Invite students to act as local news reporters, reporting on the strange phenomenon of words appearing on Charlotte's web. Have them illustrate their "article" with a picture from the scene, "interview" characters at the farm, and generate excitement for the web. Provide opportunities for vocabulary usage by giving students a list of must-use words from the book.
Learn more: Teach With Holly Rachael
7. Spider Life Cycle Spinner
Teach your youngest students about the life cycle of a spider using this STEM activity. These animal life cycle posters can add a nice touch to an older classroom's walls during your literacy unit on Charlotte's Web. Explore more insect-themed activities for kids here.
Learn More: Welcome To Mommyhood
8. Problems and Solutions Collaborative Anchor Chart
Give each student two post-it notes and have them identify a problem in the book and its corresponding solution. When they are done, invite them to add these to a collaborative board. This will inspire close reading of key story elements. Add an element to the anchor chart that has students engage in deep character analysis with class discussions on each character in the book.
Learn more: The Applicious Teacher
9. Spider Web Scavenger Hunt
Take ELA outside with this interactive scavenger hunt idea. First, teach students about the different types of spider webs. Then take a field trip to a local park during the first period where there should turn up several spider webs worth recording.
Learn more: Primary Theme Park
10. Baby Spider Parachutes
11. Spider Web STEM Challenge
The goal of this fun STEM activity is to get students to create a web that successfully traps an "insect". Pair this with a science unit on spider webs. Students in elementary grades will have fun using these resources to create a viable spider web.
Learn more: Primary Theme Park
12. Character Traits Map
Deepen your students' understanding of character traits by mapping the traits of the main characters in this story, including Wilbur, Charlotte, and Fern. Mr. Arable may be a tricky character to write about but including side characters such as him will deepen students understanding of the book.
Learn more: Look Who's Teaching
13. Ball of Yarn Activity
This simple team-building activity has students replicate a spider web by passing a ball of yarn between themselves and then undoing the web by passing it backward. This is great to teach group cooperation and skills of inclusion. You can also replicate this in a spider web discussion activity where students pass the ball of yarn whenever they have something to contribute. This will provide you with a good visual of who talked the most and who talked the least, giving students a data point to analyze their own group participation. Find out more ways to use yarn in classroom activities here.
Learn more: Frugal Teacher
14. Illustrate Charlotte's Web
This simple resource has students illustrate a scene and write a paragraph about it. This activity builds independent reading comprehension skills and helps students picture setting.
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15. Charlotte's Web Readers Theatre Script
Students of any age love to act and read from a script. Have fun celebrating the end of the book by putting on a play using one of the many readers' theatre scripts based on the book.
Learn more: CW Readers' Theatre