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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!
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.
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 Extensions and Spider 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 got to write their own chant for the magic stick and we attached 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:
Most of these activities are included in this Anansi and the Magic Stick book companion.