2nd Grade ELA : Unit #5 - Charlotte's Web: A Chapter Book Study : Lesson #23

The Egg Sac: The Life Cycle of a Spider

Objective: SWBAT ask and answer questions about key details in an informational text and in a literary text.
Standards: RL.2.1 RL.2.10 RI.2.1 RI.2.5 RI.2.7 SL.2.1 SL.2.1b SL.2.2
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Introduction - 5 minutes

Context and Overview

Today, I continue to engage my students with both informational and literary text to ask and answer questions about key details. Doing so with both types of texts will allow my students to understand more about life cycles in general, more about the life cycle of a spider specifically, and more about Chapter 19: "The Egg Sac," in Charlotte's Web.

My students will be watching a video of the life cycle, and they will be taking notes. Then, I will involve my students in discussion of a diagram of the life cycle of a spider. This diagram will help them create their own spider life cycle. I will be asking them to express their understanding of the spider life cycle orally, as well.

In reading the "Egg Sac," we will be continue our work using text dependent questions. Then, my students will have the opportunity to respond in writing to synthesize their understandings from the lesson.

Opening Activity

After sharing the objective from the rug, I ask the students, "What is a life cycle?" I have them pair-share with their carpet partner before some of the students share out loud. I transcribe their responses on a chart. In making their knowledge public, I validate it and I allow the other students to share in what their peers know.

2 Video: What Is A Life Cycle? - 15 minutes

Now my students will watch a video and take notes as they watch it. I have created a template for them to use. I have taught my students in previous lessons about how to take notes, so they know they can use words, phrases, and illustrations to transcribe what they are learning. 

I like for my students to read the questions they are answering before they begin their research. In this way, I am helping them reinforce their reading skills and getting them focused about what they are going to answer.

Here are some examples of their note-taking:

Here is the title and the link to the video: Life Cycle Video for Kids - Science Learning from Make Me Genius


3 Pair Share: Discussing The Cycle of a Spider With A Diagram - 5 minutes

I gather the students on the carpet, and I pass out a diagram of the spider's life cycle. Now that they have seen the general life cycle, I want them to understand the commonalities and differences of both. I have a brief discussion of it by asking them what is different and what is the same.

I have them pair share the difference and the similarities.

The internet offers us a variety of diagrams to use. I chose to use the following ones because I wanted my students to cut the pictures and use them in creating the life cycle poster. One offers the pictures without words and the other one has the explanation. The printable worksheet has the name of website for reference.

4 Creating The Spider's Life Cycle - 20 minutes

Now, I am giving my students the opportunity to create the spider's life cycle on a poster.

I am Modeling The Life Cycle With Pictures On The White Board. Why am I modeling this cycle that only includes four pictures? I am modeling the language in explaining the cycle because I want them to be able to explain it orally.

Here are examples of their posters:

Here are examples of students orally explaining the spider's life cycle and using appropriate vocabulary:

The second part of the poster took place later on the day during our E.L.D. time (English Language Development). It's up to you how to break up the lesson. Keep in mind the needs of your students. We read the page with the words together. I wrote the explanation based on what the students told me to write. I modeled for them with the pictures on the white board.

Here are some examples of their posters with a written explanation:

5 Reading the Chapter: The Egg Sac - 25 minutes

Now we are reading "The Egg Sac," with text dependent questions. The questions I have created hone in on how the characters are changing. I am reading pages 144 to the middle of page 149. After this, E.B. White takes over (see video below). The students really have enjoyed listening to him, and adding his voice invigorates the reading experience.

Included in these questions are questions about the egg sac, which I hope they now have a deeper understanding about given our research into it earlier in the context of the life cycle of a spider.

In looking at the text dependent questions, I skipped the questions on how the web looked. Use them if you like. The questions about who won first prize, I touched upon them briefly after we finished the reading with the author. My goal was for them to make understand the changes the characters are experiencing.

Here is the link to E.B. White reading this chapter:

Charlotte's Web Ch 19


6 Responding To Literature: How Are The Characters Changing? - 20 minutes

My students now write about how the characters are changing. They are to choose one character and use evidence from the book to show the changes. I am hoping that since we discussed the life cycle of the spider that they make connection in their writing. I am curious to see if this happens. Also, I am looking for them to touch upon on how the characters are changing emotionally. I am curious to see if this happens too.

Here are some examples of their writing:

As students write, I walk around and make sure they are on task. After a few moments, I sit on the round table. In this way, whatever the students need, they can come to me and I can monitor all the students from here. Some students need support with spelling words, others need encouragement to stay on task.

How Are the Characters Changing?
Writing Across the Disciplines

How did my students do with their writing? 

First, most of my students chose Charlotte or Wilbur. A few chose Templeton. It's not a surprise that this would happen because these are the characters that are the most popular and intriguing.

Let's look at the piece How is Charlotte Changing? 5. What does she concentrate on? While I appreciate her details about Charlotte, she misses the point of how Charlotte is changing. In terms of her progress in the class, I am happy to see writing that focuses on what the text is stating. And, I am curious what prompted her to write about how Charlotte can produce several kinds of threads.

Next, the piece, How is Charlotte Changing? 6, gets the gist of the task. She starts by stating how Charlotte is shrinking, which I applaud her for noticing. She proceeds to listing other ways she is changing and explains that she is changing because she is getting older.

Last, the writing piece on How Is Wilbur Changing? 4 lists ways in which Wilbur has changed. He was little; now he is bigger. He wasn't famous; now he is. He was not fat; now he is. So he mostly spends time listing his physical attributes. I do understand why this would be his focus because we don't really see Wilbur's full emotional growth until a few chapters later. I'll want to check in with this student then to ensure that the student is seeing this deeper level of character growth.

Most of the other students focused on the physical growth of the characters, as well. One writer did mentioned how Charlotte is now a mother. I will continue to discuss emotional growth versus physical growth to help students understand the concept.