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Sammy Spider Curriculum Activities


The Book of Life podcast celebrates Chanukah 2008  with Sylvia Rouss.

Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah (focus on sizes to reinforce holiday symbols as you teach size relationships, small, middle-sized, and large).

  • Use a picture of Sammy Spider or a spider puppet. Ask children to help Sammy Spider find the smallest apple, the middle-sized challah, the biggest bowl of honey, the smallest card, etc
    • Cut 3 different sized apples from felt or construction paper.
    • Collect 3 different sized New Year cards. Cut 3 different sized round challahs from felt or construction paper.
    • Cut 3 different sized bowls of honey from felt or construction paper.

Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah(reinforces color and number recognition as you teach Hanukkah symbols).

  • Have children match colored plastic dreidels to Sammy’s colored socks (cut from felt).
  • Write the numerals 1 – 8 on eight different paper plates. Have children place the correct number of plastic dreidels on each plate.
  • Have children match colored Hanukkah candles to colored plastic dreidels.
  • Place different amounts of candles in a Hanukkah Menorah. Have children tell Sammy how many candles they see.
  • A story to read-aloud during the holidays is a gift to kids and parents alike, giving everyone pause to think about their real gifts.  Bethany, age 12, from Explorer Middle School, Phoenix wrote, “On the first night of Hanukkah, it is a tradition to read the book Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah. My little sister always reads it to us. She got it when she was really little.”

Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shevat (focus on seasons and planting).

  • Plant spider plants with children (call them “Sammy Spider” plants).
  • Replicate a tree pattern 4 times. Color one tree pink for the spring season, color another tree green for the summer season, and color a third tree red, orange, and brown for the fall season. Make a 4th tree with leafless branches for the winter season. Laminate the 4 pictures. Provide the children with picture cards of butterflies, bees, nest, bird, nuts, squirrel, snowflake, snowman. Ask children to recall the story and place the appropriate picture card on each season as it occurred in the story.
  • Remind children that Sammy made a gift for the little tree. Place the names of all the children in the class in a container and let each child pick a name. Ask children to draw a picture for the friend whose name they picked.
  • As a story extension, you may introduce your students to the art of printing using Styrofoam trays, pencils and tempera paint.  Give each child a flat portion of the tray and ask him/her to etch a design or picture into the Styrofoam. Using a paint brush or sponge roller brush, the child then paints over the picture, then lays the picture down on to a piece of paper.  Suggest to the child that pressing on the Styrofoam will help create a clear print of his/her illustration.
  • For Tu B’Shevat (or study of seasons or trees), you may ask the kids to create leaf prints.  The kids may cut out their prints and use them to adorn a construction paper tree trunk that you place on the bulletin board, door or even in your story area!(from Amy Neal Weisman)

Sammy Spider’s First Purim (develops listening skills as well as reinforces holiday symbols).

  • Use a cassette tape and record the sounds mentioned in the story. Let children identify the sounds (snipping scissors, banging cupboard, mixer, can opener, bottle squirting, stapler, car horn, grogger).
  • Make paper plate groggers like Josh Shapiro’s.
  • Make Hamentaschen like Mrs. Shapiro.
  • Ask children to mimic the sounds you make by whispering words associated with Purim and shouting words associated with Purim.
  • Make soft and loud sounds using instruments.
  • Help children make their own costumes like Josh Shapiro.
  • Fill containers such as film canisters or empty mini-m and m containers with a variety of everyday objects…rice, cotton balls, buttons, etc… to make a sound matching game for your science center.  Children may be encouraged not only to match the sounds, but to sequence containers from softest to loudest and vice versa. (contributed by Amy Neal Weisman)
  • During circle time, have children close their eyes and try to identify sounds made from classroom objects:  chalk writing on chalkboard, two blocks tapping, a friend’s voice, water running in the sink, etc….(contributed by Amy Neal Weisman)

Sammy Spider’s First Passover (focus on shapes as you reinforce holiday symbols).

  • Use a real Seder plate. Ask children to place circular objects on “Mrs. Shapiro’s Seder Plate.” Place a square matzah on a paper plate and ask children to place square objects next to “Mr. Shapiro’s matzah.” Fold a napkin into a triangle and place it on a paper plate. Ask children to place triangle shaped objects next to “Josh’s afikommen.”
  • Have children sit in a circle. Select a child to be Sammy. Ask “Sammy” to hide his eyes. Give one of the children a small piece of matzah to hold in his/her hand. Then have all the children say, “Sammy, Sammy, who has the afikommen?”  The child who is Sammy has three guesses to find the child holding the afikommen. Play continues as the child with the afikommen becomes “Sammy” and the child who was previously “Sammy” gives the afikommen to another child.

Sammy Spider’s First Trip to Israel (focus on the five senses as children learn about Israel).

  • Let children listen to Israeli music just like Sammy.
  • Allow children to taste Israeli foods as mentioned in the story (felafel, humus, pita, olives, pickles, halvah, and dates). Which are sweet? Sour? Bitter? Salty? Spicy?
  • Expose children to different scents from Israel (Jaffa oranges, felafel, Ahava Dead Sea Products).
  • Allow children to view photos and videos of Israel.
  • Have children bring in souvenir items from Israel and allow children to touch and feel items.

Sammy Spider’s First Shabbat (experience Shabbat like Sammy and reinforce Shabbat symbols).

  • Help children braid large strands of yarn or strips of felt.
  • Make Mrs. Shapiro’s challah using the recipe provided in the book.
  • Cut out Shabbat symbols (candlesticks, challah, and Kiddush cup) from felt or construction paper. Ask children to identify the symbols for Sammy. Play “What’s missing?” Ask children to close their eyes while “Sammy” removes one symbol. The children try to guess which symbol has been removed. You can make the game more difficult by including more items (flowers, kippah, and wine bottle). Variation: Use real items for the symbols.