Anansi’s Party Time – Literature Unit



I create our literature units to bring excitement and fun to learning math, to enrich our reading experience, and to have something fun to do with our books.  I discovered that children’s books offer great opportunities to learn about history, math, science, geography, human relations, and of course, language arts.  I find that literature units are fun for me and for kids and even while they are learning a lot, it doesn’t feel like “school.”  Each unit may contain some of the following: math problems, comprehension questions, art projects, vocabulary building exercises, trivia about things mentioned in the book, connect the dots, mystery pictures, story related activities, field trips suggestions and more. 

Anansi’s Party Time is a fun book about Friendships.  It’s also about grudges and about getting even.  My kids adore Anansi books.  If you are not hooked on them yet, give them a try.  Anansi is smart, but mischievous and he always gets into funny troubles.  I like all Anansi stories because even though Anansi is consistently trying to get away with murder, sometimes he doesn’t and there are a lot of interesting life lessons in those stories.

In Anansi’s Party Time Anansi tries to get even with his friend Turtle.  It seems that he is winning when he cheats Turtle out of Chocolate Turtles and sends him on a wild goose chase in a promise of a party that never takes place.  But not to be outdone Turtle comes up with his own little plan of getting even … In case you didn’t read the story, I want you to be surprised, so I’m not telling you what happened.  At the core this book teaches readers a very important lesson that it is not smart to waste energy trying to get back at people.  Let it go.  

My kids are 7 and 4 and they enjoyed doing all of the following activities, but it might not be the same for your children.  I would love to hear your feedback!  All of the activity pages are available to you as Printables at the end of this post.  

Math

Science



Social Studies: Geography and Culture

1.  Anansi stories originated in Ghana.  Find it on a map. You can ask: So what do you think about Ghana?  Is it far from America?  What is close to it?  How could you get to Ghana from where you live?  Could you walk there?

2.  What do you know about Africa?  Do you want to look up some African crafts (perhaps do some together?)  Here are some idea on Global Post.
3.  The Anansi stories are older than you, older than your parents, older than your grandparents, and older than your house.  The reason Anansi’s stories survived this long is due to great oral tradition of African culture.  They enjoy the art of story telling.  Let’s find someone who is not familiar with this story and recount an Anansi story without using the book.  The more you practice story telling, the better you get at it.  (For parents: history for kids)
3.  Make a map or copy one from the book.  Draw a line to show the shortest route from Turtle’s pond to Anansi’s house.  Does it look the same as the one Anansi drew for Turtle?  Which route do you like better?  The shortest?  Or the longest? 
My daughter drew the shortest route. She is a cut-to-the-chase kind of girl

My son thought Anansi’s idea was a hoot.  The red swirl is the route he
would follow to get from A to B
Social Studies: Relationships and Emotions

  1. Do you think Anansi is a good friend to Turtle? 
  2. Do you think Turtle is a good friend to Anansi?
  3. What are some of the qualities you want to see in your friends?
  4. Would you be grateful to your friend, if he/she came over with Chocolate Turtles as a treat?  Next time your friend gets a cold, do you think it’s a good idea to make her/him some Chocolate Turtles and drop them off? 
  5. Make some invitations and invite your friends over for Anansi’s Party Time. You can blow up some balloons, eat some treats and play some party games (but hey, be nice to each other, you don’t want to end up like Anansi)
  6. How do you think Turtle feels after Anansi takes his Chocolate Turtles and says that the party is over? 
  7. If he could make a sound to express his feelings, what would it be? 
  8. How do you think Anansi feels after he tricked Turtle? 
  9. What is a good sound to express Anansi’s feelings when he tells Turtle that the party is over and he should go home?
  10. Why do you think a storyteller chose a spider to be a canning character?  What animal would you choose?  Why?
  11. What advice would you give Anansi about relationships?
Music 
  • Get some music instruments out.  Make sounds to express how Turtle feels in different points throughout the book.  When Turtle just got an invitation to a party.  When Anansi tells him that he can’t come in without a costume.  While he is baking Chocolate Turtles.  At the end of the book.  Now do the same for Anansi’s part.  Who gets more happy notes?  Who is the happiest at the end of the book?   
  • My kids said we couldn’t finish a book about a spider without singing the most famous spider song of all times.  We replaced “the Itsy-Bitsy spider” with “the sneaky, tricky Anansi” and sung a song several times acting out the lyrics with our bodies.  Can you think about other Spider songs? 
Game #1
Did you enjoy Turtle’s Mystery Game?  Now it’s your turn!  Think of an animal you really like, come up with clues so that other players can guess your animal.

Game #2
This is a variation on Turtle’s Mystery Game that we call Mystery Number.  Think about a number and give some clues to let other players guess what that number is.  Here are two examples: 

  • I’m thinking of eating some Chocolate Turtles, but I am not sure how many I should eat.  I am thinking of a number between 1 and 3. (That’s for younger kids)
  • I am thinking of a number between 2 and 6.  (As they are trying to guess guide them with “Less”  or “More”)
Sequencing, Let’s write an invitation and Word Matching
Available as part of Printables at the end of this post.


Arts and Crafts – Make a Spiderweb

1. We used a hole punch to make holes all around the edge of a paper plate.  Great muscle strengthener!

2. And we weaved a yarn back and forth across the plate’s front.  I love weaving activities for kids. Again it’s perfect for strengthening the muscles and it encourages the use of pincer grasp, which is used in writing and drawing.  Plus, it’s fun!
3. We taped the ends of the yarn in the back and found a couple of spiders in our Halloween box.  The final product below.  Boy is playing a game in which Lego pieces are bugs and spider is trying to catch them in the spider web.
We ended the day by watching a YouTube video of a spider making a web (in slow motion and sped up) and drawing some spiders and webs.


Favorite Spider Books
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
Miss Spider’s Tea Party by David Kirk
Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Graham
Spider, Spider by Kate Banks
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Are You a Spider by Judy Allen
Spiders by Gail Gibbons
Aaaarhhhgh! Spider! by Lydia Monks
How Spider Saved Halloween by Robert Kraus
Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock by Eric Kimmel


Food Connection
Make Chocolate Turtles 
or
bake Chocolate Turtles Cake

I would love to hear your feedback!  If you give this Literature Unit a try, say something!!

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