Swirl By Swirl Book Review and Snail Art

I had the most fabulous time yesterday teaching in my friend's class of Grade 1/2 students.

Yes! Even though I'm officially retired, I decided to go on our substitute teacher list. I NEVER thought I'd do that but I miss teaching so much I couldn't NOT do it. Besides, there's a shortage of TOCs (Teachers on Call) in our province, so I know I'm not impinging on any new and aspiring teachers.

We spent most of our afternoon looking at this book and then completing a fun art activity I've seen on pinterest.

https://amzn.to/2tjO4Pl 


Title: Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature

Author: Joyce Sidman

Illustrator: Beth Krommes

Publishing: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2011

Theme: Spirals, Nature, Poetry

Age: 4-12


Synopsis (from Amazon):  A Caldecott medalist and a Newbery Honor-winning poet celebrate the beauty and value of spirals.

What makes the tiny snail shell so beautiful? Why does that shape occur in nature over and over again—in rushing rivers, in a flower bud, even inside your ear?

With simplicity and grace, Joyce Sidman's poetry paired with Beth Krommes's scratchboard illustrations not only reveal the many spirals in nature—from fiddleheads to elephant tusks, from crashing waves to spiraling galaxies—but also celebrate the beauty and usefulness of this fascinating shape.

Opening Lines: A spiral is a snuggling shape. It fits neatly in small places. Coiled tight, warm and safe, it waits ... 

Why I Like This Book:  This is a beautiful, simple and endearing way to introduce spirals to your young students.  The class I read it to couldn't get enough of it. They were very intrigued by the shapes and all the different spirals around us. They loved the pictures and kept reminding me to read ALL the words (the different animals have their own little captions which I was NOT allowed to miss -- haha!)

I just recently read and reviewed one of Joyce Sidman's other books: Red Sings From Treetops. I was enamoured with that one, and this book is equally as great!



Book Related Activities:
  1. I showed the class the cover of the book and asked them if they knew what spirals were.

  2. After that discussion they spontaneously started telling me where they've seen spirals (that was my next question but they beat me to it). They rattled off some things I hadn't even thought of like the icing on cupcakes, the swirls in a soft ice-cream and a rose. I was VERY impressed. 

  3. They knew we were going to do an art activity and were just itching to get started. I gave them the snail shell template to colour with oil and chalk pastels (there's a link for the template below). Once that was done, they cut them out and then received a snail body tracer. I let them choose a piece of construction paper. Once those were cut out they glued on a googly eye or two. Some of the kids even decided to decorate their snail bodies (template below). We established early on that these were fantasy snails so anything goes! Oh! I should mention that we also talked about how this shell wasn't a spiral, it was just four circles, but wasn't it neat how it gave the illusion of a spiral.
Here are their beautiful snails!

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature book review with follow up art activity. Grade ONEderful

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature book review with follow up art activity. Grade ONEderful

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature book review with follow up art activity. Grade ONEderful

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature book review with follow up art activity. Grade ONEderful

This was an easy lesson and I highly recommend it! The prep was fairly minimal and every child was fully engaged.

It's the perfect fun activity for those last few days of school.

SNAIL SHELL and BODY TEMPLATES (click here)  


(I got the snail body from a site called Pretty Toys. Thank you!)  

I printed the body onto copy paper then traced six of them onto old file folders. They made perfect tracers!


Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature book review with follow up art activity. Grade ONEderful


Before you go, be sure to pop over to GO DESIGNS. I just posted the cutest panda bear birthday display for your classroom (you can grab a couple of free samples to check it out)!


Thanks for stopping by. Happy Reading!


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