Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. 1: Anansi the Spider

In the first part of Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock we meet Anansi, a spider who is always playing tricks on his friends. The song - 'Anansi the Spider' - is about Anansi's jokey character and the music activity focuses on identifying ascending and descending notes within the song.

Tutorial: 'Anansi the Spider'

Tutorial: 'Anansi the Spider'

Join Andy and Rebecca to learn the song 'Anansi the Spider'. The main learning objectives are:

  • Identifying the style of the song: it is upbeat and jazzy.
  • Saying the words of Verse 1 to practise the fast, jazzy rhythms.
  • Singing the melody to 'La' only, to practise the notes.
  • Identifying that the tempo of the first half of the Chorus is fast, but the second half is slower.
  • Practising clapping in the rests in the Chorus.
  • Noticing how the words ‘Up he’ll get, with a grin’ are on the same note.

Story: Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, Part 1

Anansi is a mischievous spider who appears in traditional stories from Africa and the Caribbean. In this story Anansi tricks his friends into falling asleep on a magical moss-covered rock. First Anansi tricks Snake and while Snake is asleep Anansi gobbles up his pineapple. Next Anansi tricks Lion and while she is sleeping he steals all her bananas to eat. Anansi is delighted with himself and wonders who he should trick next.

Story: Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock - Part 1

Story questions

  • What kind of a creature is Anansi and what is he like? (A very tricksy spider!)
  • What are the magic words that send the speaker to sleep? ('Isn't this a strange, moss-covered rock!').
  • Who does Anansi trick and what does he steal from them? (Snake - pineapple / Lion - bananas).

Song: 'Anansi the Spider'

Sing the song with Andy and Rebecca. In addition to the full vocal and backing track versions of the song there are individual clips for Verse 1, the Chorus, Verse 2 and Verse 3. This allows you to navigate quickly to the individual sections of the song and to focus on specific sections while learning it.

Full vocal
Backing track
Verse 1
Verse 2
Verse 3

Music activity

Focus: pitch: notes descending and ascending in regular steps.

Music activity: identifying pitch
  • Discuss how in music the notes can often go up (ascend) or go down (descend). It’s one of the techniques that helps to keep the music interesting!
  • Andy and Rebecca sing a descending note sequence and the children copy. They add actions to it: wriggling their fingers like Anansi and moving their hands down with each descending note step.
  • Andy and Rebecca then sing an ascending note sequence and the children copy again.
  • They add wriggling fingers like Anansi again, this time moving their hands up with each ascending step.

Listening music

Yellow Bird is played by a steel drum band with percussion. The music from the Caribbean - the part of the world that stories about Anansi come from.

Listening music: 'Yellow Bird'
  • What is the style / mood of the music?
  • The music has a strong beat or pulse - like today’s song.
  • Can the children hear the percussion instruments keeping a steady beat? Can the children clap along to the steady beat?
  • The main instruments featured in this piece of music are the steel pans. The steel pan is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. It is made out of metal - traditionally an empty oil drum - and is struck with wooden beaters to make a sound.
  • Steel bands often play for special events, especially at carnivals.
  • You could also listen to our version of the song.


Teacher's Notes
Illustrated story: Part 1
Lyrics: 'Anansi the Spider'
Music: 'Anansi the Spider'
Sequencing activity
Outline drawing - Anansi the Spider
Word search puzzle
Vocabulary sheet
Writing sheet

More from this series

2: Anansi went walking
1: Tiddalik the Frog was thirsty, thirsty
1: Down by the river it's as hot as can be

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