Get to Know Fred McFee

I am so excited to be sharing with you one of my favorite read aloud books I like to use during the week of Halloween. It is a short poem by Eve Bunting called The Bones of Fred McFee and it is a perfect choice for knocking off the Common Core Standard RL3.7 Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).

Fred McFee is the name of the toy skeleton  an unsuspecting brother and sister bring  home from the harvest fair. They hang Fred McFee from a sycamore tree. Soon, eerie things begin to happen. And then on Halloween night, Fred vanishes! Where did he go, no one really knows! This rhythmic poem leaves a lot to the children’s imagination to predict what might have happened to Fred McFee but I personally like it because of the beautiful illustrations by Kurt Cyrus – who created them using scratch board which just adds to the overall spook of the book!

I really set this Mentor Text lesson to be easy breezy for you to walk your students through on making meaning by analyzing the art work in the book. It really is one of my favorite things to do, illustrators are always adding some little detail that gets me all excited and you will find a few in this book. The download includes anchor charts, three activities and a powerpoint to guide your lesson. AWESOME RIGHT!

Before Reading

Before reading you will walk the students through looking at details on the cover of the book and predict what they might think it is about.

During Reading

You will initially read this book through from beginning to end without showing the illustrations in the book, your students will follow along with the print out that I found online that you can print out and give to each student. Then you will either assign or let your student choose which stanza they would like to illustrate using their own imagination of how they would illustrate it.

After you are done with this activity, you can collect student papers and arrange them by stanza so that you can examine the drawings as you go through analyzing the text. The powerpoint will help you keep track of each stanza and help facilitate your lesson easily.

After Reading

After analyzing the illustrations, your students will have the opportunity to write what they suspect happened to Fred McFee using evidence found in the text and illustrations. Really great way to end the lesson.

I really enjoyed this book and kids really love it! It is just scary enough and perfect for your third grade class.  Click the image below to download this great lesson – don’t forget to pin this activity to share with your colleagues!

Fred McFee