One of my all-time favourite read alouds for the upper elementary classroom is Fatty Legs by Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and Christy Jordan-Fenton. This novel tells the story of Margaret’s experience at a Residential School.
Teaching students about Residential Schools in an age-appropriate manner is one way to move forwards on the path of Truth and Reconciliation. I take this duty very seriously! The Annick Press has indicated that this book is intended for students ages 9-12.
Today I am sharing 3 engaging activities that you might choose to use before starting to read Fatty Legs in your upper elementary classroom as well as after reading the introduction of the novel.
1) Fatty Legs Book Trailer
I really love using this book trailer because it gets students thinking about the story and making predictions. They are also able to connect some of the background knowledge that they already have about Residential Schools to this trailer.
2) Using the Map
In the introduction of this book, there is a map with small dots that represent Margaret’s journey to school. Give students some time to analyze this map. You might ask students why they think the author chose to include a map of the journey.
Alternatively, you may choose to do a think-aloud and tell students why you think the author included the map. This might sound something like: “I think that this was included to show us how far Margaret had to travel to school. It’s not as though she could easily return to her family if she wanted to.”
3) Point of View
One important reading comprehension strategy for this book is identifying whose perspective or point of view the story is told from. Students will be able to do this after reading the introduction. Talk about why it’s important that this story is told from Margaret’s point of view.
So there you have it, three activities that you can use as you start your Fatty Legs novel study. Are you looking for more reading comprehension activities for Fatty Legs? Click HERE to check out the entire unit on TPT.
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