Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

Flight Formation: The V?s Have It!

Reading Strategies:

  • Summarize Main Idea and Details
  • Visualize Details
  • Build Vocabulary
  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Connect to Prior Knowledge/Build Background Knowledge
  • (About Reading Strategies)

    thermals, eddies, altitude, ultralight, wake, headwinds




Connect to students? prior knowledge by asking them the following questions: Why do some bird species fly in V formation? How do birds fly long distances? How much flapping and gliding do birds do during a migratory journey?

Build background knowledge by viewing photographs and video of whooping cranes in flight. (Geese flying in V formation could also be used.)

Introduce the selection by making anticipatory predictions: As you think about the title and the subtitle of this article, what facts do you think the author will include in this article? What questions do you think a reader will find answers to in this article?

Read "Flight Formation: The V?s Have It" and other nonfiction selections that describe the flight habits of whooping cranes.

Library Lookout: Lerner, Carol. On the Wing: American Birds in Migration. HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperCollins, June 2001. ISBN: 0688166490 Grades 2-12. Summary: A naturalist explores the migratory patterns of more than 30 American birds. This illustrated informational book is ideal for short read aloud sessions, research studies, and students? independent reading.

Revisit the selection to collect details that help readers visualize birds in flight. Use the details to sketch images of birds in flight riding thermals and eddies of rising air. (Identifying Main Ideas and Details; Visualizing Details)

Create a Concept Map for the topic, "Weather Conditions that Impact Flight." Ask students to reread the selection and collect "weather words," such as, thermals, headwinds, eddies, and wake. In small groups, students make a map that summarizes details how weather impacts migratory flights. (Build Vocabulary; Summarize Main Ideas and Details)

Invite students to work in small groups to write questions that can be answered by details in the text. Encourage students to exchange and answer each other?s questions. (Summarizing Main Ideas)

Journaling Question
This article reveals many facts about the flight habits of whooping cranes. What questions remain? Write questions you still have regarding the flight of whooping cranes and other birds that fly in V formation. How could you find the answers, or more information?

Making Connections
How do whooping cranes work together? When whooping cranes fly in V formation, they are working together to make the migratory journey easier for all. Describe ways that families work together every day.

Evaluation (Examine Author s Strategies)
1. Why do you think the author started the article with a question?

2. Reread the heading for the third paragraph: Wake...Up! Why did the author use this phrase for the paragraph? What is the meaning of the word wake in this paragraph?

3. Authors help readers understand information by making comparisons. What comparisons did the author of this article use to help you understand the information?

Writers Workshop

  • Narrative
    Write a fictional dialogue between a young whooper and its parent as they prepare for migration. What things might the young bird be feeling or wondering? What worries might the young bird have? How would its parents answer? What things might all the birds be looking forward to?
  • Expository
    Write an encyclopedia entry that explains how thermals help whoopers fly.
  • Descriptive
    Write a paragraph that describes how whoopers fly. Think carefully about your topic sentence so the reader knows what the paragraph will be about.
  • Creative/Persuasive
    Write a plea from a young whooping crane who is all flapped out and needs to land. (Remember: the ultralight whoopers do not know the way. They are dependent upon their "parent" to stay with them and show them.)

Journey North is pleased to feature this educational adventure made possible by the
Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP).