Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

A Tale of Two Cranes
How Do Wild and Costume-raised Whoopers Compare?

Reading Strategies:

  • Summarize Main Idea and Details
  • Compare and Contrast Details from the Text
  • Classify Information Described in the Text
  • Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions
  • Make Text-to-Self Connections
  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Connect to Prior Knowledge/Build Background Knowledge
  • (About Reading Strategies)

aquatic, adapt, captive-bred, wild-bred, environmental factors, predators, refuge





To connect with students? background knowledge, ask them to share things they have learned from their parents and teachers: learning to talk, walk, read, write, etc. Have students imagine what kinds of things young cranes may need to learn to survive in their habitats. Make a class chart of ideas about what cranes need to learn from their parents. (Connecting to Prior Knowledge; Building Background Knowledge)

Introduce the terms: captive-bred and wild-bred. Ask students to share predictions and questions about these concepts. Prior to reading the selection, ask students to think about how captive-bred and wild-bred cranes would learn survival skills. (Asking Questions and Making Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading)

Research Link:

Read aloud "A Tale of Two Cranes." Invite students to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar words, highlighting key ideas, and writing notes in the margins.

Revisit the selection to collect details about the life lessons of young whooping cranes. Have students work with a partner to create a chart that organizes the facts they collect from the article. For younger students, prepare a chart with categories of information for students to complete. (Summarizing Main Ideas and Details; Classifying Information)

Revisit the selection to compare and contrast the life of captive-bred and wild-bred whooping cranes. Create a Venn Diagram chart using details from the article. (Comparing and Contrasting Details from the Text)

Revisit the selection to collect details about the places included in the article. Locate Alberta, Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Florida on a map or globe. Research the wildlife refuges mentioned in the article: Wood Buffalo National Park, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. (Summarizing Details)


Journaling Question
What are some differences and similarities between what the two groups of young cranes are facing, and how they're dealing with their winter environment? (Comparing and Contrasting Information Described in the Text; Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions)

Making Connections
Learning Lessons for Survival: What are the most important lessons humans need to learn for their survival? Brainstorm a list of needs. Prioritize the lessons essential to human survival. (Making Text-to-Self Connections)

Evaluation (Examine Author?s Strategies)
1. How did the author organize the facts about the two different groups of cranes? Did the author separate the facts in different paragraphs?

2. How did the organization of the information help you collect the facts about the two groups of cranes?

Writers Workshop

  • Narrative
    Write a fictional story about two cranes: a captive-bred crane and a wild whooping crane. Include researched details about the wildlife refuge that raised the captive-bred crane.
  • Descriptive
    Writers paint pictures with words. Sentences that make pictures for readers are called "Snapshot Sentences." Write snapshot sentences to describe a field scientist working with captive-bred whooping cranes.
  • Persuasive
    Write a business letter that persuades corporations to donate funds to wildlife refuges working with whooping cranes, or to a WCEP partner such as Operation Migration.
  • Expressive
    Write a "Thank You" letter from a captive-bred whooping crane to field scientists or ultralight pilots who helped it survive and become a wild, migrating bird.