Setting Up the Travel Pen

Review these content-area reading strategies before diving into the booklet/slideshow with students. Select those that fit with your teaching goals and grade level.


Activate Prior Knowledge: To help kids start thinking about the travel pens used on migration, ask: When you travel, what makes a good place to stop for the night? What do you think the Whooping Crane kids would need on their first journey south?


Sequencing: Have students summarize the steps talked about on each page. They may take notes by numbering and listing the steps of setting up a campsite for Whooping cranes. If students are reading from hard copy, have them mark up the text by underlining or circling words the writer used to show sequence, or by writing 1, 2, 3 (and so on) by the steps.


Hear from the Experts: These two audio clips (mp3 files) let students hear team members address two of the guiding questions you may have used during reading:

  • Why Two Pens? Team member Heather Ray explains.
  • Which predators go after cranes? Ranger Jennifer Rabuck (2001 crew) explains,

Mathematics: Find information in the text that helps you calculate the area of the cranes' pen.

Critical Thinking: Why do you think the team has two pens instead of one? WHat might be some difficulties if they had only one pen? For more, see this page, written in 2001 when only one pen was used on the migration.

Identify Author's Purpose: Revisit the text to discuss author's purpose.

Examine Author's Strategies: Ask students to identify how the writer showed sequence in this story. Why do students think the author asked questions at the beginning and other places in the story?

Migration History: What might happen if the pen is not sturdy? Go back and read about a bad storm during the very first ultralight-led journey south.

Connections to Self: Have you ever built a fort or picked a campsite and set up a tent? Who helped set things up? How did the team members work together to set up the pen? Describe ways that families or classmates work together every day.

More Journey North Lessons
What Makes a Good Stopover Site for an Ultralight-led Migration?