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Reading and Writing Connections
for this selection:
A Migration Poem by Owen Neill
- Identify Author?s Purpose/Viewpoint
- Summarize Main Ideas and Details
- Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions
- Make Predictions and Ask Questions to Set a Purpose for Reading
- Connect with Students? Prior Knowledge
- Build Vocabulary; Synonyms, Sensory Details, Parts of Speech
- Read Fluently and Expressively
- Make Text-to-Self Connections
- (About Reading Strategies)
ancient, gossamer, primal, impede, repentance, status quo, imprint, bloodstock, solemn,
myth, modestly, sown
Prior to reading the selection, write the following lines from the poem on separate
slips of paper:
1. quiet thunder of eager wings trying what the north winds say
2. What do winds whisper in clever ears that makes the time to go just right
3. born from the egg with what they need each bird follows its primal plan
4. We hatch, imprint and train the flock. We run, then fly, again, again
5. Man and bird are strangely one
6. gives hope our world at least in part will reap the harvest we have modestly
Divide the class into small groups. Give each group 1 or 2 of the prepared slips.
Ask them to read and discuss the clue phrases from the poem, encouraging them to
use reference materials to look up unfamiliar words. Next, ask students to share
predictions and questions for the poem based on the clue phrases they received. (Making
Predictions and Asking Questions to Set a Purpose for Reading; Connecting to Prior
Knowledge about Words)
Read the poem "Goose Send-Off"
aloud to the class without stopping so they can simply listen, enjoy and think.
Library Lookout: Yolen. Jane. Illus. by L. Baker. Honkers. Boston:
Little, Brown, 1993. In this picture book that will appeal to any ages, a young girl
befriends a goose and learns from its migration that each of us must make the journey
Revisit the poem to highlight vocabulary words. Use the dictionary to find meanings
for each word. Discuss how understanding each of the words helps a reader comprehend
the poem. Collect synonyms for the vocabulary words. Invite students to paraphrase
different lines from the poem using synonyms. (Building Vocabulary: Synonyms)
Invite students to work in small groups to practice reading aloud the poem. Encourage
each group to prepare a choral recitation of the poem. Ask questions to engage their
creativity: "Why do you think the author wrote the poem?" "What do
you think Owen Neill wanted readers to think about and feel?" "How would
you present the poem to an audience?" "Which lines will each person in
your group read aloud?" "Which lines will the whole group read?" "Based
on author?s purpose and the meaning of this poem, how will you read each line?"
"Which words will you emphasize in a dramatic reading?" (Reading Fluently
Revisit the poem to explore descriptive details. Ask students to reread the poem
to collect sensory details. Encourage students to organize the details they collect
in a chart labeled with the following categories: Sights, Sounds, Smells, and Textures.
Invite students to analyze how the author used sensory details to help readers visualize
information. (Building Vocabulary: Sensory Details)
Revisit the poem to explore parts of speech. Ask students to reread the poem to collect
words in a chart labeled with parts of speech: Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, and Adverbs.
Invite students to analyze how specific words were used to create strong images.
(Building Vocabulary: Parts of Speech)
Journaling Questions (Identifying Authors Purpose; Making Text-to-Self
1. In the ninth verse, what does the poet mean by "a wrong is righted heroically?"
What heroics are involved?
2. In the last verse, why do you think the poet italicized the words "know
3. What feelings does this poem inspire in you when you know what the poet did NOT
yet know when he wrote it? That is, not only the FIRST flock of ultralight
whooping cranes, but a subsequent new flock each fall since 2001 completed their
first migration with the help of ultralight airplanes?
4. How does the poet show his understanding of his friend Bill Lishman's hopes and
dreams in founding Operation Migration to help endangered species?
Researching Twilight Zones and Weather Phenomenon Invite students to study Life
at the Poles by reading other nonfiction selections, collecting facts from the Internet,
writing letters to students who live in Arctic regions, and viewing documentaries.
Encourage students to find facts that describe how people adapt to the amount of
daylight hours throughout the year. They may include other factors such as weather
facts that impact life in polar places.
Evaluation (Examine Author
1. How did the author create images to convey beauty?
2. How did the poet use words to encourage readers to care about migration issues?
3. What comparisons (similes and metaphors) did the author use to help readers understand
Write a fictional story using the following story elements: Characters: Migratory
Birds, such as Geese or Whooping Cranes; Setting: Flyways (Migratory Routes); Problems:
Dangers faced by Migratory Birds.
Rewrite the poem as a descriptive paragraph. Use descriptive words and phrases
from the poem in your paragraph. Add other sensory details that come to your mind.
Write poems that encourage readers to care about whooping cranes. What key
issues will your poem bring to readers? attention? What sensory details will convey
the majestic beauty of whooping cranes?
Write a list of the dangers faced by migratory birds.
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