Reading and Writing Connections
for this selection:
Hitchhikers: Free Rides on Gray Whales
- Ask Questions
and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
Main Ideas and Details
and Extend Students? Understanding of Vocabulary Introduced in the Text
- Use Context
Clues to Decipher Unfamiliar Words
and Contrast Details Described in the Text
- Make Inferences
and Draw Conclusions
- Make Text-to-the-World
Author?s Craft: How do authors make nonfiction texts "reader-friendly"?
Cetacean, parasites, infested, barnacles, nutrient-rich, larvae, reproduction,
nursery lagoons, host-specific, crustacean, plankton, colonies, tail
flukes, whale lice, topsmelt, marine plants, school, miniscule, groom,
groomers, protein-rich, drag, resistance
Set the Stage for Reading
Read aloud the title of the selection, Hitchhikers:
Free Rides on Gray Whales. Read aloud the first paragraph and
the two subheadings: Big Batches of Barnacles and A Look at Lice.
Model pre-reading strategies by thinking aloud your predictions and
questions: "After reading the title, subheadings, and lead
paragraph, I predict that? The questions that pop into my mind are?"
Invite students to ask questions and make predictions: "What
words and/or phrases do you predict we?ll find in this article based
on the title, subheadings, and lead paragraph? What kinds of facts
do you think the author will reveal in this article? What questions
do you think a reader might have about this topic?" Encourage
students to list Who, Where, What, Why, When, and How questions
to set a purpose for reading. (Asking Questions and Making Predictions
to Set a Purpose for Reading)
Give each student a copy of the reading selection. Encourage students
to examine the photo on the page. Read aloud the article. Invite students
to circle unfamiliar words as you are reading. Let them know that
new words will be examined during a revisit activity. (Listening for
Main Ideas and Details, Building Vocabulary)
See Mark Up the Text/Comprehension
Codes for additional
ways students can record their ideas during the first reading of this
Have students read the article silently. Encourage them to "mark
up the text" by underlining key words and phrases, and writing
notes in the margins. Have them list questions they have after reading
the article. Encourage students to check a variety of resources to
Visit the FAQ pages featured in Journey North for frequently asked
questions. The answers reveal many facts about gray whales. Link:
FAQ pages for Gray Whales.
Revisit the text to examine the vocabulary words. Choose from
the ideas described in Building
Vocabulary Skills with Journey North to extend students? understanding
of the vocabulary words. (Building and Extending Vocabulary: Exploring
Various Meanings of Words)
Compare and Contrast
Have students compare and contrast barnacles and whale lice using
ideas described in the reading selection. Encourage students to underline
phrases and sentences that describe similarities and differences.
(Comparing and Contrasting Details Described in the Text)
Journaling Questions: (Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions)
1. Why do you think gray whales have more hitchhikers than other whales?
(Look for a clue in the reading selection.)
2. If you were a gray whale biologist trying to figure out which whale
is which, how good would you be? Would you be able to spot differences
in the unique clusters of barnacles on each whale? Dr. William Megill
gives you step-by-step help, with lots of photos for practice in Who
is That Whale? Gray Whale Photo ID Matching.
Making Connections: Text-to-the-World Connections
1. What purpose do parasites have? Some animals/organisms are
categorized as "pests" and people find ways to "combat"
them. Why do you think it is important to research parasites and the
roles they have in nature? Invite students to explore the concept
of interdependence: "If parasites (or other organisms) are
viewed as pests and humans decide to develop ways to eliminate them,
what are some possible results?" Help students make connections
by studying the use of pesticides. Explore possible cause and effect
relationships to help students understand the delicate balance of
nature through effects on both target and non-target organisms. (Making
2. Invite students to research various barnacle species. Cryptolepas
rhachianecti is a species of barnacle found only on Gray Whale
skin. This barnacle is a filter feeder, sticking its feathery legs
out of its shell to gather plankton from the water. This whale barnacle
does not have to expend a lot of energy filtering the water because
the whale provides the movement. Have students compare and contrast
this species to other barnacles that attach themselves to solid, stationary
places. Encourage them to find answers to the following questions:
"Where do barnacles find homes? How do they attach themselves
to whales or other ?homes?? What do they look like? Are all barnacles
?attached for life? or do they move to a variety of places?"
(Making Text-to-the-World Connections)
Evaluate: (Readers Examine Author?s Craft)
Have students identify strategies the author used to make the
nonfiction article "reader-friendly." Ask the following
questions to guide students? thinking: "Nonfiction articles
often contain specific vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to readers.
How did the author of this article help readers learn new words? What
clues were provided in the text? Which words were specifically defined?
How did the author organize the information to make the article "reader-friendly"?
Which sentences contained descriptive details that helped a reader
visualize ideas?" Encourage students to provide specific
examples from the text to support their responses.
am called Cryptolepas rhachianecti. I am a whale barnacle?"
Have students write a personification paragraph in which a whale
barnacle describes its life aboard a gray whale. Encourage them
to include details from the reading selection in the descriptive
vocabulary words from the reading selection on the board. Invite
students to select from the words to create a page for a class
book entitled Gray Whale Glossary. Encourage them to include the
word, a definition, and a context-rich sentence on the page they
create for the glossary.
students write a "Plea from Parasites." In the plea,
barnacles and whale lice convince humans that they are important
and should not be labeled as "pests." Encourage students
to use details from the reading selection to create a persuasive
did students feel about parasites such as lice before reading
the nonfiction article? How did their thoughts or feelings about
these organisms change after reading the article? Invite students
to write a paragraph to express their thoughts about barnacles,
whale lice, and/or other parasites.