Reading and Writing Connections
for this selection:
Lagoon Tour: Whale Watching at
Laguna Ojo de Liebre
- Ask questions
to generate ideas for writing
- Use sensory
details to create vivid pictures
text for meaning
- Edit text
writing in a creative way
Peninsula, rugged, arid, parallel, biosphere, reserve, panga, barnacles,
crustaceans, dunes, lagoon, humanity?s heritage, ecotourism
Lagoon Tour: Whale Watching
Read about Jane Duden?s visit to Baja California:
Lagoon Tour: Whale Watching at Laguna Ojo de Liebre. Invite
students to imagine embarking on a whale watching tour as they click
on each of the photos. Encourage them to share their responses to
the photographs and captions. Choose from a menu of activities to
help students learn key vocabulary included in the reading selection:
Building Vocabulary with
Use the reading selection as a springboard for writing. Choose
from the following ideas to help students generate and draft ideas.
Encourage them to revise and edit their writing for meaning and
accuracy. Invite them to choose from the menu of writing projects
described below to present their ideas to an audience.
Questions for Details
After viewing the photos from Jane?s journey, help students
generate ideas for writing using a strategy called Questions for
Details: Have students work with a partner or in small groups to
brainstorm a list of questions they would ask Jane about her lagoon
tour. Encourage them to list a variety of questions: Who? What?
Where? When? Why? How? After several minutes of brainstorming have
students list questions they would ask a travel agent or tour guide
if they were planning a whale watching tour. The answers to the
brainstormed questions become details for writing.
Rules! Rules! Rules!
Download the photo (enlarged version) from Jane?s lagoon tour
that features Rules for Whale Watching. Post the rules on
chart paper or make an overhead transparency. Invite students to
read the list of rules. Ask questions to generate a discussion:
"Why are rules important? Why do you think these rules are
posted for visitors? How do you think the rules were established?
What do you think of each of the rules listed on the sign? How do
each of the rules help humans and gray whales live in harmony? What
could happen if someone ignored one of the rules? How does the sign
educate tourists who come to see the whales? How would you inspire
tourists to respect the whales and the lagoon during their visit?"
Revisit the photographs from Jane?s trip to Baja. Invite students
to click on each photo to enlarge the image. Have students collect
sensory details for each photograph by asking the following questions:
"As you look at each photograph, what so you see? How would
you describe what an observer would see? What sensory details would
help paint a descriptive picture? How would you describe the colors?
Objects? Interesting details? What sounds do you imagine could be
heard? What words and phrases would you use to describe wading in
the shallow waters? How would you describe a panga based on what
you see in the photographs? What words and phrases describe the
weather? How would it feel to pet a gray whale? What physical characteristics
do you notice in the photographs of the whales?
Projects: Menu of Choices
Invite students to use the sensory details collected in the
prewriting activity to write snapshot sentences. Snapshot sentences
contain descriptive details that paint a vivid picture for readers.
Encourage students to write snapshot sentence captions for each
photograph. Create a scrapbook with the photographs and snapshot
Invite students to create travel brochures that describe the
lagoon tour. Have students use the ideas collected during prewriting
activities in their brochure. Ask the following questions to help
students connect the prewriting ideas to the writing project:
"How will your brochure inspire someone to plan a lagoon
tour? How will you describe feature attractions? How will you
include the rules for whale watching in the brochure to ensure
that tourists show respect for the whales and the lagoon? Which
sensory details will you use to help your readers imagine a wondrous
Invite students to write songs that inspire listeners to care
about whales. Encourage them to include ideas from the prewriting
activities as they write songs. Ask the following questions to
spark students? creativity: "How will your song inspire
humans to live in harmony with whales? How could you use the Rules
for Whale Watching in your song? What pictures would you like
your audience to imagine as they listen to your song? How could
you incorporate actual whale sounds/songs into the music? What
lyrics would you write if you imagined a mother gray whale singing
a lullaby to her calf? What lyrics do you imagine a gray whale
would write to visitors of the lagoon?"
Have students imagine a trip to Laguna Ojo de Liebre. Invite
them to write a travel journal that describes their adventures.
Encourage them to use the sensory details collected in the prewriting
activity for journal entries. Ask the following questions to spark
their creativity: "What was your daily itinerary? What
was the trip to the lagoon like? How was the weather? What feelings
and thoughts about seeing gray whales will you capture in your
journal? What was the most significant moment of your trip? What
thoughts linger in your mind after you returned home? What message
would you like to share with the world after experiencing life
at the lagoon?"
Dive into poetry to explore the wonders of whales. Invite
students to express their thoughts and feelings about the wonders
of whales in poetry. Encourage students to research types of poems
(cinquain, haiku, free verse) to create a variety of poems.
Write a list poem about mother gray whales and their calves using
the descriptive words and phrases you collected from the reading
selection. Each line of the poem includes one-to-three words.
For example: Whale haven?Warm, salty lagoon?Nature?s nursery?Spyhopping
grays?Splish, splash?Breaching beauties?Dimpled darlings frolic?Playing
around pangas?Mystical marvels?See them...Save them. Ask questions
to spark their creativity.
Ask students to write a list of whale words: baleen, spout,
spyhopping, breeding, lagoon, ecosystem, marine mammal, etc. Invite
them to collect definitions for each word using a variety of resource
materials: dictionaries, reading selections, encyclopedias, etc.
Have them create a guide for tourists that includes whale words
and definitions. Ask students the following questions: "What
information would be helpful to tourists visiting Laguna Ojo de
Liebre? What questions might a whale watcher ask an expert? What
words do visitors need to understand the world of whales?"
Not everyone has an opportunity to visit gray whales. Write
a magazine article that helps readers experience life at the lagoon.
Use detailed descriptions to help readers imagine what it would
be like to embark on a whale watching tour. Encourage students
to research facts about the nursery lagoons to collect details
for writing the article: contact a travel agency for information,
interview someone who has been on a whale watching tour, or visit
websites for facts.