Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

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Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

Eagle Talons: Get a Grip!

Reading Strategies:

  • Activate Prior Knowledge
  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Build Vocabulary: Verbs
  • Summarize Main Idea and Details
  • Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions
  • Compare and Contrast Ideas
  • (About Reading Strategies)

    talons, prey, opposable, muscular, claws, scales, rotate, thrash


• To introduce the selection, activate students’ prior knowledge using the following questions: “What kind of feet do eagles have?” “How do eagles use their feet?” “Why are eagles’ feet called talons rather than claws?” (Use photographs and illustrations of eagles for visual aids.)

• Read aloud the title of the selection, Eagle Talons: Get a Grip! Invite students to generate more questions they predict will be addressed in the article. Organize ideas in a “5 W’s and an H” Chart using the following words to sort the questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How?

• Use the Clue Collector strategy to focus students’ attention on the upcoming reading selection: Write the following verbs on a handout: catches, slice, use, carries, holds, grab, bite, rotate, thrash, and jerk. Ask students to predict how an author writing an article about eagle talons will use these words. Encourage students to pair or group clues together. Ask them to share how the clue words could be connected or related. Invite students to write statements that use the clues. Assist students through demonstrations and think alouds to understand the process of looking for relationships.

• Read “Eagle Talons: Get a Grip!” and other nonfiction selections that describe how an eagle uses its talons to capture its prey.

• Revisit the selection by reviewing the questions discussed prior to reading. Invite students to summarize details from the article that answer each question.

• Encourage students to write hypotheses for questions that were not answered in the selection.

• Have students work with a partner to create a Web-0-Facts using details from the selection. Encourage students’ creative thinking for ways to graphically represent the facts revealed in the selection.

• Revisit the selection to confirm and revise predictions generated prior to reading. Highlight the verbs from the Clue Collector. Ask: “How did the author use each of these verbs to reveal facts about eagle talons?” “What synonyms could be used in place of these verbs?”

Journaling Question: Can you think of some reasons why eagles always carry items in their talons rather than their beaks?

Making Connections: Survival Attributes
The eagle’s talons are designed for survival. What attributes help the eagle meet its survival needs? What special attributes do humans have that help us meet our needs?

Evaluate: (Readers examine author’s strategies.)
1. Collect poems, stories, and nonfiction articles about eagles. How do authors describe these majestic birds?
2. How did the author help you focus on the main ideas and details described in this selection? (Questions focused the reader’s attention on the main ideas described in the article.)
3. Have students underline or highlight the questions written within the selection.
4. Authors help readers learn new facts by making comparisons. Identify parts of the selection that try to help readers connect facts by making comparisons.

Writer’s Workshop
  • Narrative
    A “Just-So-Story” is a porquois tale. Porquois stories are fictional tales that explain natural phenomenon. Examples include: How the Elephant Got Its Long Trunk, How the Camel Got Its Hump, and How the Rhinoceros Got Its Wrinkles. Write a “Just-So Story” to describe how the eagle’s talon came to be.
  • Descriptive
    Write Simile Sentences that describe an eagle’s talon.
    An eagle’s talon is like... Encourage students to think about the features of the talons: shape, composition, location, sharpness, size, color, etc. Categorize the Simile Sentences that students create under these various features. Analyze the data.
  • Persuasive
    Imagine seeing an eagle’s talons from its prey’s point of view. How would a fish react to seeing approaching talons? Write a “Prey’s Plea.” What would a fish say to an eagle to persuade this predator to find a new food? Grip Elsewhere!
  • Expository
    Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast eagle talons with other animal feet with claws. Write a summary of the similarities and differences between eagle talons and other animal claws.
  • Expository
    Research facts on the Osprey. Create a magazine article that teaches young readers about Eagles and Osprey.


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