Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

Ruby-throated Hummingbird:
Nesting Phenology

Reading Strategies:

  • Build Background Knowledge
  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Scan Text for Clues
  • Reread for Text Details
  • Sequence Events Described in the Text
  • Summarize Main Ideas and Details
  • Make Text-to-Text Connections
  • Author?s Craft: Identify Text Structure
  • (About Reading Strategies)

    reproduce, phenology, breeding grounds, territorial defense, mortality, brood, incubating, regurgitating, fledge, grams, meters, percentages




Introduce the selection by visiting Journey North?s Day-By-Day Hummingbird Nest Gallery to see photographs of a hummingbird nest. As students click on each photo to reveal how a couple of baby hummers grow day to day, read aloud the accompanying photo captions/text. (Building Background Knowledge)

List the following questions on chart paper. Invite students to make predictions and ask questions prior to reading the article.

1. How big is a hummingbird?s nest? Based on the photo that featured the tape measure (Day 4: Not Very Big!), what is the approximate diameter of a hummingbird?s nest?
2. Why do you think hummingbirds lay exactly two eggs?
3. Why do you think hummingbirds build their nests out of lichens, bud scales, thistle, dandelion down, and spider silk? Why are these materials perfect for hummer nests?
4. How much time does a mother hummingbird spend incubating her eggs?
5. What are two things a newly hatched hummingbird can do?

Create a chart to organize student-generated questions about a hummingbird?s nest-making process. Write the topic on chart paper: A Hummingbird?s Nest-Making Process. List five categories below the topic: Who? Where? When? Why? and How? Use the chart prior to reading the selection to record students? questions and predictions. (Making Predictions and Asking Questions to Set a Purpose for Reading)

Introduce the phrase, Nesting Phenology. Invite students to scan the subheadings in the reading selection: Territorial Defense, Nest Building, Egg Laying, Incubating Eggs, Brooding and Feeding Nestlings, and Taking Care of Fledglings. Ask students: Based on the headings, what do you think "Nesting Phenology" means? What will the focus of this reading selection be? What kinds of facts do you think will be revealed in this article? (Scanning the Text for Clues)

Read "Ruby-throated Hummingbird Nesting Phenology." Encourage students to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar words, underlining key words and phrases, and writing notes in the margins. Invite them to underline sentences that reveal answers to the preview questions.

Revisit the text to answer questions listed prior to reading. Ask questions to facilitate students? work: Which questions were answered by details in the text? What facts did the article reveal about the nesting phenology of hummingbirds? Invite students to generate more questions for further research. (Rereading for Text Details)

Have students reread the selection with a partner. Invite them to sequence the steps in a hummingbird?s nesting phenology using facts from the article. Have students summarize (orally or in writing) the key ideas from the text using the sequenced facts. (Sequencing Events Described in the Text, Summarizing Main Ideas and Details in the Text)

Revisit the text for math connections. List the following data on a chart:

3-4 months
15 meters apart
5-10 days
2-3 times a season
1-3 days
0.5 grams
2.5 ? 6 grams
12-14 days
75 %
18-25 days
86 %
9 days
4-7 day

Ask students to revisit the text to find out the facts connected with each of the items listed on the chart. Encourage students to share their understanding of meters, grams, and percentages. Ask questions to assess students? understanding of the facts that include the mathematical data:

How would you describe 15 meters apart?
What is the range of days in 3?4 months?
About how many hours or minutes is the same as 75% of the daylight?
What objects are measured in grams?
What objects weigh about 2.5-6 grams?
What object might weigh 0.5 grams? What fraction has the same value as 0.5 grams?

Journaling Questions (Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions)
1. How do you think the nest-making process of a hummingbird differs from other birds that build nests?

2. When a baby hummingbird hatches, its egg is papery and thin. Why do you think the hummingbird egg is different from a chicken?s egg?

Making Connections: Nest Sweet Nest
1. Read about the robins? nests in a related reading selection: American Robin: Build a Robin's Nest. Create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast facts about the nest-making process of hummingbirds and robins. (Making Text-to-Text Connections)

2. Read other articles and books about the nest-making process of hummers and other birds. Related Reading Selection: About Eagle Nests. What other facts about nests did you discover? Compare a hummingbird?s nest to an eagle?s nest. (Making Text-to-Text Connections)

Library Lookout: Find and read "Strange Nests" by Ann Shepard Stevens. Millbrook Press Inc., 1998, ISBN 0-7613-0413-4. This illustrated picture book examines the nests and nest-building habits of eleven birds common to the continental United States, as well as unusual nests that have been built when normal nesting materials were in short supply.

Evaluate (Identify Text Structures)
Authors make decisions about how to present information to readers. They choose from a variety of structures to organize facts. Have students identify which of the following text structures can be found in the reading selection. Encourage them to give examples from the text to support their answers.

Chronological/Sequence: (Time/Order) Chronological articles reveal events in a sequence from beginning to end. Words that signal chronological structures include: first, then, next, finally, and specific dates and times.

Cause/Effect: Informational texts often describe cause and effect relationships. They describe events and identify or imply causal factors.

Problem/Solution: The text introduces a problem and describes solutions.

Compare/Contrast: Authors use comparisons to describe ideas to readers. Similes, metaphors, and analogies are used in compare/contrast organizational structures.

Description: Sensory details help readers visualize information. Authors paint pictures for readers by describing sights, sounds, smells, textures, and temperatures.

Directions: How-to texts frame the information in a series of directions. Nonfiction selections that include step-by-step instructions for an activity are examples of this organizational framework.

Question/Answer: Some information texts reveal facts by listing questions followed by answers.

Writer s Workshop

  • Descriptive
    Visit Journey North?s Hummingbird Nest Gallery to see photos of the entire nesting cycle of a pair of hummingbirds. Look closely at the photos to collect details for writing: What do you see? (colors, shapes, sizes, objects, interesting details) What sounds do you imagine as you look at the photos? What textures do you imagine? What comparisons can you make? Create a scrapbook about the nesting cycle of hummingbirds using the photographs from the nest gallery. Use the sensory details to write captions (descriptive sentences) for each photo in your hummingbird scrapbook.
  • Expository
    Use the facts you?ve learned about hummingbirds and their nesting cycle to create a nonfiction book for young readers. Use one of the following text structures to organize the facts in your book: Chronological, Compare/Contrast, Description, Directions, or Question/Answer.
  • Persuasive
    Read about why hummingbird feeders should not have a perch. Use the facts to write a letter to your local newspaper to inform your community about ways to create backyard havens for hummers.
  • Expressive
    What parts of the hummingbird?s nesting cycle filled you with wonder? What amazed you? Surprised you? Express your thoughts and feelings about the nesting cycle of hummingbirds in a poem.