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Teach the joy of writing while learning about whales and Vervet monkeys

Posted on 26th August 2022

Method to improve writing and support learners through the iterative process of writing across curricula and producing meaningful, authentic essays based on real-world content. Past participants know: Everyone Can Write!

Baby Vervet monkey, Umsizi Umkomaas Vervet Rescue Centre, South Africa.
Tracy Rowles photo. Used with permission.

COMING SOON! Available for pre-order. Cross-curricular, inclusive writing program Everyone Can Write About Whales and Everyone Can Write About Vervet Monkeys has been presented to students in grades 3 – 8 in Connecticut, Hawaii USA and Abu Dhabi, UAE since 2006. Participation leads to increased scores on high-stakes tests, and competence and confidence while honing Math, Science, ICT and Social Studies skills.


Participants practice the iterative process of writing accessing multiple intelligences and learning styles through a series of multimodal explorations involving the senses: example include witnessing the sounds and sights of whales and Vervet monkeys in the wild; developing vocabulary banks; comparing and categorizing features of cetaceans and/or monkeys; mastering a variety of graphic organizers as a resource for production of a rough draft composition; enhancing use of punctuation in more sophisticated sentence construction; creating and naming models of whale tails and monkeys, comparing cetacean, monkey and human communication; accessing internet resources for tracking, charting and analyzing population migration and/or movement facts and data; exploring global and local threats to cetaceans and Vervet monkeys, and positive actions and outcomes through active and purposeful listening, research and writing.


Learners are engrossed in student-centered, individual and flexible group researching, drafting, composing, reviewing editing, revising and collaborating, culminating in the final workshop, “Authors Present“.


This is a fun but hard-core writing workshop where learners work the art of writing. All writers are engaged and learn something about our magnificent and beloved fellow mammals of the land and sea.

Humpback whale open-mouth feeding, Stellwagen Bay USA 2010
Abu Dhabi, UAE 2011. Arabic- speaking grade 3 students learned English words and phrases while watching videos and listening to recordings of whale song during Everyone Can Write About Whales. Their favorite word was “BREACH!” They also honed Math and ICT skills while researching Arabian Sea Humpback whales, endemic to the Arabian Sea and considered to be the most isolated whale population on the planet.
Writing about critically endangered Vaquita porpoise when estimated population declined to less than 30 individuals. Today, Vaquita numbers are hovering at ~10 individuals – on the brink of extinction. Students in this class estimated the Vaquita would be extinct by 2020, based on the rate of decline. The encouraging news is the Vaquita are still with us. In this workshop, students learned about positive actions and attitudes to protect animals and their environments; this class analyzed data and wrote persuasive letters to the Mexican government to request additional protection of the Vaquita habitat.