- Divide the class into pairs or small groups and give each a set of the Forest Characters teacher page. Challenge students to identify what the six animals depicted on the cards have in common. (They might notice that they all live in forests and that they all depend on forests for food.)
- Ask students what a forest is. How is a forest different from a single tree? Invite them to write down three questions they have about forests, and save these to revisit later at the end of the activity.
- Tell students you are going to read them a story about a girl named Jackie who has a forest adventure. They should listen carefully to the things that happen to Jackie and pay special attention to the things she sees. Later, students will answer questions about the story.
- Read aloud the A Forest Adventure with S.T. Shrew student page. Depending on the age group you’re working with, you may want to read the story in different ways. For example:
- Consider breaking the story into three chapters: In the Ground, A Rotten Place to Live, and Life at the Top.
- Assign students roles in a theatrical rendition of the story. Use the S.T. Skit student page to have students narrate the characters independently or act out the scenes as a play.
- Assign the students to read the chapters as an independent, silent reading task.
- Have the students relax, close their eyes, and listen as you read the story from start to finish.
- Pass out drawing paper and crayons or markers, and have the students draw pictures of the story. They might draw a picture of their favorite part of the story, the most interesting creature Jackie met, or a scene that depicts Jackie and many of the creatures in the forest. They may also create flip-up pictures of the forest (as in the photo) by first drawing a forest habitat with animals living in and around the trees, then covering up the animals with sticky notes to make flip-up windows.
- Encourage students to describe their drawings and to construct an explanation of what they depicted. For the flip-up pictures, they might also explain why each spot is appropriate for that particular animal.
- Divide students into groups of two to three, and assign each group part of the story to rewrite on sentence strips. Collect the strips and ask for volunteers to help place them in the proper order. After completing this activity as a group, the sentence strips can be placed in a literacy center where students can use them later to create their own stories.
- Ask students to revisit their three forest questions from Step 1. What answers were they able to uncover as a result of participating in this lesson? Ask volunteers to share one of their questions and answers.