Option 1: Assess students’ understanding of key terms used in this activity with the Key Vocabulary: The Forest of S.T. Shrew student page. Refer to the Key Vocabulary: The Forest of S.T. Shrew teacher page for the correct responses.
Option 2: Use student drawings or flip-up pictures from the activity to assess their understanding of the main ideas presented in the story.
Option 3: Give each student a copy of the What’s the Connection? student page to complete. Use The Forest of S.T. Shrew Evaluation Rubric teacher page to assess student responses. Possible answers include:
ant, bird, beetle, carrion beetle, caterpillar, centipede, earthworm, fly, fungi, grasshopper, grub, lichen, millipede, moss, nuthatch, orange fungus, pill bug, termite, salamander, shrew, spider, squirrel, wasp, white grub, wood roach
air, dead animals, dead leaves, dirt, ground, log, soil
Ways living and non-living things are connected in the story:
- Earthworms, beetles, and other decomposers live in the ground.
- The decomposers eat the soil and decaying plant and animal matter.
- Carrion beetles eat animals that have died.
- Moss and fungi live on dead logs and snags.
- Wood roaches, termites, pill bugs, beetles, salamanders, and other organisms live inside logs, chewing and tunneling through the wood, helping to break down the log and turning it into soil.
- Nuthatches and other birds fly in the air.
- Nuthatches eat the insects found on the bark of trees.
Option 4: Using the A Forest Adventure with S.T. Shrew student page or one of the suggested texts listed in Additional Resources, have students perform a cloze reading assignment, using their knowledge and subject comprehension to fill in the blanks. Cloze reading is a test of comprehension that involves having students use their knowledge to supply words that have been systematically deleted from a text. You may delete specific content words for students to complete, such as:
“In here, it’s like a tiny ________,” Millie told her. “We have tons of workers who are busy, ________and night, breaking this log down into soil. All the nutrients in the wood are getting ________!” Everywhere they went there were things ________, tunneling, and burrowing through the wood. There were wood roaches, small white termites, and hard-shelled pillbugs that rolled into tight little ________for protection as she and Millie went by. There were also insect-eating ________: huge, shiny, black beetles with giant jaws, and centipedes with venomous ________. When they’d crawled deep inside the log, they saw a salamander resting in a dark damp hole.
Possible answers include (in the order they appear in the sample cloze passage): factory, day, recycled, chewing, balls, hunters, fangs.