This autumn has been gorgeous. The trees are brilliant in a variety of colors. They make me look up. They make me stop to really look.
Summer was dry, so it is surprising that our autumn is especially colorful. I like to think that Mother Nature is giving us an art show during this pandemic year, to remind us that nature and trees are a beautiful thing, and to tell us to look.
Back to trees.
Trees represent the circle of life in ways that we can understand- children, too. They are the visual to life and death, growing, survival, thriving, and new birth. Trees are a home for animals. They are a playground and shelter for everyone. The list is a long one. When I use the word ‘grounded’, trees are the benchmark.
Many children’s books have been written about trees. One book that I read aloud every year is The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons.
After showing children the front cover, I start the book with the back cover:
I take a minute to let the four pictures sink in. Then I ask questions. Did you know half of the pleasure – and learning – that happens when reading a book to children, is asking questions?
What do you see?
What makes the pictures different?
There’s a name for what they’re called. Do you know what it is?
And so it goes. We spend a long time on the four seasons, the order they happen, and how the tree is different in each one. It sets the stage for the story of the tree over each season. Each season has many pages as to what the tree does. Here are the lead-in pages for each season:
I read this book to children at the start of each season, and we take a “tree walk” to see what we can see. This year’s tree walk was spectacular in beauty. Of course there are many other wonderful books about trees that I read to children. This coming week I will be reading Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Last week we read Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson, and Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson.
Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
So much we can learn from Trees, Jennie, and I have to admit, autumnal trees are my favourite, just before they lose their beautiful leaves ❤
Hear, hear! ❤️
Those photos are amazing – as are the books! Superb Jennie.
Thank you, Opher.
Your autumn trees are lovely indeed, Jennie. And the book is a great way to teach the young ones how to appreciate and love trees.
Best wishes, Pete.
Thank you, Pete. Best to you.
I’m enjoying just the thought of you, surrounded by attentive children, reading those wonderful books. You’re the best, Jennie.
Thank you so much, Dan. 🍁
The changing seasons must be quite a wonder to young children. You must have a biology lesson on why leaves change color in the fall? (I remember that being a big question for me.)
Yes, it is a wonder to young children. I think the first big snowfall is the biggest wonder to them. Fall leaves and spring buds are a close second. The ‘why leaves change’ is a bit over their heads, but I do remember learning in school that it is the change in daylight, not rain or weather. Best to you, Liz.
What I remember about those first snowfalls is that sleds came with them!
Those shots of the trees are great, especially the ones with the different perspective. I think children give us that: a different perspective. We should listen.
Thank you, Pam. And yes, children give us a different perspective. It’s a wonderful thing.
Trees are amazing and good teachers, and listeners too. Your orange leaf trees are spectacular!
Yes, they are! Thank you, Deborah. 🙂
the colors this year have been so vibrant and I feel like it is lasting longer than normal. But, is it? Or is it that this year we were forced to slow down and provided the opportunity to reflect and realize the beauty that has always been there?
Oh and I love Gail Gibbons books as a jumping off point for science learning for children
Yes, they have been! You make a good point- are we slowing down to really see, and therefore noticing the vibrant colors? I really love Gail Gibbons, too. Her book on cowboys, and on knights, are among my favorites. Thank you, Lori.
“They make me look up”
Different perspectives are sooooooo refreshing.
As always, a delight to read, teacher.
Yes, they are! Thank you, Laura.
Superb and beautiful trees, Jennie. Trees and nature are always good teachers and children love them.
You are absolutely right! Thank you.
Welcome Jennie ☺️☺️
A world without trees would be so bland. Not only the oxygen and carbon dioxide filtering they do, but the cover they provide for animals, makes them so important to us all. Not to mention how beautiful they are.
The list of all the good that trees do is incredibly long!
Books have been written!…
What a great lesson for those little ones!
Thank you, Don!
One thing I miss since moving to AL is the fall foliage. Have you read Mr. Tamerin’s Trees, by Kathryn F. Ernst? It’s one of my favorites on what trees give to us, and it’s quite funny.
I do not know that book. I will see if the library has a copy. Thank you! I think most everyone who moves away from here misses the fall foliage. 🍁
It’s an oldie (1976), but goodie.
Another one of my favorite read-alouds and a perfect segway into the ending of one/beginning of another season… Your photos are glorious, Jennie! The foliage here after an extremely dry summer was surprisingly glorious too. Blessed by the wonder of it all! 🍂 xo
I’m so glad this was a favorite read-aloud, Bette. Gail Gibbons does a remarkable job. I have taken so many photos this year because the foliage has been glorious. We are blessed by the wonder of it all. 🍁
Adding A Walk Along the Beach to my wish list!
Have you had the pleasure of seeing some of our incredible redwood trees, Jennie? I try not to take their beauty for granted. I am reminded of their grandness whenever we have visitors, as many have never seen trees that tall before.
I have not, and I would dearly love to see them. I show pictures to the children because they love the song, “This Land is Your Land”, and the redwood forests are part of the song. There are many terrific pictures in the book, which is a great lead-in to real photos.
I can only imagine their grandness! Our first trip to Oregon and seeing the Cascade Mountains was as close as I have ever come to such grandness.
Your trees in their autumn colours are stunning, Jennie. We don’t experience seasons here the way you do. Books like those you mention are important to our understanding of how the seasons change in other places.
We are lucky to have beautiful autumns. You are such a warm climate that you wouldn’t have such seasonal changes in trees. Am I right? Trees are fundamental to pretty much everything. Children’s books about trees are some of the greatest teachers. Thank you, Norah.
Not many of our trees are deciduous, but I guess they are seasonal in flowering and producing. They are definitely an important part of our Earth. We couldn’t do without them. 🙂
I did not know Australia doesn’t have many deciduous trees. Yes, we could not do without them.
Some more southern parts of Australia experience more difference in the seasons and have deciduous trees, but they are mostly imported. You may be interested in this information: http://anpsa.org.au/faq-18.html
Thank you, Norah!
Beautiful colours, Jennie. I read a book once that said a colourful autumn with a lot of nuts and berries means a hard winter ahead.
Thank you, Robbie. And please tell me it isn’t so. 🙂
I hope not, Jennie.
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here is another wonderful post from that best of teachers, Jennie!
Thank you, Charles!
While there are leaves changing colors and falling off some of our trees, I find the largest spectacle in the vineyards. They have given us the fruits of their labor and now bid us adieu with a bonne au revoir!
How wonderful! It is a beautiful time of year. Many of us would love to see photos of the spectacle in the vineyards. Best to you, Lea.
I shall give it a try. Slay those WP gremlins or at least chase them away… Thank you, Jennie. 📚📚📚
I love trees. I cannot bear the thought of so many being cut down at Christmas time.
I feel the same way! Thank goodness many places replant as soon as they cut.
I remember those Leaf Projects in elementary school…. I think if I knew what to do with them I might still be picking them up off the ground!
Just picking them up is a wonderful thing, KC. That can bring lots of memories and smiles. 🙂
Yay for trees — and for you sharing your love and respect for trees with your students. Lovely!!!
Thank you, Will. And yes, yay for trees!