Review: One Small Place in a Tree, is a great example of the life of a tree and all the beings who depend on it. Beginning with scratches in tree bark, perhaps made by a bear sharpening her claws, this book tells the story of all the animals and creatures who make the tree their home. From drill-holes left behind by insects, the holes are enlarged by woodpeckers, and eventually become home to squirrels, songbirds, and tree frogs. Once the tree dies and falls, other species move in. "Living trees are important. But so are dead and dying trees." Simple language and stylized illustrations by Tom Leonard make this an easy-to-understand book for young forest explorers.
We were thrilled! For twenty-five years the students at The Neighborhood Schoolhouse in Brattleboro, Vermont, had been hiking, snowshoeing, camping, tracking, playing, and learning behind our school in the many acres of forest owned by a separate non-profit organization. Finally, a local cartographer was going to map "our" woods. Having a pictorial representation of all those best-loved places to take inside with us sounded great!
When the classroom extends to the outdoors, students' engagement and understandings are maximized. There are multiple opportunities for the children to make important conceptual connections. These understandings are evidenced across the disciplines, through the application and practice of both student knowledge and skills; for example, outdoor observations are guided by our senses.