Mustaches, Movember, and our portmanteau-- Treecember

ma cherie by Nelleke Verhoeff, artist/illustrator from the Netherlands
Fine art prints and angel Christmas cards available at Red Cheeks Factory, Nelleke's company 

I walk up to Starr’s House and see the children peeking through the window. I open the door and Elijah says “group hug” and a spiral of arms wrap around my legs. I reach down and touch each back. “Nice to see you.”

During circle time I read, What’s the Big Idea, Molly? written by Valeri Borbachev. Mouse Molly and her friends Rabbit, Goose, Frog, and Pig are looking for an idea about what to get Turtle for his birthday. They all come up with the same idea (draw a picture of a tree) and inspiration strikes. 

I pull out stick-on mustaches. “Can I have one? asks Colt. 

Yes, we can all have one.

Children, I have a story about the mustaches we're wearing. Someone had an idea to create a celebration by mixing two words (called a portmanteau). November + Mustaches = MovemberIn November, men grow mustaches and other people wear ones like these to remind us to take care of our bodies.” We put on mustaches and take pictures. 

Brennyn laughs because her moustache tickles.

I say, “Here’s my idea. If we put the words Trees + December together we have Treecember. Let’s celebrate and learn about trees! Children, tell me what you know about trees and I'll write them on paper.

Maggie says, “Stars and leaves are millions,” and Jax adds, “Sometimes fish die.” I thank Jax.

“I know how to climb up them and some leaves fall off and turn orange, red, brown, black, and yellow,” says Elijah. 

Others tell about trees. I write what they say.

We cross out some words.

And this is what we end up with:

Green, yellow
Falling off
Blowing away
Into the grass
Into the road
Changing colors

We hold hands and dance around as we say it. The end.

Notes: I pass a leaf to each child. We play Simon Says about parts of the leaf after teaching the names of the parts. “Simon says put your finger on the apex of the leaf.” 

Outside we use a leaf-shape chart to match leaves we find in the yard. Within a few minutes, Ansel finds deltoid, linear, ovate, and obovate.