When one of my students has a birthday I give them a cute birthday hat to wear. The class sings an adorable Happy Birthday song. It even includes singing Happy Birthday like a cat! Meow, meow, meow...
I ask the student to share his/her plans for his/her special day and then the class takes turns asking questions and giving the birthday kid compliments. Having the children ask questions is harder than in sounds. Most of the kids want to share about their own birthday. There are a multitude of teachable moments on birthday share days!
Last year I had my student of the week bring in show and tell and we write letters to him/her and staple them in a book. I usually took a grade on this activity since it was purposeful and I could grade different elements of writing: spacing, spelling, capitalization, format, originality/creativity, etc. Since our district will be implementing Lucy Calkins, I would like to only do this activity on birthday share (show and tell) days instead of every single week. It keeps the kids from getting bored with the activity as well as frees up more time for Writer's Workshop which I like to call Writing Wonderland.
For years I have had the birthday boy/girl pick a toy out of the birthday box. It was set up like a treasure box but these treasures are only seen once a year. It took FOREVER (even with a countdown from 20). A couple of friends of mine shared what they do for birthdays and I loved the idea. They get a special candy at a party store and decorate it. At the end of the day the child picks out his or her gift out of a decorative basket. (I want to ask them if I can put their names here before I do.)
This year I am going to try their idea with a twist. When I was at Dollar Tree (the green one), I found these huge carnival lollipops for a dollar each. I thought they are perfect (even though they contradict the health kick I am trying to maintain in my classroom). This is one of the few times of the year that I give out candy.
I love these lollipops because they are absolutely adorable. They are very colorful to boot! I want to get some styrofoam to place inside a colorful birthday bag. I plan on placing the lollipops in the bag with the colorful part sticking out .
I love how my friends said that they pass out their treat at the end of the day. I usually have the class sing early on during calendar and then pass out the treat. By waiting until the end of the day, I can avoid the lollipop breaking, disappearing (getting lost), or somehow being opened "all by itself."
Passing out the same treat takes less time and is more equitable. This year I am focusing on being efficient in housekeeping tasks so that there is more time to cover content.
What do you do for birthdays?