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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Can't We Just Enjoy Our Birthdays Anymore?

Do you recognize birthdays in your classroom? Some of you may know that I am no longer a classroom teacher. I am an intervention teacher, which obviously means that things are very different, especially in regards to how I celebrate birthdays.  But when I taught kindergarten and first grade, we certainly did celebrate birthdays and in a BIG way!  Here are some of the things we did to celebrate and of course, feel free to use any of them you like in your room.  (While I am not quite a hoarder, I have not kept all of these items in storage and have let some of them go. I will do my best to locate  them to show you pictures....because I love pictures! )

1.  I had a plastic "blow up" birthday cake.  We always called the birthday kiddo up to the front of our group time and sang a birthday song to him/her.  My favorite was "Happy Birthday" by Greg and Steve. I can't remember what volume of We All Live Together it was on but I loved it.  We even had motions to go with it!  And of course, we all loved saying "Happy Birthday" at the end when the kids all called it out to the birthday kiddo.  My favorite part was taking my hand and swiping at the candles when my student blew them out as if my hand could extinguish the fake flames!

2.  Right after that, I used an "Interactive Chart" that was shaped like a birthday cake.  It simply had the traditional birthday song on it and students would use sentence strips with names on it to interchange the names. But on a birthday, the birthday kiddo had his/her name on the chart and could use a cool pointer to demonstrate one to one correspondence, top to bottom, and left to right progression while we sang. These charts seem to have gone by the wayside, I've noticed in recent years but boy do I love them. I'm old school" that way...if it works, why not still use it?   I still have a ton of them in my basement for storage.  I even pull them out occasionally and take one or two to school. But as for the birthday chart, my friend Sandi, is also old school and she has my Birthday Chart so I can't show you what it looks like at this time. Sorry. However, here is a storage tidbit on how I store the charts and I did so in my classroom the same way!

3. Next, I had a "birthday box/gift".  It was simply a two piece box that was wrapped in birthday paper, soap opera style!  You know what I mean?  The lid was wrapped separately from the bottom so it could be opened again and again without truly unwrapping.  It was filled with trinkets and the students could pick one out of the box with his/her eyes closed!  (Baubles, bracelets, pencils, super balls, galore were in there for the picking!)

4.  Next a birthday read aloud was picked.  I had a ton of picture books that were based on a birthday theme.  The birthday kiddo could pick from the pile of birthday books for the morning read aloud and we all enjoyed the selection of the day.  Some of my favorites are pictured below but there are so many new ones that have come out since I was in the classroom.

Wow! I actually found them in my basement.  I'm very organized so I'm not really surprised.  However, I have so many books that are in shelves and in boxes that I am really glad I could find them for you.  I will post a bibliography too in case you are interested in gathering some for your school year too!  Check back soon.

5.  Finally, part of our daily work that day was to create a birthday book for the birthday kiddo.  The birthday kiddo's job was to create a cover for his her book, decorating it anyway he/she wanted to do so.  The other students would write a "friendly letter" following the proper format, with the date, salutation, body, closing, and signature.  I actually had a "friendly letter format" sheet on which the letters were written.The letters were all included in the book and were bound with the GBC comb binder for the birthday kiddo to take home at the end of the day.  And let me tell you, some of the letters said the sweetest things.  Also, you certainly could tell a huge difference in the quality of writing in a September Birthday Book versus a May Birthday Book.

This had me thinking about teaching in our "modern world".  We have cut so much of the "fun stuff" out of our daily routines due to the expected rigor and testing schedules.  But little people have enough time for "life" down the road and it's still important in my eyes to keep some of the fun and special moments from childhood in place.  Birthdays are one of them and every one of them is truly a gift and can never really be guaranteed.  I know...I'm getting a little mushy.  So my vote is to keep the special day, well....special!  No cupcakes, no food treats, and the likes for your allergic and/or diabetic kid.  They really aren't necessary. These ideas are not food related and are curriculum, they don't just take away from the curriculum. So my vote is to keep on celebrating the birthday!

In honor of my Birthday proclamation, I am including a link to a new FREEBIE that I just posted.  It is appropriate for any elementary birthday kiddo and I hope you like it and can use it.  The freebie is a sheet of three birthday coupons, Again, low prep, fun, and FREE! I hope you might consider using it in your classroom this year.  Simply print the black line version onto colorful paper. You can give your student an entire sheet or you can have him/her pick the coupon of his/her choice. That is up to you!   And of course, should you choose to accept this mission :)  I would greatly appreciate a rating and feedback in my TPT store.  I hope you enjoy!

FREEBIE ALERT! Download Birthday Coupons......CLICK HERE

Until Next Time,

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