I am a self-proclaimed Birthday Brat! In fact, I come from a long line of Birthday Brats. We take our birthdays (and sometimes birth-weeks) very seriously! We don’t expect a lot, but we definitely soak in the extra attention and birthday songs. It’s no wonder, then, that I want to make my students’ birthdays special for them, too. It doesn’t take much to make the day special. Here are a few ways to celebrate classroom birthdays with students.
Let’s start with the song. If you don’t do anything else in your class for birthdays, at least you can have the class sing to the birthday girl or boy. To make it extra special, mix things up! Have younger students rearrange the order of the words. Allow students to pick a different birthday song. Create a conga line around the room while singing. Have the birthday student stand on a chair. These little things can make the birthday song extra special.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to provide birthday gifts for students. For example,
- Buy fun pencils in bulk and print out birthday printables to attach to them.
- At the beginning of the year, ask students what their favorite candy is so you can give it to them on their birthday.
- Create no homework passes to give students on their birthdays.
- Decorate a shoe box and fill it with little toys and candies. Then, the birthday boy or girl can choose their own prize on their birthday.
Teacher for the Day
Students love taking over for the teacher. Whether they’re reading their favorite book to the class, teaching part of the lesson, or sitting at your desk, letting them be teacher for the day can be a fun way to celebrate classroom birthdays.
Students need to be built up. They need to know that their peers see them in a positive light. You can do this by having each student write a note to the birthday girl or boy. In first grade, my teacher had us write “________ is special, because…” Then, we had to complete the sentence. She put all the papers together to create a book for whoever the book was about. I’ve also seen teachers create t-shirts for the class to sign with special notes written on them.
I also love the idea of having everyone write a trait that they admire about the birthday student. Have them write it on the board with the birthday boy or girl standing in front of it. Then, take a picture of the board to give as a gift.
Surprise your birthday student by decorating his or her desk. Use streamers, butcher paper, and other items to make the desk stand out and tell everyone in the class that it’s a special day.
Another way to alert everyone to a birthday is by having the birthday boy or girl wear a special birthday crown, tiara, hat, or ribbon. Then, everyone around school will want to wish them a happy birthday, too.
To determine which ways to celebrate classroom birthdays, consider the school policy and your students’ personalities. Something that you do with one group of students may not work with your students the following year. Find a way to make every student feel special whether they hate the attention or consider themselves a self-proclaimed Birthday Brat.
Since all of this birthday talk likely has you in a fun mood, might as well check out a couple of our other fun blogs: Fun Teaching Games to Try in Your Classroom and How to Create Fun Teaching Worksheets. I'm sure you'll enjoy them!