03 July 2016

Birthdays - #100DayProject - Day 094

We celebrated my nephew's birthday yesterday (a couple days late) and it was a fun day. We swam, ate delicious BBQ and cake, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was the perfect summer birthday. I was then reminded my daughter's birthday is also a summer one and that we could be celebrating in a very similar fashion and was excited. Birthdays are supposed to be fun and enjoyable and I've always loved summer birthdays for that very reason.
Image Source: Pixabay.com

My own birthday is at the end of August so I can still have a little of the above feeling but a little different. The main difference is my birthday is often after school has already started so I also get to celebrate at school, something my nephew and daughter may not get to do. Some teachers treat birthdays in a way that if you aren't in class for your actual birthday you don't need to be celebrated, even if it's just on a weekend. I decided long ago that I wasn't going to treat birthdays that way and that every student was going to be celebrated for a birthday, half-birthday, or un-birthday. So what's the difference between the three? Depends on the day of celebration.

  • Birthday --> Your actual birthday, just like normal. Not every student gets to have this option every year, even if their actual birthday is during the regular school year due to weekends and holidays. 
  • Half-birthday --> When you celebrate your birthday on the 6-month mark instead of the year mark. This is perfect for summer birthdays because they may have a June, July, or August birthday that's out of the option for an in-class celebration so you celebrate in December, January, or February instead. I've have had many students tell me their half-birthday celebration was the most fun and often the first experience of celebrating a birthday in class. A fun approach for those summer kiddos. 
  • Un-birthday --> This is used for the student who has a birthday on a weekend, holiday or is absent for their birthday. Another great way to celebrate kids even when their special day doesn't play nice with the regular school calendar. I also use this approach for students whose birthdays are immediately after school ends so it can be closer to their actual birthday instead of six months away. 
One area I need to adjust is the gift. Do you give each student a gift on their birthday? Up until the last year or two, I always gave each student a candy bar of their choice or something similar for my no-treats kids (I've had a couple of diabetic students as well as a bunch doing a no-treat bet with parents). The last two years all I did was sing to them and that was it. Although it worked, I kind of felt like a cheapskate and will probably go back to some kind of treat. I know some teachers go all our and do little trinkets while others order cheap books from Scholastic Books and give each student a book or even a coupon for a book. 

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Another thing I am always open to is students bringing in treats for their birthday. My only restriction for the treats is they are store-bought to keep with district policy. While some parents hate it, others LOVE it and thank me for the limitation. The image above is cupcakes because next to doughnuts (uh, look left for a delicious looking glazed one), cupcakes are probably the second most shared treat with sugar cookies coming in third. While I don't always receive a treat, I probably shouldn't always eat it when I do, but who can resist a sweet treat? 

I teach at the elementary level and probably have a different approach than some of the secondary folks. Do you still celebrate birthdays at the secondary level? How do you do it? Do you offer any kind of gift? Do your students bring in treats? 

Am I the only teacher who celebrates birthdays in a way that allows all students to celebrate in class? Let me know if you do the same thing or if you do something different that also works. And if you don't currently celebrate in this manner, maybe see if you can adjust a little so every student can be recognized in class.

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