Picture this: It's a hectic morning and you have approximately 30 seconds to use the bathroom, heat up your coffee, and check your mailbox before the students start
trickling barging in for the day. And then you see it. Little Michelle's birthday is today. And instead of visions of sprinkles and balloons dancing above your head, you silently run through every NSFW word you can think of. Classroom birthdays can be a challenge!
Why can classroom birthdays be tricky?
Classroom birthdays are a BIG DEAL to kids. And I get it: even as an adult, I love birthdays. Here's the hard part, though. Just a few years ago, a birthday treat brought from home + the currently trendy rendition of Happy Birthday would suffice.
Today, however, a large number of schools have a no food policy–which I am personally very grateful for, being the parent of allergy kids. While parents are encouraged to send in nonfood treats for classroom birthdays, this often is a bit trickier (read: inconvenient) for parents rather than grabbing cupcakes at the store and calling it a day. Many students now come in with nothing–which is fine–but it warrants a bit more effort on the teacher's part to make their classroom birthday feel special.
Luckily, there is an easy classroom birthday system you can prepare at the beginning of the year–or even in the summer–to set yourself up for birthday success all year long.
Classroom Birthday? Here's the Solution
In the past, I'd assemble personalized classroom birthday bags for each student; this was fun and adorable, but a lot of work and not always easy. Over the years, I've recognized the beauty in systems that are easy to prepare ahead of time, even before the class lists are finalized in August. A simple birthday book and birthday crown are the formula for a fun, stress-free birthday that the student will remember for years.
The classroom birthday book is easily personalized. All you have to do is write the student's name on the cover of the book. There are a few different page templates to choose from. You can choose the best one based on how much or what type of content you want your students to write. The messages are so heartfelt and cute, that this will be a keepsake students hold on to for many years! Parents are also huge fans of the books.
I like to mass copy the pages that are best for my students and keep them in a drawer. On a classroom birthday, I pass out the pages for morning work or during writing workshop. I change this depending on whatever works best for our schedule that day. Before the day is over, I staple the pages together with the cover and send the birthday boy or girl on their merry way.
The classroom birthday crown is also super simple and can be prepped ahead of time. Simply print out the crown images on card stock and cut them out, storing them in a plastic bag. On the classroom birthday, write the student's name on the picture. Distribute to the student to color during morning work. Staple the picture to a sentence strip. Measure the strip so it fits nicely around the student's head.
It is a fun badge of honor to wear throughout the day with almost zero work on your end.
Other Fun Classroom Birthday Ideas
There are other special touches you can do for classroom birthdays that are the proverbial icing on the cake. Assigning the birthday student the role of teacher's helper or line leader is a fun bonus. In addition, a trip to the treasure box is always a treat. Letting students choose Go Noodle brain breaks or the read-aloud selection will put a major pep in their step. In the past, one of our back-to-school activities was for each student to design their very own birthday calendar square.
Bottom line here is: classroom birthdays are fun, but don't have to be hard. Celebrate simply! You can click the image below to grab the birthday book and crown templates for free!
P.S. If you like the class birthday book idea, I have something very similar as part of my End of the Year countdown. You can see what I mean here.
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