Celebrating Birthdays!

I'm posting freshly returned from the SDE I Teach Second! conference, and boy, am I inspired! I felt so motivated and energized by some passionate, dedicated, and energized teachers that I met and learned from today, and it really helped me feel recharged for the upcoming year. Bring on those kiddos! (...but first, give me a chance to incorporate everything I've learned into my plans and prep some materials...)

Met Cara Carroll--so sweet, so genuine, and so much energy! #lifegoals
Hope King was such an inspiration! She truly brought the energy, ideas, and fun!
Had dinner with Donna Whyte by chance--she's such an incredible person, presenter, and educator!

Mr. Cronin and I also took a couple extra days after the conference to sightsee--we had some delicious meals in Vegas, got to check out the High Roller (aka grown-up Ferris wheel), and traveled to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon, both of which I plan to incorporate into my teaching of the new Science standards this year!

Delicious apps at DB Brasserie...luckily, Mr. Cronin doesn't like oysters!

That said, I took some photos of prep I was doing last week, and I thought this might be a nice time to share what I do to celebrate birthdays in my class. Birthdays are such a tricky topic--some schools allow treats, but many don't (including mine); some kids have summer birthdays; kids want to feel celebrated and special but birthday prep can be intimidating for teachers. So, after a few years of playing around with this concept, I've come up with a plan that works for me, and I wanted to share it with you in case it makes your life a little simpler, less hectic, or even more exciting. :)

Birthday Plan

The day of a child's birthday, I set two things at his/her table spot: an All About Me poster and a birthday bag. I REALLY try to remember to do this before kids are in the classroom (thank you, Google calendar!) so that the student immediately feels recognized on his or her special day, along with hearing "Happy Birthday!" from me!

Instead of morning work that day, the student works on his/her All About Me poster. This past year, I used some old posters that another teacher had given me; this year, I may use these from Really Good Stuff, or might copy this little freebie onto tabloid-sized paper.


I plan to downsize my Morning Meeting this year, but birthday mornings we will definitely take the time to have a compliment circle for the birthday student (this is SUCH a bucket filler for all involved...mine made me cry last year!), and then we sing Happy Birthday (with or without cha-cha-chas, choice of the birthday student) and he or she shares the All About Me poster. This is displayed for a couple of weeks in the room as well. :)

Now, you're probably wondering, what's in the bags? It's a little different each year, but this year there will be:

Happy Birthday certificates, 
motivational pencils, 

bouncy balls (these must go in their backpacks...),
cute animal erasers, 

...and Happy Birthday bookmarks. 

It all gets packaged up in these bags...
like this,
...with the certificate stapled on top!

Now, the most important thing: YOU MUST DO THIS BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR BEGINS! I know, it doesn't seem important. But two years ago, I didn't package up all my bags before the year, and it was a stressful hassle to get them packaged up each time there was a birthday (it sounded something like, "Which stickers went in here again? Where are the bouncy balls? Do I have enough!?"). Trust me, do this now. It takes 20 minutes in front of your TV one afternoon, but will make your life easier and most importantly, will make your students feel special on their birthday.

20 minutes now will save your sanity this school year!

Last but not least, I found ALL of the above goodies in the Target One Spot (where else?!). Go grab your supplies now!

Thanks for reading!


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