Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Simple, Low Cost Birthday Wish

I'm on summer vacation! Well, I have been since Friday, but I'm just now getting around to blogging. This has been the week of, doctor, hairdresser, oil change. You name it, the appointment happened this week! I put it all off during the year and then end up sacrificing my first week of vacation catching up on everything.

Anyway, now that I have more time for me, I have more time to read blogs, plan next year's theme, and think about my upcoming vacation (one week!). I was just reading a question posted to teachers about how they celebrate birthdays in their classroom and I realized that I hadn't shared my idea with all of you.

For years, I puzzled over what is too much or too little for birthday acknowledgements. None of the schools that I have taught in allow any kind of in-class celebration (if parents bring in cupcakes we have them in the lunch room). I know that my childhood was quite different. I can remember planning my in-class celebration for weeks, giving my grandmother a lengthy list of the items she would be required to send in for my classroom birthday party. In fact, on one such preparation, I fell off of a chair in the midst of icing a cupcake. I still have the scar to prove it.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I always want to recognize my students on their special day, but I never want to go over the top, as I know our instructional time is precious. During my first year of teaching, I baked cupcakes EVERY time there was a birthday. Looking back, I realize it was a tad over the top, as well as expensive and time consuming. So then I pulled back and just gave a pencil. Then I gave a bag of candy. Then I did a giant card, most of which ended up thrown out before my students left. So I've been in search of a cost effective balance, one that will recognize the student, not take away instructional time, and include a treat of some type. This year, I think I finally nailed it:

What I used:
birthday streamer (Dollar Store!!)
birthday pencil (any teacher store)
birthday blow-pop (in bundles of 5 at your local Dollar Store!!) - I don't allow gum chewing or candy eating of any sort in my classroom unless it is a special occasion, so this is a super special treat in my room!
birthday certificate - with Snoopy, of course! I made it myself! Just a little colored ink from the printer and...voila!

Though I can't share the Snoopy one for copyright reasons, I do have two happy birthday certificates available in my TpT store.

Here's the links:

Happy Birthday Certificates

Owl Birthday Certificates

On the last day of school, I do this for all of the students with summer birthdays so that they don't miss out! And, if a student has a birthday over the weekend I decorate their desk the Friday before it. That way everyone is included!

So simple and cost effective...this is now my official go-to birthday acknowledgement! I hope it will be helpful to others who are trying to save a little money and still make it special for their students.

Tomorrow my only appointment is working on my tan poolside! Yipppeeeee!!

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