Today would have been my parents’ 68th wedding anniversary. A milestone!
This got me thinking about other kinds of celebrations, such as birthdays, particularly my students’ birthdays.
First, I have a confession to make: I am not the kind of teacher who makes a big deal about birthdays. Over the years, we usually sing happy birthday in class and no more. I have teacher friends who have birthday hats that the birthday child wears during the day and may even entertain or plan for celebratory parties.
That’s not my style.
But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s time to change some of that.
Birthdays are a big deal in my family. So, why not make them a big deal in the classroom? It doesn’t have to disrupt the learning. In fact, it could be an opportunity for a different kind of learning.
And the wheels in my head are turning.
Some ideas I’m thinking about: a birthday hat; singing the birthday song; making time for the birthday child to research the origin of their name; allowing the child to design their schedule for part of the day with the option if inviting a friend to participate with them.
What are your thoughts? How can we honor children’s natural propensity to celebrate their birthday, and each other, in the classroom without the attending elaborate birthday parties of the past? Yes, I’ve been teaching long enough to remember the parties parents would plan for their children, and I want those to remain in the past. However, I do want to commemorate birthdays; it makes kids feel cared for and important.
I look forward to hearing your ideas.