Thursday, February 21, 2013

Birthday celebrations

A word about birthdays!

I think birthdays should be special.

One year a little boy told me that his family couldn't afford a birthday for him. Well, that pretty much did it for me, and from that moment on, we have celebrated classroom birthdays in a big way!

I start off by asking the parent what they remember about the day this amazing child was born; what the weather was like, how much did the baby weigh, who visited...any details they can supply. We make a fuss and interview our birthday child about their hopes and wishes for the day.

Next comes the crown (this is all done at circle time). After they tell me what color paper they want, I cut out a fancy crown in front of the class and use a border  punch along the bottom edge. They think it's magic already!  Next, we all watch as our birthday child picks out glitter (I have an amazing collection - every color under the sun) and stickers for their crown. I handle the glue and they sprinkle (and sprinkle and sprinkle) the glitter. They end up with a unique crown that I know they love because they refuse to take it off. The crown above was not as bedazzled as usual. Kindergarten is famous (maybe infamous) for these crowns and even big kids will come to let me know it's their birthday! Our secretaries, principal and cafeteria people love them. I'm telling you, everyone wants to be/look special on their birthday, even adults!

Next, we let them bake a cake! That's right, a cake! I ask them about the flavor and buy the ingredients ahead of time. Everything is out on the table and ready to go when they arrive! I have written and illustrated the recipe on a large piece of butcher paper for all to see. So, once we are done decorating the crown, all the kids bring a chair over to the cooking table and, after we have stopped arguing about the seating arrangement, we begin. You could hear a pin drop! Once I have witnessed the washing of the hands, (very important) and the b-day apron is tied, we take a look at the recipe. First, we highlight all the sight and cvc words in the recipe. Then the b-day child touches each word with the magical birthday pointer as we have a reading lesson and clarify the instructions.

After we have discussed the different utensils and measurements, we are off.  I have to hold my breath sometimes as the bowl nears the edge, and they do spill a lot, but I am proud to say they make the batter completely by themselves! Yes, sometimes there are egg shells that I have to retrieve but mostly, it is uneventful. I usually end with a grand stirring of the batter (to get the lumps out and practice our counting). Lastly, the birthday child tries to get the batter into the pan (another hazard). Ha!

We either walk the pan to the cafeteria oven or I take it at recess. I fill the class sink with sudsy water and let the b-day child and a friend wash the dishes. Surf's up!!

Once the cake is cooled, the b-day child will frost it under close supervision! Then, after I move the cake out of reach, I let them take a few licks from the spatula, just like you do at home! I take a picture of the birthday child with a chocolate face and crown, sing happy birthday, make a wish and we gobble that cake up! I hope they feel loved. We made a kindergarten memory!

And if anyone says you are taking away from academic minutes, be sure to mention: the reading lesson, finding sight and cvc words, liquid to solid, following a set of verbal directions, measurement, counting, discussion of temperature and lastly, sink and float! Allow them to be a child and celebrate!

What do you do to celebrate birthdays? Please leave me note!!!

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