B for birthday - because in the first grade classroom that’s my kiddos' favorite subject and the primary thing they want to talk about!
Daily, I hear about whose birthday it is … “Today’s my Paw Paw’s birthday!” - or - “It’s my dolly girl’s birthday!” – or - “My puppy’s eight weeks old today. Tomorrow, my puppy will be … ”
Once that topic comes up, it’s HARD to steer them off of the subject. They’re hyper excited!
Of course, if it’s a student’s birthday, that’s different ... There’s going to be a celebration, even if it's only a song!
At other times though, it’s necessary that we go there …
My teacher assistant was checking to see who knew their date of birth.
“Amy,” she said, "when did you turn six?”
Amy’s answer was simple and direct. “On my birthday.”
Ema cut in to share some startling information. “Guess what! I was born-did ALL THE WAY out of California.”
My TA continued with Amy. “I see here that you were born in New Orleans.”
“No, Ma'am!” Amy was adamant. “I was born in the hospital ON THE LEFT.”
Later, my teacher assistant asked the class, “Who in here has already turned seven years old?”
Ben raised his hand. “I am.”
For some reason that made Joe Joe angry. He hollered, “NO, YOU AIN'T!”
“How do you know?” Ben asked, meekly.
Joe Joe surveyed him judiciously. “CAUSE,” he yelled, “I CAN TELL BY YOUR EYES!”
I couldn’t resist … “What do his eyes tell you?”
Little Joe Joe frowned and stared deep into my eyes, searching my face. “Hmmph! Don’t you know? They ain’t NO WAY that boy's older than me!”
Some of my students were looking at an old yearbook …
They saw a picture of my class and me from several years back.
“Wow! Is that you, Teacher?” Amy asked.
Nodding, I smiled at that sweet child.
She continued ... “Was you ever REALLY that young?”
I’ve found that the first graders LOVE to be surprised with the “Happy Birthday” song. So, if it’s someone’s birthday, we try to sing it whenever it’s least expected.
And each and every time, the birthday child can hardly wait to be surprised! That’s one reason why I try to “get to it” as soon as I possibly can.
Recently, on the last two birthdays we had celebrated in song, I had sent the students down the hall. And whenever each child had returned and opened the classroom door, the class and I had burst into song.
Now, today is Stevie’s birthday, and he reminded me, by giving me a hint.
"Teacher, today is my buh, buh ... You know!"
lol - I guess I didn't respond fast enough because he said, "Member? B for birthday!"
Stevie is smart, outgoing, involved, and passionate about things. Also, he’s one who watches me and knows how I love to tease.
So to make it a surprise for him, it was time to change the usual routine.
I started off as usual … I sent him down the hall to get some water. Quickly, I told his classmates about the new plan.
Soon he was back and opened the door. He LEAPED into the classroom because he JUST KNEW this was it!
As planned, no one said a word. Amazingly, the first graders had followed my instructions to the "T" - so they didn’t even look up.
That’s when I heard the door shut.
I glanced around ... And he was gone!
Just as I headed toward the door, he SPRANG into the room again. Talk about making a grand entrance! He was the cutest thing … He flashed his biggest and best toothless grin.
Again, none of the children said a word!!!
Slowly, he started to shut the door. But then, once more, he jumped around and peered at his classmates.
At last, he leaned forward and stared at them, as if to say, “Remember?”
But no one moved. They were robots, staring down at the books on their desks.
Stevie was sure we had forgotten him – which is NOT what I had wanted!
Suddenly, he slumped and draaaagged himself to his desk.
But – as planned – the moment his bottom hit his seat, we exploded into song.
Ohh, he was elated! He sat bolt upright in his desk, his face flushed with sudden intense joy. Satisfied, he grinned shyly at all of his classmates.
Thankfully, he had recovered immediately!
At last, he beamed over at me ... It was his famous unrestrained smile – the one with the mouth wide-open. It was if he were saying, "You got me good, but I liked it!"
I breathed a sigh of relief because Stevie was happy again.
I told him later – just so he would know - that there was NO WAY we would EVER forget him!
* * *
Anytime and every time we study the sound that b makes, you can BE SURE that my kiddos will always shout, "B for birthday!" lol
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