Do You See Letters in Pretzels?

Thursday was an important day in our room.  It was Charlie’s 1/2-Birthday.  And yes, I am regretting now that I don’t have pictures of everyone’s birthdays that we’ve celebrated so far.  SORRY FRIENDS!  And honestly, the reason I have pictures of this celebration is because of what happened.

Long story short is that we were given YUMMY soft pretzels from a local shop near our school.  In true 1st grade fashion, letters started appearing everywhere.


Look, an A!


Mine’s an O!

Then kids started seeing all sorts of other amazing things, too!


I’m pretty sure that Evan’s lifting weights here. 🙂


Say cheese!

Then Charlie showed us that 7 1/2 really means he's an old man now, and he needed a cane to help him walk!  Silly!

Then Charlie showed us that 7 1/2 really means he’s an old man now, and he needed a cane to help him walk! Silly!

What a fun afternoon!  This is another one of the millions of reasons why I LOVE spending my days with first graders!  You just never know what’s gonna happen. 🙂

I am Loved (or Happy Birthday, Mrs. Bearden!)

I love how kids celebrate things, especially birthdays. 🙂  Remember the ice cream party from last year?

My birthday was last week, and this is what welcomed me that Thursday morning:


Wait–it gets better!  I also got a new hat and some handmade jewelry:


Fiona wore some FABULOUS glasses with a sweet message:


And my parents even sent me flowers.  Nice, right?

I somehow didn’t get pictures of the cookie treats I brought, nor did I get recordings of the compliments my 5th grade friends shared with me during my “party,” but let me assure you those were great, too!  Thank you friends, for making me feel so special!


Today was a great day.   It was Thursday, which for some reason is my favorite school day of the week.  It was sunny and crisp outside, which is perfect for fall.  I didn’t have any meetings scheduled during the day or after (come on, you know that’s nice!).  And the date was 10-11-12.  How cool is that?  And really–we won’t see that again for another whole year when it’s 11-12-13.  So let’s celebrate it, right?

I just have to add that another thing that made today great was that we got to celebrate the birthday of a very special friend in our class.  But again, besides it just being her birthday, it was her GOLDEN birthday, so she turned 11 on 10-11-12.  A. Maz. Ing.  I’m jealous.  No really, I am.  My birthday is in November and has no hope of ever having any cool all-the-numbers-in-a-row things.  Oh, well, at least I have one, right?  Anyway, Happy Birthday, ZB!

How did you celebrate 10-11-12?  Was it your birthday today, too?  If so, Happy Birthday to you!

Is It Your Birthday?

Nope, it’s not mine, either.  But it was Nicky’s birthday today, and something about it today made me think about sharing with you what we do to celebrate birthdays in our room.  Maybe it was the double-decker cookie cake that was so, so yummy that made me think of it.  Who knows? 🙂

So birthdays are a big deal at school–even when you’re in 5th grade and you’re turning 11.  No matter what you’re too cool for when you’re an almost-middle-schooler, birthdays are not one of them.  So in our room, we celebrate.  It’s nothing extravagant, but I hope that it still makes each kiddo feel special.

Of course the celebration begins with a treat.  And of course, because of the rules there are these days in school about what you’re allowed to share, they are store-bought goodies.  Bummer for me when my little man is in school next year and I can’t share any of my yummy goodies like Oreo Balls and Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese icing with his class (oh, well, I can still share them with mine, right? 🙂 ).  Most kids lately have been bringing in cupcakes, today was a double-decker cookie cake ( they sell them at Sam’s if you’re interested in getting one of your own!), and sometimes it’s donuts.  We have a great bakery close by called McArthur’s that has blessed us with these really great smiley-face sugar cookies at a time or two.  Towards the warmer months of the year you might have popsicles or ice cream treats, and once several years ago, someone brought in pirouettes.  You know–those long straw-shaped cookie things with chocolate inside?  Yum.  (Man, did I just write a whole paragraph about food? )

The birthday person chooses two special friends to help him/her organize and pass out the goodies, as the rest of us wash our hands and sit in a circle.  We use this time to teach the simple manner of waiting until everyone is served to start eating, and letting the birthday person have the first bite.  After everyone has a snack, the B.P. calls on three friends to give a birthday compliment–we also have a conversation early on about how to give a meaningful compliment–and then we sing.  Well if they want us to.  B.P. has the choice of whether or not we will serenade them.  Most say yes.

Depending on the time of day it is, what happens next may be different.  When the celebration is at the end of the day, the we spend the next few minutes eating and chatting and sharing a fun time with each other.  If it’s right after lunch–which is a time we’ve found lately that works really well, too–then we read our chapter book while they munch.  I like this time a little better, because we can kill two birds with one stone.  Good food with good friends and a great book–what could be better?

So it’s nothing outrageous, but like I said before, I hope it’s at least a little bit of special in my kiddos’ lives.  I remember how special I felt when I was celebrated for my birthday.  Even as an adult it’s nice to be noticed, right?

How do you celebrate birthdays?  What are your birthday traditions?