22 Happy Birthday to you!


Happy Birthday to you!

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Celebrating birthdays in the classroom is a sure way of expressing appreciation for your students and enhancing self-esteem. These occasions also give the children an opportunity to tell (and write) their own birthday stories. The birthday picture can be a place to start when encouraging children to talk and write about birthdays.

About the Picture The picture celebrates a birthday with all the trimmings—cake, ice cream, balloons, piñata, music, and presents. It also contains birthday words and messages to explore and use in writing.

Major Concepts

  • Birthday celebrations evoke memories, observations, and feelings that children can talk and write about.
  • Giving and receiving cards are opportunities to write and read messages.


Daily Lesson Planning

Day 1

  1. Using "Happy Birthday to you," make a list of birthday words with the children—cake, candles, balloon, and so on. Also, read the words on the page, pointing out that some of them are recognizable because of the pictures (orange and grape soda). Point out the banner that says “Happy Birthday.”
  2. If possible, provide a collection of birthday cards on which children can find the words “Happy Birthday.” Give students opportunities to write “Happy Birthday.”
  3. Implement "Happy Birthday to you!" (BB 58)

Days 2-6

Choose from the following:

  • Implement “Write your birthday date” (BB 59).
  • Create a birthday board with a calendar page for each month of the year. Invite the children to sign their names on their birth dates. Keep this as a permanent display.
  • Have children draw or paint pictures of their birthdays. Encourage them to write their names and birth dates somewhere on their pictures. Add these pictures to the birthday display.
  • Make a graph of the children’s birthdays, using the months of their births as the basis of the graph.
  • Provide children with colored strips of paper (about 1" ✕ 8.5") and ask them to decorate the strips with pictures and words that begin with the sound of “B.” Make birthday chains by linking the strips together. Use the chain to decorate the birthday display.
  • Invite children to write or draw wishes they might make on their birthdays. Implement "Birthday Wishes!"
  • Invite children to make original birthday cards or to use the activity "Birthday Card." Cards can be made throughout the year for friends and family members.
  • Implement "An Invitation" when appropriate.

Concluding Days

  1. Complete the birthday display.
  2. Have a birthday party for the children who have birthdays in the month you are doing this unit, or have an “unbirthday” party for everyone.
LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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Additional Activities

These activities offer options for continuing the learning in this unit. Whether your curriculum is skill-based or more open-ended, select the activities that are most appropriate for the children in your classroom. The Writing Spot is primarily a writing program, but writing can be integrated throughout your curriculum—in art, drama, reading, math, and science.

  • Sing “Happy Birthday” and write some new verses.

Post the first verse of the song on chart paper. As a shared writing, create a new verse or two. Invite the children to sing along on all the verses.

  • Share “unbirthday” cards.

Explain that an “unbirthday” is any day that isn’t one’s birthday. Any day is a good day for children to make cards for each other—cards that share a picture and a short note or a simple “hi.” After they finish their cards, children should place them in one another’s mailboxes or on a class message board. (Be sure that each child receives a message.)

  • Have a “Happy Birthday” hunt.

Find all the “Happy Birthday” words posted in the classroom. Share some birthday cards. Read the message and point out the words “Happy Birthday” on each card. Pass the cards around for children to look at.

  • Start a birthday calendar.

Begin with a calendar that shows all the months of the year. Ask the children to write their birth dates on cards that you provide. Collect the cards and sort them by month. Talk about what the birth dates mean: Who is the oldest child? Who is the youngest? How many children were born in spring, summer, winter, fall? Were any of the children born on the same date? Were any of the children born on a holiday?

  • Use lists to plan a birthday party for Spot.

Make a list of everyone who will be invited to Spot’s birthday party (this includes all of the children and Spot’s special friends). Make lists of the food you want to have, games, songs, presents, and decorations. Have the children draw a picture of the party based on information from the lists. Implement "Party Plan."

  • Plan a perfect birthday.

Have children use their imaginations to plan a special outing on their birthdays. Suggest places like the beach, amusement park, zoo. Have each student draw a picture of this special place and label it.

LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

Related Resource Tags

Click to view a list of tags that tie into other resources on our site

English Language Arts: