Tomorrow we have a birthday in my class, so I thought I'd share what I do to celebrate student birthdays in my classroom. My school district is really urging healthy choices and limiting treats as rewards in the classroom. I honestly have never really liked the big to-do over birthday's as school with parents coming and messy cupcakes. I got to thinking and thought that having students share a favorite book with the class would be a great way to continue the learning on a birthday afternoon and a way for the student to be spotlighted and for us to learn a little about him/her. Then I thought a little more and realized that a book costs way less than 24 fancily decorated messy cupcakes. So, I suggested to families the option of donating the book to our class library in the name of the student.
Last year I offered the book reading as an option to families. Once someone brought a treat though, that was it. Most students brought a treat because that seemed to be the more popular thing to do. This year, I decided not to make it an option, but the way we celebrate birthdays in our classroom. It has been fabulous. The donation of the book is of course optional, but most students have donated. My classroom library is expanded, students are introduced to new books and their peers favorites, and no chocolate crumb/colored frosting mess on every desk as the children rush out the door at the end of the day. Here's a copy of the note I send home the week before the child's birthday or half birthday. It's in PDF so you have the font style, but it would be quick to retype if you want something different.
On the morning of the birthday, students get a crown and a small gift from me and we sing happy birthday to him/her. This year the gift is a mechanical pencil. Previously I have done those pencils that switch points. I use bulletin board border for the crowns. (The words on this pattern rotate directions, so sometimes the words are upside down on their head, new pattern for next year!)
We sing happy birthday and for writing time, each student make a page for the birthday book. The birthday boy/girl decorates the cover of the book. I write a little note on the back of the decorated cover and staple all the pages in the corner and send it home with the birthday person. You can get the birthday book pages at my TeachersNotebook store.