Birthday Friday

It’s Friday, so as I write, my students are making cards for the kids who had birthdays since the last Friday of a week in which there was a birthday. I stole this idea from our German teacher, and though it’s not great input, because the level one kids are copying phrases, they love the activity and tell me when their day is coming up (I have a list so that I don’t forget anyone). They paper their lockers with the cards. When I remember, we play the birthday song video. But we play that on their actual birthdays as well, if it’s a school day.

I have two big posters for Friday card writing with samples of compliments and wishes that they can use. By third year, they’re coming up with their own lines. There is a teeny bit of grammar in the choice of formal/informal address, the adjectives the kids use, and the cases for compliments about sports and instruments. We read the whole list every time, and review the grammar. I check off each card as the kids finish, and by now, in second semester, the level one cards are not only mostly correct, but some kids are starting to show some variety!

Requirements: on folded colored paper (which I hand out), they . . .

Put “Happy Birthday” on the front,

Put 3 compliments and 3 wishes (and a signature) on the inside pages, and

Must have at least two colors and borders on each page. That makes them look instantly fancy.

Then the student hands the birthday person(s) the card(s) and sincerely says “Happy Birthday” (in Russian, of course). It’s a great kindergarten day activity, and takes only a few minutes, once they get used to it.

What it does for community is amazing.

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3 responses to “Birthday Friday

  1. Love the idea. I’d disagree with you, however, that it’s not input because it’s recycling past input to a level that makes it not just automatic but meaningful for them.

    I always had my students make German valentines for each other each February, and those hang on the outside of their lockers sometimes into May. This is a great idea for pulling that community building into the rest of the school year.

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  2. I like the idea of using this for Valentine’s day. It gives me a chance to do a test run with no pressure to continue until I’m ready, while not hurting anyone’s feelings by having missed their birthday this year!

    Michele and Nathan, I’d be interested in seeing the phrases you use too.

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  3. The wishes are all the standard ones that Russians use for holidays (for toasts, too, but I don’t tell the kids that!) —
    I wish you…happiness, success (at school, in your family, at work), love, friends, health.
    Compliments are a little different: You are smart, pretty, good at soccer, funny, sweet, kind to friends; I like your hair, how you dress, how you make people feel comfortable; you make the class more interesting, you write well, you always do your best, you play the guitar/sax/piano well, you speak Russian well.

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