Monday, March 24, 2014

Prioritize People

Google always remembers. Love the birthday doodles. 

Today I was thinking about how I could celebrate my own birthday by serving others: volunteering, buying books for the children's hospital, face painting for fun. I thought of a few ways --the best kind of celebrations take me out of myself. Then I started thinking about students.

I am still not good at acknowledging and celebrating students' birthdays. I say happy birthday, yes, but that is the extent of it usually. I would like to plan and be ready.  I would like to have notes for students ready to go. I used to love the idea of writing "my correspondences"--I loved letter writing. It seems I could bring that passion back to life with birthdays.

Prioritize the people. How do we do that? How do we do that at home and in our classrooms? A note maybe, a poem, a drawing or a collage. The problem, at school,  becomes a numbers game.

I can certainly manage 150 notes, but not much else at that volume.  I need to think about something, a small thing, that would matter and be special. A book?

I had a professor, Dr. Crook who gave away books. After each test or essay in his Chaucer class, he'd set up a six foot table and lay out a smorgasbord of books: hardbacks, paper backs, glossy covers, new and used. Any one who'd earned an A on the test or an essay was invited to the table to choose a book to keep. I loved those book gifts.

Here's what I've been thinking about celebrating students's birthdays:

  • with a handwritten note or
  •  a homemade card
  • a favorite or iconic sweet treat 
  • a book gift
  • a poem
  • a book mark
  • a piece of word art

High school celebrations, like my life in the fourth decade, are low key: no whole-class cupcakes, no sheet cake, minimal singing. Still, more birthdays means better living. Celebrate.

This is 24  of 31 slices for the March Slice of Life Story Challenge
hosted by the gracious team at Two Writing Teachers


  1. Those are great ideas, Lee Ann...and: Happy Birthday!!!

  2. Great idea! I like gifts of time...and books! Happy Birthday luv.,

  3. No surprise that you're thinking of others on your birthday. What wonderful ideas. I was always bothered that I couldn't manage to celebrate the kids' birthdays better. Seemed like if I had made a calendar at the beginning of the year, I could have done it. But even now, with FB reminders, I fail a bit with my friends. I get caught up in my day and lose track. (Doesn't help that I'm not in the same time zone as most of my friends.) I imagine the students would be grateful for any of these.