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These Birthday Gifts Turn into Treasured Memories

Carol, a 2nd Grade Teacher in North Easton, Massachusetts, knows how much children need to hear compliments.  She has devised a clever way to ensure that birthday wishes are heartfelt and sincere.

Whenever a student in my class has a birthday, we create a “Chain of Compliments” for the lucky student. First, I give each student a light-colored construction paper strip, then I tell students to write three items on their papers:

  1. “Happy Birthday to __________”(the name of the birthday child).
  2. A sincere compliment that will serve as a “gift” for that child.
  3. The name of the gift giver.

At recess, I assemble the birthday child’s paper chain including a link I have completed. That afternoon, the child receives his or her Chain of Compliments and reads each compliment aloud, along with the name of the gift giver.

(Tip: This read-aloud step insures the children will be thoughtful and sincere in their compliments.)

Former students who have come back to visit have told me that they still have their birthday chains hanging in their rooms!

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The article above appeared in the June 2010 Classroom Connection Newsletter. To read other articles from the newsletter, click on the links below.

Helping Students Honor the Past while Anticipating the Future
When Music Is a Transitional Tool
Getting to the Doggone Heart of the Matter
One Transition Idea Helps Them Coming and Going!
This Organizational Idea is Nothing to Sneeze At!
Give your Management Style a Tune Up
Manage Center Time with a Menu Approach
Learning on the Run
When Standing Still Really Took Off!
Get Them Reading Before, During, and After School is in Session
These Birthday Gifts Turn into Treasured Memories
June’s Q&A
May’s Q&A

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I really like this idea. Not only does it give the birthday child a neat, memorable gift, but it also builds a classroom environment of respect and togetherness. Encouraging students to say nice things about each other is sometimes more difficult than we think. It also makes them think about the golden rule...they want an amazing birthday chain so hopefully they will write nice things to others so that they will have nice things to write back!