If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know that I love throwing a birthday party in my classroom. Birthdays are a pretty big deal to elementary aged students…and maybe to 30 year olds too! My teacher birthday party is a special day that always goes down as one of our favorite days of the year! This year our theme was Superheroes!
Two days before the big day, I sent home invitations that revealed the theme. My class was so excited!
It was important to me that we still had plenty of learning opportunities throughout the day, so I put together Superhero Missions for the students to complete.
Before students arrived, I placed a cape and mask at each of their table seats. Their first job was to put on their cape and mask in order to be ready for the rest of the day. Easy-peasy, Mission #1 complete!
My students had a blast solving the Mystery Message. Students had to write the corresponding letters that matched the numbers to reveal a mystery message. The message instructed students to meet on the carpet for a story. You could read any story during this time but I chose to read Happy Birthday, Mrs. Millie! This story was a birthday gift a few years ago from a very special student.
The third mission was all about getting my students to write! They wrote about themselves as superheroes and shared about what special powers they would have. They drew pictures of themselves as the superhero as well. I also took pictures of my students in their capes and masks (while striking a superhero pose, of course) and hung those up with their writing in the hall. It made for a super-cute hallway display!
The fourth mission was dedicated to math. I created my own birthday 3-Act Task for students to solve. If you’re not sure what a 3-Act Task is, check out Graham Fletcher. He is basically the king of 3-Act Tasks and has many available for you on his website! These types of tasks are a great way to really get your students thinking and to reinforce problem solving skills.
I started by showing my students this short video clip.
After we watched the video a few times, I asked my students what they noticed and what they wondered.
I kept encouraging my students’ wonders until they got to the question that I wanted them to solve, how many candles are still lit? My students already knew that there were 30 candles on the cake, since I turned 30 years old.
Once students determined that they were trying to figure out how many candles were still lit, I revealed how many candles I blew out by showing them this image.
I left this image up on the board so that students could reference back to it as they began trying to solve the problem. Students used math tools, and drawings to try and solve the question, how many candles are still lit? After our work time, I brought students back to the carpet to share their thinking. They shared strategies for solving the problem and were able to listen to how others went about solving the problem as well.
The last step was to reveal how many candles were actually still lit. This was a great time for students to reflect on what went well and what they could continue working on.
The last mission of the day was Crack the Code. Students were each given the recording sheet, a pencil and a clipboard. We searched the school for the pictures and wrote the corresponding letters to crack the secret code. Students loved getting to walk around the school together and look for the clues, and I loved that they were up getting their wiggles out! The code revealed a message of our last activity of the day…Let’s have some cupcakes now!
We wrapped up the day by enjoying some delicious cupcakes I made! We had so much fun and my students have already asking what my birthday will be like next year! Definitely another succesful birthday in the books!