They say it's your birthday. It's my birthday too, yeah

Lower School Birthdays

They say it's your birthday. It's my birthday too, yeah

Wearing your PJs to school is generally considered no-go attire in the new world of remote learning. That is, unless it's your birthday!

The whole world has had to rethink how we celebrate holidays and life events now that being together in person or sharing a meal is not really available to us. Teacher Erin McCarthy wondered how celebrating student birthdays might look in her remote third grade classroom. At Lab, these are normally days when a child gets special recognition or decision-making authority over a beloved classroom responsibility—say choosing the day's read aloud. And let's not forget the chance to have a sibling or parent visit to share a special treat and hand out party napkins.

McCarthy did what wise teachers often do–she engaged the experts. Her students. Together they brainstormed a list of ideas that would work via Zoom. And when it came time to vote? They choose all of the above! Now, on their birthday, students get to use a special background all day on their Zooms or maybe a crazy filter. They can show up in pajamas and have the chance to make and share a slideshow of baby pictures and family snapshots. Their peers use SeeSaw to crowd-source a b-day blog of e-cards and celebratory posts which the classroom scrolls through together at Morning Meeting and that McCarthy narrates, "like a sports commentator."

Says McCarthy, "We need time for the little interactions with little humans. Through my 19 years of teaching, my first job is to keep them safe. Second is helping them to be kind, caring humans." Since kids are missing those little interstitial interactions (they can't visit at lockers and are missing snack and lunch time table chat), "these moments of connection are what we are all craving."