Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Happy Birthday Class

Cathy Burgess
Bay District Schools


Birthdays are important events in children's lives. This lesson integrates graphing and the use of calendars with their special days.


The student uses prior knowledge, illustrations, and text to make predictions.

The student uses one-to one correspondence to count objects to 100 or more.

The student records data using concrete materials or pictures.

The student organizes information into a simple pictograph or concrete graph.

The student uses mathematical language to read and interpret data on a simple concrete graph, pictorial graph, or chart.

The student understands calendar time (days, weeks, months, years).


-Suggested book, [Happy Birthday to You], Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1959 (or another book about birthdays)
-Suggested book, [Franklin's Birthday Party], Paulette Bourgeis,Scholastic, 2002 (or another book about birthdays)
-Suggested book, [Chicken Soup With Rice], Sendak, Scott Foresman, 1991 (or another book about the months of the year)
-Suggested book, [Lemonade for Sale], Murphy, HarperCollins, 1998
-Suggested song -Happy Birthday,- The Birthday CD, The Birthday CD Co. 1999
-12 Birthday cakes (see associated file)
-12 Month calendar (see associated file)
-Candle pictures (see associated file)
--Month-a-rena- song or any song about the months of the year (see attached file)
-Calendar vocabulary cards (year, month, week, day) (see associated file)
-"Seven Days In a Week" song or any other song about the days of the week (see associated file)
-Chart paper
-Highlighter pens yellow, orange, and blue
-October calendar enough for each student (see associated file)
-Transparency of October calendar
-Student information cards
-Word Wall
-Markers (enough for students to share)
-Black Vis-a-Vis marker
-Tape (one roll)
-Crayons, 1 blue, red, and yellow for each student
-Duplicate Summative 1 (enough for each student)


1. Make 12 copies of the birthday cake, color, and cut them out. It is a good idea to laminate them for future use. Also write the name of each month on the cakes.
2. Make copies of the candles. One for each student.
3. Write the songs "Month-a-rena" and "Seven Days in A Week" on chart paper with markers.
4. Write the poem "Happy Mooday" To You on chart paper with markers.
5. Duplicate October calendar for each student. Also make copies of birthday candles for students to decorate and cut out. Remember to fill in the appropriate dates.
6. Gather [Happy Birthday to You] and [Chicken Soup With Rice] and have them ready to read. If these books are not available a book on birthdays or months will do.
7. You need a yellow, orange and blue highlighter and a twelve-month calendar.
8. Duplicate calendar vocabulary cards and cut them out. You will need tape to display them.
9. You will need student information cards for those who do not know when their birthday is.
10. You will need the Birthday song cd/cassette and a cd/cassette player.
11. Each student needs a red, yellow, and blue crayon.
12. Duplicate Summative 1 for each student.


Lesson 5 Day 8 of the All About Me unit

Calendar time is very important to an elementary classroom. The children are just beginning to learn about time and understand past, present, and future. I have a calendar board I start each day with. For the sake of time, you may want to add the numbers to the calendar before the lesson.

Have student information cards handy for those students who do not know when their birthdays are.

Find students practicing good manners and praise them for their hard work.

1. Call students to circle time. Review measurement of inches, feet, ounces, and pounds by recalling what students measured their bodies with yesterday (pounds and feet). Ask them to tell you some things they could measure with inches, feet, ounces, and pounds. Ask if they were able to compare their bodies to a friend. What did they find out? (One thing to mention is how they come in all shapes and sizes.)

2. Next ask: What happens to you once a year that is special? (Acceptable answers would be Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving, but you are looking for birthdays.)

a. What is so special about your birthday? (Accept reasonable answers)

b. How much time goes by from one birthday to the next? Yes, one year. That is a long time isn’t it? Show a calendar with twelve months and tell students that there are twelve months in a year. Count them turning the page as you go.

c. Tell them you want to introduce them to a song that will help them remember all twelve months of the year. Have everybody stand up and sing the "Month-a-rena" song four times along with the motions (turning every time you start a new verse just like you would with the real Macarena). Tell students every time a new month starts we will sing that song. Ask: how many times in a year will we sing it? (Hold up the year vocabulary card and stick it to the chalkboard).

3. Now that we know there are twelve months in a year, ask: What makes up a month? Again show the calendar.

a. Show the month of August. Tell them a month is made up of weeks and days. It is the second largest amount of calendar time (under the ‘year’ card, put the ‘month’ card). A month is made up of weeks and days.

b. A week is the next biggest amount of time (hold up the ‘week’ card). A week is made up of seven days from Sunday to Saturday. Show students that on the calendar and with a yellow highlighter pen, highlight a week and count together how many weeks there are in August. There are four weeks in that month. (Hold up the ‘week’ vocabulary card and place it under the month card.)

4. Turn the calendar to next month, which is September. Ask how many weeks are in September? Highlight in yellow and count them together. Now tell students in a month there are 30 to 31 days, except for February. February usually has 28 days.

5. Now with a blue highlighter pen, highlight each day on the calendar for September and then count them, pointing with your finger showing 1-to-1 correspondence. (Mess up on the counting to see who catches you. Then back up and start over doing it correctly this time.) Practice doing it again on the month of August. Teach students the "Seven Days in a Week" song. Sing and read it together until students become familiar with it.

6. Review a month in calendar time with an orange highlighter marker by outlining all of the days and weeks. Ask: What is the shortest time on a calendar? Have students point to a day you highlighted. What is the largest amount of calendar time? Have a student show all the months in your whole calendar. Seven days equal one______(week) in calendar time. With your finger outline a week you highlighted earlier.

a. Now let students independently practice calendar time year, month, week, and day with an October calendar. Distribute calendars. Be sure to model from the board or with a transparency. Have students write the year in the blank after October.

b. First number each day of the month from 1-31 starting with Sunday and go across the page just like you would if you were reading a story. Circle the number that shows how many days are in October with a yellow crayon. (Walk around and formatively assess students.)

c. Tell students to outline or draw a box around a day with a red crayon.

d. With a blue crayon, outline a week. Be sure to count out the correct number of days.

e. Ask students to find October 7th. Tell what day of the week it is.

f. Ask: What would one week from the seventh be?

g. Write how many months make up a year on the back of your paper.

h. Take up papers and formatively assess students.

What do you suppose calendars have to do with your birthday? Acceptable answers would be
a. Your birthday happens in one of the twelve months.

b. You could mark it to see how many days until your birthday.

c. You could count how many days or months until your birthday.

7. Say: I am going to read this book, [Chicken Soup With Rice]. What do you think it will be about? Show different pages and see if anybody predicts seasons or months. If someone does, ask how he or she figured it out and comment on what wonderful prediction skills they have. Read it to the children and ask them to stand up when you read the rhyming verse about their birthday month and then sit down when the next month comes. (You may have to tell some when their birthday is.) They will probably ask you to do it again, this time have them chorally say the rhyming verse at the end with you.

8. End the lesson by asking: How long is a month? A month is made up of what? How many days make a week? Tell students tomorrow we will find out more about their birthday, so if they are not sure when their birthday is, be sure to ask a family member about it for homework tonight.

Lesson 5 Day 9 of the All About Me unit

1. Call students to circle time. As they come, have the birthday song cd or cassette playing as they come sit down. Ask what do you think we will talk about today? Yes, birthdays! Tell them another special thing about each of them is the day they were born. Ask if anybody has an interesting birthday story to tell. Ask if everybody knows when his or her birthday is.

2. Introduce the book, [Happy Birthday to You]. Cover the text and use the cover to predict what the story is about. Ask: What do you think is happening in this book? How do you know? Show pages 6 and 18. Talk about the illustrations on those pages. Read the story and discuss how good having a birthday makes a person feel. It makes them feel special, like the most important person in the world.

3. Now tell students that we are going to celebrate everyone’s birthday this year and we need to find a way to let all students in the class know when all the birthdays are, so let's make a birthday graph and display it on the wall over the calendar. That way we can see it everyday and we will know when your special day is!

4. Have students think back to yesterday's lesson on calendar time. Who can remember the vocabulary words we learned? Hold up the vocabulary cards and discuss their meaning. Have a student put them on the Word Wall. Sing the "Month-a-rena" and the "Seven Days in a Week" song.

5. Now show the 12 birthday cakes with the months written on them. Tell students they will make the candles to go on the birthday cake of their month. They can decorate them any way they want to. Pass out the candles. Have students decorate the candles first with markers and then cut them out. While students are decorating the candles, walk around the room and have each student tell you when his/her birthday is and with a Visa-a-Vis marker write the name and birthday on the cake of the birthday month.

6. After the candles are decorated, display the cakes across a wall. Say: anybody who has a birthday in January, bring up your candle. Place as many candles on the cake as there are students with that birthday month. Place them on the January birthday cake with sticky-stuff or tape. Do this for each month.

a. Count all the birthday candles to make sure you didn’t miss anybody and to show 1-to-1 correspondence. Ask: Are there any months that have more candles than your month? Are there any other months that have the same number of candles as yours? Does anybody share your birthday? Now ask the children what they have just created. Ask: Why do we use graphs?

b. What kind of information can we tell from this graph? Record the information on chart paper. You are looking for statements like: ______ has the most birthdays. _____ has the least amount of birthdays. (See assessment section for criteria.)

7. Tell students when we celebrate birthdays this year we have a special poem to say. Introduce "Happy Moo Day." Recite it several times until the students become familiar with it. Say: now that I know more about your birthday, I know more about you! How does that make you feel?

8. To end this birthday graphing lesson read, [Lemonade for Sale]. Relate the birthday graphing to the graphs the students in the book made. Ask if graphing makes the information easier to understand.

9. Optional activity: If you plan to do the birthday bag (see extensions) this is a good time to introduce it. It is very similar to the Good Manner bear bag from lesson 1.

10. During small group, students listen to, view and discuss through interaction the Student Web Lesson, I Am Special. (See Weblinks) The Student Web Lesson is most beneficial when students are grouped in pairs. This facilitates discussions between students and students learn best when actively engaged in discussing what is being learned. After all students have had an opportunity to interact, a discussion should be held. The discussion and formative feedback given as a results of this lesson are an important part of this activity.

11. This is a good time to give Summative 1. See Extensions.


Day 8
Formatively assess if students can use prior knowledge, illustrations, and text to make predictions by observing students' answers in procedure #6. Specifically look for correct illustration predictions and use of background knowledge like: The boy is eating soup. There is a bowl of soup on the cover.
Page 7, It looks like winter.

Page 11, The wind is blowing.

Page 15, It look like spring with the bird in the bird nest.

Page 19, The boy is swimming.

Formatively assess if the student understands calendar time (days, weeks, months, years). Observe students as they complete procedure #5. Look for students:
a. Numbering correctly the days in the month of October.

b. Marking a day with a red crayon.

c. Marking a week with a blue crayon.

d. Finding the 7th and marking the 14th as a week later.

e. Writing there are 12 months in a year.

Day 9
Formatively assess the students recording the birthday data using candles in procedure #5.

Formatively assess the students organizing the birthday candles by placing them on the correct birthday cake in procedure #6.

Formatively assess the students using mathematical language to read and interpret data on a simple concrete graph, pictorial graph, or chart by the statements they give you about the graph. For example:

The month of ____ has the most birthdays.

The month of ____ has the least birthdays.

More people have birthday in the ___________.

Formatively assess how the students use one-to-one correspondence to count objects to 100 or more (25) as they count orally the number of birthday candles on the cakes.


1. Birthday Scroll: I have a collection of birthday poems. I put each one on a scroll (type up on a pretty piece of paper, roll it up and tie a ribbon around it) and keep all the scrolls in a fancy birthday gift bag hanging on the calendar bulletin board. Each time it is a child's birthday, the child reaches in the bag and selects a scroll and I make a big deal of ‘presenting’ the scroll and reading the poem to the student who then gets to take it home. They really seem to cherish this birthday poem and you don’t have to spend any money! See Weblinks for birthday poems.

2. Birthday Bag: Decorate a canvas bag so it looks festive. Inside put a homemade crown and some necklaces to wear at home. Also put several birthday books, a birthday pencil, and a spiral notebook so students can write about their birthdays. Give it to the child on his/her birthday and let the child keep it at home for a week. In the spiral notebook, have students record what they did for their birthdays. When the bag returns to school, share the entry with the class.

3. Read the book, [Discovering Graph Secrets], Atheneum Books, 1997

4. You may want to check to see if any of your students may have religious concerns over the celebration of birthdays.

5. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

Web Links

Listen to the 'Macarena' and read about the motions from this Website.

Web supplement for Happy Birthday Class

Web supplement for Happy Birthday Class
Birthday poems

This site has fun facts on the song "Happy Birthday To You."

Web supplement for Happy Birthday Class
I Am Special (Student Web Lesson)

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