The following are ideas for using
The Secret Birthday Message in the classroom.
- Submitted by Deena Abelson
Before reading The Secret Birthday Message, I play a variety of games with my first grade class, concentrating on directional and positional words. The children direct each other to perform certain actions using phrases such as, “Put your left hand on top of your head.” We then read the story, noting all of the directional words. The children then create their own collage by following a list of directions, e.g. paste the purple square in the middle of the larger red circle. Finally, they develop their own set of directions for finding their hidden pictures, and accompany the directions by a map which they design.
- Submitted by Judy Reinhardt
I am a primary hearing-impaired teacher. We have been doing a huge on-going lesson with Eric Carle books. After reading The Secret Birthday Message, we wrote rebus stories. It was a fun way to incorporate writing into this book. (We also wrote a directional rebus note to our secretaries—it was secretaries day and the staff had planned a get together that afternoon.)
- Submitted by Carol Boring
After reading The Secret Birthday Message, have an unbirthday party to celebrate all birthdays in the classroom, especially for those children whose birthday occurs during the summer months. Play birthday bingo. Program a nine square bingo grid with the birthdays of children in classroom (vary the birthdays and order of birthdays on each grid). On small slips of paper, write the names of all children in your classroom and place these in a basket or paper bag. To play: draw a child’s name from the bag. The child whose name is drawn must tell the class the month and day of his birthday. Then all players check their game boards to see if they have that birthday on their board. Play continues until someone gets BINGO!! Also serve cupcakes and play party games on this special unbirthday day!
- Submitted by Troy E. Boddy
I am a K-3 teacher in Adelphi, MD I usually read this book at the beginning of the year. It is a great way to teach the children the importance of following directions.
After we read the story and discuss the meaning of the directional words (many of my younger students are ESOL), I have the children go through an obstacle course using chairs, tables etc. I label each of the objects with one of the directional words used in the book. The children will then have to read the words to get through the course. The next day I will reread the story and tell the children that Eric Carle has left them a birthday present but they have to find the clues to find it. On chart paper I write out the directions (for older children you could copy a set of directions for each group). The children are placed in groups and are sent out to find the present. Prior to the day I have already placed the cut out shape around the school. I give each group a timer and set it for 10 minutes. They are sent out to find their treasure (which can be pencils, candy or just about anything). This is a great way to assess your children’s understanding of directional words in a real hands on way.