It’s not every day you get to celebrate someone’s birthday.
But almost every day is someone’s unbirthday! Birthdays are fun to celebrate, and they are a great chance to share some culture in your ESL classroom. So don’t wait for someone’s special day to come along. Celebrate any day you choose and make an unbirthday party of it. Here’s an easy print and go lesson you can use when you decide it’s about time to celebrate.
Try These 6 Tips for the Perfect Birthday Party Print and Go Lesson
What is an Unbirthday?
Start by having a discussion with your entire class. Ask them the following questions?
- What do you know about how Americans celebrate birthdays?
- Have you ever been to a birthday party?
- Tell the class about your experience.
After you have discussed birthdays for five to ten minutes, point out to your students that unbirthday is not a real word in English. Ask them what they think it might mean.
Then play this clip from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland – The Unbirthday Song.
Have groups of two to three students come up with the definition of an unbirthday based on the movie clip.
Ask your students what information they would need to share if they were planning a birthday or an unbirthday party. Brainstorm a list on your front board. Then show your students a blank invitation for a birthday party. You can bring in an actual invitation or show them some of these pictures. Is everything on the invitation also on your brainstorming list?
Have students work in groups of three to plan a birthday party. Tell them that many birthdays have a theme which affects the invitations, decorations, and sometimes food. Ask each group to choose a theme for their birthday party and then to design invitations that they can fill in the blanks and send out to their friends. Each groups should also plan some decorations and some food to tie in with their theme. If students are stuck for ideas, encourage them to do a google search on their theme birthday such as “Star Wars Birthday Party.” They should come up with several ideas.
Unbirthday Party Games
Give your students some reading practice by having them look up the instructions for some popular and traditional party games. Give one game to each of your groups from the previous activity, and ask each group to learn the rules of the game and then explain how to play to the rest of the class. Give them the following games to research or choose your own.
- Hot Potato
- Musical Chairs
- Pin the Tail on the Donkey
- Freeze Tag
After each group presents their game to the rest of the class, have the class vote on which game they would like to play. Take a few minutes out of your day to play the game with the most votes.
Ask your students if they usually receive gifts on their birthday. Ask each person to share one of their favorite gifts they have ever gotten.
Since you’re celebrating unbirthdays, tell each member of the class they will have to give a gift to each person in the class. Don’t worry. These aren’t real gifts. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right? Have your students sit in a circle and then write their name at the bottom of a piece of paper. Ask everyone to pass their paper to the left. The person who now holds the paper must decide on the perfect unbirthday present for the person whose name is at the bottom of the page. They write their gift at the top of the page and then fold the paper over so no one else can see what they wrote. Students pass the papers again and list the perfect gift for the person on the bottom of the page. Continue until everyone has written down a gift for every other person. Collect the papers and unfold them. Take turns telling each person one gift on their list, and ask the recipient to guess who that gift might have been from.
Unbirthday Thank You Notes
It is traditional to send a thank you note to someone who gives you a gift. You can purchase thank you notes for very little money, or you can have your students make their own from construction paper and crayons or whatever art supplies you have on hand. Give each person a copy of this article from Hallmark on how to write a thank you note. Then have each person write a thank you note for at least three of the “gifts” he received from his classmates.
If you like, you can also have your students write a thank you note for a gift that someone gave them in real life. Then have students address the envelope and send it in the mail.
If you are lucky enough to have cooking facilities in your school, have your students follow the directions on a cake mix to bake their very own unbirthday cakes. Show students how to read the directions including the items they will need to make the cake and how to follow the steps listed on the box. Then have them bake cakes in your school’s kitchen.
If you are like most teachers and do not have cooking facilities in your school, consider giving groups of four students a box mix and ask them to bake and decorate the cake for homework. Give each group a different flavor cake and have a taste test on the day they bring the cakes in.
If neither of these options works for you, have students do a little internet research to find a store from which they could order a birthday cake. Have them write a sample dialogue with the bakery about ordering a cake for a birthday.
Every day is occasion to celebrate when you find the beauty in unbirthdays.
So put on your party hat and get ready for a ball when you celebrate everyone’s unbirthday.