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Happy Birthday to You!


A color key helps students see in an instant who celebrates birthdays each month of the year.

This bulletin board is a colorful visual tool for showing students' birthdays. It might stay up all year long. Or it might be a temporary bulletin board that you use to teach the concepts of picture graph and color key.


The centerpiece of this bulletin board is a large birthday cake. If you need assistance creating a cake that will stand out, you might search for "birthday cake coloring pages". You're bound to find an image you will like. Then you can print the image on a transparency, use an overhead projector to project the image, and trace it on a bulletin board covered with white construction paper.

When the cake is in place, ask students to share their birthdates with the class. Make a list of all their birthdates and ask students to determine how many students were born in each month. Then

  • Collect colored paper of twelve distinctly different shades.
  • Assign a different color to each month of the year.
  • Create a "color key" to post on the bulletin board by cutting a square of each color and writing on the square the name of the month that color represents.
  • Hand out a birthday candle template (see source 1, source 2). Have students place the template on top of a sheet of paper the same color as the one chosen to represent their birth month, then cut out the candle shape.
  • Ask each student to write boldly his or her name and birth date on the candle.
  • Mount the colorful candles on the bulletin-board cake.

Students can use the cake and the color key to see in an instant which classmates were born in the same month as they were. You might ask such questions about the cake as

  • How many of your classmates were born in February?
  • Which color candles represent July birthdays?
  • In which month do the most birthdays take place?

    Extending the Lesson for Older Students
    If you teach older students you might turn this lesson into a lesson in measurement. Introduce the concept of centimeters. Provide rulers and let students practice measuring things in centimeters. Then have them cut out straight, narrow candles whose lengths are equal to the date of the students' birthdays. (For example, a student born on October 9th will cut out a candle that is 9 centimeters long.) Of course there will be some pretty long candles on your cake; a child born on January 31 will have a candle 31 centimeters in length (which is about a foot long). Candles can be lined up along a horizontal baseline in order from January to December; each month's candles can be lined up according to their length, from 1 to 31 centimeters.


    Find more bulletin board ideas in our Bulletin Boards That Teach Archive.

    See these articles about bulletin boards:

  • From "Pretty" to Practical: Using Bulletin Boards to Teach
  • Your Search for Bulletin Board Ideas Is Over

    And don't miss these resources:

  • Holidays & Special Days Center
  • Education World Coloring Calendars

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