I have a little tradition that every class loves, especially at the beginning of the year when it's fresh. Whenever a child has a birthday, the parents and I plan a surprise party. They bring the cookies, cupcakes, or whatever, and sometimes I supply the drinks. They arrive with these goodies during the kids' last, afternoon recess. Then, when I go get the students who are lined up to come in, I have one of them "rat" or tattle on the birthday child. The "stoolie" will complain about something the birthday child did during recess, and while I am "chewing them out" in the hallway, the other kids line up at the front of the room and sing "Happy Birthday," "The Birthday Rap," and "The Army Birthday Sound-Off Song" to them when the birthday child enters the room.
John and Damian share a birthday, so I contacted both of their parents, plotted and planned the surprise birthday party, the day of the party arrived, the last recess came, the goodies arrived via one of the parents, the recess ended, and I set out on my last contribution to the celebration: to get John and Damian in trouble. Sure enough, Bailey had a complaint about both of them as plotted and planned, and I was out in the hallway giving the two birthday boys a bit of "advice" about playground behavior.
Only I notice they both of them seemed totally unconcerned, and I thought, "Well, we've only done this twice, but Damian is pretty sharp, may have seen this coming, and may have warned John about the possibility of a secret party." I finished my speech, headed into the classroom, and when Damian and John entered, the class started singing our three birthday songs. Except little Damian had figured it out, and he and John had practiced the Can-Can. We watched them dance the Can-Can while we sang to them.
It was a bizzare moment, witnessed by a fifth grade teacher, Mr. N., who came into our classroom to talk to me about a girl in the Chamiza Chorus. I don't know if he told anyone what he saw, but if he did, it must have been a peculiar tale: two, fourth grade boys, arm-in-arm, dancing the Can-Can, with music provided by everyone else in the class singing three birthday songs.