It has long been my practice to bring a cake for my homeroom students on their birthdays. It often seems like such a celebration goes a long way toward building both community and a personal relationship with each student.
This year, a student who was having a hard time transitioning to middle school academically was moved into my group about a month ago. Since then, I've been working with him at lunch and after school, but he's been anything but receptive to the support I'm offering. This morning, that all changed. We had our first birthday since he joined our homeroom, and that boy was loving himself some chocolate cake. All of a sudden, though, his face fell. "Oh no!" he cried. "My birthday has already passed!"
"Don't worry," I told him, "we'll give you a halfy birthday."
He smiled with genuine relief, but then frowned again. "I guess I should come up for lunch and work on my math today," he said. "I don't even know when that is."