Class Pet or No? | Teaching in the Tongass

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Class Pet or No?

I'm having some thoughts about getting a "real" classroom pet this next year. I'm thinking chameleon, mainly because they are just so darn cool and cute with their eyeballs roamin around in different directions, but also because every teacher's idol, THE Mrs.Frizz, had one. We have a "no fur, no feathers" policy, so that sort of eliminates something like a guinea pig (which are sooo cute, but man, I do not want to clean that kind of a cage). We had stickbugs last year, but they ended up dying off by the time the end of the year rolled around....but we had a blasty blast at the beginning! Leave me a comment! I'd love to hear about your experience! What are your thoughts on class pets? Yay or nay? Reasons? Specific types that are hgh maintenance (not my style) or super-easy (sooo me)? Do tell.

Here's my Throwback Thursday in case you weren't a follower...(you probably weren't, because it was my first post EVER!):
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Original Post from 2/15/2013

Ladies and gents....we have STICKBUGS!!! The kiddos were so excited to get class pets! There was a lady looking to get rid of some (she had over 100 of the lil buggers) and I jumped at the opportunity to take a few for the class.  Talk about the easiest class pet EVER. You "water" them by making sure they have a drop of water to suck on, and feed them a leaf (good thing we have a salad bar at school!).  Other than that, there's not much else. EEAZY PEEZY. I already have a family who will take them over the summer and give them back in the fall. YES! So, of course we had to name them. I decided this would be a great opportunity to learn a little more about majority rules. We brainstormed as many name themes we could (after shooting down regular names like Chloe and Chase, which were oddly popular?). In the end, it came down to Star Wars, Looney Tunes, or Disney characters.  It was a close call and I know you're on the edge of your seat right now wondering which one they chose...so it was Looney Tunes! Without further adieu, welcome Sylvester, Tweety, Bugs Bunny (name pun...my fave!), Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Daffy, Speedy Gonzalez and Elmer Fudd!

And how to turn this into a literacy activity you ask? Of course we had to write friendly letters (something we've been working on this winter) welcoming them! I stuck them in a binder to keep next to them.  The letters are so stinkin' cute! Here are some of the highlights from a few letters-

"We will say hello to you guys every day.  We will welcome you. Maybe I will bring letis (lettuce) for you guys.  You are the second class pets I have had and I want to keep it that way. What noise do you make? Do you make babys all the time? Do you like the stickbug song? Do you like songs at all?"

Another-"I like you because you are the cute one. At this perticular school we have srten rules. Like no chewing gum or be quite in the hallways. In my class it's really nice. Sun somtimes comes through the windows. Daffy your the best bug ie've ever known."

And one more- "I am glad that you are here! I ben expeting a class pet at the beging of the year and finaly got one."

Too funny.  So, with all fun things in a classroom comes setting up some expectations....the rules of course.  We brainstormed some ways to be respectful, responsible, safe and kind.  Here's what we came up with:
Also this week was Valentine's Day (we were in parent teacher conferences for it, so we celebrated a day before).  I did Valentine Portraits last year and thought it was such a cool way to personalize them and make them special.  I made one  for each kid using a template I found (a student that used it to do his classmate's). Here's what they look like after you draw noses, eyes, ears, hair and accessories and color it all in (I use colored pencils):
And too cute not to share is my own funny Valentine! Come on...don't you just want to just peeeench his cheeks (which is how he earned the nickname, Cheeks)!
 
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7 comments

  1. I'm not really a class pet person but I think it could be fun. My bio class in high school had turtles and a small snake. I forget the type of snake but it was small enough I wasn't afraid to handle it. Turtles were also easy to maintain/feed/clean.

    Right now in my classroom I have red wigglers (worms). They're not really a class pet but a local rep (from soil and conservation) came and did a lesson with my firsties in May (the lesson was great and covered science standards). She let me keep the worms--they're still alive and have been low maintenance and are making compost (slowly but surely).

    Brenda
    You Might Be a First Grader….

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  2. In the spring, we have crayfish and snails because they were part of our science unit. I didn't care for the crayfish because they are aggressive and will even eat the weak ones. Gross! The kids loved them though. All of us loved the snails. They're quiet, fed from the salad bar at school, and really really cute. We made jungle gyms on our desks out of Legos and manipulatives, and observed them climbing all over. We set up our own experiments (like food tests), and conducted them. What a blast!

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  3. I had a guinea pig in my class named Sweetie...I walked her on a leash. She was awesome, until she died. Then I had a hamster...and that silly thing would escape from its cage every single night. In the mornings it would wait for me by the door and as soon as I stuck the key in the door it would run off into the air conditioner. The kids would have to set traps with blocks and peanut butter, so it would climb to the top and fall in the trash can.
    I also had another hamster that jumped out of my hands onto the concrete. I was sure it was going to die, so I took it to my parents house. That stinker lived for THREE years longer. It's name was Baby and my dad bought it a cage bigger than my bedroom growing up. He called that thing my brother....I cannot make this stuff up. I have been finished with class pets ever since. Lol!
    Alison
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

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  4. In August, our pool is full of little frogs. Last year, I captured a few of them and took them to my classroom. The kids loved them! The only awful thing was having to feed them live crickets:/
    After a month or so, we released them so they could hibernate. The kids missed them so much, I applied for a Pets in the Classroom grant and got a tank full of glofish:)

    ~Nikki
    Teaching in Progress

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  5. We had two guinea pigs in my classroom two years ago and I sent them home with a permanent family at the end of the year. We all loved the guinea pigs but they were nervous around the kids (1st grade) and sometimes nibbled on their fingers, which some kids didn't like, rightfully so. Also, I hated leaving them in the classroom at night and on weekends!! More recently we had fish in the classroom. This worked out for a while but it was sad when they died. So, no more live classroom pets. This year I am planning to have a stuffed animal class pet!

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  6. Excellent website you have here, so much cool information!.. chameleon care

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