Thursday, July 5, 2012

Classroom Pets at TBA

Hi Friends!

I'm linking up with Michelle at Making It As a Middle School Teacher and TBA. Michelle is hosting one of the "There's No Place Like TBA" posts. Her focus is on classroom pets - one of my favorite things to talk about! Click on the links below to check out the entire series...it will be well worth your time.

 
 
 

So let me introduce my babies. Meet Daisy and Lilly...two of the friendliest pets I have ever had!

Daisy is the black, white and blonde guinea pig and Lilly is the brown and white one. You can tell by this picture that Daisy is much more outgoing and Lilly is more shy but they are both so darn adorable!

How did these girls come into my life? Through a wonderful foundation called Pets in the Classroom. If you are considering a pet, you simply must check this out. The grant application was so easy, then you wait about 4 to 6 weeks for approval and you're good to go.

You will need to have done your research ahead of time because the application includes questions about the type of pet you are looking to adopt. There are so many choices for pets. There are also four types of grants. Click here to read my previous post about Pets in the Classroom.

Moving on to my girls...these cute little critters have brought more joy to my classroom than I ever thought possible! I teach second grade and I confess that I was extremely nervous that my students wouldn't be gentle enough or kind enough or able to control their excitement enough... Boy was I WRONG! Not only were they gentle and kind and controllable (for the most part ;) ) but their desire to learn more was unbelievable. These little babies were the inspiration for many writing pieces and from several genres. Readers workshop read alouds often featured a guinea pig as the main character and my students brought in the books from our school or local library. Math lessons were easily executed and it didn't really matter which lesson I needed to teach. Daisy and Lilly always seemed to fit right into our topic of the day. And when it came to Science, the value of having these little girls as our classroom pets was priceless. Obviously, they fit right into our life science lessons but they also managed to be relevant during our physical science lessons as well. And believe it or not, we learned that guinea pigs have even been sent into space!

Lilly (snuggling with my oldest)
 

Daisy at two months old.
Yes, having classroom pets (especially these girls) was probably the best decision I've made in awhile. Many of my students have never experienced the joy of having a pet until this year and what they've learned about being compassionate will stay with them as they grow.

What about weekends and holidays? Well, before I decided to do this, I made sure that I would be able and willing to care for these animals on my own if I had to. My plan was to ask parents if they wanted to be "piggy-sitters" on weekends and/or school vacations. Ten of my 19 families happily agreed. I was SO nervous about letting the girls go home with people that I didn't really know but after the first couple of weekends, I was fine. My classroom community grew! The parents were so excited to help, as well as the older or younger siblings. Almost all of my families asked for a second turn and a few that declined at the beginning jumped on board as well. The guinea pigs were such a huge hit that two of my families adopted their own! My girls had play dates with their girl guineas. The travel bag that went home with the piggies included a journal and a camera. The pictures that came back were so cute! Unfortunately, they are all on my school computer right now. :(

 

I would most definitely recommend classroom pets to any teacher. It doesn't have to be guinea pigs (although they are known for their friendliness). Your students would be excited about any kind of pet, I'm sure. I'd have a dog in the room, too, if it were allowed. :). Speaking of dogs, my home babies were getting jealous of Daisy and Lilly so here's a picture of Moose and Ember. By the way, my guinea pigs are with me for the summer. Several of my students begged to babysit but I wanted time with them, too. Is that selfish?

Moose - a 7 year old Shihtoodle
Ember - a 1year old deaf dachshund mix
 

 

3 comments:

  1. Aww, your pets are adorable! Thank you for sharing that site, it's good to keep for future reference!

    I'm your newest follower! =)

    Ashley
    The Resource Room Teacher

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  2. I love your pets!!!! All of them! They are all adorable! And I agree with you, class pets are wonderful, but have never heard of that foundation, good to know!! My first year of teaching, someone from my church asked me if I wanted a couple of gerbils. I love animals, so I said yes, she gave me two beautiful little gerbils, and a great cage and food and everything. I didn't know what I was doing, but learned quickly and we loved them. When those two finally died, I got two more, because I really fell in love with them! And no, it's not selfish to keep them for summer, I always did, lol. :) But I also never let them go during any breaks, but love the idea of the travel bag with the journal and camera! I definitely have to try that! Thanks for sharing!

    Stacey
    3rd Grade Times

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  3. Thanks, Girls! They are truly tons of fun. Give it a try!

    ReplyDelete