Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pets in the Classroom

My "Pets in the Classroom" Grant aquatic turtle

"Why have a class pet? Won't it just be extra work?" "Won't it SMELL?" 'What's the point?" "Not in my classroom!" 

These were some of the responses I received when I announced that I had won a "Pets in Classroom" grant and would be getting an aquatic turtle for my classroom.  

My reaction - "Why would I NOT want a pet in my classroom?" 

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

I have always had pets since I was a kid. Granted, they were mainly cats and dogs (with a few rabbits thrown in the mix) and I obviously can't have dogs or cats as class pets, but the point is I still had pets. That thought got me to thinking about my students. I teach in a school that sees poverty (a pretty good bit of it) and I began to think about my students that don't have pets and what all they are missing out on.  

What are they missing out on you might ask? 

Well, LOTS! Pets give you a sense of responsibility and ownership - knowing that something depends on YOU to stay alive is an awesome feeling.  
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

By having a pet in the classroom, students are given an opportunity to be responsible for something other than themselves, and to gain respect for the life of other living things. By having a pet in the classroom, students are able to experience animals in an entirely different way! They are able to not only see the animal, but also touch and connect with the animal. 

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Students get the experience of owning a pet and learn the responsibility of caring for another living thing. Also, studies have shown that the presence of animals tends to lessen the tensions in classrooms (Can I get an amen?) and can also improve attendance

Now how in the world can having a class pet improve student attendance? Think about it! You have a student who isn't crazy about school and has parents who don't really care whether their child attends school regularly or not - if you have a class pet, that child now has a reason to come to school. The students take ownership of the pet and want to come to school to care for it. 
It's a win for everyone!
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
If you are interested in getting a pet in classroom, I recommend visiting Pets in the Classroom and reading about the different types of grants that are available. It is really simple to apply and the response time is about 3-4 weeks. Once you are approved, you will be sent coupons to HELP cover the cost of your pet. (Disclaimer: Your grant will not cover the entire cost. I didn't realize that when I purchased my pet, so I wanted to make sure that you were aware.) You simply take the coupons to the store that you chose and get your pet! Easy peasy! 

If you have a pet in your classroom, I would love to hear about it! Please share in comments! 

1 comment:

  1. I just got two leopard geckos! They may or may not make it to school!!