Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The class pet

Most classrooms are no longer allowed to have caged pets living on campus. Which is a little sad. But there are hygiene and security reasons (a nocturnal pet, like hamsters, can trigger the motion sensors at night, which can cost the school $1,000 per event in fines) so I guess it makes sense.

But it is nice to bring in pets once in a while. Something small and caged is ideal, like:

- hermit crabs (which go with the Open Court story in first grade called The Hermit Crab)
- hamsters
- rabbits
- guinea pigs
- fish
- lizards and turtles
- birds

I know some teachers have brought in puppies too, but unless it's a well-trained, easy going dog (well, this rule should go for all pets than can be taken out of the cage) I wouldn't do it. Also, I would want someone to come and pick the dog up half-way through the day.

Because pets can be very, very distracting to students. Anticipate at least 40 minutes of petting, explaining, and passing the animal around for all students to get a closer look.

It's worth it though, not just from a science lesson stand point. Students should learn how to take care of other living things, and that they need to be gentle around animals. There is always a reason for animal attacks, so treat them with respect.

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