Thursday, March 21, 2013

Creepy Crawlies and Giveaway reminder!

I thought I'd take today to introduce you all to the variety of pets in my classroom! I've had a lot of different class pets over the years, but never the traditional ones. Most of the pets I have now have been with me for anywhere from a year to 3 years. The kids (even the girls!) really love the pets and love helping to take care of them. Here they are:

First, we have Beatrix, the Golden Redrump Tarantula. This school year she's grown from a spiderling the size of a dime to the fine young lady she is today (about 2.5" long)! Female tarantulas can live up to 20 years! She might get to see me retire!

Next, there's Peter Parker, the Mexican Fireleg Tarantula. Two years ago he was the size of a dime too! Now he's a healthy 4.5" long! Unfortunately, males only make it around 5 years, so he's already middle-aged!

Here's the most shy member of our class. Augustus, the Emperor Scorpion, is about 5.5" long and loves to take a bath every day.

This is Lucian, our Black Orchid Betta. My kids love to educate people about the fact that he is indeed a betta and not a beta. Betta is the genus of this kind of fish! Not pictured is his tank mate, Linus the Zebra Nerite Snail.

This slick fellow is Weezer, the Crested Gecko. He's super lazy during the day, but he is crazy active at night! I had to prove it to the kids by taking a video of him one night when I went into school to do some work! 

This is just a little peek at the queen of the classroom, Nemesis the Corn Snake. She is very curious about the kids, and comes out to say hi anytime someone comes near her tank. She's about a foot and half long, and amazes the kids weekly with her ability to eat things bigger than her head.

The different pets in the room are fun to watch and take care of, but they actually do serve a purpose. In 5th grade in my district we study classification, animal adaptations, life cycles, etc. In the past I've also kept an "Animal Wonder Journal" near their habitats for kids to write questions or observations about the pets for us to research when we have time. 

Kids from all over the school often stop by to see them, and this helps build community. Some kids in the school with behavior challenges work to "earn" the privilege of visiting the pets. If noise levels ever get out of hand (like during the seemingly never ending indoor recess days of winter), it's not uncommon for one of my kiddos to pipe up with "Shhhh, everybody...we're going to scare Beatrix and Peter!"

Do any of you have class pets? What kind, and how do they contribute to your classroom?

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  1.'ve certainly had some non-traditional pets! I'll bet the kids LOVE it! Sadly our class beta fish (he was blue so they named him Dr. Freeze) just died last week. We knew he had been sickly - the kids kept urging me to take him the vet, but I just couldn't do it :)

    I like the idea of having kids earn the privilege to come see the pets - that must be very motivating. I've got a couple of challenges this year - can I send them to your room for a few minutes...or hours? :)

    Joy in the Journey

  2. Teachers with pets are the coolest (um, myself included!), and sir, you win for sheer number and creepiness! I'm most uninterested in the scorpion, having been stung by one, they are no pals of mine.

    I had a gerbil for over 3 years (who just recently passed away) and now have the best ratties!
    It's funny because I did have a few kiddos 'afraid' of the rats, and they happened to be boys.

    Upper Grades Are Awesome

  3. Oh my gosh...amazing class pets! You are brave...I think I would be squirming all day if I had those in my room. haha Very cool how you control the noise level with them. Love it!

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Nick--I'm so glad you did so I could discover yours! :) -Tracee from Mrs. Orman's Classroom and Hunger Games Lessons

  4. I loved seeing and learning all about your class pets. You ARE brave!


  5. That is so cool that you have so many pets! My kids love animals, the closer the better:) We always have some kind of animal around to look at.

  6. I have now reached the point in my life when I would love being in your classroom to learn everything about these amazing pets. Not so much excitement about it in my younger years, though. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Well that brings me back to my earlier days of teaching. At any given time I had several large boa constrictors, a corn snake (named Kellogg of course) an assortment of bearded dragons, a couple of leopard geckos, rats (pets NOT food for the boas), hamsters, a handful of fish, hermit crabs, and a tarantula named Bob. My principal had an extreme fear of reptiles and avoided my room whenever possible. I loved having pets in the classroom. I don't think there is one single classroom pet on our campus at the moment. So sad. Maybe it's time to turn that around. I know I have an empty fish tank in the garage. :o)


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