Do you have class pets? I have two gerbils in my classroom, and I love them! When my own children were in elementary school one of their favorite teachers (who has now become one of my dearest friends) had a pet guinea pig as her class pet. My son had her as his teacher in 3rd grade and then again in 5th grade (she changed grades) and my daughter had her in 5th grade. So, for 3 years we got to take Oreo home on weekends and toward the end of his long classroom life, we were his lucky retirement home since my teacher friend was actually allergic to his primary food source (hay) and could never take him to her home.
When Oreo passed away he was so famous that our local paper actually wrote a little article about him.
Anyway, Oreo was my inspiration for getting classroom pets once I started teaching. I researched pets and decided on gerbils instead of guinea pigs because of the easy of care! There is a great website that gives grants to help you get started with a class pet; Pets In The Classroom.org. I used the grant to purchase my pets and it even gave me a coupon for a free cage, which I use for their take home cage because it the perfect size for my students to manage.
Meet Pancakes & Sprinkles!
They are so cute and friendly! My students love them and they are a great edition to our room. At the beginning of the year I have parents sign permission slips for students to be able to care for the gerbils and take them home on the weekend. I have a class pet permission slip and care sheets FREEBIE available here, if you are needing them for your class.
Students take turns taking them home for the weekends. I made a journal from a composition book, that goes home with the gerbils and students write all about their time with Pancakes and Sprinkles. On Mondays, they can share their journal writing and show any pictures that they included in their entry. Kids love reading through all the journal entries, especially the ones from the year before!
I'd love to hear about any class pets you have and how you incorporate them into your classroom community!