First Grade Class Pets

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by new2FL, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. new2FL

    new2FL Companion

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    Aug 4, 2007

    OK, I have major teacher guilt. I was not going to do a class pet this year. I've had fish, hermit crabs, and hamsters in the past, all at different times, but not with much success. But I was working at school this past week setting up my room, and several children who were there for summer camp asked "what is your class pet?":dunno:

    I am really wanting a guinea pig, but my room is VERY small, and I don't want it to stink. Any suggestions?
     
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  3. Bookworm

    Bookworm Companion

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Just say No! :D I gave away my class gerbils and feel great knowing that I won't have to worry about cleaning cages, feeding on weekends, bringing them home over vacations, etc. The kids in your class will have a great year pet or no pet.
     
  4. 1stferg

    1stferg Comrade

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    Aug 5, 2007

    Last year I set a bird feeder outside our window. We got lots of birds. One was a beautiful red Cardinal. He really stood out because all the other birds were shades of brown and kids could not tell them apart. Pretty soon we named him Fred the Red Cardinal. Fred was soon joined by a female. We assumed she was his wife so her name was Rose. Cardinals stay in West Va all winter so we adopted them as our class pets. No mess, no stink!
     
  5. beanie

    beanie Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2007

    we all have class pets in our classrooms - 2 are yet to choose what they want. 3 of us have fish (one of our teachers is a bit of a fish expert) - I am a fish classroom. My teaching partner next door has a Blue Tongue Lizard called Lick, and we have a school turtle called Gavin. But we could quite easily use our surroundings as grounds for pets. We often get koalas in our school yard, and have had echidnas walk through the school! Lots of fun :D
     
  6. cmgeorge626

    cmgeorge626 Companion

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    Aug 5, 2007

    My first year I felt like I would be a crummy teacher if I didn't have a pet. Enter Rusty FirstGrader...the hamster. He was very sweet and cute, but I didn't realize that hamsters are nocturnal before I bought him. The kids complained because he only slept while they were there. He stopped eating the last few weeks of school, despite every effort on my part. I think the constant noise level of a first grade classroom was too much for the little guy. He died two weeks after school ended. I'm kind of soft-hearted so it just about did me in! I spent all of last year lying to kids in the school and telling them that I had given Rusty to my nephew. I felt like I lucked out because he didn't die during the schoolyear and I didn't want to risk losing another animal or breaking a kid's heart!
     
  7. kiraj

    kiraj Companion

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I had a hedgehog at one point, and when I had to give her away she went to be a 7th grade science class pet. She loves it there! Lots of kids to hold her, she doesn't stink, and she's really interesting to the kids. I do know they are illegal in some states. I'm thinking of putting a beta on my desk and calling it good. We'll see though. I'm going to be a life skills teacher, so I think it would be good for the kids to have a gerbil to take care of. Maybe I'll talk to so me parents and see how they feel about it.
     
  8. 1stferg

    1stferg Comrade

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    Aug 5, 2007

    I knew a Kindergarten teacher years ago. She is retired now. She taught K back when it first went public. Anyway there is a story about how she used to hatch out baby chicks in her classroom and then train them to stay on a tablecloth on the floor. She would keep them all year as class pets. If the kids wanted to play with them they would just climb on the table cloth and play. That was a long time ago. I don't think you could do that today. Somebody would throw a fit, SPCA or parents.

    On another thought, how do you deal with allergies? I have so many kids each year with sensitivities.
     
  9. turtlegirl

    turtlegirl Companion

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    Aug 8, 2007

    I have a tortoise as a class pet... He is a great pet! He doesn't stink, doesn't have to be changed often, and the kids take great care of him. He also leads to many classroom activities, we researched what it takes to have a pet tortoise, then everyone picked their own pet they were interested in having and researched it. We had a race with the second grade "hares" and had poster contests and the whole elementary turned up to root for their favorite!(Our tortoise won!)
    It was initally expensive but because he is so easy to take care of, it really makes it worth it!
     
  10. luv2teach1

    luv2teach1 Rookie

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    Sep 25, 2007

    I also felt bad not having a class pet and acquired a bunny for this school year. What do you know? The state health dept put out regulations on class pets. They don't make much sense to me because it sounded like you could have a dog or cat as long as the shots were current, etc. Yet, we are not allowed to have the bunny run in the room. Now I have a bunny at home that my own children adore, but I really wanted him at school!:( There were many more rules with this as well.

    As far as allergies...I would send a note home to parents first to see if there are allergies, etc. If there are, then you are probably out of luck with the pet!:sorry:
     
  11. flowerpower31

    flowerpower31 Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2007

    I have a guinea pig in my classroom! I bring her home with me every night, though, so it's a while before her cage really smells. It's not really even a "cage". I actually use a rubbermaid box from Wal-mart. It works so much better! Just drill holes in it and it's perfect. When they get all excited and stuff, guinea pigs just start going crazy...like running and jumping and stuff and the shavings fly everywhere if you have a normal cage. So that's why I went with the box. I have a small room, too, and it works great!
     
  12. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Sep 27, 2007

    ug, you are all better than me! I hate having a class pet...the only ones I have ever had were part of a requiered science unit on living things....we got what we needed for the unit, and they were gone once the unit was done!!
     
  13. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Sep 29, 2007

    I was given a chinchilla my very second month of teaching first grade. The kids loved it, but who was the one cleaning poop up all the time? Plus, it got very expensive because you have to buy special dust for them to bathe in (although watching them roll in the dust is worth the price!). Anyway, he lived 5 whole years in my classroom, then died the day before school ended one year. We put him in a box with a nice kitchen towel, taped it shut, and took him to the woods to bury him.

    I had to dig the hole. Our ground is super hard, full of rock and tree roots, so there I was digging a grave and practically cursing under my breath ( I really don't curse), and I had to keep telling myself to keep a good face on it because you really can't swear in front of first graders when you are digging a grave. So we buried him, and everyone stacked a rock on the grave to keep away the wild animals. We said a prayer, and then went back to class. It was quite an event as 85% of the school had been in my class with that pet.

    I felt bad that he died - it took 2 days for him to die - but I was so relieved that I wouldn't have to clean up any more poop. I got rid of all the chinchilla equipment the day school ended, and sure enough, over the summer several people told me parents were looking for a chinchilla for my classroom!!!! Somehow the word got out that I had given away all the equipment and finally, that I did not plan to replace the class pet. Whew! So I am now pet free and I think we will stay that way for a while. I would consider a hedgehog, but first grade IS a very noisy place. I had a bird once, but one kid turned out to have a severe allergy, so the bird was gone within 2 weeks. I would love to have a class dog.
     
  14. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    Sep 29, 2007

    Never thought of a class dog...that would be fun! Don't think I could get away with that one though:)
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 29, 2007

    We get a toad and release him back later. We feed him different bugs we catch (and buy when we have to). We don't pet him. We look, observe, predict (and write) and figure out what the conclusion is when we feed him. We also learned about hibernation last year. We wrote a story to say goodbye before we took a trip to the woods and released him. I'm kinda ignorant on rereleasing animals so I hope that's doing the right thing (it's not my classroom anyways so it isn't my decision). I have to say the toad gives us lots of writing and prediction opportunities. We even discuss why we think he did or didn't eat certain bugs. (For example, some bugs are smart and will bend their legs and not move so they look like they are dead).

    We had a rabbit too (different teacher) and the cage stunk so bad everybody down the hall was complaining. When this teacher moved she offered to loan it to 1st grade the following year. The teacher was willing. She looked at me and I said, "not unless you are changing the litter daily and not weekly. I'm not doing it. She changed her mind.
     
  16. 1stferg

    1stferg Comrade

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    Sep 30, 2007

    I had a class toad for three years. I got it because another teacher had it for a month during a project and then planned to release it back into the pond. I read on another forum that you should never release amphibians back into the wild when they have been in captivity for a while. First of all, they have been fed in the aquarium and it is just cruel to put them back in the wild where food is not supplied to them but now they have to find it themselves. Also, the water source that owners use is usually treated tap water or bottled spring water. Neither is quite like the pond water. So captive amphibians can develop illnesses that are not apparent in the purified water supply. However when released into the pond they will spread the illness to other creatures in the pond and even contaminate that water supply.

    So, that's why I took the little toad and judging by how much he grew over the next three years he was probably a baby when I got him. He more than quadrupled his size. I will agree he was a great class pet. The children did not handle him but loved to just watch him. He became much less active in his last year with us. I am sure his life was shortened because of the captivity but it was an experience I will never forget.

    Our school district has since issued new guidelines for classpets. nothing with teeth, fur, or claws can be used as a class pet in the classroom. That really limits the choices.
     
  17. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 30, 2007

    We had our class toad for only half a year. That makes sense on the re-release though. I probably can't convince my poor teacher of this though because it's hard to find a good decent pet we don't have to shelter over the summer. I'm not sure I'm doing pets when I get a classroom. I think they are great in an educational sense but they are a lot of heartache and work.
     

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