TBA’s linky party gave me the perfect excuse to blog about our dear class pet, Pebbles. She is a Campbell’s Russian dwarf hamster. Because she is nocturnal, her cage is her favorite place to be during the day. We do get her out sometimes though. The students love to watch her roll around in her plastic ball or eat a snack. Sometimes we pass her around, though she tends to leave a “surprise” or two when we do that. =) They love her anyway.
Having a classroom pet can add a few extra tasks to your day, but for the most part the students are able to help. In fact, one of our room jobs is to be the zookeeper who gets to feed Pebbles at the end of the day. It’s always the first job to get picked and I can promise you no one forgets to do their job when it’s their turn as the zookeeper. Several students also make saying good morning to Pebbles one of their first stops during our morning unpacking routine.
Sometimes class pets also teach us the hard lessons of life. I still remember the day we lost our first class pet, Meeko. He was also a dwarf hamster, and he was the friendliest little guy. I’d take him out each morning and he’d crawl around my desk while I prepared the room for the day. One morning he didn’t come out to greet his favorite student, and I later found him curled up in the corner of the cage. We had a burial, said our goodbyes, and wrote poems in his honor. For some of the students, it was the first time they had experienced losing a pet.
Just as there are sad memories though, there are also the funny ones. Our second class pet, Greta, was quite the handful. After Meeko, I tried a Roborovski dwarf hamster. I had read that they were a little more active and playful. After looking at them in person, the man at the pet store convinced me to give one a try. Never again!! Greta was definitely more playful… and way too fast to hold. She quickly became a “look at” only class pet.
I guess she decided that wasn’t the life she wanted because she managed to escape one night. That little booger climbed up and out the ceiling of cage by squeezing between bar gaps skinnier than a pencil. I’m still not quite sure how she reached them. Again, it was a student who discovered she was missing. We had a small rodent problem at the time so I was just sure we’d find her in a trap if she hadn’t managed to escape through the vents. The students made “missing” signs and we had announcements made over the morning intercom. Two short days later the night janitor found her sitting in the corner of our room under the computer table. That little rascal put up quite the chase, but he caught her. We heavily reinforced her cage after that. Needless to say, when it was time to pick out Pebbles I went back to the Campbell’s variety. =)
Do you have a class pet? If so, you should link up with us. I’d love to hear about it!
I have a red eared slider, hamster, and did have a leopard gecko (he passed this summer). We also have had fishies. It does make for good classroom job responsibility. I also have plants that adorn my desk that the kids love to care for. l
My pet reputation precedes me…kids will tell me they wanted to be in my class because of the pets.
One year, I bought new hamster the Friday before school started. When I got there Monday morning, she had given birth to 7 babies. Talk about an EXCITING first day…lol.
Oh my gosh!! I would have flipped out. Then I would have given my 7 best teacher friends a new present. haha. 🙂
Lol…I'm sure that was quite a surprise!
I noticed you said "bought". You should check out the Pets in the Classroom grant (www.petsintheclassroom.org). It provides funding to teachers to purchase a new classroom pet and supplies OR to purchase supplies for an existing classroom pet!
Aww I would love to have a hamster in my classroom! Unfortunately my principal is squeamish about small animals and I am only allowed hairless pets like my hermit crabs and fish 🙁 Maybe one day!
Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten
I'm on my 2nd gerbil this year. She's currently spending her summer with one of my classroom families… I went to visit her yesterday though!
Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge
My husband always looks forward to summers because I bring out pets home. I love that you went to visit. 🙂
I had 2 Russian dwarf hamsters as class pets this past year – Poppy and Cherry. Cherry was always a bit more aggressive than Poppy until one day towards the end of the school year when Poppy decided she'd had enough and ripped the ear off Cherry!! :-O Needless to say they are now separated and Cherry has been renamed Van Gogh!!
Oh no!! I can't imagine explaining that one to your kiddos!
I don't have a teaching job yet, but when I do, I definitely want to have at least one class pet! Unfortunately, I've heard that a lot of schools in my area don't allow them, because of allergies or fears of animals or whatever. 🙁 By the way, I'm passing you the Lovely Blog Award. You don't have to participate if you don't want to, of course, but if you like that type of thing, visit http://missangelread.blogspot.com/2012/07/hey-look-at-my-new-award.html to pick it up!
Thanks so much! Schools are definitely changing the rules, I've noticed. We had a new superintendent last year who is looking to create a class pet policy in the future because we don't have one right now. I'm hoping we can keep our little friends.
We had a fish last year and this was my very first class pet and I've been teaching 10 years. LOL. We do have a special ed teacher that has 2 hamsters in her room. The kids love them. I don't know if I will have one this coming year or not. The only reason I had the fish is because one of my students had it and asked if we could have it for our pet. Of course I couldn't say no. 🙂
A neighboring teacher received a new pet the same way. At least it was a fish and not a snake or something… eek!
I truly enjoyed visiting your blog. I found your button on someone else’s blog and wanted to stop by. I have been teaching Science for 4 years and still have not had the nerve to get a pet. We did have a kindergarten student find a caterpillar on the play ground. I made him living quarters in a fish tank and sure enough he went made it to the chrysalis stage. I had given up hope that it would make it but didn't have the heart to discard it. Then one day I was walking by and some movement caught my eye………there he was in his entire splendor……my fifth graders, principal and other teachers were so excited. We then planned a day to meet with the kindergarten class that found him and we watched that same little boy release it. Such a special time…… oh, I am grabbing your button on my way out….
Love the tiny little hamster, so cute.
Talk about a teachable moment. I love that story! You should blog about it and link up with us!!
Christi what would be the best way to link up with you guys? Through A+?
Yes, Michelle hosted this one. You can grab the Wizard of Oz image to include with your post. Once you publish your post, add your link here: http://www.makingitteacher.com/2012/07/faithful-companion-like-toto.html. Easy as that, and it will get you more traffic too. =)
Christi, I will surely be linking up with you guys. Thanks so much for the help and the invitation.
I love this sweet post. Those little hamsters are adorable! =)
I have a bunny that I bring to school. He just doesn't like riding in the car so he doesn't come up but for a few times during the year.
I am considering getting a hamster for my class. I currently teach 4th grade (I looped with my class this year from 3rd grade) and they have been begging me for a class pet for a year and a half! I am mostly concerned about the weekends, and was wondering what you do?
I've heard a mixture of suggestions, from letting students take them home every weekend (with parent consent) to leaving them alone for no more than two days.
Both sound iffy to me. Please help!
The kids really do love her, so I say go for it! She happily stays at school over the weekends (even 3 days, if needed). I just make sure to give her plenty of food and fresh water. I usually toss in an extra treat for her to hide away too. She's spoiled. 🙂