Monday, October 22, 2012

a sure cure for arachnophobia {freebie}

each year I hand this poem out a poem to my kids called A Murder in the Garden {freebie at the end}and they think I am all kinds of crazy! What kind of teacher gives out a poem about murder to seven year olds!

Well, maybe a teacher who lets you hold a tarantula!


Yep, I finally let the students pet Hairyette. They were so excited. Only three students kind of stayed back out of the way. And one eventually couldn't help themselves and came over with us. Since we are in the midst of a measurement unit and spiders I figured it had to be done!

Of course I started with my recess gloves on. Then I loosened up and just let her crawl on me sans gloves. The kids know a fall can kill this fragile pet and were very good about not bombarding me. Even though we know they are covered in hair, they were still shocked at how soft she is.


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After a minute or two we started measuring. Her legs are 2" long, her cephalothorax is about 1" across, and her total body length is 4". Just a little gal! And I just impressed you with my bog words didn't I?! Well, I impressed the kiddos today too. I told them I spent my weekend writing an arachnid book for our class and learned all kinds of new information. Like daddy long legs are not poisonous-we already knew that they aren't spiders, but harvestman. I had heard they were super poisonous but their mouths were too small to bite a human.

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and here’s where she ended up! Why do all animals go into hair?? I was really trying to prevent a fall {ignore the bad hair day today!}

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If you wanna impress your kiddos, snag my little arachnid love mini pack!

and grab the Murder in the Garden poem for free!

and my arachnids need love Venn for free too

I hate recreating the wheel and so many of you amazing bloggers have already made bat and spider units, so I sure wasn't going to!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Amphibians in the classroom...

Big Daddy on the way to FIRE Expo

     A great way to check out unusual critter possibilities, is to attend an expo like Repticon. My family usually attends the ones that are within an hour from home. Last weekend, we loaded up and headed out to FIRE in Orlando with "Big Daddy" our bearded dragon, navigating! This trip we focused on amphibians. Our local pet store just went out of business (we are very sad about this) and we were able to purchase great exoterra and zoomed tanks for more than half off. My husband found a website called Josh's Frogs and we ordered everything we would need for some frog habitats. We decided on White's Tree Frogs. Otherwise known as "Dumpy" frogs, these tree frogs are from Australia and Indonesia, and are great for beginners. They eat fruit flies, crickets, and other small insects. It is a calm frog and one of the few that you can actually hold. And I did not realize this until we got home, but they grow up to four inches and live up to sixteen years. :) We have a lot of time to bond. Our two new family members are "Glitzy" and "Olive".

Look closely and you will notice "Olive" in the upper left corner.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Reptiles in the classroom

"Big Daddy"

     I love critters of all shapes and sizes! Last year, I was the fortunate recipient of a donated bearded dragon. Someone in our community had purchased a bearded dragon (and every imaginable accessory) for his family. They enjoyed "Big Daddy" for a while and then the kids got older and had interests that kept them on the go. So, one day the office pages me and says they have a donation for the science lab. I walk to the office and a gentleman says it is outside in his car. When he opened the back of his suv and I saw our newest addition, I have to admit I was a little frightened. I did not want to hold him for several weeks. Thank goodness, it was love at first sight for my husband, so he took good care of him until I was comfortable. It didn't take long, and "Big Daddy" won my heart. He really does have a lot of personality. And the students love him!
     When you have something you love, sometimes you need more than, bearded dragon #2 joins us this year. I was able to get "Bubba" through a "Pets in the Classroom" grant. I want the students to be able to watch him grow ("Big Daddy" came to us full grown). The students do a great job of taking care of our lab pets. They feed them, clean their cages (with my asssistance), they do research on them, making sure their habitat and diet are correct. We have even started growing crops for them to eat (greens, carrots, certain fruits) and insects for them (crickets, silkworms, and superworms). Bearded dragons are easy to maintain. They use the bathroom once a day to once every other day and are funny about wanting their cage cleaned immediately. They are friendly, docile, and inquisitive. They are much friendlier than our gerbil who now lives at my house (biter). Bearded dragons are recommended for reptile beginners. And they are safe for students with allergies.    


Our newest reptile is "Forrest Gump" the chameleon. More coming soon on chameleons! They are such interesting critters! Make sure to stop by my lab pet page @ Superlative Science to see my other critters!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Critters in the Classroom!

Hey Critter Friends,
You might just have to come on over and grab this freebie to add to your critter area in your classroom. He is so cute you can hardly stand it, right? He is free as free can be!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Critters In The Classroom!

I was pretty determined this year to have some classroom pets. I was also determined to have pets with no fur or feathers. I was fortunate that Petsmart reached out to me and sponsored classroom pets for my class last year. I had so much fun planning and preparing for my classroom pets. I researched all different kinds of pets before making my decision. I wanted the children to be able to learn from these classroom critters but I had to make sure that I could manage the upkeep.

One of the first pets I considered were fish. At first I wanted to be able to have more than one but when I went in Petsmart, I fell in love with this Betta fish that we called Bluebonnet. I learned that Betta fish primarily live alone. I was a little disappointed to find that out but after a little investigation, I discovered that you can put a mystery snail, sucker fish and a ghost fish with a Betta and I was excited. Our fish tank was small. I think it is a 1.5 gallon tank. It was perfect for a classroom Science center. Bluebonnet did very well in a classroom and each day the children would observe what was going on in the tank and at times we would notebook about it. During our study on plants I found an aquarium plant bulb and I thought it would be a great learning experience to add that to our thriving tank and we could observe and record the growth of the bulb. Unfortunately, the bulb was toxic and Bluebonnet and the others died. We were all pretty sad. I did learn a lesson and I will never try adding plants to a thriving aquarium again. What I can say about my experience is this. The enjoyment this little tank of critters gave us was tremendous. This was a wonderful learning experience for me and my class. The care and maintenance was a breeze and a small tank is perfect for a Kindergarten classroom. I am excited to plan and care for my new fish this year.

If you are thinking of pets in the classroom one of the big deciding factors for me was what I was going to do with the pets during the holidays and summer. I am so glad that I really thought long and hard about this before I made my purchase. With all the pets that I had in the classroom, I made sure that I could easily take it home and I made sure I already had a proper place for them when they got there. To be honest, I did not want a snake or lizard hanging around my living room for Christmas...

The second pet I considered were hermit crabs. You will never believe how super simple these were to take care of. My crabs lived in a ten gallon tank. I will admit setting up and purchasing the things to go in the tank was a lot of fun. Hermit crabs are quiet, very inexpensive to set up and care for. Although they are nocturnal, all you have to do is move them around to observe them. My class especially liked to observe them getting their crab bath. We tried a lot of different foods with our crabs and ours seemed to like "crab cookies" and shrimp food the best. Once you have your crab habitat established, there is not much maintenance other than feeding and very occasional cleaning. And the cleaning was super easy. And Kinder kids love crabs!

And the last pet I considered were Aqua frogs. I found these frogs at my local teacher supply store. I had two frogs in a very small container. These frogs were a lot of fun and super simple to maintain. All we had to do was feed them every few days. The habitat that they come in does not require cleaning but once a year! We did have a casualty with one frog but the other one is thriving. And my frog was super easy to take home with me. During the summer I have had him on my desk. He gets very active when I am near. One of the first nights that he was home for the summer I kept hearing a strange noise and I could not figure out where it was coming from. It sounded like tiny frogs but I never thought the sound would have been coming from MY frog. I never heard him when he was a t school...hmmm wonder why? Every now and then he sings to me when I am at my desk working...

As you can see classroom pets do not have to be feathered or furry to belong in a Kindergarten class. And they do not have to be big to make an impact in a classroom. I love my pets and I would not want to go back to school without them. So, what do you have in your classroom?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hello Friends! I'm Ashley from The Teacher's Treasure Chest!! I wanted to stop in a share something with you.

My classroom critter is Rocky. He is our beloved pet hermit crab. The students chose the name Rocky, after a class election. We voted on his name, and then graphed the results of the election. The students had so much fun with this!

Through the year, Rocky was a wonderful classroom critter! He never got out of his home unless we took him out. He was very easy and inexpensive to take care of. He enjoyed spending time with the students. The students really enjoyed taking care of him and working as a team to make sure that Rocky was being cared for properly. Parents really pitched in as well. They often brought supplies, and "toys" for Rocky. Needless to stay our class LOVED Rocky!!

That's what makes this so hard :( I brought Rocky home for the summer. I wanted him to have a comfortable living environment like he had at school. Without my knowledge, my four year old, brought Rocky outside and put him in our flower beds one day while we were working in the yard. I looked all over for poor Rocky once I realized this. He was no where to be found :(

I found Rocky's shell today, almost two weeks later. I was pretty sad about it. Not knowing what I would tell my students when they return in the fall. The good news is, that this post made me remember how much joy Rocky brought to our class. At the beginning of the year, I was pretty much against a "Critter" in the classroom. Now I can't imagine my class without one.

So now I am hooked :) I hope you enjoyed reading about our pet and how we used him in our classroom. Be sure to visit my blog!!!


Sunday, June 17, 2012

summertime, not what?

What do you do with your critters during the summer?
Since I no longer have mammals, this year was no sweat! The scorpion was left on a shelf {high shelf beside the tarantula so the cleaning crew won't get scared!}. Heaters plugged in-check!
I normally take the whole community of fish home. It's quite a site. First I fill my backup tank at home and get the filter going a week or so beforehand. Then, back at school, I catch each fish {this takes for.ever}. Place them in a bucket, hook the air home into the wall and put in the bucket til I am absolutely ready to leave, buckle the bucket into the passenger seat, the pour all 10 fish into the tank. But this year I am allowed into the school gasp until the carpet's torn up, so all critters are fed once per week. None of my lovies need daily food or water, so this is really working out.
for the past 3 summers we've housed a tarantula in our kitchen! That's a conversation starter for sure.
I hope everyone is enjoying a little break, and if you're not yet, just think...I have a workshop tomorrow! That's my first official day out of school! yup! They are providing water and chocolate, so I guess I'll let it slide!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hello Critters!

Hello Critters in the Classroom Friends,

I have enjoyed following this blog since it started and I have learned a lot about the different critters in the classrooms of the teachers who post their experiences here. I was very excited to be invited to contribute to this blog as well.

I am from the Little Miss Kindergarten blog. And I really wanted a place to be able to feature my true love of Science with young children and all of our critter capers, so I decided to start another blog... Little Miss Hypothesis. This is where I share my Science fun and anything related to critters. I was fortunate enough to have Petsmart sponsor classroom critters for me last year. Last year in my classroom I had fish, snails, crabs, frogs, worms and butterflies. I was determined to have critters that didn't have fur or feathers. We only had the worms and butterflies for a while before we set them free but our fish, snails, frogs and crabs are with us all year! These critters have provided my class with tons of observation opportunities and tons of notebooking opportunities too. I am trying to decide what critters I will add this year. What do you suggest?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ants in the Class!

Our science curriculum includes a study on ants.  I create a whole ant unit and I am sharing these sample activities with you.  Click the pictures below to download the freebies. 

My entire Ant Unit is available on TpT.  Out of all the critters I have had in my classroom, ants are my least favorite.  They were really cool to watch, though.   Click {here} to read about my ant wrangling adventures. 

I highly recommend the gel ant farm over the sand one.  My only issue with it was that you have to open it every few days to get fresh air into the farm.  I have no clue why they did not make air holes, but the gel ant farm was so much easier to get the ants into.  
My very creative co-workers came up with the ideas for ant faces on the bodies and the "If I Were an Ant" writing prompts.  One of my students wrote, "If I were an ant, a candle would seem like an inferno."  
The page toppers for the "Dear Ant Bully" persuasive letters were inspired by the teachers at Peace, Love, and Kindergarten.  I have included the activity and tracers {here} for free!

Click the cover below to check out my Ant Unit on TpT!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Quarter “Quail”


See! the size of a quarter!

23 days of pure anticipation…for our quail babies to hatch! I was utterly head over heels for these little guys and so were all the kiddos! on May 1st we set 24 quail eggs donated by our local 4H. Hatch Day was Thursday…it came…we waited…saw pipping…went home

Came to school Thursday morning and all but 6 had hatched!! We got to experience 2 hatch before 8am! It is absolutely amazing!



They chicks are so small we have to cover the metal with napkins so their little feetsies won’t get stuck!

Do you hatch chicks? This was my fist year with quail. We did chickens last year. Loved them, but will request these little guys again next year! So clean, so absolutely presh! They have already been whicked away to our local park to repopulate the population there. They are in a special cage for the next 6 weeks, then they run free! It’s funny to go out and run and see quail waltzing around!

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here’s 6 in my teammies hands and me trying to hold all 20!


Sweet sorrow…having to say goodbye. Yes, there were some tears

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I had ordered postcards from Vistaprint to serve as birth announcements to deliver to all the other classes.

Each student also got a Proud Chickie Parent sticker to wear!


This program is specifically for our 2nd grade to study a full life cycle. We also use mealworms, painted ladies, and will add crickets next year!

If you are interested in hatching, contact your local university or 4H. Our 4-H teams up with NC State University. Many have programs {and for free} for young students to learn about embryology.

Happy Hatching!