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?


  1. I love critters! I have 2 bearded dragons, a chameleon, 4 fish tanks with goldfish, guppies, various aquatic snails, freshwater sharks, and ghost shrimp. For insects, I have mealworms, superworms, silkworms, and pill/sow bugs. In the spring we have eggs/chicks, butterflies, ladybugs, worms, and praying mantis. I also have a collection of carnivorous plants. And there is the outside pond with koi and frogs. Teaching in one of our school's two science labs is perfect for me! I get to have all the critters I want. :) Thank goodness I have a very understanding and tolerant principal. Lol.

  2. I love pets in the classroom. I currently have a white rat, and 2 hermit crabs. I do end up having eggs/chicks, butterflies, worms and praying mantis like Mrs. Lundquist. I'm now thinking how cool carnivorous plants would be.

    The Busy Busy Hive

  3. I have a fish tank in my classroom and the kids find it so soothing. I use it as a center (I call it, Tell it to the Fish). The students just write whatever they feel like and they do! Some of my first graders will go on for pages just writing random things to the fish! It is a favorite center activity.

  4. i wish we could have pets i know the kiddies would love it....your page is your newest follower...drop by =)

    Just Wild About Teaching

  5. I have a turtle named "Goofy". The kids loved him. But he did have to come home with me for summer break. He is active but low maintenance.

  6. I loved reading about all your pets! This was also my first year for pets. We ended up having praying mantis', a leopard gecko, Lots of fish, aquatic frogs and chicks. I just posted about it at my new blog and gave a shout out to this blog. Thanks for starting it! What a great idea!
    Teacher Treasure Hunter - Discovering Resources for Teachers
    My Recent Post:
    My classroom pet is terrorized by my cats!

  7. I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BLOG so much so that I am nominating Critters in the Classroom for an award! Visit my blog to pick it up. :)


    1. Your blog is so adorable. I will definitely be back to visit it again. I have a beach theme in my classroom, and I love your hermit crab. I think I may get one for our room. :)

      Fabulous Finch Facts

  8. Just found this blog through the Pets in the Classroom Pinterest board. Very cute artwork! My preschool class has one 10G tank with a Kenyi cichlid named Boomerang and a large flight cage with two lovebirds named Crunchberry and Froot Loop. :) I definitely don't recommend birds as classroom pets to most teachers, for various reasons, but parrots are my #1 passion and my classroom (in Hawaii) is able to accommodate nicely.


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