National Geographic and Petsmart are teaming up, and we want to hear all about your teacher’s pet. Through the end of the year, we’re accepting submissions of photos and stories about the crawling, swimming, hopping friends in your class and the impact they have on your students. Thank you for the submissions so far! Here are some of our favorites to date.
Angela McDaniel of West Virginia has found a great co-instructor in her class’s guinea pig:
“My guinea pig of five years is so in tune with my classroom tones that if I raise my voice, she jumps on her house and yells too!”
Jamie Bailey of Texas told us about her classroom’s expecting scorpion:
“Our class scorpion of several years died during the last month of school last year. I was desperate to find a new one before the new school year started, and the only one I could find turned out to be pregnant! We’re always watching and waiting for her to have her babies.”
Heidi Harrell, also from Texas, shared this wonderful story about the menagerie of animals in her schoolhouse:
“Our classroom ‘house’ is a zoo! I am teaching at a brand new school this year and we have flexible learning environments. We have 6 teachers […] in one house. Each of us is an animal lover, so we decided to bring our love into the classroom. We have four guinea pigs, a leopard gecko, a ball python, a cornsnake, a fancy rat, a Chinese dwarf hamster, Russian tortoise and a tank of fish in our ‘house’.
“Our students are completely smitten with our pets and they are interested in every level of their care and comfort. Each pet has informational and fictional books surrounding it’s home. We have QR codes attached to each tank or cage providing extra information that the students can access using an iPad. We also have a journal in front of each enclosure so that students can write about what our animals are doing.
“We have noticed that when our students are experiencing a difficult day, just being near the animals boosts their moods. They are constantly checking on them and asking questions. We hear them having conversations about the differences between our cold blooded pals and our mammals. They are constantly seeking to improve life for our pets. They were worried that our gecko did not have enough hiding places, so they constructed a Lego home, complete with a place to store moss to create a humid hide-out. They researched why our tortoise did not seem happy and decided his substrate needed changing. They are learning so much simply through the daily care of our pets.
“And… the six of us teachers have completely bonded over our pets. We all came from different campuses to start this new school and our pet project has made getting to know each other so much easier. We are each the owner of some of the pets, but we take care of each other’s animals each day. We have a ‘voice’ for each animal and at times we have spent our entire planning time just playing with the animals. It is a huge stress reliever for us. We have each opened up to the idea of liking animals that might have scared us in the past (the snakes) and faced some of our own fears.
“Our classroom ‘zoo’ has been a huge blessing to all of us!”
Think you’ve got the best in class? Head over to our Facebook page before December 31 to tell us about it with photos and tales, and you’ll get 20% off National Geographic pet products from Petsmart. We’ll be sharing our favorite stories, just check out how Bubbles stole the show.