Life Science

Animals in the classroom?

Mon May 12, 2014 2:13 AM

Greetings everyone!

I just have a quick question about animals in the classroom:

Are there specific national standards regarding what exactly is and is not allowed in a high school classroom? My internet-searching abilities may just be sorely lacking; but I have only been able to determine two things so far:

1. As a resident of New York State, the classroom cannot have anything that New York explicitly bans from keeping as a pet, i.e. bears, tigers, lions, venomous snakes, etc.
That pretty much goes without saying.

And 2. Animals that are "venomous" are not allowed.
That, unfortunately, produces some odd grey areas. Would it only be restricted if it is actually considered dangerous to people? Or are species that technically have venom, but are not considered a danger, also restricted?
Something like moon jellies, or coral/sea anemones in a reef tank, or a western hognose snake.


I would love to be able to permanently display several different types of animals in the classroom for students to observe, but I would like to avoid making a potentially serious legal blunder in the process.



Thank you all for your help!

Tyler Mack
Tyler Mack
75 Activity Points

Tue May 13, 2014 5:27 PM

I think the first place to check would be the policies of your school district, if there are any in the animal area. If they do not have any, I would ask the superintendent of your district.

Does your district have a Safety Officer? They might be able to help.

I assume that New York is the state you are in. Does the state department of education have anything on their website?

Good luck. Let us know what you find out.

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48465 Activity Points

Tue May 13, 2014 10:15 PM

A good place to start might be the NSTA Position Statement on Live Animals and Dissection in the Classroom.
http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/animals.aspx

I've been fortunate to have live animals in several of my classrooms over the years. Students were always involved in the care of the classroom animals.

Fish tanks are a great place to start. The bubbling water and fish swimming are so soothing to the spirit.

Live animals teach children important lessons about caring and compassion for other living things.

Another idea would be to place bird feeders near (or on) the classroom windows and attract wild birds in for sightings. Keep binoculars near the window and a class bird list.

Dorothy

Dorothy Ginnett
Dorothy Ginnett
26335 Activity Points

Wed May 14, 2014 6:44 PM

Hi Tyler,
Besides all of the good advice you have already received, and I would also check with the district handbook of policies (as recommended by Betty) to see if this is addressed there. I would also recommend talking with your school nurse to see if there are any student allergies that you would need to be aware of. Many students have allergies to various animal species, especially birds and mammals. Plus certain reptiles and amphibians tend to harbor disease-causing micro-organisms that you would need to be cognizant of and, thus, teach important health and safety handling procedures to your students before allowing them to be in contact with said animal(s). I have had cockateels, rabbits, garter snakes, hissing cockroaches, aquarium fish, hermit crabs, etc., as classroom companions through the years. Each has specific cautions to be aware of.
The addition of live animals when done safely and purposefully can add excitement and interest to one's classroom. I love Dorothy's idea of a bird feeder close to the classroom window. Good luck as you pursue this.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
78475 Activity Points

Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:01 PM

I will also endorse Dorothy's suggestions of fish and outdoor bird feeders. It is especially enjoyable to watch animals that are not imprisoned.

Another issue that I have seen way too often is keeping animals in a classroom where there is the potential allergic reaction to the captives. As one who is allergic to many species, I can appreciate the difficulty students encounter when they have no choice but to stay in a classroom where an offending animal resides. Imagine how difficult it potentially is to study with your eyes swollen, coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Jennifer Rahn
Jennifer Rahn
67880 Activity Points

Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:27 PM

Petsmart and a few other companies sponsor a teacher grant called "Critters in the Classroom." Several of our teachers have been successful in securing this great little grant!

Tonya Jackson
Tonya Jackson
1085 Activity Points

Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:50 PM

Hi,
Many districts have strict policies on classroom pets. I am a students teacher and I wanted to bring my bearded dragon to class to teach a lesson on reptiles. I had to get it approved with the principal before I brought it and I had to get a permission form sent to the students' parents for their consent if they allowed their child to participate. The students who did not have their permission form signed were not allowed to touch my pet and only observe at a distance. It was a great experience for the students because many of them had never experienced interacting with a reptile.

Marisela Montes
Marisela Corona
3650 Activity Points

Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:10 PM

Many districts may have different policies. You should probably check the policies within your school district.

Some policies in some schools include these types of pets:
- Only domestic animals
- Wild animals may not be kept as pets (including caught frogs, and snakes)
- Animals must be awake during the day
- The pet should be acquired through an adoption center, rescue, or re-homing if possible

Before acquiring a classroom pet, investigate whether any student is:
- allergic or sensitive to any particular species or their food or bedding materials
- immune compromised, and therefore more susceptible to zoological illnesses

Fish tanks can be a good pet to start with in a classroom.

Cassandra Edmond
Cassandra Edmond
515 Activity Points

Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:02 PM

I believe that you need to first see what the district policies on animals in the classroom are. I know I have seen many schools that allow fish tanks but I have not seen many other types of animals. I think by having a classroom pet helps children learn responsibilities.

Brianna Del Bosque
Brianna Del Bosque
2230 Activity Points

Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:51 PM

I have a wonderful principal and district that supports animals in the classroom. I own an African Grey Parrot that I have had for 21 years. I have an extra cage in the classroom and she comes to school about 3 times a week. I take her in the morning and she goes home at night. She never spends the night in the classroom.
I also have several 10 gallon tanks, some are used as aquariums, some as terrariums. We have a small ring neck snake in one. We had 2 small lizards in another. And we breed crickets to feed them.
When I started teaching 2 years ago, I went down to the river and got a couple of small fish and crawdads. Multiple crawdads in one tanks didn't go over so well. I only have two left. Had 2 small catfish, one turned out to be a bull head and is about 3 inches long, the other is a blue catfish and about 10 inches long. Also have a long eared sunfish and a short eared bluegill type fish. This summer I had a 75 gallon tank donated to my room and the fish are all in it, along with a 16 inch Pleco (algae eater).
I even had the principal come in one day with a small skink in a baggie they had caught in another classroom. Sometimes we catch flies with a fish net and feed them to the lizards.
Had a boy visiting a relative in southern Missouri when the Tarantulas were running. His MOM made him catch one to bring to the class. It was a male and only lived a couple of months.
The animals are there in my class, they are on my syllabus so everyone knows. So far, I have not had any one allergic to them. And I take extra care to protect both the animals from the students and the students from the animals. It is not a petting zoo.
I teach high school biology, so that could be less of an issue. We use them as part of the curriculum, and they do bring an added richness to the class.
However, I have yet to get students to help care for them on a routine basis.
Oh, and we also breed fruit flies that we had from last year. The thought occurred to me that they would be perfect food for a preying mantis. We have seen them around.
And I also have a Tokay Gecko that was donated last year, along with the cage. These are aggressive, bite and will "bark" if disturbed. Kids love that, so I have to keep them from antagonizing it.
Additionally, we also have many plants, including a banana plant that should fruit this year. Our room is affectionately known as "The Zoo"
I love it and hope I can keep both students and animals safe.
I even had the Conservation Agent come out and help me with the fish and the snakes.

Attachments

Yaco_In_Class.JPG (1.18 Mb)

Clayton Crawford
Clay Crawford
130 Activity Points

Fri Dec 04, 2015 11:25 PM

Hi Tyler, 

I just wanted to comment and say that I think it's great that you are bringing real, authentic learning into your classroom. This is definitely going to have a lasting impression on your students. You mentioned that your students are in high school. High schoolers are old enough to appreciate the effort and consideration, as well. I think they will see your sincerity in wanting to teach in the best possible way and be more engaged than if you were to just show a video or pictures on these animals. There are so many potentials lesson, integrated activities that could all stem from having a pet in the classroom! I just wanted to say that I think it's an awesome idea. Hopefully, a local admin at your school could help and guide you in this matter.

Sincerely,

Amerah 

Amerah Hashim
Amerah Hashimi
1080 Activity Points

Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:27 PM

Goldfish would be a good idea. 

Dallas Aguilar
Dallas Aguilar
830 Activity Points

Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:35 AM

I would talk to my school about the rules of having animals in the classroom. Allergies play a big part on what is allowed and not nowadays. A coach or principal should be able to provide you with what is acceptable.

Matthew Farrell
Matthew Farrell
185 Activity Points

Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:33 AM

I feel that if it is in a tank such as sea anemones it should be okay. As long as the student doesn't have the ability to stick their hand all the way in there. I went to school in NY and although I don't remember having animals in any class, I feel it could be extremely helpful to the student. Especially down south near Long Island students may come across some sea creatures and need to know about them.

Jessica Galatioto
Jessica Galatioto
970 Activity Points

Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:33 PM

I am teaching a two-week summer camp with 8 adorable 2nd through 4th graders. We went out looking for pill bugs today. We explored a woodlands and a garden. We found one isopod in the woods. We found over 50 in garden soil. (The garden also happened to have lettuce that we could pick to use as a food source for our crusty creatures. We discussed what types of abiotic factors impacted these invertebrates; then we made pill bug habitats. We are bringing them indoors for the duration of camp. Then we will let them go on the last day. The kids are so excited. They have made choice chambers and will determine what their crustaceans like best. I used this Science and Children article for background information:
The Amazing Ecology of Terrestrial Isopods
I love that we will keep them for a few days and then release them back into their former "homes".
I know this wasn't what you were "looking for", Tyler, but I offer it as another option.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
78475 Activity Points

Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:07 PM

I too have a few animals in my classroom. I only teach 3rd-5th grades. The students take turns caring for the pets. They observe the changes in the animals' behavior. They have named name them etc. I have the classic 3 turtles, and a male and female betta. We watched as the male betta built his "nest" to house the eggs. This correlates exactly witih our standards for third and fourth grade (habitats 3rd and ecosystems 4th). Having pets in the classroom has enhanced instruction.

I was very happy with my pets until this summer when someone mentioned that the turtle looked as if he wanted to escape. Perhaps keeping them for a designated amount of time might teach another lesson to the students. I have become a bit more empathetic to their general need to roam. When I read your comment it really touched me.

Muid

Amatulmuid Anderson
Amatulmuid Anderson
1295 Activity Points

Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:40 PM

What do pill bugs do? 

Marisela Garza
Marisela Garza
2525 Activity Points

Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:27 PM

Sun Nov 09, 2014 12:44 AM

Once the school rules are not broken, having pets in the class room is like hands on activities especially for younger students. I have heard teachers speek of remarkable progress in students attitude towards science because of their involement with pets in the classroom and how the teacher incooperate the animals as part of their lesson plan.

Neville Beckford
Neville Beckford
2155 Activity Points

Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:45 AM

Hi All:
All great posts. I kept fish in my classroom. All the kids loved them and so did I until a student decided to place a bar of soap into the tank one day. All fish died and I stopped putting the fish in the room. We wonder about harm to our kids. What about harm to the animals?
I hate to be negative but this is something to think about as well.
Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101430 Activity Points

Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:22 PM

I have worked in a few after school programs before and have noticed that some teachers do not take proper care of their classroom pets. I would have to agree, I think classroom pets can be a fantastic opportunity for students but I also think that the safety and care of the animals should also be considered. 

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith
420 Activity Points

Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:36 PM

Another place to check is with the state wildlife department. They often have special permits or licenses. Plus, they can provide guidance regarding restricted wildlife. Of course, this would be after checking district policies, allergy concerns, etc. that have already been addressed by the other comments.

Eric Proctor
Eric Proctor
180 Activity Points

Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:06 PM

I have been wondering about having a class pet as well. I remember having all sorts of class pets (fish, turtles, guinee pigs, and a hedgehog). I really want to have something that the students can both enjoy and help take care of. I love the idea of the fish and the feeders outdoors. Thanks for all the input it will help me on my decision too!

Destiny Huggins
Destiny Huggins
9800 Activity Points

Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:49 PM

Thanks to everyone for the valuable ideas and resources as i hopefully will be a NYS teacher in 18 months. My daughter had guppies in her classroom in 4th grade, which she loved. She volunteered to take them home at the end of the year (unbeknownst to me!) and now she is 25, and I am still taking care of their descendants while getting my Masters in Science Education. I hope I will be able to move some of them into my classroom wherever I end up teaching. I have observed some bare classrooms! The Living Environment should be full of life. But there are ethical issues, as the turtle comment in this thread indicates. With the guppies at home, I eventually made two tanks - one for males and one for females, only putting them together when numbers get smaller. This decision I made because over the years it became hard to watch the females constantly pestered with nowhere to escape, and also there were a lot of uncomfortable-looking mutations. I bought 2 new males in the last ten years which seems to have stopped the malformed mutations. I try to keep the tanks plant-filled and as much like a real environment as possible - not a bare tank. Thinking about the fish and how to treat them has been a valuable learning experience in my family and will be a very valuable lesson for students as well. Over the years I have seen too many goldfish given away at carnivals who suffer for no reason other than no one gave them a second thought as living beings. "They're only goldfish!"

NANCY SPECTOR
NANCY SPECTOR
130 Activity Points

Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:29 PM

I wanted to say that like you I hopefully will be a science teacher by August.

Janie Hiers
Janie Hiers
6315 Activity Points

Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:36 PM

I have always thought of getting a classroom pet, because of all the potential informal learning that could happen. Students will naturally be curious about the animal, which can lead to exploration and research. However, I had not thought of the potential risks of keeping a classroom pet, so I am glad that I read this post. I know now that it is important to research the animal and any dangerous microbes it could harbor, teach safe handling, and find out if any students are allergic.

Nina Zhen
Nina Zhen
1840 Activity Points

Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:43 PM

I think animals in the classroom would be a great idea depending on the animal and I believe it depends on your school.

Lucia Martinez
Lucia Martinez
1145 Activity Points

Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:21 AM

I agree Lucia. I think having a classroom pet is an easy access to engagement and informal (or formal), authentic learning. However, there are some risks involved and there is nothing better than to be informed! 

Andrea Velazquez
Andrea Velazquez
1600 Activity Points

Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:57 PM

I have had many classroom pets. My children not only enjoy a pet they can touch (seems that petting an animal can be very therapeutic), but having multiple small terrarium/aquariums placed near work areas can be very interesting for students to observe the animals...this is a nice alternative if there is a safety concern. The downside to a pet in the classroom is what to do with them over long breaks like Christmas and Summer...

Jenine Nord
jenine nord
450 Activity Points

Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:19 PM

I have multiple pets and differing solutions for summer.
I have an African Grey parrot, she comes home with me every night and during the summer, so that is easy.
I have several small fish tanks and terrariums and plants. I can usually take care of them every other day or so. I also have one of the custodians who helps me out. I placed a piece of paper on the counter and indicate the date they are fed. That way we both know, and we communicate of one of us goes out of town or something. He works most of the summer so that really helps.

Clayton Crawford
Clay Crawford
130 Activity Points

Mon May 15, 2017 7:21 PM

I had Glofish and fire bellied toads in my previous classroom. During the summer and extended breaks, I would feed them once a week. I put in those extended release feeders for the fish and extra crickets for the toads. It worked out really well.

Beverly Owens
Beverly Owens
965 Activity Points

Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:05 PM

Hi! I know that rats scare people, BUT I had two pet Dumbo rats this past year and they were wonderful. My students really embraced the responsibility and the rats became a part of our family. Check out http://www.petsintheclassroom.org/grant-app/. I received a grant that didn't take care of all costs, but it did pay for a great portion of the cost. I would get a female if possible. If you have any questions, I'd love to talk to you more about them.

Sherri Lucas
Sherri Lucas
310 Activity Points

Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:18 PM

I so agree...I have had many rats for class pets and they were the best pets...I have not had a student bitten by a rat...they are very friendly and smart...that is my favorite class pet...I could even let them run around the classroom after school and they would come to me when I called...but, so many people are scared of them that I did meet resistance from fellow teachers...

Jenine Nord
jenine nord
450 Activity Points

Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:57 PM

I would love to be able to have a classroom pet this coming year. Thanks for putting this link

Brittany Gilchrest
Brittany Gilchrest
1105 Activity Points

Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:38 PM

While NY is different from TX, there was one teacher who had a room FULL of animals. Quite a few were snakes, though I am not sure about their state of being venomous.

Samantha Coyle
Samantha Coyle
2245 Activity Points

Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:15 PM

School is getting ready to start here in Missouri, and insects and other small animals are starting to show up. I try to use them as opportunities to teach the students. Found a male praying mantis we now have, looking for a female. Within reason, I think animals in the classroom are a very important aspect of student learning.

Clayton Crawford
Clay Crawford
130 Activity Points

Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:23 PM

There are so many skills and lessons to be taught with a classroom pet, insect, etc. Very valuable!

Samantha Coyle
Samantha Coyle
2245 Activity Points

Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:13 PM

I am a student intern working at school now. When I become a teacher of record, I would like to set up a small aquaponics system in my classroom. I would need aquarium, gravels, plants, water pumps, etc. I am thinking about using Glofish that are genetically engineered, solar powered pump, and stations where students can measure pH level, Nitrate, Nitrate, Ammonia, and oxygen levels. This will help students to understand alternative farming systems and energy. This is something that I would like to plan out through this year!

Yookyung Chung
Yookyung Chung
565 Activity Points

Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:17 PM

From research I have done in the past, Mammals, birds, and poisonous/venomous species are unacceptable in schools. However, other animals are tolerated in the classroom if permitted by the principal. I think animals in the classroom make great learning experiences for children, therefore, don't discard the idea. Ask your principle and present ideas as to why you think this will enhance student learning. When I was in elementary school, a fourth grade teacher turned a portion of the classroom into a butterfly garden. We were allowed to make observations and better understand the evolution of a butterfly. I am looking forward to doing this in my classroom!

Amanda Ferrer
Amanda Ferrer
1320 Activity Points

Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:27 PM

Danielle Bergstrom
Dani Bergstrom
1160 Activity Points

Fri Dec 04, 2015 12:39 PM

I would just check to make sure that the students are not allergic to any animals. It is important to keep the classroom a safe environment for all children. 

Adriana Castillo
Adriana Castillo
1015 Activity Points

Fri Dec 04, 2015 8:51 PM

Hi, I think it would be so awesome if you could have animals in the classroom. One issue with that is children could become easily distracted and constantly wanting to touch the animals, but the positive side of it is that students can see how animals live and learn about the food and habitat that is needed for each animal. -Meaghan Rivas

Meaghan Rivas
meaghan rivas
1120 Activity Points

Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:07 PM

That sounds like fun for the children to see an actual animal and learn responsibilities for taking care of it. You can also do a science lesson in which you learn more about sea animals since you are planning on using fishes. But I would first look into your school policies and the district on having animals in your classroom. I know some districts might not allow animals in the classroom for health policies but as long your school says it is okay, I see it as a learning experience. 

Melissa Ruiz
Melissa Ruiz
495 Activity Points

Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:14 PM

I know in Texas there are guidelines a teacher must consider before considering a pet in the classroom. There are certain animals you can have. Also teachers must take a class and get certified so they can have a pet in the classroom. 

Dulce Reyes
Dulce Reyes
2565 Activity Points

Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:58 AM

I think that if you are responsible about having a pet in the classroom it can be a memorable and positive experience. Otherwise, it can be stressful for the animal and give kids the wrong idea about how to care for and treat animals. I once subbed for a teacher that had a bird in the room and it wasn't until I asked about it that the kids even paid any notice to it! I was told that the teacher had been out sick for a few weeks! I was so concerned about that bird I felt horrible just leaving it. It is very possible that she had all of that covered unbeknownst to me but I would be a little surprised if that were in fact the case. 
There are too many irresponsible pet owners and we do not need to create more by giving the wrong impression to kids about how to care for, nurture, and treat any kind of animal. 
If you do decide on a class pet it should be a big deal every single day!!!! It is a life. This is a great way to teach compassion and empathy. 

Edith Heppe
Edith Heppe
405 Activity Points

Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:48 AM

This is such an interesting post, considering my own Professor has her Assistant Instructor Grace by her side at all times. I think having pets in the classroom is a great idea to keep students in a positive learning environment. Grace is a great addition to the class and her cuteness is hard to resist sometimes, but it definitely makes me excited to get to Science class in the morning.

Going based of your state, NY standards, I found that all types of venomous organisms are banned.Now this does produce a bit of a gray are as you said, however, I would first recommend following up with the Board of Education of your county to see if there are any exceptions. Most likely, they will still consider it venomous and unsafe for a classroom because a student at any given time can put their finger in or want to touch its texture. 

Although not considered a direct threat, it poses as a potential lawsuit. Any parent who's child has been impacted in any shape or form can bring a case to light that that animal should not have been there to begin with. 

if you do decide to proceed with the pet, I recommend sending out information letters to parents informing them of the possible dangers and be sure to go over them with each child.

Hope this helped!

Shereen AbdelJaber
Shereen AbdelJaber
165 Activity Points

Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:26 AM

Yes, start with fish. It will bring color and life to the class. Children love the responsibility of having to feed the fish, too. 

Jonathan Marin
Jonathan Marin
435 Activity Points

Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:36 AM

Have you consider what lesson plans can be used with the animal , safety, animal behaviour, genetics, etc? These lesson plans and  learning goals can be submitted to principal in request for having it in the classroom. For example, raising betta fish as lesson on genetics of color, iridensce, and tail shape and color variation. Resource- bettasource.com,  Get fish online or through Petsmart.Or  include a lesson on animal behaviuor  with teaching betta fish to do tricks as stimulus response, while including international alliance with betta clubs around the world and where betta fish originated. . Another lesson plan can relate to  watching and counting birds in a Project Feeder watch outside the classroom with bird feeders. The students can participate as citizen scientists recording their data to Cornell labs. This can be enhanced to Darwin finches as  students record beak differences of feeding.
  Thank you
Enjoy this in the classroom.

Barbara Searcy
Barbara Searcy
630 Activity Points

Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:57 PM

I was having trouble getting butterflies for my life cycle lesson. I got many ideas on where to get animals for my next lessons.

Yolanda Tzoc
Yolanda Tzoc
940 Activity Points

Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:38 PM

THis would be a great conversation to have with other teachers that have had classroom pets before or an administrator that may know that rules a tad better. You honestly can never go wrong with fish, rabbits or possibly hamsters.  

Jasmin Delgado
Jasmin Delgado
840 Activity Points

Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:02 PM

I think it is great that you are wanting to include authentic learning experiences for your students, although, I think there is a lot to it. I would first check with the district/ school policy and go from there. It is important to look at any possible allergies as well.

Heather Grimes
Heather Grimes
730 Activity Points

Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:12 PM

These are such great ideas! Even just simple bugs keep students very intrigued, so I love the idea of incorporating activities into the class pets.

Emily Jackson
Emily Jackson
580 Activity Points

Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:31 PM

This is so intriguing because I want to have an animal in my classroom, and even the simpliest animals like fish or a hamster have to be apporved by the district and school.

Michelle Khan
Michelle Khan
1075 Activity Points

Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:23 PM

Hi!

You could probably start with asking your principal. He/she is a good resource for these kind of things since they should know the policies from your school district and what is and isn't allowed. Following, you could also ask the School Officer as he should know the laws of your state with what could be in the classroom and what cannot. Moreover, be sure the parents are all aware if you plan to bring an animal to the classroom because some parents are weary of their child' health or safety, even if you feel the animal may be safe. Hope this helps!

Stephanie Gomez
Stephanie Gomez
3690 Activity Points

Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:38 AM

You may also want to be careful because of allergies. Many students cant be in the same room as a cat or hamster. Allergies can really disrupt a way a student pays attention in your classroom.

-Stephanie L

Stephanie Lobo
Stephanie Lobo
435 Activity Points

Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:19 PM

I love all of these replies. I agree with all of them. I was the first science teacher at my school to have pets in the classroom. I got my pets after attending a class provided by my region collaborative. It was called "Pets in the Classroom". We learned the types of pets that work well within the classroom, how to care for them, potential problems, and learned a variety of hands on lessons that could be used In the classroom by the teacher. After taking the class, I even had a certificate issued to me, I wrote a proposal to my principal about why, what, and how I would use pets in the classroom. He approved and the rest was history. There were problems over the years, but most of them were handled; allergies (the students with severe allergies-only once with rabbits, were transferred to another science teacher, but the rabbit could have gone home for hat year because of all of the other animals). Students teasing the animals, a note home to the parents written by the offender usually stopped that problem, and finding homes for the animals over school vacations. I had tO be creative there, but it worked out. Some of my favorite animals were two ferrets owned by a set of twin boys. They brought them up on Mondays and brought them home on Fridays. They did this for sixth through eighth grade. My red-eared slider turtles. They started in a tank in the front of the room, they love to dive and you can train them to come to the surface to "beg" for their food. After several years we had to put them into a horse trough that was under one of the lab tables. And the lizards, you name it we had it. (Just do not get iguanas, they have talons that will cut you badly). I still have my blue tongue skink after retiring. Mice, rats, gerbils, hampsters, Guinea pigs, and ferrets in exercise balls-which is faster? What is their speed? Why is one faster than another? You have your kids attention and there are so many skills that you can teach!

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia
42660 Activity Points

Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:44 AM

I love the idea of a classroom pet and have both Turtles and fish in my life science classroom. They are great reference points for students and have helped others make deeper connections to content.
I love the idea that was shared about solar powered pump and having students measure the water for different things!

Laura Turek
Laura Turek
1820 Activity Points

Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:14 PM

Having a classroom pet can be a great way to show children responsibility, but as many others said there are things to take into concideration.

Lilibeth Coello
Lilibeth Coello
375 Activity Points

Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:08 PM

I think having animals in the classroom is a wonderful idea. Classroom pets can help create a nurturing environment by allowing students to take on responsibilities. Students can learn what it feels like to be fully responsible for the well being of something similar to what their parents have to do on a daily bases with them. There are many ways to incorporate content around classroom pets assuming you will not have any students with allergies or fear of animals.

Anisa Cummings
Anisa Cummings
1025 Activity Points

Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:07 PM

Don't bring in a ferret

Brent Warren
Brent Warren
95 Activity Points

Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:57 PM

For my opinion, I think I agree to bring the animals in the classroom but for specific subject such as life cycle so that children will have real life connection.

Chih-Hsuan Chao
Chih-Hsuan Chao
895 Activity Points

Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:48 AM

These are all great responses and I agree with everything here! I think animals in the classroom are a wonderful part of teaching science, especially for life sciences like Biology, etc. Having them there should be purpose-driven, however, so that students see a connection with the content being taught. I like to bring in monarch caterpillars and/or tadpoles when we talk about metamorphosis. We also have a variety of "pet" insects (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks) that we use when studying taxonomy and body-structures. A really important point here for me though is teaching our students to respect all living things that are in our classroom...that they are more than just 'specimens' so I expect them to follow all class rules regarding their care and treatment: there is no poking, prodding or unnecessary handling allowed! My students know it is a privilege to have our animal friends in the classroom and that I will take them home with me if I notice them being mistreated.

Kelly Kaleta
Kelly Kaleta
625 Activity Points

Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:42 PM

The school district that I am student teaching in has a center that teachers can check out animals and keep them in the class for a week. The teachers must go through a training but they have some pretty awesome pets. We have had rabbits, snakes, hissing cockroaches, and birds. Those are just the ones we have had so far.

Shelby Royer
Shelby Royer
980 Activity Points

Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:01 PM

Children can learn a lot from animals, and it's important to make sure they stay safe and healthy while they're learning. I would check with your school district first.

Lorena Solis
Lorena Solis
820 Activity Points

Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:55 PM

I love the idea of incorporating pets in the classroom and her children learn responsibility and of course more about animals. My aunt does this in her classroom where she teaches. I would just check with the district guidelines.

Zandra Russell
Zandra Russell
970 Activity Points

Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:11 PM

I think it would be best to speak with your principal for approval. I think bringing an animal to the classroom is a great idea, especially when studying species. However, it is important to follow guidelines, therefore to be safe.. check!

Briyania Nugent
Briyania Nugent
850 Activity Points

Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:37 PM

That's a good question! I had never thought about restrictions when it came to animals in a classroom. I guess I'll have to do some researching too for I am definitely planning on having a pet in my classroom.  

Amy Villanueva
Amy Villanueva
1050 Activity Points

Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:25 PM

I would contact your school district office and get more information from them. If they cannot answer your question, they can give you the right person. I would wait until you have an official job and ask the principal. I do know that many school districts do not allow any type of lizards. This is because many of them carry diseases on their skin. As a future teacher as well, I think it best to wait until you have a job lined up to see what your school and school district is doing and allows in the classrooms.

Summer Robinson
Summer Robinson
595 Activity Points

Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:14 PM

It has been such a long time ago since I was in elementary school, but the few parts of it that I remember were related to animals both within and outside of the classroom. I think it is a wonderful idea if it is financially tangible for either administration or teachers. It can be utilized to teach responsibility while simultaneously relating it to various lesson plans. Whether it is an aquarium where the children get to feed the fish or individual tiny jars where the students get to watch various developmental stages for particular insects.

Michael Van Ossenbruggen
Michael Van Ossenbruggen
480 Activity Points

Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:20 AM

It is better if you keep dogs or cats who are friendly other animals might not be a good idea to bring. But cleanliness has be maintained.

Steve Collins
Steve Collins
50 Activity Points

Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:00 PM

I was thinking about having a butterfly in my classroom when we start talking about the life cycles of a butterfly.

Yvis Lauzurique
Yvis Lauzurique
4135 Activity Points

Mon May 15, 2017 7:16 PM

I have used one of those Painted Lady butterfly kits. The kids loved them!

Beverly Owens
Beverly Owens
965 Activity Points

Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:18 AM

I think animals are very appropriate in an elementary science class. They give children intrinsic motivation to learn about their classroom pet. It's a real world connection to why life cycles are important to know. Also, the teacher can alternate allowing students to take the pet home each weekend. Doing that will help children understand what it's like to be responsible. Maybe a turtle, hamster, fish, or hermit crab would be an example of an appropriate classroom pet.

Sarah Estakhri
Sarah Estakhri
1130 Activity Points

Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:07 PM

My students and I have both enjoyed having a caterpillar in the classroom to view. We discuss our observations on a daily basis and I am also able to create a classroom job for my students. The classroom job consists of cleaning the caterpillar's home and replenishing the plants. the second job consists of plant maintenance to ensure the plants have water and sun exposure.

Ariel Roy
Ariel Roy
500 Activity Points

Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:18 PM

I think having a class pet would be a wonderful addition to the classroom. I had a class pet in 3rd grade and I remember enjoying 3rd grade very much because of him. He was a guinea pig and we were able to play with him and let him crawl on our bodies. I think class pets would be a great way for all students to not only learn about different animals and how they grow, but it would also be a good motivation for students to want to come and learn everyday.

Shannyn Quirante
Shannyn Quirante
705 Activity Points

Sun May 07, 2017 10:18 PM

Definitely check with the school and districts policies first. Then if you need more information if an animal is child friendly, visit a nearby pet store, someone who's experienced and knows about the car us such aquatic animals may help you out.

Eugenia Ruiz
Eugenia Ruiz
670 Activity Points

Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:48 PM

My district brings critters to the schools in the spring. Different ones for different grade levels, and at the end of the school year they pick them up. it is awesome to watch snails, butterflies, fish, grasshoppers, etc...in their ecosystems; and how they develop in their life-cycles from birth. The students take pictures, draw, label, predict, infer, and LOVE being responsible for them. It is the highlight of their science school year!

It makes for great conversations, learning opportunities, and a vested interest in science and the ecosystem!

Kim Rivera
Kim Rivera
920 Activity Points

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