The Best Classroom Pet Ever!

A stuffed animal is the very best classroom pet.  Kids love it and it's a great way to get kids to write in a home journal.

Have you thought about having a class pet, but don’t want to add one more thing to take care of in your classroom?  Well, I have the perfect solution---a take-home stuffed animal!  Kids love it and there is no cage or tank to clean out!

Having a traveling class pet was by far the most popular class pet I ever had.  Kids couldn’t wait for their week to take home the pet and have it be part of their life for a few days.  Of course, I had to include a journal for the kids to write in through the week.

Tips for having a take-home class pet.
1.  Choosing a stuffed animal is the easy part because kids love them all.  But, keep the size of the pet in mind.  Too large and it's difficult to transport home and then back to school.  Too small and it feels too much like a toy instead of a real pet.  

2.  Pick a traveling bag for your pet.  I like clear plastic bags so everyone can see the adorable pet inside.  Make sure it's large enough to hold the pet and the journal.   I found this bag on Amazon for under $10.  (Search "clear plastic tote" for lots of choices.)

3.  Decide on the requirements for the journal.  The requirements should be based on the writing level of your students.  Kindies can have a drawing journal where they draw a picture or two that shows what they did with the pet.  Firsties can write a few sentences along with illustrations.  For older students, they can write paragraphs and add illustrations.     Make sure all requirements and suggestions are included in the journal, so kids know exactly what is expected. 

A stuffed animal is the very best classroom pet.  Kids love it and it's a great way to get kids to write in a home journal.

4.  What will you use as a journal?  I like using a composition book.  It's sturdy and will last the whole year.  You can glue on a cover and then glue all instructions and suggestions to the inside cover.  

Click here to download this freebie from my TpT store. 

(Click on this image.)

5.  Make sure you share the journal on the day it's returned and before it goes home with a new student.  

6.  A letter home at the beginning of the year, explaining the Take-Home pet is a good idea.  That way, parents know what to expect.  I also let parents know the take-home schedule a few weeks in advance.  That way, the schedule can be adjusted if a family needs to reschedule the pet's visit to their home.

Above all, have fun.  Just like a live pet, the stuffed animal pet is a great way to teach responsibility. 

Do  your students want a classroom pet, but you don't want the mess?  Then I have the perfect pet for you!


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Books are a Treasure

Books are really a treasure.  This beginning of year read aloud teaches kids how important books are in our lives.

“I mean we USE books all the time. They’re all over town, but . . .”

“Use them? You mean READ them don’t you?” she asked, leaning closer to the boy.
“R-r-read? What’s that?” Eli asked.
----From the story Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco.

As so begins a wonderful story that I share with my students during the first week of school.  It’s a great way to begin discussions about books and how they enrich our lives. 

Triple Creek is suffering some pretty severe consequences because years ago they knocked down the library in order to put up the giant TV tower.  Aunt Chip begins telling stories to her nephew, Eli.  Eli spreads the stories to his friends and soon they all want to learn how to read.  

It isn't long before the kids are grabbing books from everywhere to read.  You'll have to read the story yourself to see how the stories and books change the town of Triple Creek!

After sharing the book with your students you can make a mini-book about books!  It's the perfect time to teach your students about caring for books and how we use books in our lives.  Two versions of the mini-book are included.  One is geared toward 1st and 2nd graders and the other for 3rd graders.
All About Books,  free mini book about the parts of a book,  Perfect way to introduce your class and school library expectations.


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