Adding an Animal to Your Classroom – Teacher’s Corner

Teacher’s Corner
Are you thinking of having an animal in your classroom?
Your first decision should be what kind of animal is best for your students.
These questions can help you decide what pet is best for your classroom.
  1. What type of cleanup will be required and who will be able to do that responsibly?
  2. How much space will be needed?
  3. What will happen with your animal when school is not in sessions?
  4. What are the costs for health care and food for the animal and where will that money come from?
  5. How much people-attention will the animal need and will that be realistic considering your students and your classroom activities?
  6. How will your animal act (sleepy or active, loud or quiet, fast or slow, overpowering or uninterested) and does that fit your students and your classroom activities?
  7. What do you expect to get back from your animal (cuddling, playtime, science learning, responsibility training) and does that fit your animal’s personality?
  8. Do your students have the skills and maturity to take on animal responsibiities?
  9. If some of your students are not ready for animal chores, do you have the time to do the teaching and supervision to make sure they can eventually take on their share of the animal responsibilities?

Writing Prompts and Discussion Topics on the subject of pets in the classroom.

  1. Do you think having a pet in a classroom is a good idea? Why or Why not? Think about what students can learn, what the pet will need, and the safety of everyone in the school.
  2. List 3 animals you think would be good for a classroom. The classroom can be for young children, middle school students, or high school students. Tell what age the animals on your list are good for and why you think they are good. Describe the pros and cons of each animal on your list.
  3. What advice would you give a teacher who has a classroom animal? Include your ideas about chores needed to take care of an animal, safety rules, vacation times, and anything else you think is important.
Read more about kids and pets at
More about responsibility at Kids and Pets: The Basics and Kids and Pets: More about Responsibility, Love, Independence, and Loss
Teachers, you can use this blog in classrooms. Here are two ideas about how.
  1. For middle or high school parenting or child development courses:
  • Use the blog for discussion topics
  • Require students to research the topics and agree or disagree with what the blog is suggesting.

2.  For all courses, especially English Language Arts:

  • Use the blog for writing prompts for paragraphs, theme papers, journal entries, class starters, etc. Have students read the blog and respond to:
    • Do you agree with what is being said about kids? Do kids really act, think or feel that way?
    • Do you agree with what is being said about parents, grandparents, teachers and child caregivers? Do or should they act, think or feel that way?
    • What would be your advice on this topic?
    • What was left out of this article?
    • If you were a parent, would you use any of this information? How?
Why can this blog be a useful teaching tool?
  • Students that see connections between their coursework and their lives do better in school.
  • Most students will either be parents one day or have children in their lives that they care about, so the topical information can help them build their knowledge about children and parenting and develop a positive image of the type of parenting they want to do.
  • The new core literacy standards adopted by most states call for frequent writing in all courses.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can think critically. These prompts help students practice critical thinking.
  • Newly developed end-of-course assessments to be used by many states will require that students demonstrate that they can analyze what they read. These prompts help students practice analysis.

What do you think?

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