May 25, 2017

Meet Donashello!

What you need to know about me is... I'm a pet person. I love pets. ALL KINDS! We currently have one dog and two cats (and this is only because my husband refuses to let me adopt more!)

Anyway, being a pet lover means I have to incorporate that into my classroom. I am a firm believer that it gives the students a sense of confidence around animals, a sense of responsibility (class job, people!), and helps them to develop care for nature and animals around them. Also - I had this grand scheme and plans for developing crafts and units around my new class pet!

I had this great idea to get a classroom pet. Like GREAT idea.

I found Pets in the Classroom which requires an extensive application process, but then ultimately gives you a pet for your classroom. You get to choose which pet you want, and why, and it even hooks up with local stores or chains to help you get your pet necessities there.

So after thinking on it for a hot minute,

Donashello on our kitchen counter - only an inch long!
...I chose to get a turtle! I've always loved the sea, they were quiet, (after reading)they seemed somewhat low maintenance, and I could easily have a quiet tank sitting in my classroom for my students to observe.

I filled out my application, got the acceptance letter, and set to work on obtaining my classroom turtle.

Meeting the UPS Guy - 8:00 PM!
Road Bump #1: In Virginia, it is illegal to sell a Yellow Belly Slider Turtle because they are native to VA...(or something like that). My grant was specifically for this sort of turtle. You'd think I would've figured that out before I asked for it! Haha! So this sent me on a whole run-around finding a way I could get a turtle to me (thank you!) And it involved a late night gas station meet with my UPS guy, long story short, I finally had my turtle!

I named my turtle Donashello. My students this year are obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I love the play off of Donatello - ...get it, DonaSHELLO? Haha, no one is funnier to me than me. :)

Road Bump #2: It took my husband and I two days to get the tank ready and the water temperature correct! Turtles are super sensitive to their environment! Unfortunately, our tank and our turtle arrived at the same time. It takes the water and tank 48 hours to adjust! We moved him into my classroom with exciting squeals of delight. Coming in at about an inch big, he was the absolute cutest thing and my students were in love.

Road Bump #3:Sadly, Donashello didn't last long (we think he was sick when we got him) and Donashello 2.0 entered the scene within days. Since then, this Donashello is happy and healthy! He eats like a little piggy and swims all around the tank! We love him!

All to say, classroom pets are awesome! My students have LOVED having him as a part of our classroom family. They write him letters, refer to him and love on him so hard! My great idea was a GREAT idea and I'm excited it all worked out in the end (even after a few road bumps).

Daisy was excited for her new friend!
Advice for teachers considering a pet: Do your research! Know what you will need and how it will need to set up/in place in your room. Consider things like feeding time, weekend schedules, and classroom activity. They are worth it, but the thought process is necessary.

Classroom pets are so fun! :)

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