Incorporating a class pet into my classroom has been a game changer for my classroom culture! A class pet in elementary classrooms like kindergarten teaches children responsibility, grows a classroom community, encourages writing, and builds important life skills like public speaking in front of peers.
I shared a bit about my class pets over on Instagram and got a lot of questions! Here’s a closer look at how I implement class pets in my classroom.
As a half day kindergarten teacher, I have two class pets. Ollie the Octopus is for my morning class and Tony the Turtle is for my afternoon class. Both class pets sit next to our library on display during the week.
Every Friday, I choose one child to take Ollie home from my morning class, and one child to take Tony home from my afternoon class. They take the pet home for the whole weekend to join in on “adventures” with their family. I make sure to keep track so each child gets a chance to take the pet home.
Promotes Reading & Writing
Kids know that our class pets LOVE to read and listen to stories, so they are able to read books in the library to Ollie and Tony. This helps students get excited about reading in the library, especially at the beginning of the year. I set the expectation with my kindergarteners that these are our pets, they are not toys, so kids don’t throw the class pets or play around with them in our classroom. That way, our pets have enough energy for their busy weekend with the lucky student!
When students take the class pet home, they know they have to read to him to keep him from getting ‘homesick’ from his home in the classroom library. Students are encouraged to include the class pet in all the activities they do over the weekend. They write in their weekend adventures in our class pet take-home journal and return to school the following Monday. I let them present the Class Pet Journal under the document camera to share with our class. Kids get to stand up on our classroom stage to present and the class applauds them when they finish presenting. They absolutely LOVE it!
Journal Set Up
I make sure to include the instructions on how to take care of the stuffed animal, as well as how to log in adventures inside the class pet writing journal. I like to write a sample page at the beginning of the year by writing in my very own adventures with Ollie and Tony.
Kids take the journal and pet home every weekend in a special carrying bag. This makes it so easy and durable – especially when our class pets go on adventures on plane trips, restaurants, car rides, etc. (Note: I have families let me know if they have any special events planned that they would like to take our class pet with them for, and tell them I will do my best to accommodate them on a first come first serve basis. This makes their weekend class pet adventures extra special!)
If you are looking to try a class pet in your classroom, you can grab the print and go Class Pet Journal below:
I hope your students enjoy a classroom pet as much as mine do!
PS – Pin this post to try with your class for back to school: