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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Throwback Thursday (Classroom Pet - NO Mess!)

I have noticed this linky by First Grade Parade floating around this summer and have enjoyed reading some posts from the past that I probably never would have found otherwise!

I decided to link up a post from last summer when I first started blogging (and before I "met" many of you!).  This was my 10th post after starting my blog and, yes, we still used Lilly last year for our class pet!  Her journal is almost full and starting to look beat up after 5 years but I hate to retire it even when I get a new one.  I did update her carrying bag this year because it was getting quite full. :)  
Anyway, here is my post for Throwback Thursday:

Originally posted July 16, 2012
Well, after my first week of blogging, I really wanted to link up with 4th Grade Frolics Monday Made It, however, I have been too busy blog stalking!  Having a 2-year old and 5-year old to chase around doesn't help matters either.  I did buy my owl fabric today for a table skirt and coordinating colors to make for the window valances.  I went to my classroom and measured a bunch of things looking for ideas based on all the great ideas I have read from everyone!!  So, while I was in my classroom, I took pictures of our class pet, Lilly:

She has been the 4th grade class pet for four years going on number five!  I know she shares the name of my daughter but my class four years ago came up with a bunch of names and voted on it.  I love it (of course) and thought it fits with the frog theme anyway:)

I hesitated sharing my little class pet with the blogging world because I always think the things I do are so boring and mediocre compared to the AWESOME ideas I see from all my fellow bloggers.  Then, I thought....."There are some teachers out there somewhere that might get inspiration from my little class pet," so I went for it!

She travels in a bag with a journal and students sign her out on a calendar I have posted in my room.  I thought Lilly or the journal would probably end up lost or ruined and she has lasted!!  The journal is still surprisingly in great shape after four years and I will be sad when I have to get a new one.  It is so fun for the students to look back at several years of entries when they take her home.

Lilly started with one skirt four years ago and slowly students added clothes to her bag and made things for her:

It is so cute watching how excited students get to take her home and PLAY...kids being kids even at age ten.  I LOVE it!!  Students are supposed to free write in Lilly's journal.  They write their name, date the entry, and then describe whatever they did with Lilly.  As I have been reading the Daily 5, this seems more along the lines of the free choice students have when working with writing.  Students ENJOY writing in this journal because they are writing about what they choose, even though they are doing it at "home".  Many students also include pictures of their travels with Lilly:

As with any activity, there are always those couple students who are reluctant to take part.  I made sure everyone signed up for at least one overnight with Lilly this year.  In the past, I didn't really monitor it.  Students always share their travels with the class when they return with Lilly and I felt it was good practice for public speaking.  It should be something they are comfortable sharing too.  Here is an entry from one of my reluctant students that I had to strongly encourage to take Lilly home:

At least it is something:)  So, if you are reading this, please share any ideas or similar stories you have regarding a traveling class pet.  "Real" pets scare me (not literally, but the maintenance, mess, etc. scares me!) but I would love to hear your story.  Thanks so much!!


  1. My class begs me for a class pet every year. But I learned early on that fish that easy as they sound and hamster don't seem to want to live for very long. I've sworn off all class pets. But now Lilly is making me rethink the whole idea. You are saying that they still enjoy this even in the fourth grade?

  2. I think this is great. I used to do this when I taught Kindergarten and First Grade, but I think that big kids would definitely like this. I can just imagine some of my kids wanting to make Powerpoints and such of their visits with the Class Pet. Anything that involves writing is a good thing.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I do not think that this is a boring idea at all!!! I am actually inspired now to try this!! I don't know why I have never thought of this before. I agree with you, the maintenance of a real pet is scary. Do the boys in your class want to be a part of this or is it usually the girls? I also like that they can include a picture!! Thanks for sharing:))



  4. I do something similar, but I don't have all the cute outfits. I love this idea and that the students add to it.

    Thank you!


  5. When I taught preschool, I had a stuffed Franklin the Turtle who traveled home each weekend with a different student. His journal became a fantastic scrapbook of all the things the kids did with him at their houses. Now I teach 3rd grade and never thought of doing the same activity with my older kids. Maybe I'll try it this year. I do have two real pets ( a turtle and a tortoise) and yes they are a bit of work, but the kids ADORE them. Thanks for sharing this idea (again!)
    Tropical Teacher

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