Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Virtual Class Pet

When I was in school I LOVED having class pets. My favorite year was fifth grade, when we had bunnies and black corn snakes. When I became a teacher, however, I couldn’t even begin to understand how other teachers could actually manage to keep a pet alive and healthy in a classroom full of wild animals students. Who feeds it? Can it survive in school over the weekends? What about spring break? What happens if we have unplanned snow days and I can’t get into the school? What if it starts making noise during a test or if it, God forbid, DIES?! I get heart palpitations just thinking about it.

Instead, I came up with a new idea to satisfy my students’ desires for a class pet. A virtual class pet!

We can check in on it every day, we can write stories about it and draw pictures of it doing silly things without any of the worries that accompany live class pets. (Did I mention my overwhelming fear of it dying in class?) Because of the fact that the animal doesn’t need to be in my classroom, my students have class pets much more exciting than a goldfish. We’ve had pandas, penguins, sharks and gorillas. This year we’ve even watched a pair of local bald eagles take care of their babies before and after they hatched!

We’re learning about things like animal habitats and conservation efforts and I don’t have any of the stress that comes with having real class pets. Have you ever had a virtual pet? What did you do with yours?

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