Showing posts with label Pets in the classroom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pets in the classroom. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Squritle is missing!

Last week, I was out for a professional day when I suddenly got a text...did you take squirtle home?  Uh oh!  No...I did not.  Let me back up and tell you...Squirtle is our pet turtle.  He is an African Side Necked turtle and he is about a year old.  He has escaped twice before but was found under a bookshelf and the under a desk.  We always found him within a few minutes.  Not so lucky this time.

This turtle is smart.  The hole he squeezed through was half the size of his shell...I have no idea how he managed it!  We sent the kids looking in the hallways and around the school...but no luck.  Finally, the kids made posters:

Unfortunately, it has been a week now...and still no sign of my turtle.  We end school on Friday and I am fairly certain that we will find him when we pack up the rooms and move furniture.  I hope I can report that he is safe and happy...but the reality is, it may not have a happy ending. I will keep you posted!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Squirtle Data...

Just wanted to share with you something my students came up with recently...a way to keep track of how much Squirtle was being fed. 

Hmmm....let me back track a bit.  One day last week, one of my students noticed that Squirtle was shedding a bit on his neck. He asked me why and naturally, I had no he googled it.  (By the way is google a verb now?)

He found out that it could be happening because we were feeding Squirtle too much protein.  Again, let me back track....when we first got Squritle in January the turtle went into hibernation b/c my classroom was so cold. (yes, it is true...)  He didn't eat for the first two months I had him...  Then with the help of our maintenance worker and water specialist, we moved him from a dry tank to a wet tank.  Guess what? Squirtle woke up!  Tom also suggested that we feed him Squirtle kept turning up his nose at fish and shrimp that the pet store had recommended.  He loved them...once he started eating, we started feeding him A LOT....

Each morning the kids would clamor to feed him and we fact, I think we overfed him!  I started having the students go outside in the morning and dig for earthworms for free food...there are several children who absolutely love this!  Squirtle also decided that he liked the shrimp (finally) as well as some turtle treats that I picked up at the store.

But after we googled the shedding incident, we decided we needed to have a system.  The students and I talked about it and came up with this:

 Now, every time we feed him we write it on the board.  We have streamlined it to mornings only and are noticing a happy turtle...and the shedding??? Hopefully this will help us out too!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hibernation for Squirtle

Who would have thought that my turtle would go into hiberation???

It happened shortly after we got him. He stopped eating and started gaining fat pockets around his legs. He became inactive and I got worried....So, I took him to Pet Smart and spoke with the reptile specialist who had helped me purchase him. Sure enough...he had gone into hibernation!

Why? Well it is cold in my classroom! Our county decided to regulate our temperatures in the classroom at a cooler temperature. They turn the heat off on the weekends, too! My students are always chilly and I guess it was too cold for Squirtle.

Some observations we have made....he doesn't completely sleep. He does move around a tiny bit, but not much. He likes to stay in the water more often now.

More updates will follow...

By the way, Pets in the Classroom have put my blog post on thier website.  Super excited - go and see it!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Using Squirtle as a Hook for Writing....

 Squirtle the Turtle is longing for some stories....

  Last week I opened up to the students that for writing workshop I would like them to write about Squirtle.  It could be any form they chose:
     Narrative (what they have seen)
     Adventure (make believe)
     Or any other topic so long as I approved it first.  The kids took this idea and  ran with it...

Some topics include:
  • Katie wrote a diary entry from Squirtle's point of view in which he decided to break out of his tank!
  • Lilly wrote about Squirtle's adventures at night...did you know he watches TV? He lovesToy Story.
  • Jordan wrote a tongue twister - Squirtle squats by the squirt shore.  Turtle twisted toward the tortoise shore.
  • Amber and Tim wrote poems (as did my paraprofessional Tana)
  • Broderick wrote all about how the turtle pees on the floor (this really bother him!)
  • Darlene wrote about how we got him and how old he is...
  • Shane and Robert wrote what they have noticed about him - he came from Petsmart, he is shy, etc...
  • Kayla wrote about him secretly being Oprah!
  • Dean wrote a story about him being a Pharoah (he is currently reading the Red Pyramid series)
All of the topics were wonderful and fun to read...I'll leave you with a few to whet your appetite.   Apoem by Tamia...

And a Cartoon by Ben...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet the Turtle


Today was the day that we brought in the turtle.  I had former students come to meet him as well as current and possibly future students.  My dear, sweet husband helped me set it up in the classroom where I posted a few notes to the kids, placed a brochure and children's book for them to read as well as an adorable mini pillow pet turtl I couldn't resist! 

Critters in the Classroom has a wonderful pdf available that gives great suggestions about how to get a pet, what responsibilities you will need to be ready for as well as ways to introduce the pet to the classroom.  I downloaded the Classroom Pet Rules to have up and ready on the wall from the first day.

Next, I had a poster that gave a little bit of infomation about our turtle.  I knew they would have a million questions so I tried to answer as many important ones as I could.  Besides, the information is there to show class visitors and to reread throughout the day. 
                       What do you think?  Any suggestions? I love to hear from you all...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pets in the Classroom

Easy Grant Opportunity:

Pet Care Trust Logo
Have you heard of the wonderful program called Pets in the Classroom?  At my science lead teacher meeting, a colleague told us about this wonderful program.  It's super easy and allowed me to get an amazing pet and pet habitat for my classroom.

How does it work?  Technically it is a grant - you fill out the online form online and within two weeks you will get notification in the mail. 

 There are four (4) grant types, including: 1- Rebate Grants in the amounts of $100 (for small animal or birds) or $150 (for reptiles or fish) for purchases at any pet store; 2- the Sustaining Grant in the amount of $50 to maintain an existing classroom pet; 3- Petco Grant, which provides coupons for the live animal, pet habitat and supplies purchased at Petco; and 4- a Petsmart Grant, which provides coupons for the live animal, pet habitat and supplies purchased at Petsmart.

I was lucky enough to be adopted by a parent in my class this year.  Instead of going through Adopt-a-Classroom which has so many stipulations, she donated the $500 in cash for me to use as I wish.  I asked the students what they wanted...and overwhelmingly they wanted a class pet. I had heard about this grant and knew that it would pay for a big chunk of the materials and I could use her money to pay the rest.

      Our school system has told us no animals with fur are allowed so my choices were limited.  These are the options you have to choose from:
       At Petco:  Hamster, Guinea Pig, Hermit Crabs, Fish, Bearded Dragon and Leopard Gecko.
       At Petsmart:  Hamster, Guinea Pig, Aquatic Turtle, Fish, Bearded Dragon, Snake, Fancy Rat and Leopard Gecko.

My students voted and picked to get a turtle.  When we were got the grant, we were given coupons - $90 off a Zilla Deluxe habitat (which had pretty much everything I needed) as well as $90 for supplies that the turtle would need:  water conditioner, rocks, fish, turtle food, wax for his shell, a bridge for him to climb from the water to the rocks and a night light. 

Let me just say...the turtle has the Taj Mahal of cages as my friend and parent in my class Anne said last night...I would NEVER have been able to purchase such a nice habitat on my own.  PetSmart had an associate named Janelle who walked me through the whole process.  She showed me the tank they had and how it was set up, what he liked to eat and how to clean the tank, when to change the light bulbs (he has a day light and a night light) and told me all about his personality.  He loves to dig in the rocks!!!

When I rang up at the cash register, the total cost was $275.  The grant paid for $180 and my adoption money paid for about $88.  I tell you this because I don't want you to be shocked that you may have to pay something extra.  There are stipulations - for example I had to buy the expensive tank ($174 with $90 off).   Some of my colleagues have asked for school funds to pay the balance and not all are as much as the turtle was. 

Our turtle, named Squirtle by the students, is a male African Side neck turtle who is six months old.  He will live for 15 -25 years (hopefully).  I brought him home and set up the tank to get used to it myself over the weekend.  Monday, he will meet the classmates.  Stay tuned!

The money is provided by the Pet Care Trust which is based in Maryland. 

For more information go to