Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Choosing a Class Pet: Ziggy Tales Giveaway!

I am super excited to be taking part in the book tour for Ziggy Tales by Kathleen M. Wainwright. 

This book is adorable and the characters are so easy to love. It would be great for a longer read-aloud, or you could even use it in small groups with your higher Firsties or Second grade readers. I have some Firsties that already know all 600 sight words and this would be a great book for them to read and dive into with some of the companion activities that Kathleen has created.

In this book, Ziggy Tales, Marley begins by trying to choose the perfect pet. Some of her ideas included a horse, tarantula, hamster, rabbit, and a cat. Marley did research online with a friend and didn't make her decision right away. She took time to think about each of her pet ideas and what they needed. 

So...let's talk about choosing class pets.

First, if you haven't heard of Pets in the Classroom yet, please click the picture below! This link will take you to their site where teachers can apply for grants to help with getting and maintaining classroom pets!


If you have a classroom pet, you have probably learned a lot already about having the pet you chose. You could make a list on the pros and cons of having your pet that was chosen...

BUT, if you don't have your pet yet, here are some things you should definitely consider:

#1 For starters, make sure you are aware of the social needs of your potential pet. Marley found out the hard way that her pet Ziggie was bored at home. She needed to find ways to keep Ziggie entertained. 
If you choose a pet that needs lots of attnetion, planning classroom "playtime" each day would be a must and you would need to schedule different volunteers to take your pet home on weekends. (Unless you do this each weekend)

#2 You must consider student allergies. There are some students who may be allergic to certain pets. For example, a few years ago I had a student that was allergic to rodents. We had show and tell and one student brought in a guinea pig. The student with the allergy LITERALLY broke out in hives. 

#3 If you are on a tight budget (let's face it...most teachers are), you need to consider the costs. How much money will the start up cost? Will your pet need a cage, heat lamps, sand/soil/rocks/woodchips, toys, food, vitamins, etc....And, then upkeep costs: How often will you need to buy food and change out the cage terrain?

#4 Speaking of changing out terrain, the next question to ask yourself is how often will your pet and/or their cage need to be cleaned out and how much work would that entail?

#5 Something else you may not be thinking of at the time you buy your pet: What is its life expectancy? Are you buying a pet that has a short life expectancy? If so, will you be giving the "He/She is no longer with us..." talk soon? OR, on the other hand, are you buying a "lifelong" friend that will be with the class (AND YOU) for 20 + years? Just something to think about.

This is our class pet, Mr. Zip Hamperbottom :) ...(yes, the students named him)

He is a leopard gecko that I bought last year when he was just a few weeks old. He is almost ONE YEAR :) and I could not be happier with him. 

Here are some reasons why I think I chose the PERFECT classroom pet:

#1 He does not bite...and even if he did, it would not hurt. 
#2 He lives in an aquarium with sand and a few tunnels. I only have to change out his sand about once every six weeks. I do have to scoop his poop, but it is very easy and not messy at all.
#3 My students can hold him and let him climb on their shirts....which they love and he also seems to really enjoy! (We MUST sanitize our hands after we hold him.)
#4 He doesn't make he is not a big distraction. 
#5 I have a pet helper each week that is in charge of making sure he has enough water, enough crickets (we drop in about 6 live crickets twice per week), and pets him on his back for a few minutes daily. 
#6 He is so low maintenance that I have no problem when I ask for parent helpers to keep him over weekends or long breaks.
#7 If I don't have a parent helper, I can put in about 8 live crickets and fresh water on a Friday afternoon and he is FINE until Monday morning. 

Now that you've read all about my classroom pet, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment telling me what you have in your classroom and why you picked that pet!

OH, and be sure to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, please check out this super cute and kid-friendly book...written by a great friend of mine!

And before you go, here is a little Class Pet Freebie from the author herself! :)

Take a look at some of the other stops along this book tour:


  1. Replies
    1. LOL, that's what you get when you let a group of silly first graders name your pet!

  2. It am petrified of reptiles and can't believe you have one as a class pet...Mr Hamperbottom sounds ideal so I feel a little tempted to consider a LIZARD for a class pet. might even help me overcome my irrational phobia!
    Happy Easter!
    Julie :-)

    1. Julie, I PROMISE they are easy pets and they really are so sweet....I would have never in a million years thought I'd have a reptile, but he has grown on me ;)


I love reading your comments! :)

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