We received this letter from a Pets in the Classroom grant recipient that we had to share with you. If you are considering getting a classroom pet, please read this letter as this teacher’s testimony reinforces all of the benefits that classroom pets can provide to the educational process!
Dear Pet Care Trust,
Please accept my sincere thanks for granting us money to have bearded dragons in our classroom. My students and I are extremely grateful and excited to care for these animals. These pets have already brought us such joy each and every day! We really appreciate the financial help in obtaining the pets themselves as well as helping us purchase the habitat and other necessities that go along with bearded dragon care.
We have only been in school for 12 short days and already, the pets have been an important part of a classroom. In our science unit of the universe/space, we have talked about waves and the electromagnetic spectrum. It was great to make the connection with the animals’ UV bulb and explain that this form of light is different than the heat lamp that produces light as well as the black light lamp used at night. Students were able to see that the bearded dragons need different types of light for different needs. It was a great real world example of the various types of light from our electromagnetic spectrum and how living creatures need specific light requirements to thrive.
In math, students enjoyed creating sketches of the lizards to show their knowledge of the addition and multiplication properties, such as the commutative property, associative property, distributive property, identity property, etc. For example, students would draw each lizard getting 3 crickets to show the distributive property. For the identity property, students would show that a lizard plus 0 would equal the same lizard. We are excited to get to ratios, rates and proportions unit late on in the year so that we can compare the growth of each lizard and calculate the rate that each lizard grew from the beginning of school until the middle of the year (when we teach the ratio, rate and proportion unit). The students and I cannot wait!
In addition, as a collaborative teacher who has students with varying academic levels and needs, the animals have really given students the motivation to be more caring, responsible, and drive to complete their work. Students know if they finish their work, they can observe the bearded dragons and make scientific drawings of them in their natural habitat. These pets provide a motivation that other choices would not. Students have a huge incentive to get their work done in a thorough manner so that they get a chance to watch the lizards. It has especially helped two particular “work-avoidant” students a lot!
Again, thank you for the time and generosity in providing this grant to enrich our experience and curriculum in the classroom. I feel that pets provide a level of character building that cannot be substituted by any sort of lesson or video. These bearded dragons are a very important part in all of my students’ lives and I believe that every child should have the opportunity to care for another living creature at some point in their lives. I am very fortunate to say that all of my 6th graders will get this opportunity because of your generosity. Thank you!
Jennifer Rescigno (and her 6th grade math/science classes)