Pets in the Classroom for Classroom Management

Hi there friends!

Today I'm sharing a great organization that you may or may not be familiar with. I love free stuff (what teacher doesn't?) and I love finding new ways to motivate my sometimes challenging kiddos. Last year my friend Jenn told me about Pets in the Classroom. I looked into it this summer and realized how easy it was to apply for a grant for a pet in my classroom. The application took all of five minutes to complete and within a few weeks I had a letter in the mail with a coupon for a free aquarium and fish at Pet Supplies Plus! It's totally worth it. Click here to read about the different grants and stores that participate. You can also apply for the sustainable grant each year which grants you $50 to maintain an existing animal in your classroom.

So how am I using it? I wanted it to be something that the students had to earn for good behavior. My idea was that when our Elf on the Shelf left after Christmas he would leave the aquarium with a note explaining that they earned the aquarium for being good in December. Well, guess who forgot to bring it to school the day after break? Oops. So instead I used the tank as a reward after we saved up a bunch of ClassDojo points in January. The nice thing about using a class pet as a reward is that you can gradually release the rewards (and with a grant it's a cheap system!). Take a look:

One month of good behavior
Earn the tank

One week of good behavior
Earn the rocks in the bottom

One week of good behavior
Earn some decorations for the tank (you can drag this out for many weeks)

One week of good behavior
Earn the water in the tank

One week of good behavior
Earn a fish!

Right now we are earning 1 fish per week. You can also mix it up and some weeks earn a fish or some weeks earn a new plant for the tank. The kids love that they are part of the process and they love the responsibility of caring for a pet. It's also motivating because I can use caring and feeding the fish as an incentive for good behavior. Erica Bohrer has a great packet in her Teachers Pay Teachers store that has resources for every kind of class pet! 

Our Aquarium

Our First Fish!

Some of my boys teaching the fish how to count by 5s with a hundreds chart :) How cute!

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