Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Faithful Companion like Toto

Follow The Famous Yellow Road

Hello and welcome to Making It As A Middle School Teacher!

International Blog-Hopping Day by TBA is finally here!!!

My part of this party is all about your beloved classroom pets.

I love having an Aquatic African Sideneck Turtle in my class.

I let my students submit names for him and one student in particular did some research on African languages and came up with Skilpad {Skil-pat} as the Afrikaans name for turtle.  So that's what we went with.

I also let my students help determine what the rules and procedures concerning Skilpad should be.  I did this will a Google Doc that was running on two laptops in my room.  My students, all 115 of them, took turns filling out the Doc as they completed assignments over about a three-day period.  They loved taking part and this really gave them some ownership in the whole endeavor!  I compiled the most-listed suggestions and added a couple of my own to their list.

Teaching in a rural, low-socioeconomic environment, many of my students have never had a pet {or at least nothing other than a dog}, so this is a wonderful opportunity for them to experience just a little bit more of the world around them.

Although I'm a Math teacher, I do have one class of Social Studies.  We study Africa as part of the 7th Grade Curriculum.  So Skilpad is also a big asset during that class period each day!

Another great thing about having a class pet is that some of my most difficult students are really interested in Skilpad.  They love to stop by my room and check on him and have a quick conversation before school starts, between classes, and at the end of the day.  The same can be said about some of the very shy students as well.  Anytime a 7th Grader wants to stop by a teacher's room...whatever the reason...that's a great thing!

Here's my little buddy Skilpad.  Isn't he a cutie pie?!?

He'll live 20 years or more and grow to be about 10" in diameter, according to the books I've read.  I can't wait to see what he looks like in a few more years!

Here are two packets my s-l-o-w internet service today has let me upload so far.  I have a packet made for 6 different class pets and I have them available in different border colors.

Take a look at these for now...and check back throughout the day in hopes the rest will be ready for download.


I'd love to hear if you have a class pet...what kind, how long, etc.???
You can link up or comment below.

If you link up, make sure you follow the customary procedures.  Make sure the Toto image, the We LOVE our Class Pets image, is in your post {you can right click and save it} and link back to my specific blog post.  Thanks for being so awesome!!!

Also be sure to click the image at the very top of this post, the There's NO Place Like TBA! image, to go to a main post on TBA which shows all the themed linky parties going on today!

If you're ready to read some more about class pets first, click on any of the blogs already linked up below!

Whew...the main thing...have FUN, visit TONS of blogs, and gather LOTS of great ideas!!!

Enjoy :)

Making It {and smiling},


  1. Skilpad is adorable! I am thinking of trying out a turtle for a class pet.

    1. Thanks, Mrs. B! Turtles make an awesome class pet. No hair or fur to worry allergies or asthma. Quiet, easy to feed...the only thing that takes a little time is the cleaning, but it's not bad!

      I'd love to hear back from you if you decide to try it!


  2. These packets are such a great idea! I had some goldfish for a little while, but am still trying to figure out how to incorporate my students more with a class pet. I'm thinking about getting a turtle though. :)

    1. Hi Sarah!

      I highly recommend turtles! Great for any age! They have their own little 'personalities' as well, so my students love to take part in his care!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!


  3. Your turtle is so cute! And what great packets, too! Thanks for hosting this party Michelle. You are awesome!

    1. Thanks, Tamara! It was a ton of fun doing this.

      I'm so glad you stopped by!


  4. What a cute lil' turtle!

    Thank you, Michelle, for your support of classroom pets! We love seeing pictures and hearing how teachers are implementing pets into the lives of their students.

    For those teachers who are interested in getting or have a classroom pet, there is a grant called Pets in the Classroom that is available to K-8th grade teachers in the US and Canada. The grant provides up to $150 for the purpose of purchasing a new classroom pet and supplies or for supplies for your current classroom pet. It's easy to apply for and you can apply online at

    1. Awww...Thanks! We LOVE him!

      And yes, if you are interested in a classroom pet, Pets in the Classroom is an awesome program. Very quick response and easy to do!

      Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. :)


  5. You should put a post on Critters and link back to here.