November 4, 2011

To class pet or not to class pet? That is the question.

From the first week of school, my class has been asking, more like pleading, for a class pet.  I cannot even begin to count the number of spelling sentences and Writer's Notebook entries written about the possibility of a gerbil or hamster, or the more unusual requests of a weasel, llama, or parrot named Bingo. 
My students make me smile and laugh with their wild suggestions, but they also inspire me with the passion and enthusiasm that fuels their very, very consistent request for a class pet.  
In the spirit of wondering "What if?" more often, I've begun to wonder "what if we did have a class pet?" It could be great inspiration for imagination and creative writing, lessons in responsibility, or it could be a huge source of distraction.  However, my students' persistence and assurances of responsibility have been chipping away at my firm stance of "no."
Suddenly... (I feel the need to explain that, according to Gooney Bird Greene, one of my students' favorite characters, including a "suddenly" in your story is a great way to add suspense.)  ... an answer to my dilemma became clear.  

Three sister guinea pigs in need of a loving home and lots of play time.  Yep, I think my 21 3rd graders can handle that.  Hopefully our adoption of "the girls" will be official early next week.  

In August I wrote briefly about the Design for Change model of Feel Imagine Do Share Continue.  My students felt strongly about including a class pet in our 3rd grade family and through their imagination and persistent actions they certainly changed my mind.  Stay tuned, because I have a feeling that there will be a lot of sharing about the adventures of 3 darling sister guinea pigs.  Realizing they have changed my mind was an incredibly empowering moment for my students and it's moments like these that become catalysts for action to continue seeking change in the future.  

Any suggestions for guinea pig care or class pet resources are welcomed.  :-) 

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