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Friday, August 29, 2014

Class Pet

I decided a few months ago that our class needed a class pet. After some investigating, I decided on a tortoise. Tortoises are interesting creatures and relatively easy to care for. Additionally, and importantly, there is not an issue with allergies to pet fur. I was lucky to receive a grant from The Pet Care Trust for Pets in the Classroom to cover most of the cost.

As you might guess, on the first day of school, the most interesting thing in the classroom was the tortoise!

Recognizing this high level of interest, I decided it would be a great time to do some meaningful research. The kids had lots of ideas and questions and were eager to get started! We began with a RAN chart (Reading and Analyzing Non-fiction Text).

Scholars shared what they thought they knew about tortoises and also questions they had and I recorded. I created a Symbaloo webmix to help them search the web for information and answers to their questions. The webmix included pictures, written information and videos. The class was very engaged in learning about tortoises.

We also invited Dr. Capps, DVM to come to school to share her expertise and answer some of the tough questions. She was great! She confirmed some of what the kids already knew and answered lots of questions. 

Once all the important information was gathered, I asked scholars to write about what they learned in their STEM notebooks. I used a Tree Map to help them organize the important information and they were quick to get to work.

The tortoise is a boy and eats strawberries and other red stuff.
Finally, it was time to name the tortoise! After brainstorming a LOT of ideas, Tweeter (a Google Form) was used for voting and gathering the data about the name. 

And (I feel like we need a drumroll here), the Tortoise's name is...GIBBLES! Speedy and Ninja took a very close second and third place.

All in all, as first weeks of school go, this was a good one:) Lot's of fun, lots of learning and kids who can't wait to see what's in store for them next week.

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