Class pet?

When I started teaching this class in October I made one of my goals to listen to what my students wanted for our classroom and what they wanted for their learning. One of the things they asked for was a class pet. My first instinct was to say, no, it’s too much work and has nothing to do with our curriculum blah blah blah, but instead of saying no, I said I would think about it and we could do some research.

Every once and a while over the last three months they would bring it up and we would discuss various options and then at the beginning of December I put out a challenge to them to do some research on cost and care of a few different options. It took a while for them to really step up to the plate but when I told them that if they didn’t do the work, we couldn’t get a pet, they started taking it a little more seriously.

One of my students suggested that it could be their after winter vacation present when they get back so on Wednesday I went in to a pet store to look at a few of the options we had talked about and talk to a person who knew more about this.

We had discussed that anything with fur wouldn’t be a great idea because we have students with allergies, and as fun as it would be to be able to handle a cute little guinea pig, having sneezing and red eyed students wouldn’t be great. Plus I wouldn’t be able to leave it over the weekend and I would worry about taking it home with our three cats.

One of the grade 4 teachers, one that most of my students had last year, has fish in his classroom so we wanted to do something other than fish. Birds are too loud. So we settled on getting a reptile of some kind.

Turtles were a pretty good favourite at first but there are issues with them carrying salmonella on their shells and I don’t have a sink in my classroom. I kind of wanted to get a snake but there were too many phobias. Which left getting a lizard or gecko of some kind.

My students did some research on what kind of lizard or gecko would be suitable and not too expensive. A lot of them liked the idea of getting a bearded dragon. They make good pets. They’re fairly sociable and can grow pretty big. They’re interesting to watch and, well, having the word dragon in their name is pretty cool.

A few students favoured the idea of getting a gecko. They’re also very cool and relatively social and most websites agreed that they make good pets. They’re a little easier to care for than bearded dragons and less expensive. They don’t grow quite as big which has it’s pros and cons. I like the idea of having a nice 2 foot lizard in my classroom that I can take out and have crawl around, but then again, that means a larger, more expensive living space and more food.

Armed with this research, I went into the pet store and found a guy with great snake tattoos over by the reptile area and told him about my class and the research they’d been doing and what we were thinking. It took him a while for him to warm up to the idea. I’m not sure if he thought I’d be squeamish about handling reptiles or had no idea what would be involved, but telling him I’d worked at a natural history museum and was used to handling reptiles helped, plus I told him my first choice was a snake but that I couldn’t get one because there were too many phobias in my class.

The bearded dragons were so cool. They have a lot of them at the store and they’re active and interesting but expensive. I got to hold one, luckily my hands were warm so he sat on my hands quite happily and I was so tempted to get one regardless of the cost.

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Baby bearded dragons, looking more like dinosaurs than dragons

But then he showed me the leopard gecko morphs and I fell in love! Not only are they cheaper to buy and house and feed, they are so beautiful! The ones they had there were a dazzling array of yellow, pink, purple, iridescent, some with spots and/or stripes.

leopard-gecko

So many different colours! How do I choose just one?

They’re a bit less social and they don’t grow as big but I’m okay with that. I got to hold one for a while as well. He only tried to get away when we went to put him back in the terrarium. Having something smaller will mean if it gets out it’ll be harder to find but luckily this kind of gecko doesn’t climb walls unlike some others, so I won’t be finding it on the ceiling or anything.

My students come back to school on Tuesday. I go back on Monday so some time between now and Tuesday morning, I think I’m going to go buy us a class pet. So exciting 🙂

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New Year’s Meme for 2015

I found this meme that I did in 2012 and thought it would be interesting to do it again and compare it to the one thee years ago. You can see the original post here.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 

I went to New York for the first time as an adult, played lots of new games and ate at a few new restaurants.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I exercised more this year, which I think I made a resolution about. This year I haven’t really decided. I want to blog more and get back to using a journal more but I need to work out the logistics before I can make a real goal for the year.

 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, a few co-workers and cousins had babies this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No one very close to me this year. I’ve had friends and co-workers lose people close to them though.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the US, but that’s more than most years.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

The biggest thing that I wanted to have in 2016 was a permanent contract and I have that now 🙂

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I remember moments more than dates but big moments from this year would be going to NYC, our production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, finding out I got my B contract, and finding out I would be teaching at my school again.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Running a 5k for the first time was a pretty big thing for me. There were other things like Drood being a successful show that I’m proud of but that was a group effort, and having a great year of teaching was a big achievement but running was more of a personal achievement.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I’m not sure. There were lots of little mistakes throughout the year as there always are but nothing sticks out as a huge failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nope, I was pretty healthy this year. Not even many colds.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Books. So many books for my classroom and ebooks for myself and I’m pretty happy with my tablet. Oh and I’m happy I bought the Mass Effect trilogy games.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Lots of people. Lots of my students, both last school year and this, are fantastic and show me every day that they are amazing. My friends are wonderful and supportive. My family is the best by far.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Quite a few celebrities: Bill Cosby and Jian Gomeshi come to mind, Donald Trump and the terrifying things coming out of the US Republican debates. And a certain person who is making a friend of mine’s life way more difficult than he should.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Books, my classroom, travelling.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Our New York trip this summer, and our trips to Halifax, Drood, getting ready for Into the Woods auditions (we had to close auditions because we have 59 people auditioning!), sing-a-long parties, teaching at my school again, getting a permanent contract, trying new food, getting a pet for my classroom (more about that later), getting ready to take students to Drama Fest… there was so much good that happened this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

There’s just too many! Anything from Drood or any of the musicals I saw this year in NY or here in Fredericton, or from my running playlist.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– Happier or sadder? Happier

– Thinner or fatter? A little thinner, but more importantly stronger and more content with my body.

– Richer or poorer? A bit richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleep?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worry

20. How did you spend Christmas?

My husband and I went to Cape Breton to spend time with my family. We stayed with my aunt along with my parents and got to play fun games and eat great food with my aunts and uncles and cousins. It’s a long drive to get there and back but totally worth it.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

I’ll refrain from saying anything too cheesy here.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Doctor Who

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t think so other than celebrities mentioned above.

24. What was the best book you read?

I re-read the Harry Potter series this year which was great as always. The best new books I read were probably the Red Rising series.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I can’t pick just one! I got to know so many new musicals this year. Drood, Light in the Piazza, Little Women, Fun Home, Beautiful, Something Rotten, Big Fish – it’s been a great year for discovering great musicals.

26. What did you want and get?

A permanent contract.

27. What did you want and not get?

Pregnant.

 

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

This is a big toss up between the latest Star Wars movie and the last Hunger Games movie.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 34 this year and we did a sing through of Light in the Piazza on my birthday.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Less worrying

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Same as always, business casual – which BTW is getting harder to find new clothes because apparently dress shirts are out of style.

32. What kept you sane?

Running, friends, video games, books, cats

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I have a bit of a political crush on Justin Trudeau, our new Prime Minister, though it’s early days yet and I’m still only cautiously optimistic that he’ll keep being awesome.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The election this year was a BIG deal and the Syrian refugee crisis.

35. Who did you miss?

Cynthia and Yolande who still insist on living in South Korea. I was happy to get to spend some time with my friends and family in Halifax but I always miss them too.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I met lots of great new co-workers this year and a few new theatre people too.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

As a teacher – listening to student ideas and saying yes doesn’t make you a push-over.

As a person – saying yes to new experiences and adventures is important.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out honestly, I wanna see you be brave.”