“Does it bite?” “What do you feed it?” “Where does it sleep?” Students from the Yellow Room asked these questions and more when a tortoise, bunny, cat, and three dogs visited their classroom this week.

“My students were really interested in pets, so we created several lessons and projects around this topic,” said Yellow Room Lead Teacher Barbara Hill. “My students love to learn, and I’m passionate about prompting their learning.”

The Pet Project started with a conversation around getting a class pet. Students explored different options and considered what would make a good pet for their classroom.

“We didn’t want anything that would bite us or be stinky. So, we decided to get two fish,” said four-year-old student Giselle. “We named them Squeaky and Nemo.”

At the beginning of each week, a student is selected to be on class pet duty. This student is responsible for feeding the fish each day and making sure the fishbowls don’t need to be cleaned.

After they got their classroom fish, the Yellow Room students worked together to survey school staff about their pets. Then, they asked staff members to bring their pets in for a classroom visit. The students created a list of questions before each visit and also completed before-and-after sketches of each of the pets.

Hill said the Pet Project has promoted social and emotional development for her students by teaching them how to care for and interact with a variety of pets, from rabbits to reptiles. She said her students also learned to communicate and compromise to select a class pet, choose a pet name, and care for their fish.

“We are going to take good care of Squeaky and Nemo,” Giselle said. “We love them, and they love us!”