Your Classroom Creatures: A Photo Project
In classrooms across the country, mammals, reptiles, birds, insects, and fish thrill students while also providing valuable lessons. Children may care for eggs as they wait for chicks to hatch, observe a monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis, or welcome dogs or cats as reading buddies.
Education Week and Education Week Teacher are asking educators to share photos and strategies around using pets or animal visitors in the classroom to engage students in content matter, to teach lessons in responsibility and empathy, and to provide enrichment.
Submit via social media (#ClassroomCreatures) or by using the form below. More information on how to participate.
Submitted by: Nicole Taylor
Classroom: 7th grade science
Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
“We talked about damage people have done to ecosystems by killing off species they don't ‘like.’ Darwin teaches everyone (even our assistant principal!) there is nothing to fear, only more to learn.”
Submitted by: Linda Graham
Carl, Bearded Dragon
Classroom: 4th grade
Location: Philadelphia, PA
“Carl helps out the classroom in many ways. He is held on a daily basis during silent reading and writing. He provides support and warmth to the scholars during that time. They love him and are gentle and caring towards him which helps them treat each other in a gentle and caring way. He helps to reduce testing anxiety and provides comfort to those around him. There are not many challenges, mostly keeping up with his feedings and shedding.”
Submitted by: Erica McIntire
Classroom: 1st grade
Leo helps teach about caring, habitats, characteristics, adaptations,etc.
Submitted by: Brenda Cate
Theodore, Guinea Pig
Classroom: K-2 Special Education
Location: Harriman, TN
“This guinea pig speaks autism. He can calm the most distressed, over-stimulated child. He has so much patience and is so sweet and loving.”
Submitted by: Angela Abend
Smarty the Snake, Corn Snake
Classroom: 5th and 6th Grade PROJECT EXTRA Program
Location: Oceanside, NY
“Smarty the Snake teaches us about connections in nature — food chains, food webs, ecosystems, and more!”
Submitted by: Angela Pace
Peanut Butter Jelly Tyme (PBJT), Teddy Bear Hamster
Classroom: 8th Grade Science
Location: Marion, OH
“In order to hold the hamster, you need to earn its trust, respect, and love. It's a great jumping off point for a classroom built on those three ideas.”
Submitted by: Laura Lambert
Speedy Jones Turbo, Garden Snail
Classroom: Early Childhood Special Education
Location: Bellevue, NE
“We have three garden snails living in our classroom. We have read many books about snails to learn how they develop and how to care for them.”
Submitted by: Jennifer Gentry
Fluffy, Dwarf Hamster
Classroom: Reading/Language Arts, 3rd Grade
Location: Porter, TX
“Fluffy helps the classroom environment. We all work as a team to create an inviting learning environment where everyone is welcome.”
Submitted by: Tomi Violett
Spots, Guinea Pig
Classroom: 1st Grade
Location: Plattsburgh, MO
“We will be able to use Spots and her home in our science unit on habitats and how animals live.”
Submitted by: nowakeland
Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael, Turtles
Classroom: 6th Grade Talented and Gifted Science
“Pond water provides us with a plethora of protists!”
Submitted by: MagistraJJ
Classroom: High School
“Our Latin class pet rock. (Saxum means rock in Latin.)”
Submitted by: mrs_garneau
Location: Bannockburn, IL
“Hedgie teaches us about nocturnal animals, the needs of living things, and animal defenses.”
Submitted by: otownteacher
Classroom: 4th Grade
Location: Orlando, FL
“Love our hedgehog. [He helps students] learn about nocturnal [behavior] and defenses.”
Submitted by: Harvey_Middle
Nemo, Bearded Dragon
Classroom: Middle School
Location: Katonah, NY
“Our bearded dragon Nemo (means ‘no one’ in Latin) has taught us responsibility and compassion.”
Submitted by: MsArlMiddle
St. Louis, MO
“We love our #ClassroomCreatures in the tech lab. Thanks to @PetsinClassroom for our grant!” And these are “Mollies”.
Submitted by: MsArlMiddle
Location: St. Louis, MO
“Our first class pet, Fluffy! She was so excited when we got our little mollies.” (See previous photo.)
Submitted by: catalinaschool
Classroom: 3rd Grade
Location: Monterey, CA
“Part of a ‘Structure of Life’ science unit, 13 crayfish joined the 3rd grade class last week. Students will observe and write about them and their habitat.”
- Share any photos of pets in your school on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #ClassroomCreatures, or submit your photos using the form below.
- Be creative with your photos, and try to capture the role your pet plays in your classroom.
- Include a caption that tells where the photo was taken (school, city, and state) and describes how your creatures fits into the classroom curriculum.
- Be sure submitted photographs conform to your school media policies regarding publication of identifiable students. And please read the fine print below about how your images might be used.
Questions or comments? Email us at WebEditors@epe.org.
Submitted photographs must conform to your local school media policies regarding publication of identifiable students. By submitting photographs to us, you are giving Education Week permission to publish the photograph. Editors at Education Week will review all submitted images, then select suitable and appropriate photographs for an online gallery that will appear on edweek.org. Education Week staff may choose a representative sample of these photographs to appear in a future print issue of Education Week as well. While you maintain the copyright to submitted photographs, Education Week may reuse these photographs to promote and/or advertise this project.