Normally pets are not allowed in school, but a few teachers are making an exception. Pets have found their way into some Blackhawk classrooms. Some of our kindergartners and first graders are working hard to earn their very own DESK PETS. Don’t worry – these pets don’t have fur or scales. In addition, they won’t cause any kind of allergies because they are actually pet shaped erasers.

Last year, Mrs. Ford, a kindergarten teacher at Patterson came across the idea online. She said, “I thought it sounded like a great way to welcome students back to school after a period of virtual instruction. I wanted to make the transition back to in-person school as positive as possible, while also encouraging good behavior.”

First grade teachers at BIS are also using the pets as part of their year- long positive behavior system. Students in the classroom earn tickets for following classroom rules, participating in lessons, and improving their work. When they have ten tickets, they can earn a pet shaped eraser. The pets include a variety of animals from traditional pets like dogs and cats to extravagant pets like elephants and whales. Once a student receives a pet, he/she names it and completes a birth certificate. On the birth certificate, the student announces the pet’s official birthdate.

The pets live in a small plastic habitat that can be placed on a shelf in the classroom or when a student is ready – on his or her desk. Mrs. Dougherty, a first- grade teacher at BIS said, “We are working towards keeping our habitats on our desk. Our little pets have tiny ears and do not like loud environments and they also require a clean, tidy space.” This provides a great incentive for students to keep their desks clean.

Earning a pet is just the first part. Once a student is a proud owner of a desk pet, he/she will continue to earn tickets. They can use those tickets to buy accessories like food or a pillow – also erasers. Of course, every pet needs toys! Students can even earn a holiday treat like a mini-pumpkin or a mini-Santa eraser for their pet. The program will continue throughout the year with students having many opportunities to spoil their pets.

One of the best parts of having a desk pet is being able to share a love of reading with it. Mrs. Thompson, a first-grade teacher at BIS said, “We love to use desk pets to motivate the students to read. Students can read to their pet and help it get smarter too.”

Mrs. Dougherty’s class celebrates earning their desk pets Someone else at school has her very own desk pet – Mrs. Borroni, the principal. She is the proud owner of Horton, a gray elephant. Mrs. Borroni shared, “I love the desk pet incentive program and how it recognizes the positive choices our youngest students make every day. At Blackhawk, we celebrate the joys of childhood and being the proud owner of a desk pet is definitely a joy of childhood.”

Mrs. Ford shared, “This idea was extremely motivating for students. Last year, every student was able to earn a pet and then continued to care for it throughout the end of the school year. I look forward to implementing it again this year.”

“We love to use desk pets to motivate the students to read. Students can read to their pet and help it get smarter too.”

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