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educational classroom cavy?

serobiso

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Hi I am Sarah and new to this forum. I am an elementary education college student. I am interested in guinea pigs because I would like to use them in my classroom someday. I was just wondering if anyone had any recommendations for using these animals in an educational way? I would really apprecitate any ideas! Thanks!
Sarah
 

mncavylover

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I don't think you should use them in a classroom, if that's what you mean. They take a lot of space and attention, which you can provide. However, the stress (vacuuming, students, lots of noise...) may be too much. Also, what if something happens to them at night? You won't be there. If you want to take them home each night, that's a ton of additional stress. It's the same for weekends--how will you feed them their pellets, hay, water, and veggies daily on Saturdays and Sundays? If you take them home each weekend, again, that's a lot of stress. Perhaps you can take them in once in a while, but that's all I think that is truly ok. They really aren't meant to be classroom pets, just as a dog or cat wouldn't be.
 

GuineasGalore

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I mostly agree with mncavylover

but i would like to say something i think would help the situation of classroom pets.
Teach your students (give them assignments, essays, or have fun with it) about the animals in the classroom. Teach them how to take care of that animal, and if you have time, with other animals they may own in the future. After all, so many people have pets these days, maybe they should teach the ones who aren't as interested in picking up 10 different thick books about domestic animals about their care in a classroom setting.
 

Starbucks

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i agree with everything said. most classroom guinea pigs are kept in small aquariums (something that should NEVER be done) and the classroom is just too stressful of a place for such a docile animal. how much space were you planning on giving this piggie?

what else where you hoping to teach the kids with this guinea pig? i really hope its not anything that has to do with breeding. i know many classroom guinea pigs are used to show children the "miracle of life" but under the conditions of a classroom, it would be very stressful on the mother. if you were just going to teach your students about responsibilities, then i would suggest getting another type of animal (say some fish) who are able to handle that type of environment a little better.

just something to think about.
 
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mncavylover

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Any updates?
 

rabbitsncavyluv

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Some schools use them or rabbits in breeding programs to teach students the birds and the bees. I think you know what happens to them eventually.

I just learned a high school I did a rabbit resacue thing at has a classroom rabbit in a tiny cage, with only pellets and water. I was told that the teacher and students take good care of it, but the rabbit stays in its tiny cage, alone at night on weekends, with extra pellets and water (no hay and greens). The only exercise the rabbit gets is in one of those exercise balls (which is bad for them just like cavies).

I gave them a nice speech. Hopefully they will listen. I know of many former classroom guinea pigs or rabbits (and lab ones) in rescues and shelters now.

Who is going to pay for vet bills? Who is going to care for the animal each night and weekend? Guinea pigs are prey animals. They need comfort and stability. They don't like going to different places every week. They go downhill very fast if they get sick. They need a steady diet too and exercise and interaction.

They don't like children poking and prodding at them.
 

GuineasGalore

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_Sagwa_My_Piggy said:
I I knew a group of boys who would take out the teachers gerbil and play hand hockey with it, not to hard, but still. .
Ugh, you just reminded me of an incident when i was in grade three where some guy somehow took the tail off a gerbil. It was disgusting and horrible for the poor little class gerble :(
 

GuineaTV

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Hi Sarah, I'm a third-year teacher (first grade) with classroom guinea pigs. I personally believe, for the sake of the animals (and as a mature example for students), that classroom pets are only for pet-loving teachers. My pigs are, first and foremost, my precious pets and I make that very clear to the students. I alone am responsible to make sure they are well taken care of.

Kudos to you for checking out this site to become educated on piggy needs. I'm sure you realize that you'll need quite a bit of space for the cage, so depending on where you end up teaching, you may be able to accomodate this. I am always willing to take the pigs home if necessary, especially if I ever felt they were in danger from a child. You'll have to check on the heat/cold situation in the building at night in your future school.

Everyone's right that the average piggy isn't suited for classroom life. If/when you adopt, you'll want to make sure to choose by personality; I specifically chose my classroom pigs (I have two others that are just my pets) because they are extremely docile and also love attention, petting, and handling. I put them in the quietest area of the classroom, and had the students practice how to act around the animals.

more to follow.
 

GuineaTV

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Just like math, reading, and classroom routines, you can teach kids to follow a set of rules and procedures with your pets. You might want to wait until you've been teaching a few months and reevaluate whether you'll be able to spend time on your guinea pigs in your first year of teaching - chances are you'll be swamped with work and feeling stressed enough without also having to worry about pets.

As far as using the animals educationally, any experience that all the classmates share makes for quality writing topics. We do a unit on animal qualities/classification, and I actually bring in a snake, bird, fish, and insect for the kids to study. Piggies are the subject of the mammal study, as are our gerbils. We learn how to compare/contrast with a Venn diagram by comparing gerbils and guinea pigs. We use the words to sort hard-g and soft-g words. One of the stories in our literature program is "Guinea Pigs Don't Read Books." I make up math problems involving the pigs and the cost of their supplies. Also, I encourage the kids to read their writing to the pigs!

I consider the pets more educational from a character perspective than from an academic perspective. The kids get to see what hard work it is to keep these pets - I let them see and participate in the cleaning, feeding, and watering. They come to appreciate that animals aren't just toys you ask your parents for and then discard. They help shier kids feel competent, and help kids feel at home in school. They learn to empathise with the pigs, and by extension with other kids. Actually, I have my pigs at home now because they have terrible lice!! The kids wrote get-well cards to them.
 

GuineaTV

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Oh, I NEVER send my animals home with the kids on weekends! It's not fair to the animals or the parents!!
 
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rabbitsncavyluv

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That's good. I agree. You can't monitor the animal's diet, health or care that way. The family may be allergic, or have predatorial dogs/cats. They need stability too.

GuineaTV said:
Oh, I NEVER send my animals home with the kids on weekends! It's not fair to the animals or the parents!!
 

Piglet

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I hate the idea of having classroom pets. You would need to get two, so I don't know if you would have the space. I think they would get too stressed with all the noise. They are fragile (even though they don't look it!), they can be easily dropped by a child.
 

GuineaTV

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pigs in space

Right, I totally never let the children pick up the pigs. There is only holding during recess with close supervision by ME. With the child SITTING DOWN. ON THE FLOOR. And this is only for my specially-chosen "stoner" pigs - "Sure, no problem mom, whatever, whoever's holding me, I like it....purr...sure, take my rectal temperature, no problem..Just feed me some celery and pet me and I'm happy...

Oh, I forgot to mention I let the pigs have floor time on the rug every day when the kids go home! Sarah, make sure you'll be able to give them floor time - will you be able to hang out at school?

I think I have done a service to pets in general through my example, because other teachers and parents come to me for advice about the care of their small pets after seeing how happy and healthy the pigs look, and how much space they have in their C&C cage. I tell the kids that if I am caring for an animal, I try to give it the best life I possibly can.

But, those of you who object to classroom pets certainly have valid points and I agree with most of them...
 

mncavylover

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Are there any that you specifically disagree with, GuineaTV? If so, would you care to post them so that we can, perhaps, see your view on things? Thanks!

I'm glad to hear that people are coming to you for advice. I still don't believe in having animals as classroom teaching devices, but, as I said, I respect that everyone has their own opinion. I just want to hear your take on things. =)
 

GuineaTV

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Basically, I think that on the whole classroom pets are not treated right, and it's because of that that I want to make a point of showing my students that there is a right way to treat animals, and potentially influence the perspective of other teachers in my school who have pets in class. I even do this with my Betta fish (Siamese fighting fish) which everyone likes to keep in teeny little bowls because they CAN live that way, but it doesn't occur to anyone that these pets really ENJOY a large tank to swim around in.

I guess the only point I disagree with is that I do think it's worth it for me to do this despite the principle that classroom pets are philosopically problematic, because of the example being set (especially because, I swear to you, Amber and Charlie really love it in school. They LOVE the attention and chatter. They don't even flinch at noises, just keep eating hay or playing...and they get a wider variety of veggies from the kids' snacks!) It's not a logic point I disagree on - just a difference of personal belief, I guess! :)

BTW, I always tell the kids that I didn't have any pets growing up, and when I grew up and got my own place I was able to get whatever pet I wanted. Pets cost a lot and are hard to take care of, no matter what. And that's how it is. Family pets are for pet-loving parents only, just as classroom pets are for pet-loving teachers only!
 

mncavylover

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Ok, sounds like you've got the right idea.

What do you do on weekends and at night? (If you don't mind me asking, that is.)
 

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