Saturday, May 10, 2014

What Pet Should I Get?

This project was purely accidentally. It didn't start off to be research project, it started with a lesson on how to use the table of contents in a nonfiction book. You see I had chosen a book on cockroaches to teach the students how to use the table of contents. I figured that this was a topic that while yucky, would grab hold of their attention. I then told the children that I was planning on buying Mrs. Kiessling a pet cockroach. That idea was met with lots of, "Ewww...does she like cockroaches?!" and "I don't want a cockroach for a pet!" After we answered some questions I had about cockroaches, using the table of contents to guide us to the answers, we decided a cockroach would be a really, really bad pet.
Inevitably in every class a child would then ask, "What kind of pet are you going to get her?" Having no answer since I honestly wasn't planning on buying her one, I asked them what kind of pet they would get her if they could get anything they wanted. They had a bazillion answers and a light bulb went off in my head. Why not have the children pick an animal, any animal they would want as a pet, gather information on it and from that make the decision as to whether or not it would make a good pet? They were engaged, they were excited, they were hooked. I was on it!

The animals choices ranged from the obvious, cats, fish and dogs to the total opposite end of the spectrum, termites, elephants and T-Rex's (yikes!). After writing down a few things they knew about those animals and a few things they wanted to know they were ready to begin their research.

In groups of two, the children gathered their information in various ways, both from books and by using Capstone's PebbleGo. This was our first time using PebbleGo and it couldn't have gone smoother. The kids loved using it and got a ton of information from it. Thank you Teresa for the trail!

After gathering their information, we needed to find a way for them to share it. Being poetry month, why not share what they learned via a Haiku? We talked about what a Haiku was, read some Haikus, practiced  breaking words up into syllables, even wrote one together using the information I had gotten from my pet lion research. The kids got right to it. While this was easier for some than others, with some extra help and guidance, they were all able to get it.
 The Haikus were typed up and the illustrated. I recorded the children reading their Haikus.  Take a listen and view the final product.


  1. I love this project. What grade were the students? Would you mind if I adapted your idea for my second graders? Thanks for sharing!

  2. I did this will kindergarten students. You are more than welcome to adapt and change it however you like for your students. Have fun!