It's always hard when a student moves away but it is very much the reality of teaching in an international school setting. It's not always the case though that they leave your class a present either that changes the dynamic of the classroom and takes the class community in a whole new direction.
About a month or so ago, I had a few students ask me if we could get a class pet. I didn't say no but I didn't say yes either. I told them to come up with a plan and then we'd talk, which seems to be my go to line. I should also know by now that my particular group of students will always do that though.
It just so happened that one of my other students was leaving our school due to a parent's job relocation and needed to find a home for his pet hamster. In an instant, that proposal and research went into double speed.
First, a survey was created for the type of pet they wanted. Then, the students collaborated in making a Google Presentation for their proposal to the Head of Primary. In addition, an email was drafted to the Head of Primary to invite him to our proposal meeting and a letter was drafted to the parents to ask for volunteers to take the pet home on weekends. Each student researched a different part of the presentation.
When it came time to the proposal day, we again talked about the need to be persuasive and what that meant. We had the Head of Primary listen to our proposal with each student doing a portion of the presentation. Then came the green light to go forward with having a pet! So the only logical thing to do was to put on the Hamster Dance song and celebrate.
On Monday, we received our brand new addition to our class, our hamster Chubby. She is a very cute little hamster who my students have grown to love after only 1 week. We now have a Chubby Chart to split up the responsibilities each day and track who is on weekend duty. My students have also started a Chubby Scrapbook to document her adventures in Year 5.
Already, they have instantly become more responsible and really care about the well-being of our furry friend. They make sure she has enough food and water, clean her cage and let her run around in the ball on the floor during reading and writing time. They love Chubby and it is so sweet to see how the want to care for her and make her new life in our classroom enjoyable.
This is the first weekend Chubby has gone home with a family and even got to attend a sleepover with 4 of my students. I hope she comes back on Monday not too overwhelmed!