My students have limited exposure to a great many things, especially nature and the natural world. However, they are filled with curiosity, courage, and wonder. Each new topic brings eager participation and an array of thoughtful, insightful questions.
Their eagerness to learn and their pride at accomplishment is energizing and inspiring.
My students continually remind me of the many joys of teaching. Currently, those joys include learning responsibility and tolerance. We discuss manners, responsibilities, and practice empathy.
A classroom mascot is a wonderful way to increase understanding and tolerance. It provides many opportunities to demonstrate responsibility and patience. It provides a starting point from many conversations about a myriad to topics.
As a science/social studies teacher, my curriculum is varied and fast-paced. A tarantula in the classroom supports the curriculum in many ways. The most obvious is Life Science. We can study and observe habitats, adaptations, and life cycles. Previously the classroom spider only molted once. With a new spider, the hope is that students will be able to see multiple molts and growth. Students make observations about growth and behavior. We are able to create, measure and maintain humidity levels. This classroom pet also encourages responsibility. Students are responsible for feeding and cleaning the pet environment.
Most importantly, the students of the classroom, and the school, are given an opportunity to learn tolerance.
A majority of people harbor an aversion, or even a phobia, to spiders. Having a spider in close proximity, allows lessons of tolerance, patience, compassion, and sympathy to be discussed and broadened. Viewing the tarantula, discussing its needs, observing its habits allows for many lessons and questions to be presented and concluded.
A classroom tarantula becomes a school and community celebrity in all the right, positive ways!
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