While the term "class pet" may have a negative connotation, the real class pets in Aurora Public Schools are all the craze! From dogs to lizards, hatching chickens, tarantulas, fish, centipedes and more, there's no limit to what species an APS student may bond with in the classroom.
Class pets like Izzy, Aurora Hills Middle School's bearded dragon, allows students a chance to care for an animal they may not have at home. In addition to students assisting with Izzy's hygienic care, students feed her and ensure her enclosure provides the appropriate habitat.
Izzy's human parents, AHMS seventh-grade teacher Kay Bennett and her husband, care for Izzy at home over summer break. When asked how parents respond to the spiky reptile, Bennett says they think Izzy is either really gross or really cool. Either way, Izzy provides students a unique and engaging learning opportunity.
Learning through caring for class pets also occurs when students learn to face their fears. For example, King Louie the tarantula is a star in Sixth Avenue Elementary School second-grade teacher Aimee Fortin's classroom. Exposure to the eight-legged creature helps students build soft skills like maintaining a positive attitude, staying composed under pressure, having confidence and even leadership as they urge their classmates to be bold and brave.
While Izzy and King Louie crawl into students hearts each year, some class pets have yet to enter this world! Allison Madory-Johnson, Lyn Knoll Elementary School kindergarten teacher, incubates chicken eggs in her classroom so students can enjoy the anticipation and education behind watching chickens hatch and grow. Last school year, Madory-Johnson and her students experienced the joys of giving back when they donated their hatched chickens to a Lyn Knoll parent who worked hard to build a chicken coup at home.
Giving back is something Aurora Quest K-8 fifth-grade teacher Courtney Bousquet's therapy dog Lincoln is no stranger to. The golden retriever spends his days silently tending to students' emotional needs, never bowing out of being snuggled. He's part of the Quest family and, therefore, has a professional picture taken and featured in each yearbook, always stealing hearts.
In APS, we believe all students must have equitable access to learning opportunities and environments that support them in reaching their full potential. We applaud our awesome teachers for incorporating such fun, engaging learning opportunities like class pets into their curriculum.