Thursday, May 20, 2021

Jumping on the Desk Pet Bandwagon... Here' s Why!

Honestly, I'd love to know your thoughts.  But, sit back and take a read first.

Thanks to Covid-19, I have spent the school year doing fully remote instruction with my 1st graders.  I have learned A LOT.  Like a LOT LOT.  One of the things that has been really eye-opening to me is how my "traditional" classroom management system just can't continue.

You know... points on the screen for following basic school norms that we have to follow anyway.  There's nothing inherently wrong with that system, but remote teaching has really shown me how THAT isn't what matters for maintaining a safe, loving, and productive classroom.  So, now that I've been "in" their homes for a year, I can't just go back and do business as usual.  I've learned too many lessons abou thow I can truly give up control of certain things and students will still achieve!

So, I am making a shift.

Gone are the days of publicly giving and taking away points, clipping up and down, and visible displays showing who's naughty and who's nice.  At least for me anyway.  Instead, let's focus on responsibility.  Let's make character building, kindness, and hard work the center of what we do.  Tie it in with "Quote of the Week", and it's a character-building match in paradise!

So, THAT is why I will be doing something different.  And, that is DESK PETS!  Students will get one to start and can earn dollars to enhance the living space of their critter.  My hope is that having a desk pet to care for will increase empathy.  It will make the classroom not about who is "on pink" or who has the most points.  And, more importantly, takes away the who's on red and who had the least points!  It will give us something to rally around together as our pets interact with friends and will be a point of pride for students too.  Not to mention all the ways it can impact academics through writing projects, having a pet to read to, endless possibilities!

I've been working away for days on how this is going to look and work in my classroom, as well as making something special for TpT too!

Do you use Desk Pets?  Do you have tips?  What about re-vamping your behavior management system?  And, why do we call it that... let's teach students to manage their own behavior by giving them something to be proud of!

I'm excited so start... so stay tuned for updates!


  1. I have had the blessing of teaching in person all year because I am at a private school. I do not use a traditional behavior system at all (no clips, charts, sticker systems, nothing) ...until this year. Quarantine had left my students without the best social skills and manners. I had some students with major behavior issues. I wish that I had discovered desk pets earlier in the year. They totally motivated my oppositional students! I bought little plastic containers (about 2 or 3 inches wide) and used a label maker to label their "home" with whatever name the student came up with. Students earned food erasers for their pets or even a second pet. If there was a major behavior issue, I babysat their pet until it improved. I prefer students to develop intrinsic motivation, but sometimes you gotta have that little something! Keep us posted!

    1. Thanks for sharing your success! I will definitely be blogging about this soon!

  2. I am so glad to see other focusing on social emotional skills! I did my masters thesis on this topic for SPED classrooms.I have never used a clip or colors and have witnessed some very caring gestures from students toward others. It also build a sense of community in the classroom. Love the "Quote of the Week" and will be looking into desk pets.


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