This year the fifth grade AIG students at Clement Elementary welcomed three new and unique classmates to their room. Three pet turtles adopted this year are Myrtle, a red-eared slider; Penny, a yellow-eared slider; and Yurtle, a white-striped, mud slider. The AIG students, Joshua Faircloth, Tyler Hall, Regan Honeycutt, Fya Fink, Daniel Paz, Yamil Pene-Ventura, Raven Willard, and Kylee Wilson have all welcomed the turtles as an exciting and fun way to learn.
AIG specialist, Debbie Oliver, and fifth grade teacher, Kristi Hall, believe that there are educational benefits in having classroom pets to stimulate learning in their science classroom. Pets are wonderful resources for teachers to make learning fun in all subjects! Pets bring so many new ways to learn. Whether it’s math (“How much does a turtle weigh?”) or science, (“What does a turtle eat?”), geography (“What part of the world do turtles come from?”) or grammar (“What words would we use to describe our turtles?”), students will approach learning with a new enthusiasm and interest. Other classes can even come visit our classroom pets and our students can create special presentations about the animals.
The turtles that have been adopted this year were donated by a former AIG student, Taylor Blanchard, a student now at SCCHS, and her family. The students are providing the turtles’ care and are being taught responsibility and self-esteem. The fifth grade AIG students set up the habitat for their new friends. All the fifth grade students have had the opportunity to observe and care for the turtles. They all love watching their behaviors. It has created a sensitivity and awareness to the feeling and needs of others, both human and animals, and a deeper respect for life! Pets and students become friends. Since many of the classmates do not have pets at home, this opportunity can help students form relationships to help strengthen a child’s social skills, giving them the potential to do better in a school setting. We know this year will be a great hands-on experience as we watch our new friends grow and as we learn!