The craze of desk pets is something that has taken TikTok by storm. Teachers are flocking to implement these cute positive reinforcements techniques into their classrooms.
Originally the idea came from Marissa Begay and since she shared the idea it has made its way through classrooms all over the world.
She was also met with some backlash from people who didn’t understand what the benefits of the little erasers were.
The reality is that they are actually a positive reinforcement strategy that can be adopted into classroom settings.
So, what are desk pets? We’re going to look in more depth at what these are as well as the ways that you can implement them into your own classroom setting.
Simply put, desk pets are mini-erasers that take the shape of animals. Students are able to keep these at their workstations or desks and used as an incentive and reward system.
You can buy these cute little pets in packs of 32, 60, or even 100 if you need to!
Students can adopt these pets as a reward and then the more successful they are in the classroom, the more accessories they can earn such as pet food and other cute items.
Kids go cuckoo for these little erasers and teachers have flocked to TikTok to thank creator Marissa Begay for her wonderful idea.
Teachers have stated that they have seen a significant improvement in the general attitude and attention that their students show in the classroom.
If you’re interested in bringing desk pets into your classroom then try following these simple tips.
Establishing The Rules
Everything that you implement into your classroom will need to come with its own set of ground rules.
You can choose to create these with your students or create the rules on your own as the teacher. However, the children may find it more engaging to do the former.
The list doesn’t need to be too extensive, just a simple short list that will help the students understand where the boundaries lie when it comes to having their desk pets.
The whole premise around having these desk pets is that they are a positive reinforcement technique.
This means that you will need to set some criteria for your children to aim towards so they know how they can gain a desk pet.
You may want to include some criteria for earning accessories too. Some accessories may include habitats, toys, food, and even some friends (other desk pets).
Try to get your students involved so that they can set their own criteria. This way, they are more likely to achieve their goals.
Introducing The Pets
Many teachers have come up with unique ways to introduce desk pets to their classrooms. By far the most adorable and most popular way of introducing them has to be the adoption center.
The desk pets will be placed in a predetermined area within the classroom along with a cute sign that says “adoption center”.
This way, the desk pets are always part of the classroom and not just tucked away in a drawer until a student earns one.
You can even encourage your students to “apply for adoption” when they gain the reward. This way you can get them to practice their writing skills by having them write down which desk pet they want and why.
Allowing Desk Pet Play
There are a few different ways that you can give your students the time to play with their desk pets in the classroom.
It’s all well and good giving them the opportunity to achieve this reward, but they will still want to fiddle with them.
One of the ways you could do this is by having a set desk pet playtime during the day. This gives students something to look forward to similar to recess.
Try to timetable in a slot during the day where students can take out their desk pets and play with them.
Storing The Pets
The worst thing that could happen in the classroom after you’ve implemented desk pets is those same pets getting lost or misplaced between classes.
So, you will need to find a way you can keep them safe.
Some teachers have a dedicated section next to the adoption center called “animal control” where pets can be kept safe until it’s time for them to go back to their desks.
Another solution is having a “pet hotel” which sounds a little friendlier. You could even get your students to help you decorate this so they know that their pets are safe in a place that they have helped make.
Building the desk pets a habitat is another adorable way to make sure those pets are being kept safe in a labeled box. The boxes can have the student’s name and even the name of the desk pet if it has one.
This makes a great additional activity for your students to do as part of their science classes, especially when it comes to learning about habitats.
You could even try to get them to replicate what their pets’ natural habitat might look like.
There’s always a way to embed education even in activities that feel like playing. You can make this a whole group session so that nobody feels left out and everybody ends up with their own desk pet!
Desk pets are a fantastic new trend for any teacher that is looking to add something extra to their classroom when it comes to positive reinforcement.
FOR OTHER CLASS REWARDS IDEAS CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE.
Your students are bound to be impressed with the effort that comes with implementing desk pets.
You’ll be surprised how much improvement you will notice within the classroom from your students as well as being able to come up with ideas for plenty of other classroom activities that come with having desk pets.
We hope you have got some helpful tips from this article and that your students love their new desk pets!