Monday, August 8, 2011

Class Mascot Linky Party




Erica Bohrer's First Grade is having a linky party about classroom mascots and I had to link up!
I have been toying with the idea of a class mascot for a while now, ever since my first year when I pulled out a Dollar Tree bear puppet and my kinders were absolutely enchanted. They begged for him to read to them, they wrote him notes and generally behaved as though he were the Justin Bieber of puppets. I had no idea that a cheaply made $1 puppet would be so popular! So of course I brought in other puppets and stuffed animals and made them part of our language arts activities. But, I always wanted to expand on the popularity of that puppet and have something bigger - like a class mascot who could go home with each child through out the year and each family could write/illustrate about their weekend with him.

Now, you have to understand that in our school, homework is a bit of a crapshoot. Most teachers don't even give homework because they know that 80% won't bring it back. At the beginning of the year I used to send home an "All About Me" poster so that the families could help my kinders finish it. I gave a week deadline and still only got about 50% back. Most of them you could tell that the kinder had had little to no help on it. Often students don't have the supplies at home to do homework and they lack the money to by them.

Another issue is hygiene. I had one student warn me that his planner was "a little wet still". I told him it was ok and just to put it in the stack and it would dry, figuring juice had spilled on it. That afternoon I picked it up and a little river of urine poured out between the covers. Turns out the dog had gotten it "wet." 

 Last year we spent over an hour trying to figure out where an ammonia smell was coming from. It permeated the hallway from the cafeteria to my friend's classroom. After checking all the children and walking up and down the hallways sniffing we finally found the source of the smell - a backpack. The weird part was that we knew the child had no pets...but it turned out his babysitter did and a cat had urinated on the backpack that morning before school. Every year we also have multiple outbreaks of lice, one of the best indicators is when a child comes to school with a head full of cooking oil.

So, even though I've wanted to have a mascot, I've been leery about it. However, I think I am going to take the plunge this year because I found this adorable little guy:


Isn't he just perfect for my classroom theme?! I haven't named him yet, I am considering Rocky or Ricky but I am open to suggestions! The best part is that he is a Webkinz. If you haven't heard of Webkinz yet, they are fabulous! Basically each plush animal comes with a code that gives you access to a virtual version of your toy. There are games - some of them surprisingly educational, as well as the ability to customize a house for your "pet:". So, we will be able to send our mascot home, as well as create a virtual world for him in our classroom!

I am still developing the book that I will send home with him for the families to fill out, when it is finished I will post it. I plan to include crayons and pencils in the pack and I'm even considering a disposable camera. However, if anyone knows of a good way to get pet urine out of a stuffed animal please let me know - I want to be prepared!

Also, bonus question, how do you handle a situation where one child has a fabulous time with the mascot and writes/illustrates about taking it to the zoo or on vacation etc and then another child comes back with something much less "cool". I know it's not my kinder's fault, because a lot of this rests on the parents, but I want to make sure there are no hurt feelings because of inequalities. My school is Title I and most of the kiddos live in poverty, but there are some exceptions and I want to make sure that these discrepancies don't cause shame/envy.

4 Rustle Up A Response!:

Erica Bohrer said... Reply to comment

Jennifer, purchase back up raccoons in case something happens to him.
My students did not seem to notice when kids did cool things like go to the zoo with Mr. Moo. They still asked questions even if it was "we played video games all weekend."
Thanks for your post!

Miss Kelly said... Reply to comment

Jennifer I think Rocky is a super cute name and I agree with Erica... Get some back up raccoons. ;)

Keys4Education said... Reply to comment

Your kiddos are going to love this little guy! He is SO adorable! :o)

g-girl said... Reply to comment

You know, I am also having that same issue and have been on the fence about having a classroom mascot as well! Guess you and I are going to find out if it's doable with our classes or not!

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