Desk Pets: A positive reinforcement strategy that kids love
by Brianna Richard, on Sep 1, 2021 10:57:11 AM
Desk pets are a new classroom craze that is taking over TikTok, Instagram, and classrooms nationwide. The idea originated from Marisa Begay but has evolved and been modified by teachers over the past year. Desk pets are simple and affordable. Students who are making good choices can adopt a 3D eraser or desk pet. These erasers are sold in bulk by companies like Target, Amazon, and Oriental Trading. With good behavior, students can earn supplies for their desk pets. They can build realistic habitats for them researched during science. They can even write creative stories about them during writer’s workshop!
Desk pets are versatile, they motivate students to make good choices, and they are fairly easy to set up. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Desk Pet Rules
Desk Pet rules need to be put into place as soon as the concept is introduced. A ton of rockstar teachers on Pinterest have come up with cute rules you can print out and hang in your classroom. However, create rules that work best for your classroom! Encourage students to leave desk pets in their homes during work time and not to touch anyone else’s desk pets. Rules should also include criteria for how students will earn desk pets and supplies. Students can also come up with positive behavior goals for extra motivation to earn desk pets!
Pro-tip: You can use Bloomz to set and track student behavior goals. Whenever the goal is met on Bloomz, the student also earns a new desk pet.
Desk Pet Storage
Desk pets need a home! This can be as elaborate or simple as you like! I have my students find something at home that can be recycled and spend an afternoon turning it into a habitat. Empty and cleaned-out cream cheese or sour cream tubs are a great small container that can be transformed into a forever desk pet home. Some teachers opt for a fancier route and get matching plastic containers on Amazon.
Desk Pet Play Time
Students need to be able to play with their desk pets! Having built-in time throughout the week will ensure students aren’t secretly playing with their desk pets during a math test. I like to incentivize students. Each week the class earns minutes when they are on their best behavior. We cash in desk pet minutes on Friday afternoons.
Desk pets are truly an ingenious way to positively motivate students to do their best each week. Do you have another fun desk pet idea? Leave it in the comments below!
Marisa Bega- Desk pet inventors videos and information