Wednesday, December 15, 2010


By Margery Cuyler
Publisher: Walker and Company, Bloomsbury
ISBN: 978-0-8027-9795-7

FROM THE FLAP: Mr. Gilbert tells our class that soon we’ll have a pet. A garter snake? A hermit crab? We wonder what we’ll get.
What starts as an innocent search for the perfect classroom pet turns into a furry fiasco when one guinea pig turns into two, then five, then twenty! The students love their newfound friends, but how can Mr. Gilbert stop the guinea pigs from taking over the classroom.

KATE’S TAKE: A humorous way to spice up a math lesson.

CLASSROOM PET BOOKS: Verbal/Linguistic and Visual/Spatial
Give each student an 8x11 sheet of paper with this sentence starter: If I could have any pet, I’d get _________________. Have them complete the sentence and illustrate the pet. Bound the pages together into a classroom book, and send it home with each child to read.

MATH MADNESS: Logical/Mathematical
This story lends itself to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Show the students how to do each type of number story. Then, ask each student to write a pet number story.

PET STORE: Visual/Spatial, Logical/Mathematical, and Interpersonal
Give each student a dollar in paper coins. Mark each coin with a q for quarter, d for dime, n for nickel and p for penny. Ask them to draw a picture of their ideal pet, or use color copies from the classroom book activity. Have each student label their pet with a price under a dollar. Display all the pictures on the chalkboard and ask students to come to the store and purchase a pet. One of the students can be the shopkeeper and be responsible for making the correct change. Special thanks to Mr. Hacket for this activity.

PET CHARADES: Kinesthetic and Interpersonal
Ask students to sit in a circle on the rug. Give each student a chance to come to the middle of the rug and imitate an animal without speaking or making noises. The rest of the students can guess which animal the student is impersonating.

WRITER’S WORKSHOP: Verbal/Linguistic
At the end of the book, the author hints at another pet problem. Ask students to write a sequel to this book and make sure their characters solve the new problem.

-Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell
-I Love Guinea-Pigs by Dick King-Smith
-Oh, Theodore! Guinea Pig Poems by Susan Katz
-Princess Justina Albertina: A Cautionary Tale by Ellen Dee Davidson
-Sammy: The Classroom Guinea Pig by Alex Berenzy

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