Project

A Manual for Using Lizards to Support the Classroom Environment of Middle School Students with Disabilities

This project examines the benefits of a classroom pet, specifically a leopard gecko, for middle school students with developmental disabilities, and provides a teacher manual for the implementation of a classroom pet program. Animals have long been used for the benefit of humans, and research supports the position that animals have a positive effect on children, especially when they can be used as instructional tools in the classroom. Children thrive when given the opportunity to learn about the world through animals, and by including animals in the classroom, students are more interested, engaged, and curious. Not all animals are suitable to be classroom pets, but the leopard gecko possesses a number of qualities which make it an ideal candidate, including hardiness, longevity, ease of care, and being hypoallergenic. The project “Teacher Handbook for Classroom Pets: Leopard Geckos” was designed to educate teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and students about the benefits that a leopard gecko can have on the classroom environment. This handbook contains eight Common Core-aligned lessons designed to help teachers utilize the leopard gecko as a vehicle for engaging middle school students living with special learning needs, and as teaching tool and a complement for social and affective development.

This project examines the benefits of a classroom pet, specifically a leopard gecko, for middle school students with developmental disabilities, and provides a teacher manual for the implementation of a classroom pet program. Animals have long been used for the benefit of humans, and research supports the position that animals have a positive effect on children, especially when they can be used as instructional tools in the classroom. Children thrive when given the opportunity to learn about the world through animals, and by including animals in the classroom, students are more interested, engaged, and curious. Not all animals are suitable to be classroom pets, but the leopard gecko possesses a number of qualities which make it an ideal candidate, including hardiness, longevity, ease of care, and being hypoallergenic. The project “Teacher Handbook for Classroom Pets: Leopard Geckos” was designed to educate teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and students about the benefits that a leopard gecko can have on the classroom environment. This handbook contains eight Common Core-aligned lessons designed to help teachers utilize the leopard gecko as a vehicle for engaging middle school students living with special learning needs, and as teaching tool and a complement for social and affective development.

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