Clever Teacher Gives Students Adorable Writing Assignment to Help Pets Find Their Forever Homes


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Second-grade students at St. Michael's Episcopal School drew pictures and did a creative writing assignment depicting pets waiting to be adopted at a local shelter in Richmond, Virginia.

Second-grade students at St. Michael’s Episcopal School drew pictures and did a creative writing assignment depicting pets waiting to be adopted at a local shelter in Richmond, Virginia. (Richmond Animal Care and Control / Facebook screen shot)

 By Amanda Thomason  March 23, 2022 at 3:57pm

Shelters have tried many different methods to attract the attention of potential adopters. Fostering, taking dogs out on the town with “adopt me” bandannas, attending events, filming adoptables segments on local news programs and posting online are all good ways to bump an available, homeless pet’s visibility.

But thanks to a partnership between a school and an animal shelter in Richmond, Virginia, a new, adorable method has made headlines.

The credit for the idea goes to one second-grade teacher in particular at St. Michael’s Episcopal School. Kensey Jones — who also volunteers at the shelter — was having her students work on their persuasive writing and found a way for them to test out their skills in the real world — for a noble cause.

“The class was working on persuasive writing, and they wrote pieces as if they were speaking on behalf of the shelter dog trying to get adopted,” Christie Peters, director of Richmond Animal Care & Control, told Fox News.

“I said, ‘That’s the coolest idea … let’s do it.’”

To make the project a little more real for the second-graders, an adorable, adoptable puppy ambassador visited their class.

“On Monday, our Director visited the class with an adoptable pup (Snow-the cutest puppy ever!) in an effort to inspire the students to write a persuasive story from the perspective of a shelter pet waiting to be adopted,” RACC posted on Facebook.

“The result?!? INCREDIBLE!!! Heartwarming stories and beautiful illustrations now adorn our dog kennels and the writing is VERY persuasive! Plan to visit RACC tomorrow from 12-5 at 1600 Chamberlayne Ave, RVA to walk through and read these stories and adopt a pet!”

The students learned a bit about the dogs and cats they would be writing about and then dove into their projects.

The shelter shared some of the writing samples, most of which also included hand-drawn illustrations.

“Hi my name is Yosemite,” began one piece. “I am a boy. I like the animal shelter, but you would be the best! If you’re looking for a pet please, please, please take me home.

“It would really make my day if you adopted me. I love cuddles, kisses and extra love. I’m begging you, please adopt me.”

“Hi I’m Famous Amos,” began another. “Please, please, please adopt me! I love, love, love belly rubs. I’m a very cute dog. Don’t you love my name?

“Am I a very cute dog because I think I am? Do you love me? I hope you do because then you can adopt me! I love you too. Will you take care of me and take me to a home”

“Hello, my name is Sunday Special,” stated a third. “I would love to be adopted. If you adopt me, I hope I will brighten your Sundays like the SUN! You’ll be my Sunday Special, and I hope I’ll be yours!”

The partnership has certainly received a lot of attention, and some of the dogs who were given a write-up have been adopted. But the students, too, have been changed by the assignment.

“All dogs deserve a loving home, especially Snow [the puppy ambassador],” said Danielle Petroski, one of the second-graders. “I am so very happy to be able to help neglected animals find great forever families.”

Jones said she’s proud of her class and happy to find a way to blend education and a noble cause.

“This classroom project collaboration allowed me to combine my two greatest passions, children’s literacy and helping animals in need,” Jones said in a news release.

“I am so proud to see my students rise to the occasion and write amazing persuasive paragraphs through the eyes of one of their RACC dogs.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.

She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.

With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.

Location

Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

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