Mr. Tiny, Assistant to the Director

Posted by: Laura Crandall   -   Posted in: News- Mar 05, 2012 2 Comments

Two members of Mr. Tiny's care crew show a new member the ropes.

Tucked snugly onto my office bookshelf is the school’s smallest worker: Mr. Tiny, a roborovski (dwarf) hamster. Mr. Tiny took up residence last year and became a special friend of Cindy Jordan’s class. He immediately showed himself to be an important and versatile member of our school and the only one who is allowed to nap during school hours. He has a special talent for helping students in distress, whether it be emotional or physical. Last year, he worked wonders with a younger student who was emotionally distraught by spending some time with her. He’s good at helping injured students get their mind off pain, and he’s even helped some reluctant students join in class activities when they’ve been resistant.

Mr. Tiny is in very good hands

Twice a week Mr. Tiny comes along with me when I go into the second grade for Song and Story. He sits at the front of he room on a stool and goes for a run in his wheel when things get particularly exciting. Second graders have the care and feeding of Mr. Tiny as a chore, and two students come in daily to give him some attention, clean his living quarters, and top up his food and water. The chore shift rotates monthly. Chore time takes place in the last ten minutes of the school day, and these moments are a highlight of my day. It is a joy to see the students care for such a small creature, and to watch their delight in what he does. Each pair of students develops their own system of care. Some pairs have had distinct duties that never deviated (one student always fills the water, one always fills the bedding), others have traded duties, and still others have spent a good deal of time arguing over who gets to do what. I like to let each pair work out how to agree on tasks, and haven’t had to intervene in negotiations yet. I enjoy seeing how the children work things out and how they each bring their own style to the task.

2 Responses to “Mr. Tiny, Assistant to the Director”

  1. Margaret says:

    Love it!
    The second grade class may enjoy reading _The World According to Humphrey_, told from the perspective of a classroom hamster. Ella and I loved this short series! And really great lessons in compassion and kindness embedded, but not in a preachy way.

    • Laura Crandall says:

      Thank you for this suggestion, Margaret. We are just about to come to the end of our current book; The World According to Humphrey sounds like a perfect next book!