Pet Show-and-Tell: Hosting Virtual Events to Connect with Students

I am hosting virtual events as a way to connect with students. The first virtual event I hosted for students was a Pet Show-and-Tell. Below I share information about hosting a virtual Pet Show-and-Tell at for your students.

Advertising to Students
To advertise for our Pet Show-and-Tell event I did the following:
  • Wrote a description for the weekly update our principal sends out on our course management system
  • Emailed all fully remote students
  • Sent out a News & Events Slideshow to teachers to project to students
  • Made announcements in student lunches
  • Shared the event on my school Twitter account 
How Students Signed Up
I created a Pet Show-and-Tell sign up on google forms. I included the link to this form in all the digital advertisements for students (school update, email, and Twitter). I also made a QR code of the the form using QR Code Generator so that students could scan it to sign up. 

How Students Joined the Event
All students who signed up for the event received a Zoom link the day of the event. I pre-scheduled emails to send the morning of the event and a half hour before the event started. 

Structure of the Pet Show-and-Tell Event
To begin the Pet Show-and-Tell event, I explained to students the importance of having their cameras on to connect and share with others during the event. I also said it would be more enjoyable for everyone to see each other and their pets! I never make a student turn their camera on if they do not feel comfortable.

This event had a laid back structure. Any student who wanted to share about their pet had an opportunity to do so. 
For pet introductions, students share:
  • Their name
  • The names of their pet(s)
  • A funny story about their pet or something unique about their pet
I also asked some questions to get all students involved. I asked students:
  • Use the celebration icon if you got your pet during the pandemic
  • Use the celebration icon if your pet is a rescue animal
  • Everyone with cats show your cats
  • Everyone with dogs, show your dogs
  • Everyone with a unique animal (not a cat or a dog), show your pets
What Makes This Zoom Event Unique
The Pet Show-and-Tell Zoom event is unique because the focus is taken off the student and put onto the pet. Students appeared really comfortable to keep their cameras on and talk about their pet. This event was so fun because it was so laid back. This was a great opportunity to connect and share with students.

Other Things to Consider
  • Share your pet, if you have one! - On our asynchronous days, I typically still work from the school building. For Pet Show-and-Tell, however, I worked from home so I could share my cat, Perry. This was a fun way for students to see into my world and "meet" my pet.
  • Encourage students without pets to participate - In our advertising, we promoted the event to all students and stated that you did not have to have a pet to participate. There are various reasons students may not have a pet, but may still want to see others's pets - allergies, living conditions, permission, etc. I gave any student without a pet the opportunity to share "if they could have any pet, what would it be and why?"
  • Students who recently lost a pet - had a student share a picture of a pet that died recently. I thanked the student for sharing their pet. I said it was a great tribute to the pet to be shared at the Pet Show-and-Tell. I also talked about how pets are meaningful companions and how it can be difficult to lose a pet.  
Optional Donation Tie-In
Leading up to this event, we did a fundraiser for a local animal rescue. They had a donation promotion that if you raised $75 you could name a pet. We were able to raise $150 prior to the event, so we picked names for two pets during Pet Show-and-Tell.  To pick the names, I had students give suggestions in the chat. I then picked 5 of them and made a poll on Poll Everywhere. Students voted on the names and we picked the top two. This was a fun way for everyone to participate.

Future Pet Show-and-Tell
I had students complete an exit survey after the event. I wanted to see if students would want to attend another Pet Show-and-Tell and if they had any suggestions to improve the event. Students overwhelmingly stated they would attend another one and they wished it was longer. So, I am hosting another Pet Show-and-Tell in May and making it an hour long instead of 30 minutes.

These are some questions I asked on the Pet Show-and-Tell exit survey.

What questions do you have? 
I am happy to answer your questions about Pet Show-and-Tell. What questions do you have about hosting a Pet Show-and-Tell? Email me or DM me on Instagram or Twitter,! 

I love connecting with other school counselors! Connect with me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.

If you have questions, email me or Direct Message me on Instagram or Twitter.  

Upcoming Events:

Andrea Burston and I are hosting an ASCA Webinar - 3 Tech Tools to Enhance Your School Counseling Program on May 26th at 12:00pm EST. We will be sharing about Canva, Smore, and Screencastify! Click here for more details and to register!

Andrea and I also host a monthly School Counselor Meet-up on Google Meet. For more details and to see future events visit: http://bit.ly/meetup4sc.

Our next School Counselor Meet-Up is: What I Wish I Learned in Graduate School. We will share what we wish we learned before entering our first school counseling positions and what we learned along the way. Current school counselors and graduate students are encouraged to attend! Everyone is welcome! To sign up visit: http://bit.ly/meetup4sc.

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