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Teacher Dawn Slinger welcomes visitors to her first-grade (Credit: AP)

Teacher Dawn Slinger welcomes visitors to her first-grade classroom in Farmington, Minn. (Sept. 11, 2012)

Pets in the classroom

Meet some of the students and pets in Dawn Slinger's first-grade class. For years, Slinger paid out-of-pocket so her Farmington, Minn., students could have pets in class; two years ago, the Maryland-based Pets in the Classroom began offering grants to help teachers offset the costs of animals and needed supplies.

Teacher Dawn Slinger welcomes visitors to her first-grade
(Credit: AP)

Teacher Dawn Slinger welcomes visitors to her first-grade classroom in Farmington, Minn. (Sept. 11, 2012)

Hailey Fink gets acquainted with a corn snake.
(Credit: AP)

Hailey Fink gets acquainted with a corn snake. She's a student in Dawn Slinger's first-grade class in Farmington, Minn. (Sept. 11, 2012)

A tortoise walks onto the coloring project by
(Credit: AP)

A tortoise walks onto the coloring project by Gavin Thoen in Dawn Slinger's first-grade class in Farmington, Minn. (Sept, 11, 2012)

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Tanner Rezny, left, holds an albino bull python
(Credit: AP)

Tanner Rezny, left, holds an albino bull python while classmate Sam Illetschko holds a bumble bee ball python in the first grade classroom of Dawn Slinger in Farmington, Minn. (Sept. 11, 2012)

Rhyen Miska, left, and Dillon Wolfe take notes
(Credit: AP)

Rhyen Miska, left, and Dillon Wolfe take notes as they observe frogs and toads in the first-grade classroom of Dawn Slinger in Farmington, Minn. (Sept. 11, 2012)

Principal Ben Januschka and Jayvon Maternowski hold of
(Credit: AP)

Principal Ben Januschka and Jayvon Maternowski hold of a corn snake in Dawn Slinger's first-grade classroom in Farmington, Minn. (Sept. 11, 2012)

In this Sept. 11, 2012, photo, Alecia Gundy,
(Credit: AP Photo Jim Mone)

In this Sept. 11, 2012, photo, Alecia Gundy, left, reaches as teacher Dawn Slinger hands her a gecko and classmate Ava Hand looks on in their first grade classroom in Farmington, Minn. Slinger chooses the animals because they fascinate children, their temperaments are right and they don't bother students with allergies or asthma, she says. Maryland-based Pets in the Classroom project is offering grants to help teachers pay for pets, cages, tanks and supplies of food. It issued its 10,000th grant this summer. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

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