Share Your Story!
Do you know about someone for whom a Mutt-i-grees® meant so much? Or do you have a personal experience you can share about your dog? Do you know of an incident or experience where lessons from the Curriculum made a difference?
By submitting your personal stories you have the opportunity to “Share your Story” about you, students, friends or other teachers and their special relationships with their dogs. Share you stories about visits to an animal shelter or volunteer activity that you or your students are involved in.
Here in the Mutt-i-grees® Community, we ask teachers to share stories that have touched them, their students, or their community. Here is one of those stories...
There’s nothing “dog-eared” about Librarian Kyra Wolfe’s clever and meaningful Mutt-i-grees project. She and her tech savvy media students figured out how to adapt the popular Ice Bucket Challenge to inform other students about the plight of shelter pets and adoption while having fun and working together.
The Mutt-i-grees® Challenge
— By Kyra Wolfe, Librarian-Teacher, MS 88 Peter Rouget, Brooklyn, N.Y.
As a media literacy teacher, I wanted to create a service-learning project around one of the Curriculum’s core values, empathy.
By exploring various rescue organizations, my students had learned about the plight of homeless animals, and they were concerned. However, it wasn't until they met dogs from North Shore Animal League America during a school visit that things really clicked. The students immediately bonded with the dogs and were concerned for their welfare and future, which created a powerful teaching moment.
When I asked, "What are our strengths that can help Mutt-i-grees?" most students felt they were adept at social media. So we decided to use our strengths to raise awareness about the Curriculum and the challenges homeless dogs face. We used the Ice Bucket Challenge as a case study, examining why it was successful and how it harnessed the power of social media, got people to participate, and raised awareness.
Using what we’d learned, we worked in groups to create our own websites: "The Try Not to Laugh Challenge," "The Tongue Twister Challenge," "The Word Search Challenge," and "The Pixel Art Challenge,” each with a link to Animal League America to educate visitors about shelter rescue and pet homelessness. We asked other students to visit our websites and take the challenges. We also encouraged them to join us in the library so we could have fun taking the challenges together. In addition, we asked participants to pass the challenges on to other kids. Students used their strengths to help the cause they care so much about.
It generated so much excitement. Everyone enjoyed this project and learned a lot about empathy, social issues, and the positive aspects of social media. It was authentic, student-driven, and a super fun project!
Teacher - 6th, 7th and 8th grades
Schuyler-Colfax Middle School
Schuyler-Colfax Middle School is slowly but surely jumping on the wagon to help fight animal cruelty! In the fall, my co teachers and I are using the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum after a terribly cruel event in our community that I'm sure you are aware of. On May 7th, 2014, a stray cat named Quattro was beaten to death by elementary school students in Paterson, NJ. This story broke my heart and sent the tears flowing. I could not imagine a world in which our children are so careless with animals that they end up killing them. I knew I had to step in and fight for our children AND our animals. Together, we can do amazing things. Look at therapy dogs and seeing-eye dogs - they ARE our best friends and allies!
I have created an activity and organization called 'Quattro's Paws for Hope' where students create paper paw print pledges against animal cruelty and donate them to local animal shelters so that we never forget Quattro's life.
Furthermore, we will be spreading YOUR wonderful curriculum through our organization Facebook page for all teachers and community leaders. We officially join you in the fight to create a wonderful, nurturing future for humans and animals alike!
We believe lessons from the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum can make a difference and prevent horrific incidents like Quattro’s story from happening again. Thank you Lisa Klink for your heart-felt story.
Provided by: Shana Fletcher, 5th Grade Teacher
Bixby Central Intermediate School
My 5th grade class participated in a month-long unit about shelter pets, therapy dogs, and dog ownership. Students learned about benefits of owning a dog while reading the novel Because of Winn-Dixie - a book on the Mutt-i-grees® Recommended Reading list. The character in the book moved and found out how a pet can bring you happiness and joy during lonely times.
As another extension activity, Bella Rose, a therapy dog, was invited to visit all of our 5th grade students at Central Intermediate. Students learned first-hand about assistance dogs and service dogs. It was amazing to see the increased interest for animals. Our librarian stated that all of the nonfiction dog books were checked out of our library!
My class continued to learn after the novel with Mutt-i-gree® lessons and dog reading comprehension activities. It was surprising to see student engagement levels increase with the fun and thought- provoking Mutt-i-gree® discussion prompts and worksheets!
Students also participated in our school’s pet food drive in April as a part of our school’s Mutt-i-grees Pack Party. My daughter, Ragan Fletcher, who is an animal shelter volunteer, came into the class and spoke about the increased demands of the Tulsa Animal Shelter in the summer. Students brought cat and dog food during this week. After the unit study, I was delighted to have used the Mutt-i-gree® curriculum. It created an interest in shelter pets while teaching social and emotional skills. It helped increase my students’ engagement in the classroom, created a higher interest in shelter pets, and taught the importance of giving back to the community!
Provided by: Deirdre McKay, Museum Educator
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
I have been facilitating the Mutt-i-grees program at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children, here in Norwalk, Connecticut. It's been a pleasure to bring valuable lessons to children and their parents. We differ from the school classroom-based Mutt-i-grees programs because we have parents along with the children, and they can continue inserting the Mutt-i-grees values into their children’s lives. We have partnered with our local PAWS animal shelter and their representative Lisa Didinato has wholeheartedly embraced the partnership opportunity. Lisa comes to the museum every week, bringing along a different shelter dog each visit. We teach the children that animals have feelings and communicate too!
Letter to Yale, School of the 21st Century
Provided by: Roxanne Marci, Preschool Teacher
Ben Franklin School
We had the extreme pleasure of meeting and working with Cesar Millan when he came to visit our school to see the Mutt-i-grees Curriclulum in action. Prior to him coming I began studying the curriculum and thought it was just perfect for Pre-K students. If you want to be successful the best place to start is at an early age. One thing I noticed was there was no music to go along with the curriculum. Children of all ages love to sing and get involved. I decided to write a little jingle to go along with the program (Muttigree Teaches Me). I use it at the beginning and end of each lesson. After the lesson is over and we sing our song and I ask the question “What did Diego (our mutt-i-gree puppet) teach you today?” This is a fun way to reinforce and review the lesson being taught. I also sing the song randomly throughout the week. The children just love singing to Diego. As we sing, Diego is passed around the circle from student to student. If a situation arises in my classroom, I will ask the students “how would Diego handle this?” It helps the children begin to problem solve in a positive way. As you can see the children and I love the program.
Letter to Yale, School of the 21st Century
Provided by: Kathy Jones, Principal
Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School
Thank you so much for the follow up information! I cannot begin to tell you how much we have enjoyed the program. In fact, this week in my Kindergarten, I had an issue with one of my students and his aggressive response. With the puppet in hand, my student found his voice and was able to express the feelings of the animals and his remorse for his actions.
Talk about a teachable moment!
Your program has blended so beautifully with not only the faith values that are in place in a Catholic school, but also they have integrated with the Josephson Institute's Character Counts program that has been in place at our school for the last seven years.
Building character and empathy truly helps to create a climate that is ultimately the best environment for student achievement and personal development.
So once again thank you for your dedication. It is an honor to be associated with you and the program.