How the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum contributes to positive school climate
All lessons in the Curriculum contribute to positive school climate, as the focus is on encouraging everyone – adults and students – to be more thoughtful, respectful, caring, and compassionate in their communication and interaction with each other and with animals. Themes and their corresponding lessons focus on enhancing students' ability to take others' perspective, gain appreciation of diversity, cooperate with others, and develop skills and strategies to effectively solve problems and resolve conflicts. Educators not only teach these core skills, they also model and reinforce these behaviors through daily interactions with students and staff.
There is more you can do to foster a positive climate in your own classroom or the school as a whole. Here are some strategies:
- Cooperate, rather than compete. Have students in your classroom work together to design and decorate a bulletin board on an issue related to Mutt-i-grees®. Encourage students to work together to decide what the theme and content of their bulletin board will be. Ensure that every child contributes a piece of artwork or writing sample to be included. You can further reinforce this activity by cutting out paper in the shape of paw prints or bones and asking students from other classes to write something they learned from viewing the bulletin board – these comments can be posted around the board as a border and will remind students how they helped teach other children in the school-community.
- Create a "Mutt-i-grees® Motto." Have students in your classroom work together to create a motto or saying that reflects core social and emotional learning tenets or the unique qualities of Mutt-i-grees® dogs. Collaboratively, students can generate ideas and establish guidelines for choosing a motto. Encourage students to be creative and considerate of others as they come up with ideas and make their selections. Once a motto is chosen, have students decorate posters, buttons, or t-shirts and share their motto with other students, staff, and families.
- Teachers for a day. Select (or have students nominate) a group of students to be "teachers for a day" for at least part of the day. Encourage students to develop lesson plans, create activities, or select books or other resources to share as part of their lesson. Invite students' family members to join the classroom on that particular day and participate in the lesson.