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Mutt-i-grees® in the News Winter 2014

Dear Colleague,

Happy New Year! We recently asked our staff to tell us how they show they care. They responded: Greeting with a smile...cooking for people...listening...

What's your favorite way to show you care? Share your stories with us at [email protected]. If you like, also include your observations of kindness and caring among your students. Your responses will be acknowledged with a gift!


Register Now for a Chance to Win $1,000!

Are you looking for a fun way to engage your community, while at the same time raising awareness for Mutt-i-grees? Register for a Mutt-i-grees Pack Party today for your chance to win $1,000 and a visit from Scooby-Doo! Reserve your date as soon as possible to receive a complimentary fundraising toolkit featuring fun, family-friendly Scooby-Doo posters, flyers, and more. For more information, please visit http://www.packparty.org/.


News from Mutt-i-grees Schools & Libraries

Cooking for Mutt-i-gree

Mutt-i-gree teacher Melanie Brindley of Arch Ford Education Cooperative had students at Anne Watson Elementary School (Bigelow, AR) and students at Sallie Cone Preschool (Conway, AR) show comfort for Mutt-i-gree puppet by baking dog treats while he was feeling sad, as taught in Lesson 2.4 I am Sad in the Pre-K Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. The lesson emphasizes the importance of providing comfort to a person or a pet who is feeling sad or upset. The students also incorporated cooperation in the fun cooking lesson. The Mutt-i-grees teaching team at Arch Ford has closely aligned all Mutt-i-gree objectives with Arkansas Preschool Frameworks and this lesson gave the teachers a chance to document which frameworks were taught by this lesson. Happily, Mutt-i-gree puppet cheered up when the group presented him with the special dog treats! One preschool class presented the treats to a local animal welfare organization and the other spent the month of December collecting donations of towels, blankets, and dog food for a local shelter.


Saint Aloysius 6th Grade & Kindergarten Create Their Own "Pup-pet-i-grees"

Shayna Wolf, the guidance counselor at St. Aloysius School in New Canaan, CT, had an innovative approach to teach social and emotional learning skills to her 6th graders with lessons they could share with the school Kindergarten class. Each 6th grade student was paired with a buddy and they worked together to create a sock puppet puppy that was then used to model good communication, friendship, and kindness through a series of puppet shows. The students and staff learned quite a bit and had fun in the process!

"The older students have become more aware of stereotyping and the damage it can cause, as well as the importance of seeking solutions to problems instead of concentrating on who's to blame," noticed Mrs. Wolf. These valuable lessons were some of the ideas the older students tried to impart on their younger schoolmates.


A Letter from Jeter, Mutt-i-gree Extraordinaire

Greetings friends,

My name is Jeter and I am a therapy dog. I am a Mutt-i-gree who was rescued from North Shore Animal League America and now works with Mrs. Frear, a guidance counselor at the Fenton Charter Public Schools in sunny California.

This school year began with the Fenton Charter Public Schools recognizing deserving students with our new "Paws-i-tive Behavior Award." The certificate includes my picture in a new logo! I love to read with our students in the Tail Waggin' Tutors Program and help students calm down when they have difficulty managing their emotions.

I was so excited to have my school picture taken when the students got theirs. It will be included with each child's class picture. I am officially a member of each classroom! Hopefully, when the students share the picture with their families, it will allow for dialog regarding the value of Mutt-i-grees and and encourage families to consider adopting a shelter dog.

My three schools are in the middle of supporting the Mutt-i-grees cause by sponsoring our first Annual Blanket and Animal Supply Drive benefiting the Burbank Animal Shelter and the Blankets of Love Organization. It's all for a good "paws" and near and dear to my heart, since I once counted on the generosity of others. I am truly thankful that I now have a forever home and a meaningful purpose at Fenton Charter Public Schools.

Mrs. Frear enjoyed her winter break, but I wish I could come to school every day!

Yours truly,
Jeter


Mutt-i-grees Mania at Albertville Public Library

A library in Alabama has gone to the dogs...literally! When Albertville Public Library director Lisa Rowell heard about Mutt-i-grees in the Library last summer, she knew right away that she had to get her library involved. Since July 2013, the library has implemented a variety of Mutt-i-grees activities in their preschool storytime and also offered special activities for older children, including crafts, a visit from a certified therapy dog, and a variety of service learning activities. And, of course, librarians have read books to children about shelter pets. Some of the library's most popular programs include baking dog biscuits and and creating fleece blankets to donate to the local shelter. Lisa says the parents and families of the children who have participated in these activities are very supportive of the library's efforts to educate using Mutt-i-grees programming.

Both Lisa and children's librarian Terri Barnard work very closely with 2nd Chance Shelter in Boaz, AL, which is a non-profit no-kill shelter for dogs run by former police officer Doug McGee and his wife, Wanda. The shelter is gracious for the community support and the directors praise the library's efforts to encourage awareness of Mutt-i-grees: "We think the Mutt-i-gree program is great! The younger you can educate children about shelter animals, the better. Lisa and her library kids made blankets and homemade dog snacks for the shelter. She said kids as young as five years old were making blankets. How awesome is that? The kids really enjoyed the project and are anxious to do it again."

Lisa has big plans for the new year. She's invited 2nd Chance Shelter to visit the library and bring some puppies for the children to see, play with, and hold. She's also hoping to collaborate with the shelter and host an adoption day in the spring to find home for some of the Mutt-i-grees in her community. Lisa suggests everyone do what they can to spread the Mutt-i-grees love!


Kentucky School Embraces Mutt-i-grees

Oakview Elementary in Ashland, KY was busy this holiday season! The school entered a Mutt-i-grees Christmas tree in the Tri-State's Festival of Trees this year. All the ornaments were handmade by first and second grade students. A plaque stood in front of the tree explaining the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum to the more than 18,000 children and adults who bought tickets to support the Paramount Arts Center this year. The tree received many votes for the most popular school tree in the festival! The school also collected items for Mutt-i-grees to donate to local shelters throughout the month of December. The students requested towels, sheets, blankets, shampoo, brushes, dry food, toys, rawhide chews, treats and anything else animals could use. It was the season for giving in Kentucky!


Educator Takes Mutt-i-grees Full-Circle

Wendy Weiss, a high school English and journalism teacher at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, NY, has made it her mission to spread the Mutt-i-grees message into her community. Along with several other women, she operates a small, nonprofit rescue group called unwantedNYCpets.org that, despite miles of municipal red tape and the frustrations of bureaucracy, rescues dogs and cats from the New York City's high-kill Animal Care and Control. Her organization specializes in animals that few other rescue groups will consider: one-eyed dogs, blind cats, deaf dogs, and abused pit bulls. Her passion for finding these animals loving, permanent homes blended perfectly with the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum and she has shown wonderful creativity when it came to finding links between dogs and academic subjects. Last year, Wendy had her students read Shakespeare's Othello and asked them to write about the concept of reputation and how a person's reputation might or might not be in direct correlation to his actions, linking the concept to football quarterback Michael Vick, who spent 21 months in federal prison after being convicted of illegal interstate dog fighting. She has also related Jack London's classic, The Call of the Wild, to the themes of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. This year, Wendy taught her students about idioms, including "Sophie's choice." Her rescue group saves dogs that are on death row at Animal Care and Control. She showed the class a list of dogs on death row and explained how difficult it is to choose which dog to save; it's like Sophie's choice. Her students were very moved.

Wendy's passion for Mutt-i-grees doesn't weaken when she's not teaching. She spends every free moment she has advocating on behalf of shelter animals in need. This summer, Wendy approached her local public library to encourage them to get involved in Mutt-i-grees in the Library. In November, Wendy spent a Saturday at Bethpage Public Library, where she offered a Mutt-i-grees workshop for young children. She explained what a Mutt-i-gree is and discussed the proper ways to care for one's dog. She also read Harry the Dirty Dog and watched the movie, after which they made pictures of Harry as they listened to the Mutt-i-grees jingle. Everyone had a blast!

Keep up the good work, Wendy! Your passion for Mutt-i-grees is inspiring to us all.


Stay Tuned for Upcoming Mutt-i-grees® Projects & Events

Mutt-i-grees Virtual Internship: A New Teaching Tool

We're excited to announce that the Mutt-i-grees® website will soon offer a new teaching tool! We have been busy filming behind the scenes at North Shore Animal League America, the world's largest no-kill rescue organization, so that every classroom can view the rescue process from start to finish.

The videos will be broken into segments that reflect the individual departments at the Animal League and educators will be able to use the video segments as Mutt-i-grees lesson extensions. After every segment, there are questions that tie into the Curriculum to generate class discussion.

Please visit our website for updates: http://education.muttigrees.org/.


Cats are Mutt-i-grees 2

A companion to the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, Cats are Mutt-i-grees 2 is all about cats - their amazing skills and characteristics, how they communicate with us, and what we can learn from them. Included are Cat Dialog feature lessons, crafts and activities for younger students, and Cat Club activities for older students. It can be used in conjunction with the Curriculum or as a freestanding program. A teacher who reviewed Cats Are Mutt-i-grees 2 had this to say:

"Cats Are Mutt-i-grees 2 is a way to teach emotional intelligence and incorporates so many things we all love: cats, children, and crafts. If you use the suggested activities you will be incorporating teaching techniques, such as movement and experiential learning, which are so important. I will be using this in my extended school day program and have already suggested it be reviewed by our school counselor for consideration as a school-wide curriculum."

Cats Are Mutt-i-grees 2 will be published shortly. To reserve your copy, please contact us at [email protected].


Look for us at these upcoming conferences and trainings:

January 24-27, 2014
American Library Association Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Philadelphia, PA

February 23-25, 2014
NJAHPERD 2014 Annual Convention
Advocacy on the Move!
Ocean Place Resort & Spa
Long Branch, NJ

February 28-March 3, 2014
National Afterschool Association Annual Convention
The New York Hilton
New York City

March 7, 2014
Mutt-i-grees Training & Orientation
Animal League America
Port Washington, NY

May 22, 2014
Mutt-i-grees Training & Orientation
Animal League America
Port Washington, NY

Please visit our website for updates: education.muttigrees.org/professional-development.


We extend our thanks to all who contributed to this issue. If you would like to contribute to the next issue, please contact us at [email protected].

Questions or comments? We want to hear from you! Please contact us at [email protected].