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Teacher of the Month: Bonnie Littman

This month's featured teacher is Bonnie Littman, Guidance Counselor at P.S. 20 Queens John Bowne Elementary School. Bonnie has been at P.S. 20 for twenty years and works with students in pre-K through 5th grade.

At P.S. 20, teachers are using the lessons to help promote kindness, caring, and empathy amongst the students. Every class has a Mutt-i-gree® puppet that they have named and are caring for. Each class charted, graphed and voted on puppet names and made a bone-shaped nametag for their puppet that is hanging on their classroom doors. Some classes even made dog houses for their puppets!

Students have also been writing letters to their class puppets and asking for advice, and teachers are using the puppets to help students problem-solve together as a class. Some classes made individual puppets out of paper bags and used dog templates to decorate and hang in their classrooms.

Parents have also become involved in the Mutt-i-grees® Movement by making donations to Animal League America. Teachers at P.S. 20 sent home a shelter wish list and families donated the requested items. Bonnie is also planning a parent workshop to talk to parents about social-emotional learning and encourage parent involvement.

Bonnie says teachers and students have been so excited, eager, and positive about the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum. She explains that they welcome the lessons because they promote social-emotional learning in a fun, relatable way. Bonnie says, “The children and teachers have all not only related well to the live Mutt-i-gree® puppies and dogs that came to visit us, but they absolutely love the puppets I gave to every class and the way I gave them out as if they adopted them and have to care for them. This Curriculum is not only teaching caring, kindness, and empathy, but responsibility, as well, in a more hands-on way. We have a very diverse population and relating feelings and awareness to animals is a neutral way to encourage positive social skills and emotional learning without focusing on the negatives.”

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