1. How long has your school been involved with the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum?
Fenton Primary Center was one of the 35 schools involved with piloting the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum in 2010.
2. Can you tell us the involvement you’ve had with the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum?
While all classrooms in our school teach the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, Fenton Primary Center has a Mutt-i-grees Team comprised of a few teachers and administrators, with a main point person, whom we call the “Mutt-i-grees Lead.” The role of the Mutt-i-grees Team within our school is to train any new staff member on the curriculum, provide refresher training for all teachers, and oversee the implementation of school-wide, Mutt-i-grees-related events throughout the school year. I have been a member of my school’s Mutt-i-grees Team since 2013, but this is my first year assuming the role of Mutt-i-grees Lead here at Fenton Primary Center.
Together with my Mutt-i-grees Team, I help oversee staff training (either new teacher training, or a Mutt-i-grees Refresher training for experienced teachers) and plan Mutt-i-grees-related events. For example, two months ago we had a Mutt-i-grees Refresher training for all our teachers. We called it “Fenton Primary Center’s Mutt-i-grees Mission 2019-2020.” In this training, we refocused on the mission, purpose, and benefits of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, demonstrated how to incorporate Mutt-i-grees into our busy lesson plans, modeled the parts of a Mutt-i-grees lesson (which includes the amazing updated slides available on the Mutt-i-grees website), shared how to access digital activities to go along with the lessons, and discussed the details of the upcoming Mutt-i-grees-related events in our school: National Mutt Day, Pack Party Week (our school’s holiday theme this year was a Mutt-i-grees Christmas, which we titled “Happy PAW-lidays!”), and an animal shelter Donation Drive and Fundraiser (for which we raised $1,020.00.) See these events on Fenton Primary Centers’ Instagram account. For each event, we are careful to make it exciting but also to ensure we promote empathy via the humane treatment of shelter animals.
3. Can you tell us a few ways you’ve used the Curriculum in the classroom?
I teach kindergarten here at Fenton Primary Center, and have been teaching the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum to my students for seven years now. My goal is to teach a Mutt-i-grees lesson three times a week, so that its implementation is consistent and my students are benefitting from the social-emotional lessons as much as possible. Sometimes it takes me dividing a lesson into three different days to teach it thoroughly and adhere to my schedule, but I love that I am easily able to fit Mutt-i-grees into my lesson plans.
I start each lesson by asking my students what a mutt-i-gree is (a mixed-breed animal awaiting adoption in a shelter). Then, we sing the Mutt-i-grees Song. From there, I launch into the presentations with the aid of our Mutt-i-gree Puppet. I use a combination of presentations I had already created for each lesson, as well as the wonderful, updated presentations available to users on the Mutt-i-grees website. Each grade-level in Fenton Primary Center has a shared Google Drive, where we upload activities for each lesson. This collaboration makes it easier for us to share our Mutt-i-grees projects and activities with our grade level teachers.
Because of my student’s love for the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, they enjoy finding ways to incorporate lessons intentionally throughout the day. For example, in kindergarten, Mutt-i-grees Unit 1 Lesson 5 is titled “What I Like About You.” In this particular lesson, students learn the importance of sharing what they like about others and lifting others up (the previous lesson teaches students to identify & focus on what they like about themselves, which encourages self-love and confidence).