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CritterKin Kindness Quilt Celebration

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Monica Jena and Quilt1

Monica Evon (bottom right) and author Jena Ball (top right)
celebrate the CritterKin Kindness Quilt created by third graders as part of their summer reading program at Bellevue Elementary School in Nebraska

Listen to Interviews with the Creators of the Project


KIOS interview with Monica Evon
Monica is the third grade teacher at Bellevue Elementary School: 

KIOS interview with CritterKin author/illustrator Jena Ball


The CritterKin Kindness Quilts are part of an exhibition of 100 quilts at the Sarpy County Museum in Bellevue Nebraska. There will be a celebration of the project on August 9, 2014 at 11:00 am EST. The event will include a live reading from Lead with Your Heart by Jena Ball, a drawing exercise, and a chance for audience members meet the author and teachers involved in making the project happen.

If you cannot attend in person, you can join us via Google Hangouts:


Contact Karin Lippert: (416) 923-4707

We wish to thank KIOS-FM 91.5 | Omaha Public Radio for allowing us to share the interviews with you. © 2014 KIOS-FM & CritterKin

CritterKin Collaborators – Daisy Marino

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Daisy and Jena Click to Play1A

Daisy & Ms. Jenaia in front of the “Start with the Heart Kindness Mural”

Daisy Marino is the first to admit that certain things terrify her – public speaking,  being pushed to try new things,  and interviews with TV news anchors.  Fortunately, fear has never stopped Daisy from jumping feet first into new challenges. Better yet, she is willing to share the ups and downs of her process, thereby serving as a role model and inspiration for others. Her secret? Don’t let fear stop you and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

We love that Daisy once said that she would NEVER ( yes all in caps) get a Twitter account. She should have known that the moment she said “never” the universe would conspire to make sure the opposite happened. Her school superintendent, Brad McEachern, created an account for her, pushed her to start tweeting, and the rest is history. Some other things Daisy never thought she’d be doing? Creating augmented reality videos, Skyping with other educators around the world, and signing autographs for her students.

The CritterKin team first met Daisy and her good friend and colleague Angela Moses in a Twitter chat. It wasn’t long before we were plotting and planning to bring the CritterKin Mutts to Warren, Texas. The story of how the collaboration blossomed from a single reading at Family Reading Night into the “Start with the Heart Kindness Mural,” is chronicled in the slideshow and links below.

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Students in pre-K through 5th grade, with help from high school volunteers, contributed to the project, practicing not only kindness but important literacy skills such as reading, writing, vocabulary and math as well. All in all, the project was a great success – teaching students invaluable emotional skills and resulting in a beautiful work of art everyone can be proud of.  Bravo!

Start with the Heart

Daisy’s Individual Class

Angela Moses’s Class

Teach from the Heart

Skyping with an Author

CritterKin Collaboration:

Videos by Angela Moses


Kindness Pledge:

Ms. Jenaia’s Visit:

2nd Graders:

Family Reading Night:

CritterKin is proud to celebrate Daisy and other connected, caring and creative educators like her who are working with us to make kindness a reality in schools everywhere.

Celebrating 70 Years as a Mutt

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in News | 0 comments


Happy Birthday Marty

Watch the CritterKin Mutts’ Birthday Video for Marty:


The CritterKin Mutts got together with Ms. Jenaia to pen a birthday poem and shoot a video for Marty’s 70th birthday. It’s not often a best friend hits such a major milestone. We hope your birthday was full of love, laughter and lots of chocolate Marty. Here’s to another equally wonderful 70 years! Happy HAPPY Birthday dear friend!

If you’d like to wish Marty a very happy birthday, you know where to find him:

Twitter: @MartySnowpaw



RSCON 5 Presentation 2014

Posted by on Jul 13, 2014 in News | 0 comments


CritterKin Card with Button1A

Watch the Archive of the Presentation

Did you miss the “Critters, Kids and Kindness” presentation at RSCON 5? Not to worry, you can still watch the presentation, which includes the chat log. Click the image above to be taken to the Blackboard Collaborate page, then click on the purple circle with the two arrows to be taken to the archive :


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PDF of the Slideshow CritterKin presented at the 2014  Reform Symposium Conference

Here is the slide deck we used in our presentation for the 2014 Reform Symposium Conference. It tells the story of the CritterKin “Quilting for Kindness” program with third graders at Bellevue Elementary School, Nebraska. Not only is is a celebration of the kids, their teachers and the amazing work they did, but is the perfect example of the power of project based learning to  engage, inspire and give kids the chance to acquire and practice emotional as well as intellectual skills. Enjoy!


Interested in Creating A CritterKin PBL Program at Your School?


Karin Lippert: (416) 923-4707



Critters, Kids and Kindness in Nebraska

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in News | 0 comments

 CritterKin Mutts in NE2


CritterKin’s “Quilting for Kindness” project is creating a wonderful buzz amongst educators, parents, quilters, museum curators and those intrigued by the confluence of education and technology.  The three-week project was part of the third grade summer reading program at Bellevue Elementary School in Nebraska where 43 third graders not only read, discussed and blogged about Lead With Your Heart, the CritterKin book about overcoming prejudice and fear with kindness, but embarked on an incredible creative journey as well. The goal of the project was to give students the opportunity to experience and express kindness while also strengthening their core literacy skills.

Get details, read stories by those who participated, and see terrific photos of the final event by visiting the links below:

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Kindness, quilting come together for Bellevue School, Sarpy Museum




Moinca Evon - profile

Monica Evon, third grade teacher, Bellevue Elementary School, NE

Read Monica’s wonderful account of the adventure:


Brittany Braasch, third grade teacher, Bellevue Elementary School, NE

Read Brittany’s inspiring story of the project

Youtube TV

Watch the video of the final live event in which the kids put on a one-act play for a global audience

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Two of the CritterKin Kindness Quilts are now on display at the Sarpy County Museum in Bellevue, Nebraska where they will be part of a special exhibition of more than 100 quilts through August. To learn more about the museum, visit the Web site and Facebook page.


Call Karin Lippert: (416) 923-4707


A Six-Act Study in Kindness

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in News | 2 comments

CritterKin Kindness Quilt-Two Versions1

CritterKin’s “Quilting for Kindness” project is officially complete in Bellevue, Nebraska but in many ways it is just getting started. The three quilts the kids produced (fabric, paper and chalk) will now be displayed at the Sarpy Historical Museum, and we are being contacted by other teachers and schools across the country about doing a similar program in their classrooms.  To understand what all the excitement is about,  it helps to see what these amazing 43 third graders accomplished in just three weeks!


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 They read, discussed & blogged about Lead With Your Heart


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They created kindness hearts (the basis for the center of the quilt) and then used the words they chose to make acrostic poems


First Word Chosen:



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Led by Ms. Jenaia they did a series of art projects to help them design their individual pieces of the quilt


Drawing hearts filled with kind words:


Tracing letters and cutting them out of fabric:


Drawing dogs for the paper quilt:


Cutting silhouettes of dogs out of fabric:




With a script prepared by Ms. Jenaia they enacted the last chapter of the book Lead With Your Heart as a one act play


Reading and choosing their parts:


Meeting with actor, Jonathan Keltz, for tips:


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 Created a chalk drawing of the completed quilt


Individual pieces of the quilt recreated by each child #1:


Individual pieces of the quilt recreated by each child #2:



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Performed the play in front of a live audience at the school and via GHO:






At the end of their performance, the kids each received a CritterKin Certificate of Achievement and a standing ovation from the parents, teachers and community members who were present.


Read What the Two Teachers Have to Say About the Project



Brittany Braasch: A CritterKin Summer Adventure

“A wonderful experience for all! Students are learning, creating, & having fun!a’ – Brittany Braasch



Moinca Evon - profile

Monica Evon

“This was such an awesome experience! All of us are still smiling. Lots of great learning and creativity took place! I love  how our students were 100% engaged!  They had SO much fun reading, writing and drawing!   This is learning at its BEST!”      - Monica Evon

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Read Monica’s wonderful account of our adventure:
Youtube TV


We hope that you will all watch the video made of the kids performing the play and take a moment to congratulate the wonderful teachers and students involved in the “CritterKin Quilting for Kindness” project  by leaving a comment here or on the YouTube page.


Interested in Doing  a  CritterKin Kindness Quilt at Your School?


CALL: Karin Lippert: (416) 923-4707