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Posted by on May 7, 2014 | 0 comments

A Salute to Teachers

RU Connected - Jimmy Casas
It’s been almost two months since I returned from my nine-state CritterKin road trip. Along the way I was able to meet and talk with teachers I’d met and befriended on  Twitter as I built my PLN. Though virtual, they were already trusted friends.

The teachers and administers I met with on that trip are wonderful educators, committed to rekindling education’s flame, believing that child-centered education is alive and possible. This  despite slanderous, anti-teacher media coverage and cruel and oppressive standardized testing.

Meeting these educators face-to-face, walking the halls of their schools and visiting their classrooms, confirmed what I’d already seen among the #hashtags. It’s something I think we must salute and celebrate every single day- professional and gifted teachers, innovating with new and old media, making their students and our children their absolute priority. Ignoring the naysayers, they are learning to believe in themselves and their students.  Moreover, they are part of a larger and growing group of geographically distributed and connected teachers, all of whom have one goal in mind – make education work for every single child.

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Posted by on May 3, 2014 | 0 comments

A Teacher’s Anthem to Creative, Collaborative, Joyful Learning

When I first began writing books about a goofy pack of mixed breed dogs, I knew I wanted to share the dog’s stories with kids. I dreamed of reading the stories aloud, giving them parts to play and voices in the stories, and maybe even doing a drawing or two.

But if you’d told me that not only kids but teachers would welcome my mutts with open arms, embracing their oddball habits and insecurities, and their unbridled enthusiasm for any game that involved a ball, I would have been skeptical. But if I’ve learned one thing from this process of leading with my heart, it’s not to underestimate the power of love combined with creativity, enthusiasm and a healthy dose of humor.

It goes without saying that as the second round of CritterKin’s “Start with the Heart” projects get underway I can hardly wait to see what the CritterKin community will come up with. We all have a big stake in making education a deeply engaging and joyful process that teaches not only intellectual skills but cultivates kindness, compassion and respect in our kids as well.  At CritterKin we believe that helping each student find and celebrate his or her unique gifts is part of that process and are working hard to make sure we support that.

As the videos, photos and links below illustrate, laughter, joy, creative challenges and a desire to see and celebrate each child are powerful motivators. There are no limits to what we can accomplish, other than the ones we place on ourselves.  I hope you’ll join us!

 

Ms Jenaia Hugs2 Framed 1000x746http://animoto.com/play/MdThJN1m8ilHlk4GUNn6kg

Monica - Wiggle Waggle2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmn7pG8gL5I

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For More Information

E-mail: JenaBall@CritterKin.com

Phone: Karin Lippert KLPR: (416) 923 – 4707

 

 

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Posted by on May 1, 2014 | 0 comments

Reign Star Jonathan Keltz Champions CritterKin

 

Jonathan collage1

Watch Jonathan Keltz tonight in Reign on CW at 9/8C !

There’s nothing quite like having a celebrity on your team to boost your morale and help you get the word out about a project that is near and dear to your heart. Jonathan Keltz, the youngest son of Emmy award winner and CritterKin co-founder Marty Keltz, has been taking an active role in promoting CritterKin to friends, family and fans.

In addition to the short clip you just saw that  brought you here, he recently did a terrific interview with Trojan Vision.  We’ve transcribed the section of the interview that’s about CritterKin, but if you’re a Jonathan Keltz fan it’s well worth watching the whole thing.  Here is the link: http://tv8-1.usc.edu/?p=17621

And don’t forget to watch Jonathan TONIGHT in the latest episode of Reign!

Books - Three Combined 960x360 Version2

Get your CritterKin Books HERE

Excerpt from Trojan Vision Interview

“A huge focus of my time right now is a project I’m  collaborating on with my father Marty Keltz and author Jena Ball called CritterKin. It’s about this band of mixed breed mutts and their human matriarch Ms. Jenaia.  They’re e-books and paperback books. We have three books out already. We’re using them as a way to teach empathy and kindness to kids at a young age.  It’s during those formative years that you can teach these qualities and encourage them within kids. We want to use these qualities and teaching methods, along with interactive  entertainment in the classroom, to connect with kids with learning disabilities, with every student, versus just standardized testing of the masses.

“My dad was co-founder and President of Scholastic Productions, so he turned “The Magic School Bus” into a TV show.  He also did “Indian in the Cupboard” and “Babysitters’ Club” too. He was an English teacher who, when  the VCR was invented, saw it as a teaching tool. So he got into involved in entertainment and trying create and sell entertainment,  that was educational.

“So this is a project that we’re trying to get out there. There’s been a lot of schools we’ve beer visiting via Skype. Jena Ball, the author is also Ms. Jenaia as well so she’ll do Skype readings with kids in classrooms.  My dad just did a road trip with educators across the northeast and mid west.”

 

Finally, check out our Jonathan Keltz slideshow. He’s been cute from day one!

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