Third Grade Actors as Dogs1Bellevue Elementary School third graders practice being CritterKin Mutts

Today the 43 third graders involved in the Bellevue Elementary School summer reading program spent most of the morning giggling so hard their stomachs ached. The reason? The six kids playing dogs in the play they’re about to perform were really getting into their parts.

While one canine impersonator pretended to scratch fleas, another begged for treats while a third snored so loudly and convincingly that his human partner collapsed with laughter and had to start again.

“I was a good dog wasn’t I?” the snoring culprit asked when the rehearsal was over.

“You were very convincing,” his teacher said, patting him on the head.  “Just don’t snore that loud on Friday or no one will be able to hear the other kids.”

The begging, fleas and snoring are all part of the “Quilting for Kindness” celebration being held to showcase the students’ remarkable work.  During their three weeks together, the kids have not only read an entire book, but created three versions of a  “CritterKin Kindness Quilt” (paper, fabric and digital) while blogging and writing poetry about their adventure as well.

The process of creating the quilts required drawing, colouring, choosing and cutting fabric, gluing, sewing, taking photos, making augmented reality videos and participating in an ongoing discussion about what it means to be kind. The play – which will be performed live to parents, teachers and senior citizens from the community – is the grand finale and will be broadcast to a global audience via a Google Hangout as well.

CritterKin Kindness Quilt-Two Versions1

But the thing that has distinguished this project from start to finish has been the focused joy with which the kids tackled every project we proposed.  We attribute this to several things:

  • Stories and characters that entertained, introduced topics the kids were interested in – making friends, being misunderstood, getting in trouble, fear, prejudice and bullying – and gave them the chance to experience empathy, kindness and respect.
  • Giving kids the chance to put their kindness to work on creative projects that challenged them both mentally and emotionally;
  • Encouraging and supporting individual needs while also requiring collaboration and cooperation; and
  • Giving kids a sense of ownership, empowerment and pride by providing platforms and venues where they could share and receive feedback on their work.

The kids are now in the process of learning their lines, getting coaching from the CrittteKin team (which includes the talents of actor Jonathan Keltz), and preparing their costumes for Friday.  To say that it’s been a pleasure to watch their creativity and self-confidence blossom is an understatement, and we can hardly wait to see their one-act play performed.

Quilting for Kindness Card Invitation600x450

We hope that you will consider joining us for what promises to be a wonderful, giggle filled celebration of 43 terrific kids and  their work:

WHEN: Friday, June 20th at 1:30 pm (CST)

WHERE: Bellevue Elementary School gymnasium

Google Hangout: Visit this Google+ Page for the link

To learn more about the book, Lead With Your Heart,  that inspired the program and the play, please visit the CritterKin books page:

To see how you can start your own “CritterKin Be Kind” project, visit the CritterKin “Be Kind” page:

Questions? E-mail: