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Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 | 0 comments

CritterKin Kindness Quilt Celebration

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:

Phone: (919) 454-9917

We wish to thank KIOS-FM 91.5 | Omaha Public Radio for allowing us to share the interviews with you. © 2014 KIOS-FM & CritterKin
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Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 | 0 comments

CritterKin Collaborators – Daisy Marino

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.

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.

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Posted by on Jul 13, 2014 | 0 comments

RSCON 5 Presentation 2014


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 :



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?



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Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 | 0 comments

Critters, Kids and Kindness in Nebraska

 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:

NElovesPS Logo Tag-4c

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

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.



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