Saturday, January 31, 2015

6 Big Take-Aways from the AoE Conference

I absolutely LOVE the Art of Education's online conference format! (The swag box is pretty fantastic too!!!) And I can't really afford to go to a big national conference, but I sure can set aside some time on a Saturday, drink buckets of coffee, and hang out in my yoga pants and get some good, quality PD!

Like Jessica said, being one of the "misfit toys" who doesn't quite fit in to traditional teacher professional development is also one of my biggest frustrations. And to find a community of like-minded art teachers is such a breath of fresh air!

Here are my 6 biggest take-aways from this year's winter conference, in no particular order:

6. There are amazing art teachers out there! Passionate, witty, diverse and dedicated humans! And while I so, so, so want to be one of the "cool kids" in that club, I want to take Jessica's words to heart about "choosing your best 'extra' and ROCK it". I love our school-wide theme and making a thematic art show is kinda "my thing" and I'm gonna rock THAT like nobody's business and not apologize for not doing all the other things I feel pressured to do. (Insert sigh of relief here!)

5. Amanda Heyn's message regarding parent communication really hit home. When you have an invested art teacher, you create invested students, who then go home and create invested parents. No one will save my program when its time to cut programs if they've never heard about my program! I am my own Public Relations department.

4. It's all about that PAINT! I totally loved the Blick lesson "Matisse du Soleil"! I've always shied away from the liquid watercolors (not totally sure why - maybe I'm just a big chicken!) but they are going on my next budget order! I adored the bright colors, simple shapes, the added embellishments and the fact that it looked like it would be uber-successful for any of my students! Can't wait to try it!

3. I want Alecia Eggers to make all my visuals! Actually, I just need to sit down and make mine as cool as hers! She really inspired me to re-do my clean-up posters and give those "Learning Targets" another try.

2. Johanna Russell is hysterical! The puppy dream?!? I've totally lived that in my Art Room! While I don't know if a flipped classroom would totally work in my situation, I loved her passion and humor! Getting back to why we do what we do is a powerful message for any art educator to hear. And I now want to go out for coffee with Johanna (maybe decaf though!)

1. How much fun is it when you find out you're doing something similar in your Art Room like someone you admire?! I have been a long-time follower of Nic Hahn at MiniMatisse and her final presentation about impacting school climate with school-wide collaborations with Don Masse was spot-on! I used the monochromatic self-portrait idea floating around on Pinterest as my "make art on Day 1" project this year and its so gorgeous, I don't have the heart to take it down!

Big Bend's Artsonia Gallery

What a day! I'm a little overwhelmed, but in a good way! I have new books to read, new projects to try, and a renewed feeling of "we're all in this together." Thank you to Jessica Balsley and her crew for putting together an amazing opportunity for all of us "misfits"!


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