Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Show and Tell

Show and Tell is a concept that we all know; usually it is done with lower elementary students and they get to bring in an item and share it with their peers by showing it off and talking about it. The Show and Tell concept is not only for kids, it also happens for educators through conferences. Do you have a lesson, concept, or technique that has always worked for you and you want to share it? Consider presenting at the MAEA Conference in Traverse City, October 25-28th or the NAEA 2013 conference in Texas!

Being able to share information with my peers has been a highlight for me both professionally and personally. It is nice to connect with other teachers and show what works for you in the classroom; it is even more fun to hear back from those who have attended your sessions on how they have been able to use the information in their own classrooms. When presenting, or putting together a presentation, it is important to think about your time allotment, who your audience is, and what you want your audience to get out of what you are presenting.

The aRTs Roundable, a podcast hosted by Carol Broos, dedicated an episode to the topic of presenting at Art conferences. One tip I found very helpful was having your resources online instead of making copies for handouts; even when making it online, be sure to have a backup in case the internet is down. If you make a Prezi (which is my go-to presentation tool right now), you can download it and then show easily either online or right from your desktop. Instead of wasting papers on copies, consider creating a business card with your website or contact information on it so that participants can go to there to review the presentation again or ask follow up questions later. The biggest take-away from this podcast on presenting was making sure to focus on the kids and how whatever you are presenting on will help teachers reach their kids in new and interesting ways.

Great conferences are made possible because educators like you are willing to share your time, showing and telling the tips and tricks that make your classroom work. If you have any sure-fire presentation tips to share or are planning to present at an upcoming conference, please comment below.

No post about presentations is complete without Don McMillan's video on how not to use PowerPoint:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

MACUL 2012

Educational Techies flocked the streets of Grand Rapids this past week for the annual MACUL Conference. From flipped classrooms, 1:1 computing, website building, movie making, and 22nd Century Learning, MACUL always offers teachers a space to exchange ideas and innovate for the future of education.

Some of the highlights I was able to take away included a presentation by Chresta Wright on making your Moodle class pages more organized for student learning. She challenged the audience to rethink how to build pages, making it easier for students to process information and more efficient for teaching concepts.

The use of iPads was also a popular topic in many sessions and I learned about all kinds of apps to help deliver instruction to students and involve students in creating videos and other presentation materials with this device. The student showcase offered a preview of what iPads might look like in an Art classroom.
Examples from Shashabaw Middle School's use of iPads in the Art classroom.
 If you are looking to add iPads to your curriculum, Tricia Fuglestad and Suzanne Tiedemann expand on that idea with their website they created as a part of their NAEA 2012 Conference presentation on the topic. Theresa Gillespie also has a great site about using iPads to make Art. If you currently do not have an iPad, consider creating a Donors Choose project to get one for your classroom. They are going to be starting a matching donations campaign for this month, which can help you get your project funded even faster!

Steve Dembo gave a spectacular presentation on the future of education as he challenged the audience to ponder what it will look like in 100 years. He proposes that creating is not enough for our students; instead of just creating, they must also share, collaborate, and connect using the physical and digital realm. After sharing valuable sites like Kickstarter and ScholarMatch, Steve challenged us to rethink how our students are going to function in the future with a world that is growing ever smaller and becoming a place where "In the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen people." 

I also had the opportunity to present at MACUL this year. My presentation was about the MACUL funded grant so I could enact a project for student created videos. It was really fun to share experiences in my classroom with others and learn more resources from them, too.

If you are not currently a member of MACUL, sign up because not only is it a great community to be a part of, it is also free! As a member, you can apply for one of their grants to purchase technology for the classroom. View more details here:

Did you go to MACUL? What are some highlights and take away tips we should know about from the sessions you attended?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

NYC Saturday

Highlights of my last day at the NAEA Convention:

1. More Olivia Gude. This Super Session highlighted her philosophy of contemporary curriculum in which her students are able to share significant personal experiences. Students should use the arts to explore vital issues; the curriculum should reach students “where they live.” 

2. Assessment. What are fair methods to measure student growth in the arts? And how should that evaluate a teacher’s effectiveness? These questions and more were discussed by leaders from Delaware and New Hampshire. In Delaware two performance tasks are required of visual art students at different levels: create a piece of art and respond to it. More at the Delaware Department of Education website.

3. Chuck Close, in another Super Session, was on the stage in discussion with NY chronicler Irving Sandler. Life, art, education were their topics of discussion. One of my favorite lines: “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just get to work.” Chuck Close also commented on what he saw as a movement in the arts among young artists who choose to work together collaboratively.

4. TASK party. TASK is an improvisational, open-ended participatory event with a simple structure and very few rules. Artist Oliver Herring and many educators took part in this collaborative art experience.

5. Dinner at Mesa Grill. A superb meal with friends. No Bobby Flay, but a perfect way to close out a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

NYC Friday

Day 2 at the NAEA Convention:

Jeanine Antoni was presented by Art 21at 8:30 am on Friday. What a way to start the day! Transforming everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and sleeping into ways of making art, Antoni’s primary tool for making sculpture has always been her own body. In her work, she says, she tries to solve the problem “How does my body relate to the world?”

My roommate Susan was very impressed by the Middle Level Medley; she loved hearing presentations from our own Kim Cairy and others. She was also impressed with the Green Imagination presentation. Their website is an eco web that promotes stewardship of the natural world and explores sustainable design possibilities.

An Art 21 session talked about Studio Habits of Mind. Envision, reflect, authentic process, stretch and explore. The tension of dealing with the traditional vs. the contemporary can become a conversation instead. Just because one is working with contemporary themes one doesn’t throw away traditional skill-building experiences—need a “balanced diet.”
Calder at MOMA

Turn On That Cell Phone! presenters mentioned numerous apps that could be used in the art classroom as well as in museum education. Go to their LiveText site and use Visitor Pass Code: B35941B5 for more info.

Tattoos: The New Canvas? was hugely popular; we had to move to a larger room. Combining health, historical and design concepts, and a Think Before You Ink philosophy, a balanced and safe approach to the subject was presented.

A busy and eventful day ended with a final trip to MOMA and, of course, the MOMA design store!

Friday, March 2, 2012


I’m in New York City! And so excited to be attending the National Art Education Convention. It has been a whirlwind of activity. My roommate Susan Bartman and I took a 7:25 am flight Thursday from Detroit. Linda Tyson, from Oakland U, was also flying in and we shared a taxi into the City. The Hilton is huge and grand.

 Jean Shin
After our arrival we made it to our first sessions by 11 am. One of my very favorite art educators, Olivia Gude, was co-presenting. Her session considered Questions of Identity and she shared about “Space & Place” (meaning-making with perspective!) and “The Complex Characters of Disney” (most of us ban them in our rooms, don’t we?). She also shared a lesson that used student cell phones as source material. She will soon be posting these lessons on NAEA’s Digication site.

Jean Shin was next. She is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform everyday objects into elegant expressions of identity and community. Not an artist I was familiar with; I totally was fascinated by her work.

No trip to NYC would be complete without a visit to the MOMA, just around the corner from the convention. And entry was free with our badges! To see so many iconic art works “in person”  that we know and use was awesome. I hope to get back before I return home.

The Secondary Division Awards honored members who excelled as leaders. In her acceptance comments, Diane Scully said, “We never know whose lives we are going to touch so we need to tread lightly, carefully and passionately.”

In the evening, Michigan educators (at least 30 of us) met up in the lobby to walk over to Thalia for drinks and snacks. It was a great way to end the day!

More later…