Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chance Favors the Connected Mind

It’s been three weeks now since I came home from the conference weekend in Traverse City. So much has happened since then: the elections, the quarter ended, grades had to be completed, new lessons begun.

On Friday, Jan Cramer from Battle Creek posted on Facebook: “Tests and projects graded, 50 Kindergarten empty bowls drying, student holiday art/cards matted and framed, PLC meeting agenda copied, kiln loaded and firing, materials ready to go for Mon. and Tues....this is how I spent my Friday night.” We can all relate to her post, can’t we?

Amidst all the complexities of life I crave and cherish tranquil moments—moments that I allow myself for creative reflection. Recently I came across this video by Steven Johnson, considering “Where Good Ideas Come From”, also the title of his recent book.

We can look at Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or texting or any other form of communication as a distraction, another complexity but then again we can consider them connectivity, which is what the 21st century is all about, isn’t it?

One of my biggest challenges in my role as MAEA High School Division Co-chair is that very notion: other than at the conference how do we connect? I see this blog as a tiny possibility that could grow into something far more than it is now. Jeanine has set the blog up so that we have tabs for each level: HS, MS, El. And now: Assessment. Lots of teachers are concerned about this area. So let’s talk about it! Let’s take advantage of this way of connecting.

And if you have an idea, a hunch, bring it up, and maybe someone else will have a hunch and maybe those hunches will collide, mingle and create new forms.

So here’s the plan: I will set up a schedule for high school teachers to start the ball rolling. I already have ten of you interested in writing for the blog on occasion. I’ll e-mail you and set up a schedule. It can be an interview, a lesson idea, a student success story, or simply a creative idea that you want to talk about. Let us know if you want to join the party, if you want to write, e-mail me.
If you are an elementary or middle school teacher we have a tab for you, too!

But what I’d really like to see is dialogue after the authors post an article.
Voice an opinion, an affirmation, start a disagreement, share an example or tell a story. We’d love to hear your voice! Claudia:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What did you Learn?

It has been a couple of weeks since the MAEA Fall 2012 Conference, and I am still sorting through bags of handouts, sample materials, and pictures that are filled with great ideas and classroom inspiration. This conference had it all - great views of Traverse City, awesome sessions with expert teachers, and loads of ideas to take back and implement into the classroom. Here are a couple of take-aways that will be helping me through this year:

1. Assessment: Claudia Burns had a great Thursday night session on Assessment where teachers were able to share how they are working with the new evaluation requirement to show student growth. Teachers gave examples of how the implement both formative and summative assessment tools as well as the resources they use to help with pre and post testing. You will notice a new tab on our blog labeled "Assessment" - Claudia will be putting resource materials on there to help you get started or advance your understanding of how this works in an art classroom.

2. Creativity: There were several sessions that had creativity at the heart of it. Adam VanHouten, September Buys, and Cindy Todd gave presentations dealing with aspects of creativity in the classroom. I enjoyed learning about various methods of instruction to help foster innovative thinking. Both Adam and September used to create interactive presentations on how they apply this in their classrooms.

3. Workshops: The amount of hands-on opportunities this conference did not disappoint. Sharon Stratton gave an awesome workshop that not only gave great resources for using unusual materials like tar paper, bleach, and soap to make awesome works of art, but also included pop-rocks in her presentation (which was a sweet surprise). The vendors also did not disappoint with their samples and make-and-takes which helps when deciding if you want to purchase products on display.

4. Data: One of the best moments was the presentation by Dr. Root-Bernstein. His keynote on the link between the Arts and everything else put hard facts and figures to something we always have felt to be true: that when you invest in the Arts, you are investing in all other aspects of learning. It was a great talk and I look forward to reading his book that goes into the topic further.

Overall, this was a great conference to attend. It was full of information and moments to connect with others. Conferences like these are important for our profession. What was your favorite part of MAEA 2012? Please share links, pictures, and information below so we can archive the highlights of this year's conference.