Cate Bayles, Museum Representative
For me, the mark of a good conference is in the takeaways, the little pieces of insight that stick with me as I transition back into my daily routine. During the endless hours of conference panel sessions, presentations, networking meals, and reconnecting, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The anthropologist in me comes out. My smart phone transforms into my journal as I negotiate the knowledge, insight, and expertise coming at me from all directions.
After things wrap up, I always go back to my trusty phone and review my takeaways, the more nonsensical the better. My trusty device becomes my field guide and documents the photos, quotes, and questions that inspire me the most. These takeaways don’t have to be beautiful they have to be meaningful. Here are a few of my reflections from the 2014 WAEA Conference in Milwaukee:
· As teachers, we are trained observers. How can we channel those observations?
· What defines collaboration?
· What if we all started with what our value is?
· Why does the word artist (the A word) make some people in our society uncomfortable?
· How can we integrate big ideas, broad, important human issues, into our classrooms?
· Are partnerships and collaborations the same thing? When do they work? When are they ineffective?
What questions did the conference bring up for you? Share them on Twitter using the hashtag #waea14 and continue the conversation!
PHOTO CAPTION: A photo takeaway from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. Why paint alone when you can paint together? Photo credit: Preschool Students, Untitled Collaborative Easel Painting.
It was my great honor to be involved with the WAEA Fall Conference as Awards Chair and presenter. Preparing for the event gave me insight into the daily dedications of some of our fellow educators. As I look ahead to the next year of nominations and awards, I am anxious to learn more about art teachers throughout the state who have dedicated their passions to art education and their students.
For those who could not attend the Awards Ceremony, poignant moments included the introduction of lia Johnson by Tasha Newton and Sarah Klein. As her former art education students and now art educators, their comments about lia highlighted the essence of her impact—her compassion and genuine care for her students. I would also like to include a testimonial written about lia from her co-worker, which arrived too late to be included in the ceremonies:
To: WAEA Awards, Re: lia Johnson
From: Chris Theo
I regret that I am unable to attend today’s ceremony and to share with all of you the award you are presenting to Dr. lia Johnson.
As Department Chair and colleague, I can state without hesitation, that she is one of the most devoted educators and effective student mentors I have ever had the privilege of working with.
Her unrelenting dedication to her students, tireless work ethic, and professional level of excellence, which she uncompromisingly adheres to, provides a standard for which all of us as educators, only hope to achieve.
Without question, Lia is most deserving of this award. We are truly blessed to have her as a member of our department and institution.
She is our friend, our inspiration, and the summations of everything we as art educators, represent.
With admiration and respect,
Department of Art & Design
Additional highlights were the comment made by Cindy Zarte, Superintendent of Tomah schools. She introduced Margie Genrich, our 2014 Secondary Level Outstanding Art Educator. Embedded in her introduction were comments she had collected from Margie’s students. Personally, these students’ testimonials pinpointed why we were all there celebrating...art teachers can and do make lasting impressions on their students’ lives through their dedication, passion and compassion.
Student testimonials are extremely powerful. After all, that’s why we all devote ourselves to this profession. Is there an arts educator you know that has the attention and respect of students? If so, consider nominating that person for recognition. Involvement in WAEA is certainly part of the screening process for WAEA recognition, but sincere involvement with students and their learning is truly what makes an educator noteworthy.
Retired Representative: Marcia G. Thompson
You might wonder why a retired art teacher would go to a WAEA Fall Conference when there are so many other things to do...
· to see the student teachers you have mentored, excited about teaching and students
· to share your ideas and thoughts about a continuing passion: teaching and making art
· to help your art association through service and sharing
· to learn more about what is going on in art and art education
· to meet up with other retired members
· to be inspired in your own art making, through artist talks, new materials, seeing art, visiting museums and galleries, visiting artist’s studios
· to contribute
· to participate by entering the WAEA exhibit or conducting a session, just to name a few reasons.
The fall conference in Milwaukee was exceptional. Being in the Bruce Guadelupe Middle School, surrounded by the evidence of an excellent art program was exciting and inspiring. I attended several exceptional sessions, including the two, featured speakers and their passionate keynotes. I walked a long way to visit Reginald Baylor’s studio, which was informative and inspiring. Mr. Baylor was unbelievably generous with his time and explanations…I am so glad I made the effort to get to his studio!
Another highlight was a session with Barb Reinke, the Crayola Representative. Not only was the session informative, but it was an example of an excellent lesson plan that included providing information, allowing students to reflect and respond, having students share with each other, allowing for experimentation and providing for student choice in an artmaking experience. PLUS, getting the students to think of totally applicable ways of incorporating literacy into the art class! Wow!
I attended a session on STEAM with Debra West from Tomah that was also exciting and informative. In addition, I assisted in a Higher Ed session on the EdTPA, which allowed me to share and learn in a stimulating environment. I also assisted Christine Yocca with a session on using the Gelli Plate, a relatively new printmaking method. Was that ever fun! Christine had everything well organized and planned and the students were so excited and cooperative. I have been to many fall conferences…and this was as inspiring and fun as any of them!
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