Tasha Newton, YAM Co-Chair
This 2013 WAEA Conference was jam-packed with awesome experiences! Here I have listed a few of my favorite things and inspiring events from the conference:
Keynote Speakers: This was the first year having a hands-on keynote speaker for the conference. Kathryn Rulen-Bareis works with students who have diverse abilities. Her hands-on experience required us to think outside of the box and create a paintbrush that would accommodate these diverse abilities. The second keynote speaker, Jessica Balsley, is a walking inspiration and a breath of fresh air. After taking one of her online classes, I could not wait to absorb more of her ideas. I feel much more comfortable taking on challenges in the classroom after her speech.
Vendors: One of my favorite parts of any conference is the vendors. It is a great way for art teachers to play with new products and also find inspiration for new ideas in the classroom. One of my favorite new products was the playcolor stixs from Jack Richardson & Co. These stixs are similar to a slick stick or an oil pastel, but they dry in seconds and look beautiful on any colored paper. I cannot wait to put these on my order list this summer. I am also excited about the resoluble paints from Tri-art, also found at the Richardson & Co. booth. In addition, I look forward to getting some of Kathryn Rulen-Bareis’s adaptable scissors, which can be found in the NASCO catalog.
The Sessions: This year’s sessions were wonderful. I have already started to incorporate them into my classroom. I am excited to try the Concentric Kirigami project with my fourth graders. This project was presented by Dick Blick. Julia Miller had some amazing ideas on how to incorporate letter literacy in the art room. I am looking forward to using some of her ideas with my Kindergarten class. I am actually going to take my sewing machine out of its box and try some Confetti Naturescape Quilts, presented by Sally Gordon & Kriss Webert. I am already using Dannielle (Wilson) Arneson’s unique way to cooperatively assess student work. In addition, I am currently working on making some great visuals for my autistic students, which were demonstrated by Jessica Balsley.
All in all, the 2013 WAEA Conference was a great professional development opportunity. I have so many ideas and inspirations from the conference...I don’t even know where to begin!