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The 2018 Summer Art Ed Now conference is in the books, and Tim is here with Lindsey Moss and Abby Schukei to break it all down! Listen as they discuss their highlights from the conference (0:45), the highlights from social media (4:30), and their a-ha moments and takeaways from the presenters (7:00). Full episode transcript below.
Welcome to Art Ed Radio, the podcast for art teachers. This show is produced by The Art of Education and I’m your host, Tim Bogatz.
Alright, it is Thursday afternoon. We just finished the Art Ed Now Summer Conference. I am here with Abby Schukei and Lindsey Moss to kinda break it all down and talk about everything that happened today. It was an exciting day. Both of you guys got to be on camera, which was pretty cool and we got good reviews. People like seeing different hosts and not just staring at my face all day, so that’s kinda cool. But I think the biggest thing we need to talk about is just kinda your highlight from the conference. So Abby, for you, what was the number one thing that was really a highlight for you?
Abby: Okay, so my favorite thing and a lot of other Art teachers shared this via social media as well, is I, in the swag box, I was absolutely obsessed with the OOLY Watercolors.
Tim: Yes, those are amazing. And we saw the Instagram story where you were doing OOLY painting.
Abby: Yeah, and so, like that was the first time that I had even heard of the OOLY brand watercolors. The promo blend, so I was like super stoked to try those out. And I tried them out on like watercolor paper, construction paper. Someone even in the chat was like, “Hey, I’m gonna try this on my clay projects.” So I think that could be super rad to try out, but they’re gonna be awesome and I think I’m gonna have to order a million of them for my classroom.
Tim: Nice. Alright, Lindsey, what about for you? What was the big highlight?
Lindsey: Oh man, I have like six, but I guess my top number one was maybe Ben Shumaker’s Memory Project. I was moved to tears by the end of that presentation. It was so beautiful and then like as an elementary teacher I was watching it and it seemed like a lot of the examples were really realistic and I thought, “Well, man, this is something they should do. I should take it back and tell my high school teachers in my district.” But then, we were having a conversation off-air about how they could be abstract portraits or other things and it is open to elementary kids, so like, aside from feeling really moved about the power of art to make the world a more positive place for people who are in circumstances that are less than ideal, I’m so excited now that it’s something that my kids could actually do. So I’m totally gonna investigate that before school starts this fall. I can’t wait. It’s powerful.
Tim: Yeah. I think a couple things that I just thought about while you were talking there. Number one, it was just such a powerful presentation. Like the first time I watched it, I was crying by the end of it. And we saw a couple people in the chat that just said, “I’m so glad this came before break so I can go cry for a little while.” Just seeing those kids receive their portraits was just, like you said, so powerful. And the cool thing is they will accept portraits from any grade level and Ben has told me before … like, I’ve talked about with him getting elementary students or even just kids who aren’t that great at realistic drawings or realistic paintings, that’s probably not the only portrait that those kids are gonna get. And so a lot of times the kids will receive three and four and five portraits so the ones your kids get are just one of a half dozen that they’re getting, so there’s not really any pressure to make them super realistic or super looking just like the subjects. So if anybody’s interested, I would encourage them to kinda check into that.
And then my favorite thing, you know, and we’ve talked about her all the time, but Jen Stark was just amazing to see her, see her studio, see her working and have her talk about not only the amazing thing that she’s doing and the Q and A, people ask, “How do you build your sculptures?” She gave us the step-by-step process of how she does those and then she’s also naming off all her influences and people are like, “Yes, I love this artist. I love this artist.” And so I hope she’s encouraging people to go explore more contemporary art and bring more stuff into her classroom so I think that was definitely a highlight for me.
And then Abby, it seemed like social media was kinda going crazy today. So for those of you that don’t know, Abby’s our social media director, so can you just kinda give us the rundown of what was happening online?
Abby: You know there was actually a lot of art making happening along the way. There were some teachers using the supplies that came in the swag box or the provided list and they were kinda making as they went. So that was super fun to see and it’s just this time of year can be hard for teachers as they’re going back to school, summer’s ending. So I think one of the biggest things that I saw is teachers just coming back with ideas that they can use in their classroom right away and there’s a lot of good material from the conference that can really be applied in that way. So that’s why … notes were so beautiful. I love seeing the pages that people provide, but I’m really excited to see what you guys take from the conference and how you apply it into the classroom. So if you are trying something out as you start the school year, make sure to share it with us, either on Twitter or Instagram and I would love to see what you guys are doing with that.
Tim: Yeah, it’s super cool. And if you wanna see what everybody else is doing, just use the ArtEdNow hashtag, whether you’re on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, wherever. Just search #ArtEdNow and you can see what everybody was making, what everybody was doing, and you know, kinda give you a good idea of the conference experience and everything that was going on. And kinda related to that, that whole idea of seeing what everybody else is doing. Lindsey, I know you were running the chat throughout the day, so can you just tell us what some of the themes were, discussions that were happening, what people were talking about throughout the day?
Lindsey: Sure, yeah. There were a lot of things that people were really on fire about. Like Don Masse’s presentation. They were particularly interested in his app list. He had some really creative apps that he was using with his kids and people were talking about in particular about the one they were creating sculptures, images of sculptures and then putting them over a video or a photo of an actual place like the school grounds.
Tim: Yeah, like making them site specific to their elementary school, just awesome.
Lindsey: Yeah. Site-specific work at the elementary level, how creative. So I know people were right away asking for his app list in the chat so that was kinda interesting. Rachel Albert, people were going on and on about her animation section. She had that linked. It was at Animating Kids, I think is the-
Tim: Yeah, the website.
Lindsey: Website she uses and I felt like, personally, I love teaching stop motion animation, but I’ve always really struggled with the logistics. It was just an aha moment watching her give that presentation and that was all over the chat. People were reflecting about what she was saying and some of those strategies and saying that they were gonna transition from clay to paper like she was doing ’cause it really seemed like it was so workable for multiple ages of kids, so-
Tim: Yeah. That’s awesome. I was a little hesitant to see that almost 15-minute video-
Lindsey: Oh no. It was worth it.
Tim: So much information in there that it really was like the complete guide that she gave to everyone.
Abby: It was really fun to see her students working in it as well, super cool.
Tim: Yeah. I always love the spots where you get kinda a view into people’s classrooms, so, like you said, Don did that. He had some clips of his kids working. I think my favorite was Ruthie Post. She had her Kindergartners. You guys probably know what I’m talking about if you saw this live.
Lindsey: It was hilarious.
Tim: She’s got all these stuffed animals and a stuffed cactus in fact and there’s a little Kindergartner who … I mean how would you describe … What was he talking about?
Lindsey: The exact quote … Well, the cactus was like insulting his work and she was kinda talking about growth mindset, like moving beyond your internal fear when you’re a little kid making art.
Tim: Yeah, don’t let the bad cactus talk down to you.
Lindsey: Basically, yeah, like the cactus was the villain and I mean the actual quote, the kid called the cactus a booger brain.
Tim: He said, “I’m not gonna listen to this booger brain.”
Lindsey: That might have been my favorite conference moment. It was awesome.
Tim: Oh yeah. That was pretty great. But all of those sorta views into people’s classrooms are always … I mean they’re entertaining, yes, but they’re also helpful to just kinda see how these things go in action so that’s always good. And then a big thing that Abby and I talked about last week and Lindsey, you and I have talked about before, is just how you take these ideas and bring them back to your classroom, so I’m gonna put you on the spot and I’ll share with people my ideas as well. What are the ideas that you’re gonna take away, like what specifically are you gonna put into action, either for yourself or for your classroom. So Lindsey, you’re first.
Tim: Give us your best.
Lindsey: Jim O’Donnell had this session on assessment and the quote that I really took away from that session that I’m probably just gonna like draw an index card and hang on my computer at work was that he doesn’t grade kids. He grades with kids.
Lindsey: And I thought about how everything we know about having meaningful assessment includes the art maker in that, so why for the good gosh darn am I doing rubrics at home at night in my pajamas in front of the TV.? I should be doing them in the classroom with my kids and you know after I start a new lesson and they’re all sort of settling into the working independently, that would be the perfect time to be doing one on one conferences and grading with kids and having these conversations about their previous art project and their work and having them self-reflect and do the rubric. So this is something that I think I already knew, but the way Jim articulated it and was describing it, I was like, “Man, that is gonna by my commitment this fall. That is what I’m gonna do when I get back to work.”
Tim: Yeah, that’s awesome. I do that all the time at the high school level, but I know it’s a lot tougher at the elementary level ’cause you see so many kids, your time is so short, you see them once every four days or every six days. So I would say and I don’t know if you agree with this, but for elementary teachers who want to try something like that, don’t feel like you need to do every class, every project as far as the assessment. Just start small, right?
Lindsey: Yeah, I would totally agree. Just pick one and get going. That’s my plan at least.
Tim: Cool. Abby, what’s one idea that you’re taking back to your classroom?
Abby: Well, I’m terrible at teaching fibers. Fiber arts and … It’s just something that I’ve never really done so I’m super intimidated by it. I follow all these really cool textile artists online, but I’m scared to teach it, so Amber Kane’s presentation all about bringing back the creativity into fiber arts was really inspiring to me as something that I could actually do with my students. She had some really cool just visuals of how you can infuse it into all different areas of your curriculum. It doesn’t just have to be traditional weaving. There are some really great ideas that she shared within that. And her sketchbook was incredible.
Abby: And I know that I follow her on Instagram too, her teacher one. I think she’s @teacherkane on Instagram and she’s always sharing those things so I think after watching this conference, I think I’m finally building up the courage to try something in my classroom, so wish me luck.
Tim: Good luck, for sure. But no, I think that’s an important point because she gave so many ideas that are just simple, like there’s no pressure, like, try it out in your sketchbook. If it works, awesome, and maybe you adapt that to a bigger project. If it doesn’t work, whatever-
Abby: Well, even teaching fibers with color mixing and things like that she had provided some really good ideas on how you can do that. Something so simple, but it’s just a new way to look at something that our kids already know.
Tim: Yeah, absolutely. My idea that I’m most excited about was actually your escape room, Lindsey.
Lindsey: Hey, thanks.
Tim: No, but my wife and I we took our kids to an escape room a couple weeks ago for the first time. It was awesome. It was so much fun. We signed up and went back again like within a week.
Lindsey: It’s addictive.
Tim: It really is and I love the idea of how you can do this with your kids; do it in the classroom and I think that’s gonna be super cool. So we should probably collaborate on doing one of those some time.
Abby: Yeah, we’re in an office right now and Lindsey was the last one in. Did you lock us in here? Do we need to break out?
Lindsey: We must escape.
Tim: This podcast is gonna be lost of time. It’s never going to be published ’cause we just aren’t gonna get out of here.
Abby: So come rescue us, please.
Tim: Alright, so Lindsey, what would be a takeaway number two for you?
Lindsey: Okay, so Ruth Post’s segment, she had a lot of stuffed animals and on the surface, it was really cute and adorable and the kids had adorable quotes, but the more I’m digesting it, I think she’s onto some smart strategies. She had this portion where she was talking with the kids about realistic versus abstract art and she had like a whole host of-
Tim: Yeah, with the hedgehogs?
Lindsey: Hedgehogs, right. And there were like tons of stuffed animals. And there were realistic hedgehog animals and then there were ones that had like weird triangle spikes and were multi-colored and she was kinda using that as a really concrete metaphor for her youngest learners. And the more that is marinating and settling into my head, I feel like abstraction is such a hard concept for my youngest kids and this might really be a way to connect with Kindergarten. So when my husband complains that there’s a bunch of stuffed animals on the credit card, you’ll know why.
Tim: Abby, what else are you doing, besides fibers?
Abby: Well, Debi West started out the day with some really inspiring content. First off, I practically want to be Debi West when I grow up.
Lindsey: We all do.
Abby: That’s goals. Debi, I hope you’re listening. But she is just a wealth of knowledge. Just her inspiring … Well her presentation was all about service learning projects and giving back to your community, giving back to all the things and Lindsey talked about the memory project earlier and she shared a little bit about that, but just the ways that you can really make art with a purpose and make it meaningful. It’s what art is. It’s the powerful tool with it. And Debi really expressed how your students can make a difference by creating art in that way, so I’m excited to take some of those elements into my classroom as well.
Tim: Yeah, I love that. That’s so well said and now you both are talking about these really big ideas, thinking really deeply about things and my second take away was just Encaustics sound like fun. So Lena Rodriguez had an awesome presentation that makes Encaustics a lot less intimidating. I don’t know if intimidation is the right word, but I don’t have any experience with them and I don’t really know where to start, but she had a great presentation saying, “Here are the supplies you need. Here’s how to get started.” And just kinda walks you through the whole thing, so that’s just something that I want to try. And then number three, Lindsey, what do you got?
Lindsey: Well, I think I mentioned it before, but one of the action steps I wrote in my planner for when I get back to school is that website that Rachel Albert shared, the Animating Kids one. It was so interesting to me because when I teach stop motion animation, I’m struggling just to get my kids to make fluid movement. But she had all of these lessons from that website broken down into small things like eyes blinking or the idea that you needed characters of several different sizes to make foreground, middle ground, background. Obviously that type of lesson is gonna take up a lot more classroom time than I am currently using on stop-motion animation, but then I felt like when she was talking about these mini-lessons, there were so many other art skills embedded, that you’re really covering such a breadth with one thing. And I loved at the end how she talked about having a 6th-grade film festival. Man, that is now my goal, to add that to my art show this year. I can just see my kids being so pumped about that. And that’s neat too because I think for me anyway, you show artwork online and you show things at a traditional art show and that just seemed like a really interesting way to get the community involved.
Tim: Oh yeah.
Lindsey: You could invite all kinds of people to come to your film festival.
Abby: Yeah. You’re gonna have to get a popcorn machine though. That’s what she said that she has so …
Lindsey: That was a selling point for me. I am into that.
Tim: You need to talk to your principal right now … that will be good. Alright, so Abby, third take away?
Abby: So I really like Ray Yang’s presentation on comics and zines. They … you know, teaching middle school, I actually have a lot of middle school boys in my classroom and I know that sometimes we look at comics and we don’t really find that there’s a place for them in the art room or we look at anime and it doesn’t really seem to fit or we don’t want our students to do this, but Ray talked about so much about using it for storytelling and he had so … It was deep.
Tim: I know. I had no idea, like about the history of comics or how deep it went as far as meaning. Yeah, it was powerful.
Abby: Yeah, and so I think there’s so much to explore with that that I just … I think maybe because I, growing up, was never really super interested in comics. I kinda tried to stay away from that, but it’s something that I see and I can tell by the shirts my students wear. They’re into comics. They’re into that, so that’s definitely something that was a big take away for me that I really need to dive into more and Ray provided a lot of resources for me to do that so I can’t wait to try that out.
Tim: Yeah, that’s awesome. And then my last one was just the electrical tape that Tess Hwang did. That’s really cool visually. I love the idea of having it on the floor, but then she also made it about identity and about meaning, which was just so much more powerful and I think that’s a great idea.
Abby: And on social media, one of the things that I saw someone post about that … They were lamenting that they had carpet on their floor. And so for those of you that weren’t watching, she was putting tape onto the linoleum. She’s like, “Oh, I could do that on my ceiling tiles.” So that’s kinda a good temporary way if you can’t paint your tiles or something like that, that you could try it out that way.
Tim: Yeah, definitely some really good ideas. Alright, I think it’s probably time for us to wrap it up there, so Abby, Lindsey, thank you so much for joining me. It was great to have you guys here all day for the conference, but I think it’s time for us to go home now. So thank you so much though.
Hey, that was a really fun conversation and a really fun couple of days just hanging out with Lindsey and Abby preparing for the conference and then just going through everything together today was … It’s always nuts behind the scenes. I hope you guys got to see a little bit of it on Facebook live and got to look at kinda what AOE headquarters is like on the conference and I hope you enjoyed the whole conference just when you were watching videos, seeing all of these new ideas, listening to all of these presenters. We tried a lot of new things with more hosts, more people on live chat. I think it went really well. Heard a lot of great feedback from people just during the event. And I love hearing both good feedback and bad feedback, so if you have anything you want to tell me about the conference or podcast or anything else as always, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and just let me know what you think.
Now, if you feel like you’re missing out or you have not yet registered for the winter conference, just go to artednow.com. You can check out everything that’s gonna be going on at the winter conference, February 2nd, 2019. We already have a handful of presenters up there and it’s gonna be quite a bit of fun. But most importantly, I think we discussed here which ideas are ready to go back to the classroom. One of the things that you can take back and use this school year and make your art room a better place. Make your art room a more enjoyable place and a better spot for learning for your kids. So just spend some time thinking about everything that you saw today, the ideas that you think are best and most importantly, how you can implement them and how you can bring these ideas to your kids to make your art room a better place to be. Because honestly, in the end, that’s what it’s all about.
Art Ed Radio is produced by the art of education with audio engineering from Michael Crocker. Now I think we are probably done with conference talk for a while, but I hope you enjoyed the podcasts about the conference, the Jen Stark interview, this post-conference wrap up. And I hope you enjoyed Art Ed Now itself. Now if you didn’t attend, make sure you are with us for the next one in February. My goal is to make each conference better than the last and I think we’ve been pretty successful at that so far. So I cannot wait to see what we can put together in February. So thanks for listening.