VAEA Annual Conference

I spent the last three days at the Virginia Art Education Association Annual Conference in Richmond,Virginia.


Conference location in Midlothian


One of the tricky parts about conferences such as this is that one person can’t see it all. I wish I could have seen all of the presentations given by my friends and colleagues, but I had to make tough choices at each session. That’s a sign of a good conference if you ask me.IMG_0040.JPG

Here are some of my own personal highlights, maybe they will inspire you to try something new, get to the next conference, or join the organization (or your own local art education association).

  • Art teacher Anne Carroll brought along Jenn, her second grade teacher colleague, to talk about their collaboration to develop writing skills in their second grade students. Connecting their instruction through writing, and such simple means as displaying the same artwork in their rooms really made a difference leading to higher writing scores.
  • Carol and Jean-Marie presented a series of really strong lessons based on the conceptual idea of Transformation.I was familiar with these lessons but was reminded just how fantastic they are, so much potential for higher level thinking in the art room.
  • Bettyann presented a great overview of feedback, what it means for teachers and students, and guidelines for using it effectively as a formative assessment strategy. We forget that we are giving feedback all of the time, even with our body language. Being intentional about how we do this can become a powerful teaching tool for both students and teachers.
  • I’m very excited about a new publication, coming soon from our friends at James Madison University. Art Educators on Art Education is a collection of chapters by experts in the field that promises to be a great resource to JMU students and all of us.
  • Sara engaged us in activities to help us think about nontraditional learners in the art room and provided wonderful food for thought regarding how we interact with students with learning differences. This is such an important topic that art teachers deal with every day.
  • Libya shared exciting strategies for engaging families and making the learning in art even more meaningful by sending home portfolios with elementary students. The methods she uses to get families to have a conversation about learning in art is truly inspiring.
  • David shared his take on Art’s Big Ideas. If you have read my posts in the past you know that big ideas are an area of interest for me (See this post). David had some very interesting ideas that I might just have to explore further in a future post.
  • And I might have to do that in conjunction with Barbara’s ideas on Unpacking Big Ideas. In her presentation, we went through the process as a group. The experience was fun, enlightening, and informative.
  • I was intrigued with Emily’s presentation on her research related to visual journals and how they impact learning and creativity.
  • Sheera, Ashton, Caitlin, and Jenn shared their experience planning for and presenting museum learning experiences.
  • And a number of pre-service teachers shared their ideas in a lesson plan showcase. It was great meeting so many of you and learning about your experiences. I look forward to getting to know many of you in the future as you enter the profession!

It was also great reconnecting with my colleagues from the Northern Virginia Region, and the Supervision and Administration Division.

A huge thank you to all of the conference organizers. Everything went smoothly, at least from my perspective, and there were some great presentations!





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