August, 2016

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Sneak Peek: Clayprinting at PAEA 2016

Some of the conference presentations I find most valuable as a teacher feature hands-on demonstrations. With that in mind, I offer you something else to add to your list of “Things to Check Out at the Conference” this year! Potter turned printmaker, Mitch Lyons will be doing a demo on making clay monoprints – bright and early Friday morning! I love printmaking with students, and I feel like they’d be very into these techniques (and the results):


Check out Mitch’s work at his website, and read the description below:


Mitch Lyons, innovator of the clayprinting process and author of The Art of Printing with Clay, will be demonstrating at this year’s PAEA Conference on Friday, October 7th, at 9:00 AM.  

Since 1968 Mitch has been pioneering his image making from a slab of leather-hard stoneware clay. Mitch will demonstrate how he applies colored slips, one color over another, and then builds a design using textures, slip trailing, pastels, and stencils. Once ready to print, a moistened piece of paper/canvas is placed over the slab. Pressure is applied using a rolling pin to transfer the clay slips onto the substrate to create a one-of-a-kind clay monoprint.  Using very simple techniques and tools, he is able to achieve very sophisticated results. You’ll be inspired to take this simple, non-toxic printing process back to your own classroom to teach your students!

You can view examples of Mitch’s clay monoprints by visiting his website  Several videos are also included on his site that show the process in action.  Visit him later at his booth in the vendor area where he will have his book, DVDs, calendars and more for sale.  

“Do we love our kids? Do they matter to us?”


There’s a lot going on in the world right now that affects many of our students’ lives, opinions, and environment as as well as our own. So when we are teaching or talking to our kiddos, how do we take everything into consideration? Are you wrestling with how to approach these issues in your art room?? I know I am. How do we make our art room the safe and nurturing environment it should be so that students can express themselves and grow emotionally?

This article was sent to me, and it resonates loudly. Click the text link below, and give it a gander:

How we talk with our kids 

“Part of our job as educators and caring adults is to make school a place where all students can find productive outlets for their emotions in response to the adversity and trauma they experience. But educators do not bear the sole responsibility for helping communities recover or changing systems that perpetuate injustice. ”

The article mentions that as educators we must be connected with our communities to help support our students and help them get through what the world is throwing in their faces. This, obviously is where we must go above and beyond our call of duty. This is our before and after school time, where we give ourselves selflessly to our profession without consideration of being compensated for that time. There are of course teachers who only work the contract, and I understand. BUT, if we truly want to affect change and to make a difference in our children’s lives and communities, then we have to give a little more of ourselves. I believe it to be our call of duty as educators. One does not get into this profession for the pay, nor do should they come into the classroom thinking their job starts and stops at the school doors. Being and educator in today’s world is demanding, and no one should have a veil over their eyes on that.

The article continues to give some advice on how we can help support our students, and as art teachers I believe we are the perfect conduit to follow through on those points. We see our students year after year- we are a constant in their life. We are the ones that can develop long and lasting relationships where students can come to trust us. Often, the art room is the place where they can fully express their dreams, hopes, rage, and personality and we need to remember to embrace that. Art educators need to give students that room for choice and expression so that they can fully realize their potential.

Naturally this article made me think about teaching from a trauma informed or trauma sensitive background. And during a summer where I am reevaluating and reconsidering my approach to classroom management, this article enforces my belief that we must be the calm and centered educator they need. If they lash out, don’t lash back. If they say hateful things, don’t take it personally. Always remain calm, and tell them you love them. And keep striving to make schools a better place, and the world a better place.

“So as we work to prepare our kids for the world they live in today, we will not stop fighting to create the world we want for them.”


BTW- This year’s theme for the PAEA is “social justice” and I hope that you consider how you approach these issues in your art room this year.

Thanks for letting me bend your ear.

Sneak Peek: Rande Blank’s Presentations

Rande Blank has been the Director of the MAT in Visual Arts Education program since 2012 and a faculty member with UARTS – Art + Design Education department since 2003, teaching graduate courses, and mentoring students in their practicum experiences. Most recently she has been selected to be on the Advisory Council for the Design-Ed organization and the Director of the Higher Education Division for the Pennsylvania Art Education Association. (Text borrowed from )

35011Rande will be delivering not one, but two presentations!

Support Your NAEA Student Chapter Through Fundraising Events: University Student Panel Discussion

Friday at 2:00 – 2:50 PM

University faculty and students discuss advocating for professional association participation, fundraising activities, conference proposal writing, and art education studio workshop opportunities. Experience pride and success with your university chapter. 


Design Thinking as a Problem Solving Process: 5 hands-on participatory activities

Sunday at 9:00 – 10:50 AM.

Teach students to become independent, innovative and thoughtful decision-makers.  Apply the design thinking cycle where problems are identified, solutions proposed, produced and evaluated. Participate in design activities to explore process.  

Sun-10-18-15_Blank-Design-Hands-On_06 Sun-10-18-15_Blank-Design-Hands-On_16

FREE art supplies!? Aaron Weber PAEA Conference Sneak Peek

Hello art teachers! Today I’m giving you another conference sneak peek – one that I’m guessing LOTS of us would be excited to master. Like so many of us who work in underfunded art departments, Aaron Weber knows the struggle. Check out his description of his presentation below, and pencil it in – Saturday October 10 at 2pm!

free art supplies PAEA 2From Aaron:

Worried about your lack of supplies and your almost non-existent budget? FREE ART SUPPLIES will provide tips and tricks for utilizing materials in different ways, collecting items that can be used in the classroom, and making supplies from ingredients you probably have in your kitchen cabinet.  All processes are fun and easy, and can become a lesson in itself.  You’ll even be excited about all of those catalogs and the unwanted paperwork you collected at the conference.
free art supplies PAEA
See some of Aaron’s projects and tips on his Instagram at @aaronteachesart.

Erica Mandell Conference Sneak Peek!

Here’s another great conference session coming up – jot this one down!

Erica Mandell’s session is called “Social Justice in the Art Classroom: An Interactive Kara Walker Study” on Friday 11-11:50:

Are you interested in incorporating activism through the arts into your program? Here is your chance to give your students tools to advocate for social justice issues they believe are important. During this session, I will share information on Kara Walker, give attendees conversation starters for empowering students and introducing activism in the art room, and give attendees a hands-on look at this lesson. Attendees will work together in groups, creating paper silhouettes representing social issues that are important to them.



Are you intrigued?  I am.  See you there!

Liza Dolmetsch and Amanda Eisen Sneak Peek

If you are a mobile art room teacher, that is to say- art on a cart, then be sure not to miss Liza and Amanda’s presentation at this year’s PAEA conference! I have the pleasure of knowing them both, and can attest to their creativity and problem solving when faced with any issue their teaching environment throws at them. Both ladies are art educators in the School District of Philadelphia, and have been involved in art education for some time now. Get connected with them- attend their presentation!

Before: cart1

After: cart2

Art on a Cart: Celebrating the Challenge!

Sunday October 9, 2016 at 11:00 – 11:50 AM.

Take advantage of PAEA to connect and build community face to face with other art on a cart teachers. We will discuss some of the unique challenges, both large and small, facing art on a cart teachers and share and collaborate on creative solutions. From cart hacks to mixed media solutions, advocacy and troubleshooting shared space, it’s all fair game! Come to share ideas, workshop challenges, and participate in discussion and activities for teaching art on the go.