PAEA 2017 Conference Insights: Punk is dEaD-ucational!

Are you a teacher who thinks punk is dead?  GASP!  Well, did you know it’s actually dEaD-ucational!

It’s time to connect with Aaron to talk punk and DIY ethic.

Aaron Weber is an art teacher in Philadelphia who has been connected to punk culture since high school, and has been influenced personally and professionally ever since.

Aaron typing up his presentation notes…

Come on Friday, October 20 from 1:00-1:50 PM to learn about Aaron’s experiences, and how punk transformed him as a person and led him to develop a classroom environment that reflects the ethics and ideals of punk and DIY culture.  Aaron is an incredibly engaging presenter, so get ready to share a laugh and take home some valuable ideas for developing your own lessons!

Check out the Conference Schedule HERE!


PAEA 2017 Conference Insights: Film making!

Collaborative Stop Motion Films with Younger Grades 

Saturday October 21, 2:00pm-2:50pm in Brighton III- ACT 48 hours

Have y’all ever met Susan Liedke??? She is amazing! And the projects she leads within her pre-k classroom are inspired and inspiring. Because of the film work she does, I had faith in leading a stop motion film with my kindergarten kiddos. And…. it was aweeeesssssoooooommmmmmme! Please come and Come join myself, Leslie Grace, and Susan Liedke to learn about best practices in creating stop motion films and animations with pre-k-5th grade. And ear act 48 hours while you’re at it! Woo-hoo!

Itching to incorporate technology and stop motion animation with your lower grades? Whether you are in a choice–based or traditional classroom, learn how to manage and execute collaborative stop motion and/or time lapsed films with your youngest artists.

Media Arts: Teaching Film making in the Art Classroom

Saturday, October 21, 9:00 – 9:50 AM in Brighton IV- ACT 48 hours

If you teach at the secondary level, have no fear! Robb Bomboy & Cory Wilkerson will be there for ya! They will be leading a session on film making for the high school level art room, answering the question of, “How do I get started with teaching Media Arts?”

The importance of media arts literacy is exploding with the advent of smartphones and the internet. This session will provide attendees with a practical, national media arts standards–based approach to teaching film making in the art classroom. Focus will be drawn to pre–production planning, production, and post–production method for fiction and non–fiction film making. Strategies for establishing time lines and developing publication outlets will be examined.

Conference Program

PAEA 2017 Conference Insights: 3d!

Hi Art teachers! Getting ready for Pittsburgh? Here’s a couple sessions to look forward to if you’re trying to learn more about integrating 3d printing into your art studio:

3D Printing Benefits for the Art Room and Special Needs Students (presented by Chris Sweeney, Philly’s premier 3d printing enthusiast)

Friday, Oct 20th at 11:30am

Art ed meets design meets 3D Printing meets the world helping others for a better experience in the art room.

Getting Started with 3D Modeling, Scanning, Printing & Animation in the Classroom (presented by Robb Bomboy and Cory Wilkerson)

Saturday, Oct 21st at 3:00pm

How do I get started with teaching 3D modeling, 3D animation, 3D scanning and printing? This question is daunting for many educators considering the lack of content and skill based knowledge for emerging technologies. This session will provide attendees with a practical, national media arts standards–based approach to teaching 3D design in the art classroom using the powerful free software, Blender.


PAEA 2017 Conference insights: Mentoring and Student Teaching

Are you curious about how to help another art teacher? Whether you are new to the field, or have seen many art rooms in your days, all voices are valid and have fantastic ideas to share. Here are two sessions that might interest you:

Mentoring is Art Education Leadership. Will You be my Mentor?

Sat, Oct 21, 2 pm-Act 48 -Brighton ll (room)- Lisbeth Bucci

Join the discussion! Pre-service, current teachers and retirees….Mentoring can be both informal and formal. Let’s all actively become a more positive influence and leader in art education.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting…A Student Teacher!

Sunday at 10:00 – 10:50 AM– Brighton IV- Leslie Grace, Katherine Videira, Lauren Stichter, & Christina Franko Ulliano

Have you considered hosting a student teacher but are nervous about what to expect or what your role is? Are you going into your student teaching practicum soon and want a better understanding of what might be expected of you? Perhaps you are a supervising teacher and would like to express what you look for when you observe??
Then come to this session! Let’s help each other do the best that we can in our field!



Find out about more sessions here:

Conference Program

PAEA trip to Cuba!

Hola, Art Teachers!

This Summer, members of PAEA embarked on a trip from Pennsylvania to Havana to experience Cuban culture, learn about art and education there, and share ideas and inspiration with our fellow teachers.

In the midst of this Socialist island, we found ourselves in a sort of time warp, surrounded by latino culture, 50’s Americana, 70’s and 80’s Soviet influences. With our guide, we visited cities, small towns, and a biosphere, swam in rivers and the gulf, and met local Cuban artists in many mediums.

Instead of a complete reiteration of our itinerary, I thought I’d share a few inspirational highlights, with a special focus on those that I felt might lead to lesson plans:

FUSTERLANDIA (Jaimanitas, outside Havana)

Mosiac artist José Fuster has created a whole magical neighborhood, constantly expanding for the past 20 years. It was cool to explore the grounds and walk through his workshop, finding repeating themes and symbols in his work. His simple images and complicated forms reminded me of Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Gardens in Philly! I think I’m going to revamp an old Zagar lesson, showing some images of Fusterlandia to my students. What is the same, and what is different in these two artists’ work?


CAMERA OBSCURA (Plaza Vieja, Havana)

On the top floor of a vila in Havana (115 ft up!) a “Cámara Obscura” (invented by da Vinci) uses mirrors and a lens to project a live 360 degree view of Havana onto a platform in a pitch black room. I was in awe – as a photo student, I’ve been introduced to the concept of camera obscura, and even seen some primitive examples of it. This one though, blew me away. The operator used manipulated it and focused it with such precision that we could see individual figures on rooftops having breakfast and going about their days, far from where we stood. Two PAEA members shared ways to create camera obscura lessons with students in your studios or art rooms!


ANTWERP HANDS (Children’s Museum in Havana)

Across the plaza, we found a children’s art gallery featuring a traveling exhibit from Antwerp Hands. Loads of illustrated hands featuring the theme of friendship were on display, along with the ideas of different culture’s phrases, stories, and lore involving hands. I’ve got a feeling I’ve got a hand project in my future!



This rather out of the way spot is home to Korimakao Community Arts Group – which brings art, theatre, music and dance to small towns and the rural communities of Cuba. When we visited, we were treated to an enthusiastic live music performance, saw dancers perform in their studio, and got to see the visual art gallery featuring member’s work. The work on display gave me some ideas about presenting work in shows – particularly these cool spin art paintings which were displayed on light boxes! Definitely gave this work an added dimension.



We got to visit the Santander family pottery studio. All of us art teachers have thrown on a wheel at some point, and I gotta say, we were blown away with the deftness and skill we saw from these master potters. I’ve never seen something I know to be difficult look SO easy. It was awesome to get a live demo!
Among all the pots and vases (which were available for purchase, and yes, broke in my luggage on the way home), were these very cool delicate windchimes. I bought two, (one for home and one for my art studio), where I hope to use it as an inspiration so we can do some collaborative work with some air dry clay. Maybe each class will make one together?



One thing we noticed again and again through our travels on the island was the use of recycled materials. Like I do, you may associate Cuba with a sort of vintage aesthetic, and that’s no joke. With US embargoes going back 50+ years, access to general supplies can be sporadic, and acquiring “frivolous” materials (like art supplies) is nearly impossible. We saw so many beer cans, bottles, second hand fabrics, even palms – repurposed into visual art. I bought a couple small items that fit the bill to bring back and show my students when it comes time to do a recycling project! I know they’ll be impressed with the craftsmanship and ingenuity.


EMBROIDERY (mainly in Trinidad)

I can’t resist some beautiful embroidery. We saw so much cool textile/embellishment work (particularly in Trinidad) that made me decide I *must* get some needles and thread (or…floss?) into my kids hands next year. Gotta work on the logistics for that one!


TILE (Havana and Trinidad)

Sooo many crazy tiles. In the cities with older architecture, the beautiful ceramic repeating patterns were everywhere, and I couldn’t resist them. Bright colors, geometric and organic shapes, crazy combinations. Working out how I might implement this in a lesson. And into my kitchen.

What an awesome opportunity to bring new perspectives to our students. Can’t wait to see where else PAEA might go next! Keep your eye on the blog, IG, and turn out for conferences to learn more.

Video of our trip here!

The Art21 Experience, by Marie Elcin

Philadelphia art teacher, Marie Elcin, was one of ten art teachers from across the country to attend the Art 21 Summer Institute Workshops in New York City. What an honor for Marie, and how exciting for us to hear about her experience!! Perhaps it will inspire you to be one of the next Art21 educators? Thank you Marie for putting this blog entry together (and on such short notice!). Here in her words, Marie tells us about her Art 21 experience in NYC:

“When I attended Joe Fusaro’s session about ART21 at NAEA in New York this past March, I knew this was the year I had to go for it: apply to be an ART21 educator. The application involved writing about my viewpoints on contemporary art and how I use it in the classroom, and writing up a sample unit plan for a contemporary art experience. The fun, but challenging part of the application was filming and editing a 5 minute introductory video ( )to explain why I wanted to be in the program (they like to see your personality and tech skills!). When the acceptance announcement came out, ( ) I was over the moon with excitement and anticipation, and I couldn’t wait for the school year to hurry up and finish already so I could get to New York City.



Left: Leonardo Drew’s Studio

Right: Selfie with Calder at the Whitney



After traveling up to Manhattan on the 4th of July, we had a whirlwind week through the Whitney Museum of Art for workshops to Brooklyn for a visit to the studio of Leonardo Drew and Dieudonne for a paper-pulp painting workshop, to the Museum of Natural History for an institutional/curatorial critique with artist David Brooks, to a New York Public High School classroom to brainstorm with teens, and to the Kitchen for a performance by artist Aki Sasamoto.


Left: David Brooks and Joe Fusaro at the Natural History Museum

Right: Dieudonne Paper Pulp Painting Workshop




Left: Open Spaces Brainstorm

Right: Glen Ligon at Harlem Studios Museum




Along the way we had time to explore NYC museums on our own (hello Harlem Studio Museum!) and time to work and process the experience to start developing our own resources to use in the classroom. It was the best professional development I’ve ever had because we got to see art, meet artists, make art, and learn best practice from our peers through hands-on learning- not boring lecture.

I thought when I applied to the program that it would be just a one-year experience. What I’ve really become a part of is a community of educators around the country who are dedicated to ongoing professional development and collaboration with the focus on how to use contemporary art in the classroom. Not only was my 2017 YEAR 7 cohort of 10 educators from around the country attending the institute, but nearly 20 other educators joined us from past cohorts to introduce us to the practice of being an ART21 educator. Throughout the next year I’ll be collaborating intensely with members of my cohort and our mentors, but once an ART21 educator, always an ART21 educator.

I’m still figuring out what that will mean to me moving forward. The goal is to think about how to make learning in the art room inquiry based and not merely expressive. Contemporary artists research and explore ideas and questions that drive their practice- so students should be working in similar ways. How can we get students to ask questions and be motivated to find out the answers or experiment with ideas and artistic processes? How can we  create dialogue and reflection in the classroom when those big questions lead to difficult conversations? How can we encourage innovation and creativity among our students?

Fortunately, there is a wealth of resources available on the ART21 website to use as inspiration. Check out the Learning Library page, which has questions and prompts with related artists to look at: educator guides that accompany each season are all available as pdfs:

And now that the website has been revamped, each video is cross-indexed so you can see everything about a single artist that is available, including videos, image libraries, and articles.

Finally, ART21 puts out a monthly online magazine with info about artists and increasingly, articles by ART21 educators about how they are implementing contemporary art-based curriculum in their classrooms.

End of the 2016/2017 School Year

Hello PAEA folks and the greater community.

Christina, Sue, and I have divided up the months for blogging. June is mine, and I have been going back and forth on what I wanted to post about. School art shows?? Demonstration teaching lessons when applying for jobs?? I just could not gather enough info in time to talk about either.

So… I am sitting here at my desk, with my work computer (before I have to turn it in for the summer), and I have finished packing my room up…. I have put this blog off long enough. Time to commit.

I guess what’s really on my mind is what other art teachers have to do at the end of the school year to pack up their rooms.

To be frank, I am not even sure what I am supposed to do, but I know it’s best to shove as much as I can in my closet and cover up my shelves that I leave stuff on. Every year I am told something different for what to do with my room, so I guess I have decided to go with the “ask for forgiveness later” approach.

Here is what I do: Pack up all my iPads. They go in my closet first, as I want to make them the hardest to get to. Then, anything on wheels I start loading up, and roll in to the closet to fit like a game of art room tetris. I clear the window sills and make sure there are no “loose” art supplies on the shelves, floors, or any surface. From what I understand, the main thing that happens in my room over the summer is they mop and wax. I have been told I can keep my posters up. So I do. I know other rooms take them down, because apparently their walls get cleaned. I have ceramic tile walls, and I don’t think they much intend on cleaning those.

The entrance to my closet. Couldn’t even get to the back if I tried.

A side closet inside my closet. Just stuff on stuff.

The back of my closet. Again, stuff on stuff. All haphazardly stacked.

I stack my large tables on top of each other, so their is less to move around. Other teachers have to put their desks/tables/chairs in the hallway outside their classrooms. I did not have to do it last year, so I am not doing it this year. And plus, the other teachers get help from other janitors to do that. I don’t, so I won’t. (Not that I am not capable. I am totally like super strong. It’s weird how strong I can be, yet how frail I might look. lol) All my small desks/tables and stools are stacked and shoved into my giant closet.

Tables stacked.

I do not empty my desk. I am not worried about that. And no one told me I need to.

I cover up the smart board to protect it from …dust? I guess I should probably put a trashbag over the projector then… but I don’t have one. And asking for one will open a whole world of “what will you do for me” and I don’t want to become indebted for a trash bag. If I had the foresight yesterday, I would have packed one from home for today.

Smartboard covered, and shelves covered. (There are books still on the shelf.)

Obviously, all art is taken down from all over the school. Most of it I return, but some work from the last quarter I keep to display at the beginning of the school year so the halls are bright when the kids return. Some work I also hang on to for art shows or competitions at the beginning of the year that I might want to enter them in.

As the art teachers in our school, we have wayyyyy more stuff to move around, organize, and pack up than most teachers. And then to unpack and reorganize it all in the fall… in between all the meetings we are required to attend.. ugh! This is why I use the “ask forgiveness later” approach. There is a lot expected of us, and the rebel in me just wants to do what will make life easier in the fall upon return.

Soooo, I guess that’s it. What do you have to do? Is there concrete information given to you from your administration? Do you have to take stuff home?? (I sure hope not!)

Anyway, I hope y’all beautiful art teachers out there have a fantastic summer. This has personally been a tough year in my school and classroom, but I only see great things for the future. So when I unpack my closet cart by cart, and box by box at the beginning of the school year, I will think back to how my my school has achieved, and how much my art room has grown and will continue to grow.

Stay tuned for the July blog post from Sue Liedke which will be all about the PAEA trip to Cuba!! I can’t wait to hear all about it!!

Organization in the Art Room

The following query was posted to our PAEA Facebook Page. Members chimed in, and their responses are below for your benefit and organizational enjoyment! I’m getting goose pimples already thinking about the wonderful ways to organize!!!!

“Please share some of your unique and successful classroom organizational devices/structures. How do you store 2-D work? How do you store 3-D work? What do you feel is necessary to always have on the table? What are your art room life hacks? Etc…”

Marita Fitzpatrick of Bodine High School in Philadelphia suggests: “For small 3d (our recent stuffed toys): I have a copy paper box for each class. The students put their work in manila envelopes, write their names on them and I have one person from each table collect the envelopes and return them to the box. For 2d, each table puts their work in folders marked w the table color (tables are color-coded) and that goes in the copy paper box. This box is marked, period 1, period 2, etc. I have a closet of shelves for ceramics and each kid gets a shoe box to store their stuff in. It keeps the others from touching the work and breaking it. Students wrap their work in dry cleaning plastic to keep it moist. I regularly have kids empty the drying rack, sort the work and put it in the copy paper boxes. I keep nothing on the tables, because the stuff disappears and they put trash in the containers. I store markers and colored pencils in plastic pencil boxes on open shelves in the room and number them. I never look at the numbers or count them, but the kids think I do, so nothing disappears. On those shelves, I also have scissors and other frequently used supplies that students have open access to.”

Alison Elizabeth of Lancaster, PA shares her planning strategy: “Each class I teach is a different colored sticky note. This calendar is glued into the front of my sketchbook (which I use for all of my demos, meeting notes, and conference notes). It’s all with me and ready to go at all times.”

Linda Keels suggests making the investment in folding tables from the local hardware store (she uses 3) for about $30-40 a piece—there is room to hold up to 6 classes worth of work (she teaches 12) which forces her to keep it moving and the kids to stay on track for 3-D things.

Eleanor A-Evans For stores 3D work, such as clay sculptures and paper mache on ‘mobile pan racks’ (like the one in the photo- thanking Google image search). Depending on your supplies resources, the cost on the average is under $90, and can be the solution for saving space and stowing away the masterpieces!

Julie Schedin share with us how her students creatively tackle this issue with a little design thinking! “My Crafts class yarn bombs a coat hanger. They own the airspace above their seat, and hang all work (basket weavings, etc) from the coat hanger in the drop ceiling. The room develops a type of “rainforest canopy” but a least we can keep 3d projects organized and handy.”

Judi Treffinger of Carlisle, and formerly the Carlisle Area School districts has an idea for yarn storage! “You know all those large gallon sized plastic food containers your cafeteria gets when they purchase food? I duct tape then together with the open sides up and use them to store and separate skeins of yarn. They can sit on a counter top, or stash neatly in a cupboard with open ends facing out- all colors are visible and yarn doesn’t get tangled!”

Moore College of Art and Design Alumni, Autumn Rae suggests art teachers to follow her Instagram: mrsdow_artroom where shes posts things about classroom display and specific grade levels k-5 . She posts lots of classroom things about organization what materials I use.

Autumn also shares:

“- Container store bins are the best!
– It needs to be organized and colorful for me to function. I cannot stand messes or piles.
– I keep messes at the middle table whenever possible.
– I use my drying rack when I can but I actually love rolling out a sheet of paper and either working on the floor with the kiddos or having them dry their work flat and organized on a sheet of paper. Work great for printmaking each student gets a row for all their prints.
– All my notes are on my Instagram that describe each photo and what it relates to classroom, display, or a grade level.”

Autumn teaches art to 881 students k-5 students. She describes, “We are an emotional support school with a high ESL population and also a title 1 school. I have put lots of my own money into my class but once the upfront cost is paid off then I have all these organizational systems in place for years to come. I need everything organized like I said but also kid friendly. I have created two closets for classroom teachers and stock it at the beginning of the year so they don’t ask me for supplies I need for my own classes.”

Woah Autumn! Thanks for all of that!!! Loooooove the colors!!! And there is no denying where those pencils came from!!

Daisy Konowal uses a system of table color folders. 2 sets- one for work in progress and one completed work. Also, Daisy uses sheets/fabric/blankets to cover her shelves to limit access to shelves.

Sunnylee Mowery of Philadelphia’s Greenfield Public School strives to make my classroom organization methods so easy a kid can do it! Each table is color coded and this helpful chart rotates at the start of each week so everyone knows who is in charge of what. The artists are expected to pass out work and supplies, monitor volume, tidy table bins and floors, and even call each other to line at the end of class.

Sunnylee has clearly labeled bins with teacher name are organized by grade level. All supplies that accompany the project are placed above in their grade section.

Sunny poses the question, “How do students monitor sound, you ask? The volume giro migrates to the table in charge of volume each week. If the room gets too noisy, the students “ring” the giro to signal to the class to quiet down. If we get 3 giro rings, we lose the privilege to talk.”Click Here for a link to the video of the magical giro sounds that have the power to quiet students!

Kim Horan Colasante, art teacher in the School District of Philadelphia  shares, “My routine is very much the same as Sunny’s. Each table has a color, table folders or student folders are matched to the table they sit at. I have a job chart, students give out folders, supplies, paint patrol, and floor sweepers. Jobs rotate weekly according to table colors. Supplies are located in front of the room and Barney’s Cleanup song plays at the end of every class 10 minutes to go. The students know to stop, put their work away and do their jobs. The ones that are done sing to barney. (I teach middle school) they dab to it also. It only plays for a minute so work must be away by the time song is done. then folders are collected and floors swept etc. 3D work is done a bit differently due to lack of space in classroom. When Barney plays each table brings me their 3d work and I place it in a special section so that they may retrieve it the following day. Clay is kept in large Rubbermaid containers until in it ready for drying.”

What do you do in your classroom?????

UArts and Design Thinking

A couple of Saturdays ago I attended the Alumni and Friends workshop series offered at University of the Arts. It was a fantastic learning day overall, even though I was battling some serious post nasal drip (TMI?)…

I was most intrigued with the keynote when learning about the Design Lab School in Delaware, and how they are 1 in 10 schools to have been awarded a prestigious Super School grant, which you can read about in the below article.

Super School

I have been acclimating myself to design thinking for a few years now. I am a part of the Design Issues Group in the NAEA (you should be too!) and I find a lot of inspiration in this way of thinking. And truthfully, it’s not far off from what we already do, but there seems to more more intentional thought and focus that goes into the process for problem solving design issues.

But back to the keynote… This blurb taken from the UArts event page gives a description of the talk:

Can Design Thinking Transform Schools in the 21st Century?
Design Thinking is a way to bring K-12 schools into the 21st century. Schools haven’t changed much from the factory model developed for efficiency a century ago. We need to take education from the Model T to the Tesla. Talk with design leaders from the $100 million XQ Super School award winners and become part of the conversation about transforming education through Design Thinking. “

A quote they shared at the beginning of the keynote that really resonated with me:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”― R. Buckminster Fuller

…That is what Design Lab has aimed to do…


So, Design Lab is not specifically an art school. They are a school that engages students in design thinking to every aspect of their learning in the school. They engage students in visual communication making it a more universal way of learning, and use the design thinking process to evolve students ideas into amazing results.

The process is similar to the Scientific Method, with the exception that the Scientific Method tests the “known”. With Design thinking, one is solving for the unknown, or the X-quotient (XQ). It involves a process to get to a result we do not know about… a “what if??”

The leaders of the school spoke of Meliorism, that is, the belief that the world can be made better through human effort. The intention of these super schools is to build a school model that does not fight the existing reality of how schools currently operate, but to build a new model which could be applicable to schools across the country. To me this is absolutely revolutionary. I got goosebumps thinking about the progress and impact we could make in our students lives… but I also feel concern.

How do we create this change? How could a new model of schooling and learning get effectively implemented in our schools and districts without damaging the systems that are already in place. As an advocate for public schools, I do feel some apprehension here. I feel there are larger conversations that need to take place regarding this. But I also see the promise in this sort of system… I just don’t know how we evolve without leaving some people or students at a disadvantage. How could we implement a model like this to work effectively in our public schools? Is it possible? I am just spit balling questions here now? I am by no means an expert on this? Nor am I saying this is the answer to all our education issues. I just see this as an innovation in education, and I wonder, what next?

What do you think? What questions does this bring up for you? Do you think this is a sustainable idea?

I do hope my line of thought is clear in this post. It’s a heavy topic. I am concerned for where education is headed in our country and I suppose I am searching for hope, for answers, and for direction.

Last lil bit here… I was made aware of a book I plan to read next… maybe you will be interested in it also Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. 

Just need to finish this book first…

A taste of Tyler

FYI art teachers:

​This is the link to the Tyler Web site with all the info.​
Workshops are: