Tag Archives: NAEA15

Presenting at NAEA15 NOLA



On a whim, I thought I would put a proposal in to present at the NAEA National Conference in New Orleans.  The proposals were due at the end of May last year, or something like that, and I cut it pretty close.  I don’t know why I put in that proposal…my husband had recently become unemployed and I wasn’t sure if we could even afford it.  But, I decided we would figure it out if I was accepted.

Fast forward to the beginning of the school year.  I received an email saying I was in.  I was in shock.  I knew many had proposed, and I was honored that I was a lucky one that was accepted.  Now, I had presented before at my state conferences. In fact, my first presentation was as a first-year teacher.  I was presenting a 3-lesson unit I had done during my student teaching.  The room was packed for that and I was nervous as hell.  But, all went well and I was glad I had done it.  Another time I presented I did a hands-on session.  While it was totally fun, I hated bringing all the supplies with me.  However, this was my first National conference.  Things would be different.  The audience base was a gazillion times bigger than Texas.  Talk about pressure.

This time I was going to present about how I have my students create altered books.  I chose to do a lecture-type presentation that would last about 25 minutes.  My session was called “Altered Books: Exploration Around a Theme”.  I created my powerpoint.  I gathered all the photos I had from various years.  And, I packed up a bunch of books my students had graciously allowed me to take to NOLA. I created business cards that had my session info and a QR code that linked to all of my information (website, email, twitter accounts, school website, etc.)  I highly suggest this.  It made it so easy to share things with others.  I was even able to give out at other times to teachers I had met during the conference.

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To say I was nervous is to put it lightly.  I was nervous I would talk too fast.  I was nervous no one would show up.  I was nervous I would flub.  I sat in the hall outside my room going over my slide show.  I knew the information by heart.  I don’t know why I felt the need to go over it.  It didn’t really calm my nerves.  Then people started to show up, waiting with me outside the room.  They were there for me.  I was starting to calm down.

I finally got in the room to set up.  I began putting the books on the table and it was like a signal went out the art teachers in the room.  They began to swarm the table.  I felt a sense of calm, and my worries melted away.  The room was full of art teachers–way more than I anticipated.  I began my show.  I was steady.  I slipped in my humor.  I talked with pride about my students.  I didn’t rush.

Basically, I felt I rocked it.  Later, during the rest of the weekend, when random people came up to me and said how much they enjoyed my presentation…I knew I had.

I look forward to presenting again.  I already have the wheels turning, trying to decide what I want to present about.

For those that didn’t attend, here are some files from my presentation.  Message me or comment if you have any questions.  I love sharing.

NAEA15 in NOLA: A first-timer’s review



Last May, (I think it was May), I took a chance and decided to throw my hat in and wrote a proposal for a presentation for NAEA15 in NOLA.  I hadn’t presented at a conference in years, and I don’t know what possessed me to try this time.  Tons of art educators also submitted proposals, so I figured my chances were slim.  Months went by as we waited patiently to get an email letting us know our proposal had been selected.  As luck would have it, mine was.

I’ve been teaching for 8 years now.  And, I am sad to say, that this was my first trip to a national conference.  I have attended many state conferences over the years (including my college years), but for one reason or another–mostly my kids and lack of funds–traveling out of state just wasn’t in the cards.  But this year, I had to, as Tim Gunn–our keynote speaker would say–make it work and get my butt to New Orleans.

I feel so lucky that my family was able to send me over to NOLA.  This has been a wonderful experience in my teaching career.  In short, I learned a lot, I made new friends, I met some of my internet colleagues, and I had some yummy food.

As with any convention, there are some sessions that are meh, some that are okay, and some great sessions that pumped me up.  The topics were relevant or were intriguing enough that I could make it relevant.  One that I loved was called “Existentialism and Evocative Design in Teenage Artwork”.  The speaker was Jesse Dortzbach.  My biggest take-away from that session (albeit not the only thing I am taking from it) was:



I went to tons of sessions about TAB and Choice in the classroom.  I sat and soaked it all in, reflecting on my practice, comparing/contrasting what others were doing.  After attending Ian Sands’ and Melissa Purtee’s session on choice in the high school classroom, I sat and talked with two teachers for over a half hour about TAB, how I came to use it, and what it looks like in my classroom.  One of the teachers was someone I have friended online, so it was nice to finally meet face to face.  The other was a gentleman from Chicago.  I *think* I helped convince him to take that chance on TAB and move forward to implement it.

This brings me to another great aspect of the National Convention…something I haven’t really experienced at my state convention…and that is meeting people.  I met a ton of people.  I have been chatting with people for almost 2 years now on Facebook and Twitter, but that’s all it’s been, chatting. They have just been images on my computer screen.  It was so nice to finally put real people to their profile pics and twitter handles.  I was able to hear voices.  I was able to laugh with them, smile with them, share moments with them. I worked and designed  a purse with Cassie StephensPhyllis Brown and Julie Shields in Tim Gunn’s “Ready, Set, Design: Bringing Design in the Art Classroom” session.

I met my #ArtsEd PLN and tweeted with them.  I got to talk face to face with Janine Campbell, one of my partners in crime for #TABChat.  I met my TAB colleagues at a drinks meet-up.  I gathered with Art Teacher Facebook Group friends for more drinks after that.  I could keep going, but I won’t.  I’ll stop by saying it was fabulous.

Now, NAEA created an app for the conference.  Before the conference, I wasn’t so in love with it.  But, once in NOLA, turns out it was good.  I used it for all my sessions…never needing my paper catalog.  The app had an activity feed where you could post statuses and pictures.  It was a bit overwhelming because several people posted waaaaaay too much and some posts would get lost.  However, Friday I posted a plea for some dinner company.  A couple of ladies replied, and I met up with them and a few more and had a great dinner.  We ended the night with a fun walk down Bourbon Street. The next day I met two of them for lunch and we several of us had our final dinner down in the French Quarter.

For me this is huge.  When I don’t know people, I am super shy.  But, on this trip, I put that aside and just went.  I put myself out there.  I told myself that I wan’t going to just sit in my hotel room…  And I didn’t.

Some lessons I learned as a first timer:

  • Wear comfy shoes.  And, just because you can walk around in your cowboy boots all day at school…walking around the convention center and NOLA in them is not the same.
  • Wear what you want.  I was worried about what to bring.  I decided that I would bring what I wear to school–jeans and nice shirts.  It was perfect.
  • The conference hotel isn’t always your best bet.  I stayed at a cheaper hotel (Thanks @Hampton). It was closer to the main convention sessions than the Hilton, it was cheaper, and it had free breakfast.
  • Business cards were a plus.  I am glad I made some.  It really made things easy at the end of my session and to give people my info.
  • Put yourself out there.  Don’t be afraid to talk to people.  Don’t be afraid to meet up with new people.  Don’t just sit by yourself in your hotel.  Do stuff!!!
  • Say hi and smile!  If you see another teacher with that NAEA lanyard…smile at them.  Hopefully your happiness will rub off and they will smile back.


One thing I didn’t talk about here was my session.  I will be creating a separate post on that.  It rocked so hard that it deserves more than a blurb in this post.

All in all, it was an amazing time.  Like I said, I am so grateful that my family was able to swing it for me to go.  I am already looking forward to hopefully going to Chicago for NAEA16.  I guess I best get to saving my milk money.