This presentation will support teachers who appreciate the irreplaceable value of traditional art lessons, but struggle with the cliche, outdated, or disengaging qualities that sometimes accompany them. Attendees will walk away with concrete and adaptable ideas to transform conventional art projects into innovative and exciting contemporary variants. The presentation will begin with a brief discussion on the benefits, challenges, and stigmas that accompany traditional art lessons, and how their experiences have varied in urban and suburban settings. Next, the session shares big-picture strategies for infusing unexpected and inventive adaptations into stale lessons. Last, the bulk of the session will offer a dozen specific before and after lessons in a variety of media, complete with student samples and resources for implementation. The presenters noticed in their near 20 years of teaching experience that other secondary educators sometimes have divisive perspectives on what constitutes quality curricular content: skill-building vs ideation, student-driven versus teacher-driven, old versus new. This presentation aims to facilitate a dialogue on balanced practice and encourages teachers to embrace ways to find value and joy in all approaches, bridging pedagogical gaps along the way. More importantly, attendees will leave this session with a laundry list of electrifying lesson stems that can be implemented in the classroom the next day!
Janet Taylor is a high school art teacher at Naperville North High School (western suburbs of Chicago), teaching any and all media (drawing, painting, digital art, play production, sculpture, jewelry/metals, ceramics). Janet received a B.A. from the University of Iowa in Theatre Arts (Set Design emphasis) and a B.A. in Studio Art (Painting emphasis). After spending 10 years in NYC and Chicago working as a Scenic Artist, she returned to her passion of teaching at the college level. In 2010, Janet received an M.Ed. in Secondary Education at DePaul University, and has taught at 3 different schools including Chicago Public Schools and the suburbs. Over the past 5 years, Janet has worked to develop Choice-Based curriculum in Jewelry/Metals, Photography, Sculpture, Ceramics, and AP Art and Design (all 3 portfolios). You may have seen her presentations at NAEA and/or IAEA over the past several years, in which she discusses her journey (both successes and failures) to move her classroom structure into the Choice/TAB realm. Janet is a painter and mixed media artist, mother of two, an extroverted introvert, and loves the color orange.
Matt Milkowski has taught 10 years of Art Survey, Studio Drawing, & A.P. Drawing Portfolio at Kenwood Academy (Chicago Public Schools). While occasionally tempted to bolt and become a field ecologist of some sort, he currently embraces both the indescribable joys and stresses of being an art educator. He received a BFA in Painting & MFA in Art Education from Boston University. He has presented over 20 times at various national and state art education conventions, the Crocker Art Museum, Depaul University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s TEN conferences, and professional development sessions. Matt sponsors the world famous Kenwood board game and camping clubs. Outside of education, he is a musician, hobby game designer, and painter. He loves his amazing family, orcas, regular bears, and the Chicago Bears. Matt believes that a well-rounded and balanced art education provides essential value for all students, widening their view of the human experience, and fueling their potential as active & meaningful contributors to society at large.