IMG_3591Accomplished, talented, and respected Lower School art teacher Ms. Kat Mattimoe recently represented MVPS as a presenter at the National Art Educators Association’s (NAEA) annual conference. With years of expertise, she partnered with Trinity’s art teacher Pat Kerner to share their collective perspective on the challenging task of assessing students’ choice-based art.

Upon her return, Ms. Kat reflected on her experience, in a Q&A format:

How did you end up at NAEA?

I am a member of the National Art Educators Association. This group is my “tribe” — artists, art educators, sellers of art supply products. Pat Kerner is an art teacher at Trinity who invited all the AAAIS art teachers to a get together. She talked about Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB) and choice-based art as we all talked about what we did. I was fascinated and knowing the culture of MV thought I’d give it a try. I read about it over the summer and when school started in 2012-13 I started doing art with the kids the choice-based way. Pat told me about a summer workshop in 2013 for SE TAB teachers, I went and learned more. I kept in touch with Pat and when the conference was announced to be in Chicago I reached out to do a presentation with her. She has presented many times so I figured she’d know what might be a good topic. We are working on assessment in the Middle School, so I thought it would be something of interest to others. When students make their own art assessment is on a different level.

What was the best part of your experience?

I’d been to a few presentations, so I hoped there would be at least 25 people who came AND stayed through the whole thing. You can’t believe how amazed I was when every chair filled and people sat on the floor in the front and stood in the back. Some art teacher friends from ATL said they were sorry to miss our presentation, but they couldn’t get in. It was so great to share our practices with so many interested people. There were questions afterwards and we just had to stop, because the next group needed to set up! ALSO in the room was one of the authors of the book I use and some of the pioneers of TAB. Sharing the well with like-minded people!

Which initiatives/theories/practices do you plan to implement in your class as a result of your exposure at the conference?

One of the presentations I attended was about mindfulness and meditation. When the world rolled over to the new millennium, I made a New Year’s Resolution to have a “quiet moment” before each class. I stopped doing that a few years ago, but like how mindfulness/meditation is being used in school settings. I’m going to try to use that. I also learned more about TAB that I will implement.

What surprised you the most on your trip (anything!)?

  • Chicago has a lot of great public art. People are so interested in TAB.
  • Art teachers have some very interesting hair colors.
  • How much I love Chicago–too bad it is so cold.
  • That the lake is not grey but beautiful blues.

Which museums did you visit?

We went to the Chicago Art institute on our first day and saw the exhibit of VanGogh’s Bedrooms. It is a fabulous museum. I returned with my godchild and her husband who live in Evanston, IL (I hadn’t seen her for 2 decades!).

What inspired you the most?

  • Our keynote speaker was amazing! Jean Houston set the tone for the conference (her talk: The New Renaissance of Art in Education).
  • The enthusiasm and variety of choices of presentation.
  • The Art!
  • The friendliness of the city.
  • The enthusiasm for our presentation.
  • One of our parents: Kristi McCarthy, Executive Director of Educator Outreach of Savannah College of Art and Design! Mr. Neylon told her I would be presenting, so she invited me and three other art educators to dinner on Friday night.

I especially want to give a shout-out to a school that encourages teachers to keep learning!

#IMAMUSTANG: Thank you, Ms. Kat, for continuing to soak it all in as you so eloquently share out.

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