AEIC 2015 - We Love Learning!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of helping host an Arts, Equity, and Innovation Conference for teachers. This was the third Saturday of ‘free PD’ that has been organized and hosted by members of my team during this school year. (You can read my posts about EdCamp and the PUSH Conference from earlier in the year.) These events are playing a key role in transforming mindsets about professional development and innovation in education. They have certainly opened my eyes to the importance of providing venues for teachers to learn and share, an area I have identified as important as we try to find ways to #makeschooldifferent.

Yesterday’s conference had a special vibe that is only felt in the presence of artists. Attendees learned about drumming, silk screening, printmaking, strumming, dancing, and drama. Sessions focused on things like assessment, student voice, equity, and social justice. A variety of vendors and guests energized our innovation space with gorgeous examples of art making and some fabulous teaching (and crafting!) resources. 

Attendance at the conference was excellent considering the conditions: yesterday was a beautiful, sunny Saturday, it is Mother’s Day weekend, and our elementary teachers are about to begin a work-to-rule campaign as part of their ongoing efforts to negotiate a new contract. Much like with EdCamp (which also happened on a sunny Saturday) our teachers did not disappoint. They had not paid for the event, and there was no consequence for not attending, but they came just the same.

The rewards for attending?
  • connecting with friends and colleagues from across the school board
  • learning how Art can help us connect with some of our least engaged students (because even boys love yarn-bombing)
  • listening to student presenters share their views on ways to improve their learning by giving them more control and focusing on providing meaningful feedback
  • communicating the importance of Art to our overall well-being
  • learning how deeply we can integrate Art into math and other parts of our curriculum
  • sharing ways to use Art to help make our world more equitable and just
  • teaching ideas for creating Art using tools and techniques that are appropriate to our school budgets
  • coming together to create beautiful things with the help of expert makers

      Have you held this type of PD event in your school board or district? You should seriously consider it...check out the #aeic2015 tweets from yesterday to see the impact it had on some of our teachers:


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