I Could Be at NAEA Right Now. Should I Be at NAEA Right Now?

I’m missing the National Art Education Association convention this year. While I would have loved to travel to San Diego (it’s snowing in Columbus tonight), networked with old friends and colleagues (Shout out Craig, Elizabeth, and Michelle. Love you Amy!), and heard some inspiring talks by new voices, I have so much going on at home it wasn’t in the cards. Perhaps if the proposal I submitted had been accepted I would have tried harder.

Back in December when I made my final decision to stay home this weekend, my colleagues were bummed and made me feel (just a little) guilty that I wouldn’t be there to hang out together and represent our program. That I could handle. In the abstract, I was fine saying no. I made the call based on issues unrelated to my academic self, for reasons that relate to why I’m a full-time adjunct and not climbing the mountain to tenure. I wasn’t yearning to go.

But then this happened:

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Hilary was one of my students at UF. She lives in Northern California and graduated in December. Her project was one of those I wrote about in my inaugural capstone round-up. Meeting her would have meant something. Her project was intense, and important to her personally and to me for the professional challenges it provided.

Our students meet one another during on-campus summer studio sessions in Gainesville. They meet the faculty who teach on campus as well. But I remain, primarily, words on the screen punctuated by a few video chats. Attending the conference is one of the few times we have together, live and in person, at least those of us who show up. This time I didn’t. Next time I will.


Picturebooks on the Potty: Vol. 2, No. 5

I have a lot of students at UF who are interested in the STEM and STEAM movements in education. It makes sense since these initiatives are getting a lot of attention (read: funding), and provide avenues for project-based learning connected to real-world issues and ideas.  Cora and I recently fell in love with two picture books that could be used to illustrate STE(A)M concepts and learning.


Rosie Revere, Engineer (Beaty/Roberts, 2013)

Rosie Revere is a tinkerer. She repurposes found objects into all sorts of wild inventions. Her Great Great Aunt Rose, a “Rosie” who worked on planes during WWII, comes to town just in time to encourage her to follow her dreams when she is about to give up. The story and illustrations effortlessly weave together the history and contemporary position of women in male-dominated roles. In so doing, these two Rosies subtly invite more girls to play an active role in shaping the world we live in.

The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale (Guarnaccia, 2010) is a welcome alternative to the old classic that anyone with an appreciation for modern architecture and design must check out. Fans will immediately recognize the styles of Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Phillip Johnson – both in the pigs attire and the shelters they construct for themselves. The book deftly makes use of these men’s most famous works as stand-ins for straw, sticks, and bricks. This is one of those picture books that could very easily find a home outside your local elementary school.