On some scale, we can all agree that 2016 was full of ups and downs in our society but it’s important to keep a positive perspective. We are given the gift of being there for our community every day – what an honor! A K12 community helps remind us of the impact we all make and gives us another reason to keep things in perspective.
Matt and I have had a long-running motto that started when we were new parents: Keep Moving Forward. It came from a combination of watching Meet the Robinsons (side note, who doesn’t love the Rob Thomas’ song Little Wonders) and the really full year we had in 2006.
That year was full of love and blessings, as well as difficult times. We had been married for four years, Matt was in his second year of teaching, I was also teaching and finishing a masters and we were expecting our first child. Additionally, my mother was in her third year of courageously fighting cancer and was determined to see her grandson. She was there for his birth and helped us with the first ten days of parenthood but unfortunately, things went south just a few days later and Mom began hospice. We lost her eight short weeks after our son was born.
Tina Page was an educational guru – not just to me and Matt but to her students, prospective teachers she supervised and to teachers across the country in workshops, she leads. (Back in the early 2000’s, we didn’t have the PLN social media connections we have now or she would have already been picked up by Dave Burgess – ha!) Needless to say, her passing was extremely hard on me, our family and community.
My Nana was a very funny and yet very British woman, who, shortly after Mom’s death, told us, “You know, your Great-Granddad was a merchant marine and when he was in the middle of the ocean and someone died they’d just say a prayer, push the sailor overboard and keep moving.” A bit harsh? Maybe (but not if you knew my Nana and family!). Her point was clear, though: we all have to keep living. Shortly after all this, we watched Meet the Robinsons and found it fairly coincidental that the theme of “Keep Moving Forward” had surfaced again. So for the past nine years, when things get a little stressful or difficult, good or bad, we look at each other and say, “Keep Moving Forward.”
Flash forward to now and there are two more kids and a lot more educational/career experience under our belts! As many do this time of year, we have been reflecting over the last two years and feel we’ve found a niche in our careers, working together have found social media to help our peers and ourselves grow as educators and have made lifelong connections. We are moving forward together!
2016 was full of highlights for K12ArtChat especially in the K12 Community (so many that when we made a video, the condensed version was over 14 minutes long!). We’ve compiled a list of chats and transcripts for review, but personally, one of the best parts for us was the live video discussions with our guests’ hosts and been part of K12 Community. We had a blast talking to Tim Needles, Nic Hahn, Joy Schultz and so many of our friends, as well as artists and authors like Erik Wahl, David Goldstein, LaVonna Roth and more.
It was a great year chatting but we also had a lot of fun connecting with K12 Community, especially with the K12ArtChallenge and making art with this tribe of artists! We asked our counterpart, Arlene Shelton founder of the challenge, to share a few highlights and she knocked it out of the park with a video review.
And it continues – #k12ArtChallenge has started off 2017 with a bang in K12 Community! Join in this month with 15 seconds of creativity every day.
We ended our last chat of 2016 with a big announcement. As we keep moving forward, we continue to grow and now have an official sponsor to help support the work and growth: EducationCloset.com! We are thrilled to be partnering with them to bring you more live streams, growing our youtube channel library, interact more on Facebook with the community, and of course, continuing our weekly twitter chats! But best of all this sponsorship takes a little pressure off Matt and me in order to put first things first – our family. As we move forward though, we want to hear from the community. What do you need or want this year? Here’s a link to give us your input https://goo.gl/forms/aIeW0Mtt5qmpUqeB3
Stay tuned for more to come in 2017, we’re starting the year with a great chat from Holly Bess Kincaid with the topic Artfully Literate: Let’s Read, Write and Talk about Art! See you 1/5/17 at 8:15 on Facebook Live and 8:30 pm CST for #K12ArtChat on Twitter.
In 2017, remember to Keep Moving Forward and as always, we wish you Creativity.
- Matt and Laura
Laura and Matt Grundler are art educators from Plano, Texas. They are also proud parents, bloggers and founders of the popular Twitter Chat #K12ArtChat. After teaching middle school art, high school art and working as an assistant principal, Laura has moved into the role of district Visual Arts Coordinator. Matt started out as a graphic designer; however after finding the commercial side of design to be unsatisfying, he soon found his niche as a K-5 Art teacher. Both Laura and Matt are passionate about raising their three creative kids, sharing their love of art education with their professional learning network and continuing to grow everyday.