Sessions and Speakers List

Here’s a full listing of our sessions and speakers.  Feel free to print this out as you prepare for the conference.

Nic Hahn

Session Title: A Creative Way to Introduce Sphero to Your Classroom

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description: Sphero is a programmable robot perfect for student use.  It is an amazing way to teach students programming because of the simplicity and immediate feedback from the tool itself. Before working with this robot to program, I suggest teaching through play.  In my one hour Visual Arts Class I taught Kindergarten through fifth-grade students how to use the Sphero in several creative ways.  We created a dark room to drive the Sphero in to emphasize the light feature.  Sphero is waterproof so we drove them in a pool of water. The students practiced how to drive the Sphero in a ‘trick station’ complete with jumps and obstacles. Their driving skills were also practiced as they rolled the Sphero through paint to create a large, collaborative artwork. After a day of play, every class was ready to dive in deeper to the higher level thinking that can be achieved by using this amazing robot. I’m excited to share with you the adventures of introducing Spheros to my Elementary students

Presenter Bio: I’m Nic Hahn, K-5 Visual Arts Teacher in Rogers, Minnesota. I have had the opportunity to teach students pre-school through adults in my 15 years of teaching. I’m a teacher who loves to incorporate technology with hands-on Art. I’m always willing to learn and grow as an educator. I often celebrate the happenings of my Art Studio by blogging about my classroom on I also share and connect with other educators on social media. Always looking to growing my #PLN (professional learning network) so follow me on Twitter @MiniMatisse or Instagram @MiniMatisseArt.

Todd Burleson

Session Title: Early Childhood Makerspaces

Focus: Early Childhood

Session Description: Robotics can seem daunting at first glance.  This session will give you several hands-on examples of how to integrate robotics into your elementary program.  Todd will highlight several robotic platforms that teach problem-solving, collaboration and coding.  You will be ready to jump in and let your student’s explore robotics after this fast-paced informative session.

Presenter Bio: Todd Burleson is a 24-year veteran educator with experience from Kindergarten to College.  He is the library media specialist at Hubbard Woods Elementary School in Winnetka, IL.  He was named the 2016 School Library Journal School Librarian of the Year.  He is passionate about helping teachers and students find the balance between books and bytes.

Tori Cameron

Session Title: Cardboard Creations: Integrating Cardboard into your Classroom

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description (live): This session will explore ways to integrate cardboard into the classroom. We will discuss and examine inexpensive cardboard-based STEAM lessons and activities that students of all ages will love. The cardboard-possibilities are endless and can be incorporated into any subject matter. Start saving your recyclables; you’ll want to start creating right away!

Session Description (breakout): Hosting a Cardboard Challenge  Are you interested in hosting a Cardboard Challenge? During this session, we will explore ways to host a cardboard challenge in your classroom, school or community! What does a cardboard challenge entail? Who is Caine and what is his arcade? Find out during this session!

Presenter Bio: Tori Cameron resides in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts and holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Teaching. She taught as an elementary teacher before becoming Director of STEM Curriculum for a nonprofit organization.  A life-long learner and lover of education, Tori is constantly looking for new ways to incorporate STEM into any activity. Tori is passionate about making STEM accessible in any classroom environment. She aims to provide fun and exciting STEM activities, that will have students talking for days!

Don Goble

Session Title: 6 word story/6 unique shots

Focus: MS/HS

Session Description (live): Explore an activity that brings the writing process to life with digital storytelling. A simple six-word story, created as a video with six unique camera shots, allows students the ability to tell a powerful visual story. This presentation will guide educators through a unique project that addresses the fundamentals of media literacy, filmmaking, and the digital storytelling process.

Session Description (breakout): Video Journalism with your Device  A full video production studio resides within an iOS device, and I want to help you learn ways you and your students can leverage the power of mobile video. Non-fiction creation is a key element to national English Language Arts standards, so adding journalism to your curriculum is a fantastic way to meet these requirements. Simple apps, along with free content on iTunes created by the presenter, will guide our learning.

Presenter Bio: Don Goble is a high school multimedia instructor from St. Louis, MO. He works in a 1:1 iPad school environment and offers students and educators innovative ways to leverage video and media literacy into classroom practices and projects. Don was a part of the 2011 Apple Distinguished Educator class. You can connect with him at or @dgoble2001 on Twitter.

Elizabeth Peterson

Session Title: The Arts and Social Emotional Learning

Focus: Elementary

Session Description: Social-Emotional Learning is becoming more and more needed for our students.  The arts could be the best way to approach this type of learning where students learn to know and manage themselves as well as be able to interact with others in a respectful manner.  Join Elizabeth Peterson in an overview of how music, drama, visual arts and other art forms can promote wellness for the whole child and build students’ Social-Emotional competencies. 

Presenter Bio: Elizabeth Peterson, C.A.G.S. in “Art, Leadership and Learning,” has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired.  An arts integration specialist, Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of  She is the author of Inspired by Listening, and Studio Days, arts integration resources filled with information and lesson plans for bringing the arts into the classroom.  Elizabeth teaches workshops and courses in AI and is the host of the annual Summer Teacher Art Retreat.   Elizabeth believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.

Mindy Essex

Session Title: Full STEAM Ahead: Creating an Alternate Path to Musicianship with The Blues, Ukuleles, And Tech

Focus: MS/HS

Session Description: In this session, participants will discover how to lead students with no musical background to play the 12 bar blues on the ukulele, improvise a blues melody, and create their own background tracks and blues tune with the help of notation software. Find out how technology can be a tool for teaching composition and musical literacy. Participants will see and hear samples of student work and gain the knowledge and materials needed to implement all or part of these lessons.

Presenter Bio: Malinda W. Essex, Ph.D. received her degrees in music education from The Ohio State University. She has 26 years teaching experience in K-12 public schools and higher education and recently returned to teaching middle school after discovering her true passion of curriculum development and teaching.  Malinda currently teaches an interdisciplinary course called Music+ at Mount Vernon Middle School in Ohio where she helps students find alternative paths to musicianship. She has presented at the local, state, and national levels on topics including Secondary General Music Curriculum, Reading in the Content Areas, and Assessing Beyond Performance.

Lisa Phillips

Session Title: The Artistic Edge

Focus: All Levels

Session Description: Coming Soon

Presenter Bio: Coming Soon

Amy Zschaber

Session Title: Using Simple Circuits in the Elementary Art Classroom

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description (live): Funnel the power of simple circuitry to take elementary studio projects to the next level. Using circuits in the art classroom is easier (and more fun) than many teachers realize. Learn how to design and enhance your existing lessons with affordable circuitry projects using humble and inexpensive materials. This session includes a brief overview of how to build circuits, examples of circuit-based studio art projects, a framework for teaching circuitry to elementary students, and copies of circuit-based studio art project lesson plans.

Session Description (breakout): Build a Model of how Butterflies Flap their Wings  STEAM isn’t just about computers, robots, and electricity! Learn how to use symmetry, biology, and engineering elements along with visual art to build a working low-tech, and low-cost model of how butterflies flap their wings. This project is perfect for elementary learners. Full lesson plan is included.

Presenter Bio: After failing to become a successful Athens, GA artist townie, I discovered a knack for putting steps to elaborate art-based projects while earning extra cash as a summer camp instructor. I’ve been teaching Visual Arts (with varying levels of success) ever since. Mostly, I like to be creative and make huge messes. You understand there is no group more creatively messy than people under 18? They’re the tops. I’m most interested in the intersection of creativity and play as they relate to the ideal neurological conditions for learning. . . And, finding more ways to utilize Visual and Performing Arts for peaceful world domination. Currently, I’m a Visual & Performing Arts and STEAM Coordinator in California.

Rachel Wintemberg

Session Title: Using Big Ideas and Important Questions to Address Cross Content Standards

Focus: MS/HS

Session Description: Learn how your students can explore big ideas and important questions of social justice through art making. By embracing project based learning, we can increase literacy and critical thinking skills. Through the integration of art, language arts and social studies we can instill habits of mind that lead to lifelong learning.

Presenter Bio: Rachel has taught art in the Perth Amboy School District for 28 years. She is 2017 Shull School’s Teacher of the Year. Rachel holds a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MA in studio art from Montclair State University. She has taught art and exhibited extensively throughout the New York Metropolitan area and has also published many articles on the subject of art education. To view her portfolio please visit

Sheena Jeffers

Session Title: Dancing Literacy

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description: Poetry, non-fiction and fiction all have movement throughout their story components. Dancing Literacy will show you have to incorporate easy-to-perform dance fundamentals into your classroom while helping students learn determining importance, identifying story components and understanding sequencing and transitions. Without watering down the dance or the literacy requirements, this session will show you the integration of a story and dance choreography into a classroom performance that can be analyzed the same way a reading passage can be. 

Presenter Bio: Sheena Jeffers is a choreographer, dancer, writer, professor and Arts Integration Specialist originally from Richmond, Virginia. She is currently the Arts Integration Director for Young Audiences Arts for Learning Virginia. She is a dance adjunct professor for Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College, and on the teaching staff with Governor’s School for the Arts. Sheena works closely with the community to bring arts programming to underserved populations. Sheena has worked with digital learning experiences with and is currently the Editor-in-Chief for Odyssey. She has a BA (English) and BS (Mass Communications) from Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as her MSEd from Old Dominion University where she studied creatively-gifted children for her research focus. Sheena currently works with school districts throughout Virginia to bring arts integrated curriculum into the classrooms.

Chris Sweeney

Session Title: 3D Printing in the Secondary Design Classroom

Focus: MS/HS

Session Description: In this session, you will learn about various cutting edge 3D printing techniques, materials, and projects that are being used in award winning teacher Christopher Sweeney’s design classroom.Such highlights will include TurtleArt, exotic filaments, and projects straight from his own studio practice and classroom.

Presenter Bio: Mr. Christopher Sweeney is a 1996 graduate of University of the Art’s Philadelphia College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in Fine Arts/ Painting and Drawing, and recently received his M.A., also from the University of the Arts, in 2012. While enrolled at the University of the Arts in undergraduate studies, Mr. Sweeney majored in painting/ drawing and held a minor in art education. Mr. Sweeney was also the recipient of several awards while attending University of the Arts including the Ernest W. Greenfield Annual Award in Painting, the Peter J. McCahill Memorial Award in Art Education, and finalist for the Rohm and Haas Fine Arts Award, all of which were awarded in 1996. He was also awarded the prestigious position of giving the Student Address at the 1996 commencement. Recently ,he was awarded by Pennsylvania Art Education Association the Outstanding Secondary Art Educator for 2016. He is also an Ambassador for MakeyMakey, Chibitronics, Morphi, and is a fellow at Ultimaker 3D Printer’s Pioneer Education program.

Dolph Petris

Session Title: Integrating STEAM within a Long Term Project

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description: With so many teaching responsibilities and requirements set by District and State standards, how can you ensure that your students are immersed in the Arts while working on a long term project?  Fortunately, STEAM integration can be a smoother process than you might think.  It begins with an open mind on how to ‘tackle’ the problem from the teacher’s perspective, and then this liberating mindset will transfer over to your students and their work.  This session will show you how I achieved the goal of integrating all aspects of STEAM from a 6-week project into every student deliverable.  You will be inspired by the results that you can achieve from your students, and also by the possibilities that are awaiting both you and your students, just around the corner!

Presenter Bio: In 1986 I Graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California with a Bachelor of Science, Industrial Design.  From that starting point, I worked as a product designer for many years.  When computers became an integral part of the design process, I moved into the world of software development to manage future releases of art and design software.  Over time, I became unfulfilled with my contributions to society and went back to college for my teaching credential and Masters degree in Teaching and Learning with Educational Technology.  Teaching is my third and best career and I teach Gifted and Talented (GATE) 6th graders in Fullerton, California.  Here, I get to integrate the Arts and STEAM into most everything within our classroom.

Nikki Kalcevic

Session Title: Art as a Catalyst for STEAM

Focus: MS/HS

Session Description: How can you support the A in STEAM? Visual art classes can support project based learning and genius hour initiatives by utilizing art skills, promoting critical thinking, and encouraging persistence and problem solving skills. Discover ways our school has begun to create curriculum connections between art and other content areas. Learn how students use visual art essential skills and standards as a catalyst to formulate and create their projects in subjects like science and social studies.

Presenter Bio: I am an art educator in Bentonville Public Schools. I have been a public school art teacher for 13 years. In an earlier part of my art education career, I was a museum education specialist at Carnegie Museum of Art and an art teacher at a private school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I hold a BA in Studio Art and Elementary Instruction K-6 certification and M.Ed. & certification for K-12 Art Education. I am also a National Board Certified Teacher in Art for Early Adolescence through Young Adult.

I want to empower students to think on their own and utilize problem solving and critical thinking skills. I have a choice-based art room where we have studio art centers and use a mix of guiding principles from Teaching for Artistic Behavior (TAB), Studio Habits of Mind, design thinking, STEAM, and maker education. I am also the Middle Level Representative & Vendor Exhibits Coordinator for the Arkansas Art Educators state association and part of our state fine arts framework revision committee.

When I am not busy with art education, I am a wife and a momma. I like to spend time with my husband, daughter, and two furry kids (Labrador and Chihuahua) at home. I enjoy being outside, gardening, swimming, art-making, making up-cycled jewelry, cooking, baking, and traveling. We love movies and spending time with our friends and family, too!

Andrew Miller – Featured Session

Session Title: Design PBL Projects with the Arts in Mind

Focus: All levels

Session Description: While the arts are always performance based, it can become even more engaging by adding components of Project Based Learning. Learn some strategies to upgrade your Arts projects to be even more Project Based, from assessment strategies to design components. We will also examine sample PBL projects that infused the arts and uncover why they were successful. Walk away with practical ideas to implement PBL in your classroom.

Presenter Bio: Andrew is an Instructional Coach at the Shanghai American School in China, coaching with an emphasis on Assessment , Project Based Learning, and Teacher Leadership. He also serves on the National Faculty for the Buck Institute for Education and ASCD, and is an Associate for Jay McTighe. He has worked with educators in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, India, Mexico, Kuwait and the Dominican Republic. He has given presentations and workshops at many conferences for many organizations. Andrew is an avid blogger and writer for a variety of organizations including ASCD and Edutopia.

Alice Gentili

Session Title: Project Based Learning with 3D Printing in the Art Classroom

Focus: MS

Session Description: 3D printing has become an affordable medium for the art classroom. In this workshop, we will look at using this new medium as an integral part of a project based, cooperative learning unit. The basics of 3D printing will be covered while all aspects of unit development and implementation will be shared.

Specific areas we will explore include design for 3D printing using tablet devices, file management, the operation of three types of 3D printers, filament options, purchasing tips, curriculum design incorporating Google Classroom and Google Cites, and assessment authentic to the project.

Presenter Bio: Alice Gentili is a Visual Art Educator and Department Chair in the Mendon-Upton Regional School District, where she has taught for nineteen years. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Elementary Education, Master of Education in Art, Certificate in Instructional Technology, and STEM Certificate from Framingham State University. She participated in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Project Zero Classroom week-long summer program in 2015 and the Thinking and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom online course in 2016. She is an Apple Teacher, a Google Certified Educator and Lifelong Maker, using iPads in the art classroom to design for 3D printing, and for digital art, media art, and Google Classroom. In 2013, she authored and completed the Every Day Drawing Challenge to create 365 paintings on the iPad. She is currently focused on developing project-based middle level STEAM curriculum for the Maker Centered Classroom. She was named the 2017 NAEA Eastern Region Art Educator of the Year, the 2017 NAEA/Art Education and Technology Outstanding Educator, the 2015 Massachusetts Art Educator of the Year, and the 2012 Massachusetts Middle School Art educator of the Year. Blog:

Samuel Wright

Session Title (Live): Music + Math = Coding

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description: I started teaching with middle-school mathematics and music. For twelve years I have found constant connections between math and music. As coding has become more accessible with iPads and Laptops this connection became something I could not ignore any longer. So I created a course for my music beginners where they were able to create patterns, clap Indian talas, code musical instruments and use numbers to compose. It also meant researching cultures like Indonesia where numbers play a large role in music composition or performance. This unit will include a 10 week lesson with handouts and student work samples exploring mathematical music creations and how coding can lead to other avenues of composing.

Session Title (Breakout): Minecraft Music

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description: This session outlines a unit of work comparing the music of Eric Satie with the score of the popular game, Minecraft by C418. My middle-school students engaged in a game-based learning opportunity where they had to challenge themselves and make choices while investigating the music of early impressionism or Minecraft. This involved looking at actual scores from Satie, learning his chord progressions, finding ket features in the score, notating ideas to test,  movement activities and then composing our own scores to Minecraft gameplay. This presentation includes student work-samples, videos and reflections. Come learn with them!

Presenter Bio: Samuel is an educational presenter, author and experienced music educator. Having worked with music students and educators from Australia, Asia, and Europe, Samuel shares his passion for music with everyone. His website began as a process of journaling his own learning. It is now a place where music educators can get ideas, resources and inspiration for their own classrooms. 

Samuel uses Music as a means to involve creative ideas, performance opportunities and authentic integration of technology into the classroom. Everyone can be creative with music. With the world around us open to diverse cultures, styles and sounds we have more opportunities than ever before.

Samuel is a qualified International Baccalaureate Music Educator in the PYP, MYP and DP programmes (K-12) as well the Australian NSW Curriculum. He became an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2015 and won awards for best iBook of the Year in 2016. He holds a Bachelor in Music and a Bachelor in Music Education from the University of New South Wales Australia (BMusBEd), a Masters in Music Technology from the University of Newcastle, Australia (MMusTech) and is currently completing a Masters Certificate in Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music.

Dyan Branstetter

Session Title: 5 Tech Tools that Support Arts Integration and STEAM

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description: If you’re looking for practical and effective ways to incorporate technology into your Music, Art, STEAM or Arts Integration lessons, this session is going to save you time and provide inspiration. During this session, you will learn ways to implement 5 free or low-cost tech tools to help ensure that the technology used in your classroom is seamless, transparent, and is the most effective way of achieving your outcome while staying true to your art form.

Presenter Bio: Dyan is a writer for EducationCloset and a third-grade teacher in a public school district in Lancaster, PA. She has over 16 years of classroom experience. With a Masters of Science Education and a passion for dance and music, she strives to integrate the arts into the curriculum whenever possible. Dyan has a background in teaching advanced learners and is devoted to using project-based learning to help her students achieve 21st-century learning skills and master the PA Core Standards.


Francine Jennings

Session Title:  Let’s Get Bodied with Body-Grouping

Focus: All Levels

Session Description: In classrooms around the country, the strategy of cooperative learning has become acceptable as a rich and productive approach for enhancing academic learning. Common practices include asking our students to  think-pair- share, engage in group projects, and even pair up to deliver collaborative feedback! In the spirit of continuing these worthwhile practices, this workshop  will explore several innovative ways to use the body to pair your students up and to get them into groups!  No special equipment needed—just your awesome body! So, if you’re tired of grouping using the same old even-number vs odd- number or a, b, c,  methods,  let’s get bodied with Body-Grouping!  Fun and effective for k-HS!

Presenter Bio: With a background in performing arts, special education, ESOL, and educational leadership, Francine Jennings currently serves as national faculty for Lesley University’s Division of Creative Arts in Learning.  Francine’s position at Lesley enables her to travel around the country teaching educators to integrate the arts into the curriculum. In addition, under her company, MFJ Consulting and Edutainment, Francine works not only as a practicing performing artist, but also as an educational consultant using the arts to educate audiences on topics related to social justice, diversity, and culturally proficiency. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Virginia Tech University. You can locate her at and at

Mary Dagani

Session Title: Music in a Minute

Focus: ES/MS

Session Description: Have you every finished a lesson a few minutes early and found yourself searching for a fun way to reinforce what you just taught?  Join me and explore how the rhythm of language, body percussion, and movement can help finish your lesson on a good note!

Presenter Bio: Mary holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music (Flute Performance), as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Long Beach.   She started her career in 1991 as an elementary, general education teacher in Downey Unified School District, in Downey Calif.  In 2015, Mary became a member of the DUSD’s STEAM 15 Team, where she currently serves as a Project Lead the Way Launch Lead Teacher and TEAL Coach.  This, together with her certification as an Orff-Schulwerk Music Specialist, Mary is able to offer a unique perspective on the integration of the Arts.

DUSD STEAM Team Website:

Laura Wixon

Session Title: A Colorful Classroom Management Palette: Tools from the Arts to Help Improve Behavior in the General Education Classroom

Focus: All levels

Session Description: Drawing from specific tools and techniques grounded in the arts, we will learn how to apply various classroom management strategies to help ease the flow of the day in a general education classroom.  From the moment students enter the classroom door having a rhythm to the school day will help both students and teachers feel more mindful and ready to embrace the lessons of the day.  Laura will specifically focus on the art of yoga, body movement, and de-escalation strategies for students who may be bringing the stress of home life into the classroom with them.  Learn how thoughtful movement and kinesthetic learning can become a behavior management tool for all ages and ability levels. 

Teachers need not have any professional background in dance or movement to embrace these classroom management techniques and adapt them to their classrooms.  We will be discussing generic strategies that will be applicable to all content areas and grade levels.

Presenter Bio: Laura Wixon has been happy to work as the arts integration specialist at a public arts school in Annapolis, Maryland since 2015.  Earlier in her teaching career she worked as an eighth grade Language Arts teacher who utilized arts integration and welcomed teaching artists on a regular basis in her classroom.  With a unique background and degrees in Fine Arts and Art History and English as well as a Masters Degree in Education, Laura approaches arts integration and STEAM with the careful lens of a teacher who has an integral interest in educating the whole child.

Sandi Yellenberg

Session Title: One Observation Can Help Build Skills in Two Content Areas: Visual Arts and Science

Focus: All Levels

Session Description: When students are asked to make observations in science, they generally glace at the object to be described, and give a brief description, lacking much detail.  On the other hand, when students are asked to reproduce an object through an art form (painting, sculpting, drawing, sketching) they often pay much closer attention to the details of the object they have been asked to represent artistically.  This session will discuss some effective ways to engage students through art, and use the observations they make as a starting point for scientific observations.  Classroom strategies, the scheduling of both the lessons to teach the appropriate art techniques and the science lessons, and suggestions for assessment will be covered in this session.

Presenter Bio: For the last ten years, Sandi Yellenberg has served as the science coordinator for the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Mrs. Yellenberg coordinates and manages professional development opportunities for teachers, para-professionals and administrators. Sandi’s scientific and pedagogical expertise allows her to engage with educators in integrating math and literacy skills across the curriculum with a focus on creating scientifically literate students. Mrs. Yellenberg is recognized as a state-wide leader in transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and has presented at regional, state, and nation conferences for the science community as well as Conferences focused on the Arts, Computers, Multilingual Education, and Extended Day Providers.