Matt and Laura Grundler | January 2019

New Year, Old Year with Team Grundler

In this short episode, Matt and Laura look back on 2018 and how it’s leading to transformation in 2019.  If you’re looking to make a change this year, tune in for a conversation about what’s next.

Show Transcript

Matt Grundler: Hey everybody. This is Matt and Laura. We are running today’s podcast solo because … not really solo-

Laura Grundler: But without a special guest.

Matt Grundler: But without a special guest visiting us. Actually, today’s episode was inspired by our 12 year old, who happened to be watching something on YouTube, and he said, “What you can do is you can do a year in review about all the things that you’ve done.”

Laura Grundler: Oh he called it a ‘2018 Rewind’.

Matt Grundler: A rewind.

Laura Grundler: Yes. Apparently, someone out there on YouTube that he watches had a 2018 rewind, and he said that the Creatively Connected Classroom Podcast had to have a rewind. It was pretty funny actually.

Matt Grundler: So on that note, we will be talking you guys, just thinking, coming up with more ideas, and just kind of talking some things through, reflecting.

Laura Grundler: Reflecting and moving forward together. Yeah.

Matt Grundler: So let’s get this thing started. So welcome to the Creatively Connected Classroom, and your host and special guests are team Grundler.

Laura Grundler: It’s just us. So 2018, every year, we look and we think, oh, what can we do to help support the community. Where are we gonna go this year? What’s gonna be new? How are we gonna connect with all the teachers that help us grow and are part of the PLN, and I think when were looking back in 2018, probably the biggest thing happened was in July when we were asked to start this podcast.

Matt Grundler: Yeah, ’cause that’s where we are now.

Laura Grundler: Yeah. When Matt sits down and talks to hosts, he’s really good about getting the hosts. He always says, “You know, we’d also like you to be on this podcast,” because what we were getting from our PLN was that they wanted to hear from the hosts in a different format than just the Twitter chat. So that’s really where the outgrowth of the podcast came from as a way to interview the host so that everyone could kind of hear more from them.

Matt Grundler: More and finding out who these people are. What makes them the kind of expert that they are in the area of their field? I mean, that was the other reason we created Creatively Connected Classroom was that we didn’t want it to just only be art teachers. We didn’t want it to just only favor the art side. We wanted-

Laura Grundler: We want to pull in.

Matt Grundler: We wanna pull everybody because that’s where are strength lies is the fact that we’re connecting to everyone, and we’re connecting everyone to everyone else.

Laura Grundler: Well, I mean, we didn’t come up with this, but Susan from EducationCloset came up with the tagline, “Connecting one glue stick at a time.” And it’s really fitting for us, is that we do believe in the power of connection. We do believe in the power of creativity, and those two things combined can transform a classroom and a space for any child and really transform your love of teaching. So I think, I’m really excited to continue this podcast in 2019. We just started recording for the new year, and already, I’m energized. I don’t know about you.

Matt Grundler: No, I think I am. I think it’s always … I think I become more and more energized after we talk to each host for each podcast because it’s just affirming or reaffirming where our passion is and where we’re headed, that things are going the way that they should or the way that makes the most sense.

Laura Grundler: Yeah, and looking back on this list of hosts from last year, there’s so many more people that we wanna have on the podcast, like the authors of ‘Creative Sprint’. I loved … We’ve had the opportunity to talk to Mica Scalin, and we haven’t met her brother. But they wrote the book together, ‘Creative Sprint’, and we’re really excited to have them back out this year and talk maybe in more how to use the format in more of a K12 setting. But just getting to hear their story as artists and even the way they were raised. They were raised by artists, and it’s really exciting. You know, those are the things that are so much fun.

Matt Grundler: I mean, talking with … looking at our list and having people like Jen Williams, talking about purpose. You know, we always come back to that, that when you’re making something, when you’re teaching something, when you’re … to have purpose because that purpose leads to empathy and leads to that social good, and that’s why you don’t just make something just because. There’s a purpose behind it.

Laura Grundler: Absolutely. I mean, it’s always fun to kind of look at the year in review. We keep a running list of all the Twitter chats and all the questions and the images even, and just looking at last year, the things that we covered, we started off the year with music. And then we rolled into arts immigration, and then new medias and tech uses, crushing on your favorite artists.

Matt Grundler: Crushing on your favorite materials.

Laura Grundler: Yeah. Just advocacy, how to get your PLN inspired. I’m just looking at this. Oh, the authors of ‘The Limitless’. Oh, we’ve gotta have them on the podcast.

Matt Grundler: Yeah, we do.

Laura Grundler: They were really great. What is a limitless school? And it kind of, you know, we were just having a chat with one of our guests, Carl, and he was saying that if you … There’s a little bit of an intimidation or fear factor with trying out new things if your leadership doesn’t allow that risk taking, and that was something that, thinking about the limitless school is, we have to have room even as educators if we’re gonna allow kids to fail forward. We have to be allowed to fail forward as well.

Matt Grundler: We, as teachers, have to fail forward. Being a joyful, having Bethany Hales, who was talking about why is that so important and where does that lead to that area for failure and making it, not catching heck for it, and saying, “Oh, this didn’t work so don’t do that again.” You know, but learning from it and being a leader and showing that is always really helpful as well.

Laura Grundler: Designing Classroom Creative Challenges, that’s not just for the art room. That’s for any classroom. You know, I just, I hope that what we continue to do in looking at our past year in 2018, is that we continue to push forward with ideas that will help all teachers be creative and not just limit it to the art room. Of course, that’s our place and our passion, and those are our people in a sense. But we love all educators, and we wanna inspire everyone to pull in the arts and be creative and find a connection.

Laura Grundler: I think that, you know, thinking about that, there’s not just a fear of technology, but there’s a fear of being creative in the classroom. What do you think about that?

Matt Grundler: Well I mean, when we had Jason Blair, his talk was about the time and place for creativity. We want kids to be creative, but they can only be creative in certain areas or only in this one little box.

Laura Grundler: Right.

Matt Grundler: And then they have to turn off their creativity. Well that’s just not how it works, and we have to allow for that and be able to let kids experience their creativity and be able to use that in a way that’s gonna help them understand what’s going on.

Laura Grundler: The world around them.

Matt Grundler: Well even just the way that a lesson might be taught. They may not understand it the same way that a teacher might be teaching it to them.

Laura Grundler: So true. Absolutely.

Matt Grundler: So they’ve got to be able to demonstrate that.

Susan Riley: Hi there. This is Susan Riley, founder of EducationCloset. If you love these conversations with team Grundler and friends, please be sure to check out K12 Art Chat on Twitter. The chat is held every Thursday at 8:30 PM central, and it’s a great way to continue the conversation. Just go to, and search #K12ArtChat. We look forward to chatting with you over there soon. Now let’s head back to the show.

Laura Grundler: That’s scary for a lot of teachers. I mean, how many times have we worked with non-art teachers that are like, “Oh, I can’t draw.” Or-

Matt Grundler: “I’m not creative.”

Laura Grundler: “I’m not creative.” We hear that over and over again. “I’m not creative. I can’t draw. I can’t draw a stick figure.” It’s one of our favorites.

Matt Grundler: “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.”

Laura Grundler: “Can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.” All of these things we hear, but to me, it’s like they’re thinking of creativity as drawing, number one. And that is not even-

Matt Grundler: Not the end all, be all.

Laura Grundler: There’s limitless ideas in creativity. That’s the whole point, right? Get an iPad and take photographs, do a little movie, make a song.

Matt Grundler: I mean, Tech Rabbi said he didn’t see himself as being a creative person, but he was creating buildings.

Laura Grundler: Yeah. Architecture, engineering, that’s all creative. You have to problem solve. It’s that creative problem-solving. So it’s really about thinking beyond, dare I say it, art, and really thinking in terms of, what’s the best fit for that individual child? How are they going to make meaning of whatever concept I’m teaching with a creative format that will give them understanding? You know, I know you can’t have an endless supply of supplies in your classroom and things like that, but what are the things that you have that aren’t gonna cost you money? You know, can you use recyclables? Can you use an iPad? Do you have a Chromebook? What are the options in your room?

Laura Grundler: And I just think that it’s really, there’s all kinds of ideas out there, and then the whole idea of having it be Creatively Connected Classroom is to reach out.

Matt Grundler: Having a support group, having people to say, “Hey, this idea I have, this is what I want it to end up being. How do I get it there?”

Laura Grundler: Right.

Matt Grundler: Or, hey, I really wanna use-

This kind of material, or this medium, or this tech. How do I go about doing that? And just throwing that out to your [inaudible 00:10:56] No, we’re not saying you have to just be on Twitter. It can be the group of teachers that you go and have coffee with.

Laura Grundler: Have coffee with, yeah.

Matt Grundler: Have coffee with once a week. Hey, what’s working for you? What’s not?

Laura Grundler: Yeah. If I think about 2018, one of the things I love about what we do beyond our, well and even within our community, is the building of community. All these people we’ve met that I now feel like I can call my colleagues, my friends, my peers and you know, the support.

Laura Grundler: Unfortunately, I recently had to go through some medical stuff, and our local community of colleagues just were, they came together. And they helped our family tremendously while I was a little bit down for the count, and Mom wasn’t there to make breakfast and dinner. And they did it. Well, Daddy does it most of the time anyways, but Daddy was doing everything else and trying to juggle, and it was really special.

Laura Grundler: And I think that that’s the biggest thing is you have to build your community. You have to take care of each other. You have to know that there are people that you can trust and lean on when you need to lean on them and take care of yourself too. If I’m … I think that that’s one thing that you and I both, if we look back at last year, is that we’ve talked about and we’re still moving forward. It’s an evolving thing, but that self care piece is really essential ’cause if you don’t take care of yourself, you might end up in a 

Matt Grundler: You’ll have nothing left. You’ll have nothing left to take care of anybody else.

Laura Grundler: Right.

Matt Grundler: And it doesn’t do anybody any good.

Laura Grundler: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, isn’t that why they tell you to put the oxygen on first?

Matt Grundler: True.

Laura Grundler: So I just think that 2018 was a really great year. It taught us a lot about teaching and parenting and community and making connections and building and collaborating, and I’m just really excited about 2019. What are your thoughts about it?

Matt Grundler: Yes. How do you follow that up? No. I mean, I am highly thankful for the connections and the people that we’ve met and even the people that we’ve already known, but it felt like this year, this past year, we actually made stronger connections with those people.

Laura Grundler: Yeah.

Matt Grundler: You know, we knew who they were, and I think through this podcast, interviewing people, getting to know them even more, just made those connections, that community even stronger.

Laura Grundler: Yeah. I think that that’s what we’re gonna continue to work on in 2019 is building stronger connections and continuing that. I personally, I don’t know about you, but I’d like to do more face time with some of our PLN and not be behind the Twitter chat or behind the podcast.

Matt Grundler: The Twitter curtain.

Laura Grundler: Yeah. I’d love to get out there and do some presentations. I think that we’ll probably try to get to Learnfest in Austin this summer.

Matt Grundler: That sounds like fun.

Laura Grundler: And present down there, and you know, if there’s any other opportunities.

Matt Grundler: I think something I would really like, you know, to know from our PLN is if we’re meeting your needs, if we’re … if there’s something that we’re not covering or a person you really wanna know more about. We’re not saying we’re gonna make every single thing happen, but as we grow, as we … People are more and more interested, and we would love to find out who you are interested in learning about or knowing about or ideas that you’re into. So please, let us know.

Laura Grundler: Authors that you’ve read that you wanna hear from, artists.

Matt Grundler: Authors, artists, yeah. Absolutely.

Laura Grundler: Other educators that you wanna get ideas from. I’m just looking at our-

Matt Grundler: Because we don’t follow in the same circles, you know, those connections we would love to connect more with those people.

Laura Grundler: So you know, I guess that’s to say if you would message us, if you would tweet us, if you would … You know, I’m on Instagram as @GrundlerArt. However you wanna connect with us, just let us know who it is in 2019 that you wanna learn from, that you wanna hear from, and we’ll work with EdCloset and try to make those connections happen so that we can get them on the podcast or get them on the Twitter chat. But we’re here to support the community and help everyone grow and learn, but we need to know what you need. Yeah. So I think that that’s the big thing.

Matt Grundler: I think that’s how we wrap up.

Laura Grundler: Is that how we wrap up?

Matt Grundler: I think that’s how we wrap up.

Laura Grundler: So we are wishing everyone-

Matt Grundler: A successful, a creative, an amazing 2019. We hope that you continue on your creative journey wherever, however that takes you.

Laura Grundler: Absolutely. Thanks guys. We love you.

Matt Grundler: Alright. Bye guys.

Laura Grundler: Bye.

Susan Riley: Heads Up, Seven Up friends. If you’ve been enjoying these episodes, be sure to subscribe to the Creatively Connected Classroom podcast. You’ll get a notification every time we release a new episode each and every week, and take a screenshot and put it on your favorite social media, Twitter, Insta, Facebook, you name it. Tag EducationCloset and K12 Art Chat so we can reach out and say thanks, and if you really love us with all the feels, give us a review and/or a rating over on iTunes. It helps others find the show and connect with our incredible community. Thanks for all your support.


About the Author

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.