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      The art of teaching

      For Laura Halter, art isn't just a hobby--its a career. That's obvious from the teacher/student created tile mural steps outside of the classroom, all the way to the various projects lining the ceiling.

      "I teach art, kindergarten through second grade here at Kirksville Primary," she proudly exclaims. "I see about 600 five, six, seven, eight year-olds every week."

      Laura's getting ready to start her seventh year of teaching in Kirksville, but she'll soon be spending some time educating her peers from all over the world. Next Thursday, she'll be in Indianapolis presenting at Delta Kappa Gamma Society International's 2014 Convention. DKG is an international society of key women educators with over 82,000 members in 17 countries.

      "I thought, 'well maybe I'll just submit a proposal again for international.' Kind of a shot in the dark to be able to present to such a large audience with all the countries represented," says Halter. "I wanted to take the chance because I feel what I'm doing here is really exciting with my kids. I'm going to be presenting on my classroom, engaging and empowering students in the art room. It talks about my choice based classroom and how I changed my methods of teaching since I started in Kirksville."

      Class begins with the students using a special board to decide what kind of assignment they want to do that day, an idea that has seen good results.

      "I love that 'aha' moment with my students when they finally understand a concept or that smile they get on their face when they're really proud and successful in what they've done in the classroom," she beams.

      Laura is excited to meet educators from all over the world and knows being recognized in her field of expertise is nothing to be taken lightly. It's a cycle that not only helps education in the Heartland, but everywhere else too.

      "To be able to stand up and share my experiences with others and hopefully inspire them make a change in their classroom or try something new is really exciting and empowering. Then I come back to my classroom ready to try new things as well."

      To see some of the students' work, visit this link .