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Off and Running!

July 30, 2014

Summit on Arts Education

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We had a great first day at USM, Portland at the Summit on Arts Education. The energy was high and the participants were busy filling their minds. Information was shared and questions flying! The day started with sessions on Essential Questions and Leadership. Participants gained insight on Effective Teaching in the Student-centered classroom and were treated to showcases presented by Teaching Artists. Each teacher started brainstorming ideas to create an individual action plan. The day wrapped up with an electronic conversation with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education at their ssessment conference taking place in D.C. Julie Richard, Director of the Maine Arts Commission, unveiled the Teacher Resource Bank. The day was jam packed and flew by!

Attending the Summit are arts educators from all regions of Maine representing all grade levels and all four arts disciplines. Networking has been an important part of the work – people collaborating and networking.

 

 

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Sir Ken Robinson: Educating the Heart

July 29, 2014

The heart and mind

I think this is an appropriate post to provide today as we begin the 3-day Summit on Arts Education at USM. I have posted the work of Ken Robinson in the past. He has thought-provoking videos on YouTube and TED talks and travels around the world talking about creativity. And, on top of that he is funny. He has written several books that I have enjoyed reading and highly recommend them. Anyway, this video called Educating the Heart and Mind and I hope that you enjoy it!

http://youtu.be/I1A4OGiVK30

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Big Week for Maine Arts Ed

July 28, 2014

This is a BIG WEEK for Arts Education in Maine!!

SUMMIT ON ARTS EDUCATION

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We have more than 90 educators attending the Summit on Arts Education at USM, Portland campus on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and almost half of those will also be attending on Friday for the Teacher Leader day. Included on the attendee list are dance, music, theatre, and visual arts PK-12 teachers, teaching artists, other educators, and representatives from arts organizations and the university. There are 13 teams participating. The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Leadership team and Teacher Leaders have been crazy busy with the agenda planning that will be full of rich learning opportunities.

Included on the agenda:

  • Sessions on Assessment, Leadership, Student-centered, Standards-based, Proficiency, Advocacy, Arts Integration, Creativity, Literacy, Technology and much more provided by MAAI teacher leaders, leadership team, members, Lesley University staff, technology integrators from NC, MLTI, and MICDL, and teaching artists
  • The unveiling of the Teacher Leader Resource Bank by Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission
  • An electronic discussion with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) who are at a conference in Washington, DC this week
  • Arts Education Program Director, Jeff Poulin from Americans for the Arts will be presenting a session on Leadership and Advocacy
  • Stories and examples from MAAI Teacher Leaders
  • Time for networking with other Maine educators
  • Arts Education organizations, higher ed representatives, and community groups will be exhibiting and sharing information
  • The opportunity to create an Individual Action Plan and/or a Team Action Plan to implement back home in teachers school districts

Teachers who are attending the Summit will receive contact hours, CEUs or graduate credit.

If you have not registered for the Summit you may still do so no later than TODAY by clicking here https://webapp.usm.maine.edu/DCPEOnline/addRegCONFPage1.do?offeringId=100075146. For more information please click here https://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/NESummit

 

COMMUNITY CONVERSATION ON ARTS EDUCATION

Maine Focus Groups and Community Conversations – don’t miss this opportunity!

Are you interested in joining others interested in arts education to talk about the future of arts education in Maine? If so, please plan on attending the event on

Tuesday, July 29, 7:00-8:00pm at the Maine College of Art, 522 Congress St, Portland, ME.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 2.27.24 PMWe have a wonderful opportunity to help influence the future of our community and the future of our state. Please join me  to participate in a discussion about the kinds of creative opportunities and activities you would like to see available for our residents, our children, and our families. Often times, plans are created for us, instead of with us they miss the mark and we miss the opportunity to see what we value included in the mix.

If you have questions about either of these opportunities taking place this week please don’t hesitate to email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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In Today’s News

July 27, 2014

Portland Press Herald

In the Audience section of today’s news Bob Keyes writes about Celebration Barn Theater, the space that world famous mime Tony Montanaro started in 1972. Tony passed away in 2002 but his vision of “workshops and teaching space for aspiring artists” continues in the barn in South Paris. Many of you know (and love) Karen Montanaro (Tony’s wife) who has attended and presented at many of Maine’s arts education professional development workshops and conferences. Karen is known for her energized presentations that bring everyone to their feet and moving. Don’t miss the article and video clips by clicking here.

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The Gifts of Music

July 26, 2014

Clinic for students and evening concert

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Students interested in attending the afternoon clinic should RSVP info@thegiftsofmusic.org.

Students who participate in the clinic with Brad and Peter will be incorporated into the evening performance.

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Real World Teaching and Learning

July 25, 2014

Re-printed from Education Week: TEACHER, July 23, 2014

The following was written by Linda Yaron who teaches in Los Angeles at the School for the Visual Arts and Humanities.

As we were about to board the plane to return home, my 12 students, two colleagues, and I circled around and said one word that captured how we felt about our trip. Many chose the word “blessed.” Yet it was I who felt blessed to be a part of the experience that redefined what it meant for me to be a teacher.
Three days before, we had met at school before dawn to catch a 5 a.m. shuttle to Los Angeles International Airport. We were on our way to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington D.C. to present an exhibition on the importance of the arts and student voice in education reform for their Student Art Exhibit Program.

  1. Throughout the school year leading up to that day, my students had explored the question: “What does it mean to be a learner?,” situating themselves at the center of their own educational journeys. We started small, looking at individual student experiences in education and the challenges they faced in my English class and my colleague’s government class. The question culminated with our life-changing trip to D.C.
    This project was a special learning experience for my students, myself, and the other teachers involved. Though it’s rare for a learning experience to involve giving a presentation in the nation’s capitol, many of the principles I learned through the process can be applied to future classroom projects designed to engage students in real-world learning experiences. Here are my five takeaways:

    Get students excited and involved. Our project took place across disciplines, grade levels, community organizations, and even countries. Since the exhibition was a bicoastal event, we developed a shared presentation with the Boston organization Elevated Thought. This partnership sparked interest and authenticity for students and enriched the process.
    To prepare for the art exhibition and engage as many students as possible, we had freshmen interview seniors and create symbolic portraits of them, while seniors interviewed community organizations and created a plan to develop their own community organization addressing a need in education. Later on in the process, English teacher Sarah Brown Wessling’s students in Iowa commented on entries in our student-run blog, while students from the Ambience Public School in New Delhi submitted entries. This created excitement, showcased multiple perspectives, generated visible accountability, and brought shared value and collaboration to the work.

    2. Cultivate school and community connections. From start to finish, community connections were the heart of this project. Various organizations presented to our class on ways they advance education in the community. They also evaluated and gave feedback on student presentations. Volunteers from 826LA assisted students in writing learning statements, and the Educare Foundation conducted afterschool classes in poster design and video production.
    Each partner played a crucial role that made our project possible—and better for it. Though it took time and planning to cultivate community partners, it made all the difference in supporting the growth of our students and bringing the outside world into their lives.

    3. Create authentic learning experiences for students. This project blended into our school’s new Linked Learning approach, which aims to create authentic college and career-ready experiences for students. Students took part in conference calls with the Department of Education, wrote memos about the First Lady’s College Initiative, and presented their art and their voices to educators and officials in Washington D.C.
    Following the trip, students shared their experiences with educators and community partners at a Linked Learning United Way event. This made the experience even more real for them and extended learning beyond the classroom. At some point, I realized students weren’t doing the project for me or for a grade, but rather because they realized it was a responsibility and an opportunity bigger than any of us. They wanted to shine by making their voices heard and representing a new model for what it means to be learners.

    4. Create meaningful opportunities for involvement. Since we were only able to take 12 students to D.C. (through an application process), I tried to offer other opportunities for students to become involved in the project. Students created a video on what it means to be a learner, which was shown during the presentation in D.C. They also wrote learner statements that were made into a book, which we took with us and shared with policymakers.
    At the six-week exhibition, we displayed 60 art pieces from three arts classes. Students also created posters that were displayed at the exhibition. When the time came to prepare and rehearse for the presentation, students received feedback from their peers in multiple classes about their topics and presentation techniques.
    Though only 10 percent of my students attended the actual presentation, all of them had meaningful opportunities to become involved in various aspects of the project and have a voice in the final outcome.

    5. Place process over product. Ultimately, the product isn’t as important as the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that students cultivated along the way. To this end, we made sure to scaffold each skill repeatedly and incrementally.
    We started with an essential question that was personal to students (“What does it mean to be a learner?”) and built outwards from there: layering skills, analyzing the core values and mission statements of organizations, conducting interviews, researching education topics, presenting to a panel, and examining various writing and artistic techniques.
    Ultimately, the project came down to how students viewed the world and how they saw their place and agency in it. This type of teaching and learning involved a degree of risk and faith in the process. As can be expected, some things worked better than others, making feedback, a growth-model mindset, and room for risk taking in teaching and learning essential to allowing the space to thrive.

When the time came for the exhibition and one-hour presentation to the Department of Education, students shined. They spoke about the need for equity and access to resources, the importance of family and community involvement, and the capacity of art as a transformative tool for self-expression. In a roundtable discussion with Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Delisle, students expressed both their hope and determination to go to college, as well as their fear of being among a small percentage of minorities at their future colleges.
In our closing circle, our art teacher, Eric Garcia, grappled to find the word to capture his thoughts about the trip. He said that the picture imprinted in his mind came from the presentation our student Maricruz had given about the challenges of being an undocumented student. As Maricruz struggled to find the right words, her classmate Juan had reached over to soothe her and hold her hand.

All at once, we spoke the word he was looking for: family.

Linda Yaron teaches English, Healthy Lifestyles, and Peer College Leadership at the School for the Visual Arts and Humanities in Los Angeles. She is a National Board-certified teacher and a member of the CTQ Collaboratory.

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Celebration Barn

July 24, 2014

Silent Auction underway!

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 12.58.01 PMFolks at the Celebration Barn are having a silent auction this month that includes some really great items including a week at a house on Cape Hatteras Island, a weekend in a condo in Boston, opening night tickets to the Metropolitan Opera, a weekend at a solar powered lake house in Norway, Maine; and a group juggling lesson in NYC with a member of the Flying Karamazoff Brothers, among lots of other things.

Here’s a link to the auction on-line: http://www.celebrationbarn.com/auction/

The auction ends this weekend, so if you’re looking for something cool, check it out. Your money goes to a great Maine organization, the Celebration Barn Theater.  And if you’re in Maine and looking for a cool event, their Big Barn Family Show, and Big Barn Spectacular is this weekend and 2 p.m. for the family show, and 8 p.m. for the spectacular. Here’s info: http://www.celebrationbarn.com/shows-at-the-barn/

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