Nancy Salmon’s review
Nancy Salmon is a member of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s Leadership Team. She is a dancer who has contributed enormously over the years to arts education in Maine. She attended the MAAI Mega MDIHS at Mount Desert Island High School on November 25,2014. Below you will find her review of the day. Thank you Nancy!
Being a relative newbie on the MAAI Leadership Team, the Mega-Regional workshop at MDI High School was my first. I arrived early and friendly teachers directed me toward the “arts wing.” I knew immediately when I found it – Art EVERYWHERE! Student work on all the hall walls, three visual art studios, a beautiful and LARGE music room and a Dance Studio!
My assignment was to help register people – actually two MDI students took that on, and I was the “elder” helper handling any monetary transactions. Registration table was the perfect place for me to put names, faces, places, and teaching roles together.
I participated in two workshops even though I’m not a public school teacher. I totally enjoyed Jane Snider and Lisa Ingraham, both visual arts teachers, workshop Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy (or anyone’s autonomy). A couple books they use and introduced were Studio Thinking 2 and From Ordinary to Extraordinary. Jane’s and Lisa’s workshop was a perfect introduction to some very useable concepts and exercises regardless of art discipline. Participants included teachers of all the arts.
My second workshop, Stir-Crazy: A Movement Tool Kit for the Sedentary School Day was conducted by Stevie McGary, a new teaching artist on the Maine Arts Commission roster. Lots of activities in Stevie’s “tool kit” to use students’ fidgety energy in a productive, creative way. Many of the activities could be used right in the classroom.
Back in the dance studio after lunch, Stevie took us through a short dance class, demonstrating the kinds of things she does in her visiting artist/residency work. (The video of the day that Charlie Johnson created will be posted on the Maine Arts Ed blog in the near future).
For the afternoon session we divided into 2 groups, performing arts teachers (all music teachers in this instance) and visual arts teachers. I participated in Rob Westergard’s session. The session was an opportunity to share successes, challenges and helpful ideas regarding Teacher Effectiveness and Proficiency.
All in all, a success! I’m reminded of how totally impressed I am with the smarts, the passion, the commitment to the arts and STUDENTS that arts teachers are in spite of all the challenges that exist in our public school environment. Applause for all!