Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category


The Testing Camera

December 17, 2014

YouTube FableVision Learning Peter H. Reynolds

If you are not familiar with Peter Reynolds and his website at I suggest that you take a look and see what he has to offer. His book the dot that he wrote and illustrated is absolutely wonderful!

Thanks to Jay Ketner, World Language Specialist, Maine Department of Education, for sharing this link!




MAC Teaching Artist Roster

December 16, 2014

Unveiled today on the MAC site

Martin Swinger

Martin Swinger

The Maine Arts Commission is excited to announce that the new PK-12 Teaching Artist roster has been created and has gone live today!! The roster has 27 teaching artist profiles and is located at this link It has been a number of years since the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) has had a Teaching Artist Roster. The last one was a (paper) booklet that was very useful to school districts who were seeking additional arts education instruction, specifically from artists. We hope that the new roster becomes a valuable resource.

In addition, MAC has a roster for artists interested in working with older adults. The Creative Aging program at MAC is directed by Kathleen Mundell. The roster is located at this link If you have questions about this program please contact Kathleen at

Some of you might be wondering what a Teaching Artist is or what do they do?! MACs definition for a Teaching Artist is below.

Teaching Artists are professional artists who are dedicated to lifelong learning and arts education, have made it an integral part of their professional practice, and who have cultivated skills as educators in concert with their skills as artists.

Malley Weber

Malley Weber

The artists included in the roster were selected after reviewing their applications which reflected their expertise and commitment to providing learning opportunities for students and/or teachers in the PK-12 education setting. We expect that the roster will be used by PK-12 schools as well as community organizations that provide learning opportunities for young people.

A more comprehensive program for Teaching Artists is being created and efforts to address the needs are underway and will grow over time. The next call for Teaching Artist applications will be announced in the Spring 2015.



December 15, 2014


Some say that life is about “making memories”. When I think about my childhood, especially during the holidays, what comes rushing into my mind, are the traditions. Little ones, like helping my Dad put the sled and reindeer (seems like they were life-size) on the lawn and the giant star that hung on the front of the house.

After I got married I mentioned that star every year, until one year my husband made one and surprised me for Christmas. When I drive up the hill at the end of the day the star shines brightly on the roof of our home and puts a smile on my face. When I was about 8 years old I wanted to give presents to my siblings and parents, but had no money to buy anything. I saved the toilet paper and paper towel rolls and wrapped them up and had everyone open them at the same time. I still remember the puzzled looks on their faces and the questions of “what are these?” Of course, “da-do-da-doos”! I can still feel my smile when they all put them to their lips and played them in unison. For years afterwards someone always wrapped one to pass on. I could go on and on about the memories that I have from childhood, in and out of school.

These might seem like little insignificant things to others but they were important to me at the time and remain forever etched in my memory. What do you do each year that is important and makes your heart sing? What do you in your classroom that creates memories for your students?

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.22.43 AMAs an adult one of our family traditions is to see the Magic of Christmas each year at the Merrill Auditorium. The Portland Symphony Orchestra, now directed by Robert Moody, is one of those traditions. My husband and I started going when my oldest son (now 27) was a baby. Sadly, my sons aren’t around each year to attend with us but it still continues to be a tradition for us. We attended the performance last evening and it was spectacular. In fact, it was so uniquely different than other years it is one of my favorites. The “collage”, as Robert Moody called the first half of the show, included a diverse group including, Simply Three, a string group that plays traditional tunes in an innovative style. Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, the all women’s percussion and vocal ensemble has been around for 25 years blending the sounds of West Africa, the Middle East, and Brazil with incredible energy. And the FLUKES, Falmouth Library Ukulele EnSemble, played their version of “Mele Kalikimaka” to the delight of the audience. Two dancers from the Maine State Ballet joined the orchestra for “In the Christmas Tree” from The Nutcracker and Ray Cornils was on the returned Kotzschmar organ after a 2-year refurbishing. Soloist Susie Pepper added a memorable touch in her rendition of “Let it Go” from Frozen. The viola section was highlighted and played one of my favorites, Good King Wenceslas. My all time favorite is “Hallelujah” from Messiah which takes me back to my days in the high school choir. And, of course, the audience sing-along with the almost 3000 people in attendance joining together to make music. I am reminded of the power of music with all those voices.

Congratulations to Rick Nickerson who directs the Magic of Christmas chorus. Rick teaches music at Windham High School. MaryEllen Schaper, dance teacher, from Bonny Eagle Middle School is a member who has been singing with the Magic chorus for over 30 years. I am guessing that there are other teachers involved in the orchestra or the chorus. Please email me at so you can be recognized for your contribution to this delightful tradition.

I understand there are tickets still available for next weeks performance of the Magic of Christmas. I recommend going and making some memories of your own!


2015-16 MLTI Artwork Challenge

December 14, 2014

Student Opportunity

Over the last six years, the MLTI device has featured screen savers featuring outstanding student works of art (twenty each year). To date, there have been well over two thousand pieces of artwork submitted. WOWZER! Currently images are made available as a screensaver download on the following MLTI Devices: HP ProBooks & Apple MacBooks.

"Eye in Triangle", by Dominick Bernard, Deering High School, Grade 10

“Eye in Triangle”, by Dominick Bernard, Deering High School, Grade 10

The opportunity to submit artwork is available to Maine students in grades K-12. MLTI asks that students submit only ONE piece of artwork to be considered for 2015-2016 MLTI devices. Please take careful note of the sizing and labeling requirements. Submissions not meeting these requirements or students submitting multiple works will not have their artwork reviewed. The deadline to submit artwork for this challenge is January 2, 2015. Works of art submitted will be scored by an independent review committee using a rubric.

The students whose artwork is selected will have their artwork on 2015-2016 MLTI Devices, receive free Student Conference registration (May 21, 2015) and also have their artwork printed and displayed at the Department of Education in the spring.

"Holograms", by Elana Bolles, Yarmouth High School, Grade 11

“Holograms”, by Elana Bolles, Yarmouth High School, Grade 11

Please submit your artwork to Juanita Dickson. Anyone can submit the artwork (guardian, teacher, student, etc), but please be sure to include the following information in the email:

  • Student name
  • School name
  • Grade
  • Teacher (Adult) name & email address (this is who we’ll contact with result)
  • Artwork title

Don’t forget to read the guidelines! If your picture is not properly sized/submitted, it can not be considered for the challenge.

For the artwork submission guidelines (.pdf) please click here.

"Striations", by Matthew Lambert, Mount Desert Island High School, Grade 10

“Striations”, by Matthew Lambert, Mount Desert Island High School, Grade 10

MLTI Artwork Challenge Timeline

  • January 2, 2015 – Submissions due.
    Please email your submission to Juanita Dickson at Confirmation of receipt will be emailed to you.
  • January 3 – January 20, 2015 – Selection committee reviews submissions using a rubric.
  • January 25, 2015 – Teachers of the students with selected pieces will be notified by this date. A release form will need to be signed by parents and sent back to MLTI before any names are released to the public.
  • February 15, 2015 – Release forms due to back to the MLTI Project Office
  • Late February 2015 – Selected artwork information released to the public.
  • May 21, 2015 – Student Conference. Selected students will be invited to join us at the Student Conference free of charge (students will need to complete online registration)

Please contact Juanita Dickson at with any questions.

To view all of the past screen saver images please click here.



MAAI Mega MDIHS Review

December 8, 2014

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!

Nancy Salmon worked with the Teaching Artists during the Summit

Nancy Salmon

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.

Stevie McGary

Stevie McGary

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!


All About the Bass

December 6, 2014

Different versions

You might be familiar with the song by Meghan Trainor. Recently on Facebook posted a link to a version by Kate Davis that I really like. See what you think.

Charlie Johnson, art teacher from Mount Desert Island High School sent me a link to a take off on Meghan’s version that students at the school created called All About Those Books.


Beautiful Bytes of Data

December 4, 2014

Blog post written by Anthony Mullen

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 8.28.01 PMRecently I had an email exchange with Anthony Mullen, the 2009 National Teacher of the Year.  Anthony teaches high school students at The ARCH School, an alternative education branch of Greenwich High School in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Arts educators sense when someone really “gets” the arts. Mr. Mullen said in his email: “Art lies at the core of all learning because content knowledge without creativity and imagination is meaningless. Art transcends cognition because it inspires passion, and passion inspires all that we create. I have spoken to people who do not believe that art contributes to EVERYTHING we are and have been and will become, and most leave with a different point of view. Thank you for all that you do to inspire creativity!”

I took a few minutes to read a post Mr. Mullen had written recently for the Jose Luis Vilson blog. Mr. Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist in New York City. He has written and spoken about education, math, and race for a number of organizations. Periodically he has guest bloggers and Mr. Mullen’s post entitled Beautiful Bytes of Data. The beginning of the post is below and the entire post is located at Please take a few minutes and click through so you can read the entire post and be sure and read the comments as well!

The young man wearing blue jeans and a red and white polo shirt is anxious. He frequently looks at his watch, shaking his head while staring at the train tracks. He is restless and angry and impatient because the train is late again. He bends over and grabs a handful of gravel, throwing the shattered stone against a pair of cold steel rails. A few commuters standing on the train platform watch, quietly wondering why the young man is so upset. It is, after all, a bright and sunny afternoon. A solitary businessman wearing a Brooks Brothers suit is too busy texting to notice anything.


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