Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category


Webinar Archive CC and the Arts

April 11, 2014

April’s MAAI Webinar

This post was provided by music educator Rob Westerberg.

The second of a series of four webinars for phase 3 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was held on Tuesday, April 8, entitled “Common Core and The Arts”. Catherine Ring and I facilitated what ended up being a pretty full hour with guests Marcia McCaffrey, Arts Consultant at the New Hampshire Department Of Education, and Jenni Null, Fine Arts Coordinator in S.A.D. #61. The dialogue focused around three broad topics:

  1. what is the Common Core and what are it’s origins,
  2. how does it tie in to Visual and Performing Arts, and
  3. how do we confront authentic concerns and questions we have around it all?

A focal point of the webinar was a resources page on which we provided live links (those links are still live in the archived webinar, which you can access at the end of this blog post) to abundant information on the Common Core, practical connections to the Arts and yet even more links that can assist Arts teachers, informing their work at integrating Common Core. As those links were shown, we had a rich conversation that included articulating the difference between “enrichment” and authentic integration. We also spent time addressing specific concerns from the field, stating that some have been coerced into sacrificing their own work to accommodate ELA prompts and increase math achievement scores. Others have had their face time with students slashed so those students can receive remedial help in other subjects. Rather than skirt these issues, confronting them head on brought about many insights and ideas for moving forward.

It became apparent that the issues we confront here in Maine have less to do with the Common Core than practical implementation of them in local controlled school districts. In short, it is evident that the Common Core standards hold many promises for all of us in Maine, including the potential for exciting collaborative work in the Arts. But implementation of this requires much prep work and a commitment to ideals that squarely place the focus on students, not programs. Successful implementation will require “intentionality” and school leadership where a broad understanding of how the arts appropriately contribute to the Common Core is present.  There is not only a place for the Arts at the table, but the scenario exists in which we potentially play a larger role than ever before in the development of our students in the 21st Century.

As Marcia McCaffrey pointed out, the College Board has come out with a Review of Connections Between the Common Core and National Core Arts Standards Conceptual Framework and specific ways to approach alignment.  Marcia provided an overview of this research which will be posted at in the near future.

On Wednesday, May 7, we will be holding our third webinar in which we will be discussing how the Arts are impacted by the Maine law mandating Proficiency in all subject areas – including the Arts – and what that will look like for us as we move forward. No doubt it will tie into additional Common Core topics as well as the revision of the National Core Arts Standards that will be released in early June. Please plan on joining us from 3:30 to 4:30 on that first Wednesday of May. In the meantime, you can access the archive of the April 8 webinar at In the near future along with Marcia’s presentation there will be a Meeting Plan which you can use individually or with your colleagues, along with additional information on the Maine Arts Commission website at



Common Core and the Arts Webinar

April 7, 2014

Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Webinar to be held – April 8

Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring will be hosting their second webinar in a series of four for 2014 as part of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI).  The webinar entitled Common Core and the Arts will take place on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 from 3:30 – 4:30.  Primary discussions will be based around:

  • Clarification of Common Core, it’s origins and implementation
  • Connections to Visual And Performing Arts
  • Ramifications for our programs

The overarching goals of this webinar will be to demystify the Common Core as it pertains to Arts programs in Maine. Strategies for linking with it as well as strategies for maintaining and building on our capacity to reach our own students in our own subject areas will be discussed as well.

Guests will include ….

Marcia McCaffrey, Arts Consultant from the New Hampshire Department of Education and Jenni Null, Fine Arts Coordinator, School Administrative District #61 (Lake Region School District: Bridgton, Casco, Naples, Sebago). The duo will provide valuable ideas, information and food for thought!


Marcia McCaffrey

Jenni Null

Jenni Null

To join the meeting, go online to Please click here for more information about other webinars and the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. For best success please join the system 10 minutes early to make sure you can hear, and use a hard-wire connection (not wireless).

Please be sure to join for what promises to be an engaging, insightful hour on the topic that will continue to impact every one of us as arts educators in the state of Maine! One contact hour is available for participating. If you miss the session live it will be archived afterwards for your viewing. Please watch the blog for the link to it.

Screen shot 2014-04-04 at 12.20.10 PM

Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring

Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, an initiative of the Maine Arts Commission and the Maine Department of Education, with partners: ACTEM (Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine), District 3 Music Educators, MAAE (Maine Alliance for Arts Education), MAEA (Maine Art Education Association), MECA (Maine College of Art), MMEA (Maine Music Educators Association), MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative), New England Institute for Teacher Education, and USM (University of Southern Maine).




National Portrait Gallery

March 31, 2014

Summer Teacher Institute – July 7-9 or July 28-30

Integrating portraiture into the classroom provides exciting opportunities to connect students with history, biography, visual art, and many other subjects. The National Portrait Gallery’s collection presents the wonderful diversity of individuals who have left—and are leaving—their mark on our country and our culture. The museum portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story. The Summer Teacher Institute will take a broad look at the Portrait Gallery’s collection.

During the institute, the museum’s curators and historians will provide in-gallery content lectures, introducing the collection. Utilizing an interactive approach, NPG educators will model a variety of “learning to look” strategies—unique ways to hook and engage students when they look closely at portraits. Participants will learn how to “read” portraiture and use the art as a springboard into a more in-depth discussion about biography and history. Teachers from kindergarten through twelfth grade may apply as individuals or as part of a team. Priority will be given to social studies, English/language arts, and visual arts teachers.

Institute participants will:

  • Gain expertise from museum educators, curators, and historians through gallery talks, discussions, and hands-on activities
  • Learn to use portraiture in the classroom, identifying and analyzing key components of a portrait and relating visual elements to relevant historical context and significance
  • Make interdisciplinary connections among portraiture, social studies, and English/ language arts
  • Develop and share lesson ideas with colleagues

A nonrefundable program fee of $100 per person is due upon acceptance into the teacher institute. Participants are responsible for travel and lodging costs. Each participant will receive a stipend of $200 at the conclusion of the workshop.

Visit to apply. Please direct queries to npgeducation@ or 202.633.8503. Application deadline is April 15, 2014.


March Webinar Overview

March 28, 2014

Facilitated by Catherine and Rob

This was written by York High School music educator and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative leadership team member Rob Westerberg as a follow-up to the webinar held on March 5.

RobCatherineStatewide confOct11On Wednesday March 5th, Catherine Ring and I facilitated the first of four MAAI sponsored Webinars for 2014. This one was on “Outreach and Arts Education Leadership”. We were joined by guests Shannon Campell, visual arts educator from Ellsworth High School, Pam Kinsey, music educator for the Easton schools, and by Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education from the Maine Arts Commission. After tying up a few technology blips, we ended up having a great fifty minute dialogue around the primary topics of the day:

  • What is “outreach” as it pertains to the arts?
  • What does “leadership” in the arts look like?
  • How has the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative worked to develop both outreach and leadership?
  • Why are outreach and leadership essential?
  • Implications and next steps for Maine’s Arts educators

Takeaways were many, but the essence of the broad message is that we have to be proactive, not reactive as we move forward in Arts Education in Maine, and many ideas, strategies and approaches are at our fingertips for doing so. Along those lines, we have put together a pair of meeting plans that you can implement with your colleagues during professional development days in your own schools and districts. Be sure to utilize these if you are looking for professional development ideas or an alternate agenda item for your own district’s Inservice Day; bring your colleagues together and use the webinar archive and the meeting plan to help lead the discussion.

To access the webinar archive:
To access the meeting plan for this session:

The next Webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 8th from 3:30 to 4:30 as Catherine and I dig deeper into “Visual and Performing Arts and the Common Core”. More details and instructions on how to log in will be made available shortly. Please be sure to join us if you can for a topic that certainly impacts us all.


Workshop at MECA

March 23, 2014

Maine College of Art, Portland



Creativity and Common Core

March 21, 2014

Professional Development Workshop for Maine Teachers – April 1


Lesley University’s Creative Arts in Learning Division proposes to offer a professional development workshop for teachers in your district focusing on creatively implementing the Common Core State Standards. The 2-hour workshop will introduce teachers to strategies for designing curriculum and pedagogy that utilize creative processes across the disciplines to implement Common Core State Standards.  Just one example is preparing students to “actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts [drawn from all of the arts] that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews.”[i]   The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education points out that it is important to select “informational texts and multimedia resources to create coherent curriculum units that link science, social studies [and] the arts.” [ii]   This workshop is offered at no cost to the district.

Design of the Program

The district-wide professional development workshop will be offered for teachers across disciplines and grade levels.  The workshop will focus on creative strategies to support teachers in integrating creative movement, drama, music, poetry, storytelling, and visual arts into teaching and learning activities.  At the conclusion of the workshop, teachers will have the opportunity to imagine creative project-based learning activities that meet Common Core State Standards in their classrooms.

The Creativity and Common Core workshop is designed to address best practices in education that Cambridge’s Superintendent Young identified in his district’s 2011 Innovation Agenda.  These include “engaging students in project-based and experiential learning, interdisciplinary curriculum and instruction … and providing professional support for teachers to provide effective differentiated instruction.”

Workshop Leader

Martha McKenna is University Professor and Director of the Creativity Commons at Lesley University. A senior administrator of the University for 27 years, Dr. McKenna founded the Creativity Commons in 2011 to support innovation in teaching and learning.  The Creativity Commons is committed to active learning, scholarly research, critical inquiry, and diverse forms of artistic practice through the development of close mentoring relationships with students, faculty, and practitioners in the field.

[i] Introduction: Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.  Common Core State Standards Initiative: Preparing America’s Students for College and Career. 2012.  p. 3.

[ii] Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Resources for Implementing The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

in 2012-2013.


Brian’s Room

March 17, 2014

Standards-based classroom videos

IMG_4009It was great to have a chance to visit art teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Teacher Leader Brian McPherson’s classroom at the Woodside Elementary School in Topsham. Debi Lynne Baker and I traveled there recently to video tape Brian “in action”. The school is very welcoming with artwork everywhere.

Our day was filled with interviews with Brian and parents and colleagues, including principal Richard Dedek. The highlight was talking with students and visiting Brian’s classes. One class was drawing vessels using giant Chinese containers for models.

At the conclusion of the day there was a reception for students and families celebrating Chinese New Year and most importantly to view the clay relief sculptures based on Chinese architecture. Kudos to the students and Brian for a wonderful exhibit. Marvelous!

Debi Lynne is busy editing the hours of video footage to create another video showing standards-based arts education as a part of the resources provided by MAAI. All the videos that are available are posted on the Maine ARTSEducation YouTube channel. To learn more and view the videos please go to





hART rocks Professional Development

March 12, 2014

Hancock county art teachers gather for professional development opportunity – March 28ARTatheCORE copy


Mega-regional Workshop at USM

March 11, 2014

March 7 – in Lisa Ingraham’s words…

On Friday I attended the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Mega-Regional workshop at USM, this time as a participant rather than a teacher leader. I got to take it all in without a focus on preparing for my own workshop. I met many arts educators I haven’t had the opportunity to spend time with before, quite a few with a similar elementary visual arts background. And I finally got to attend other teacher leaders’ workshops that I have been dying to see since first hearing about them at last summer’s MAAI Institute!


MAAI teacher leaders Amy Cousins, Jennie Driscoll, Brian McPherson

There were a couple of big take-aways from the day for me. The first was as a result of Amy Cousins’ workshop “From Overwhelmed to in Control: Power Standards Help Connect the Dots”. Before the session was over I began mentally planning for when I could really dive into power standards (most likely this summer), and I realized that while I have done a substantial amount of work around the what, why, and how of assessment since the MAAI Institute, it is an ongoing process. While “ta das!” regarding student learning should be celebrated, as a life-long learner I then look toward the next step. Thanks Amy for showing me the next step!

My second take-away was as a result of another participant’s comment that when she thinks about her curriculum, she considers what she would like her students to know and be able to do as adults. This changed my view of the art curriculum from the five years I get to spend with them from kindergarten through grade four and extended it ahead into the future. It left me with the question, “What kind of relationship would I like my students to have with the visual arts as grown-ups?”

100_3166Time with visual and performing arts teachers is always creatively well spent. The day was filled with questions and answers both small and large. I look forward to the Mega-Regional workshop April 11th at the University of Maine, Orono!

THANK YOU Madison Elementary School and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leader Lisa Ingraham for contributing to the Maine Arts Education blog!

For more information and to register for the April 11 workshop at UMaine, Orono please go to


Call for Presentations

March 10, 2014

MAEA is Calling!  Will you answer?

Cure for the Core: Visual Art, Design, and Creativity

Anticipated Venue: Brunswick High School
Date: April 12, 2014
Time: 8:30-3:00
Registration: $40 (free for members presenting)
Lunch: included
MAEA Art Educator Awards Reception: Friday evening, April 11th

We invite you to consider sharing your expertise and craft with your peers.

Click below and fill out an application to present at our annual
MAEA Spring Conference.

Applications are due no later than Friday, March 14th!
Registration will open the week of March 17th!

Apply by clicking on the link below:

Additional perks include:
Opportunity for leadership and collegiality
A day of networking and fun
Please save the date and join us!


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