In Today’s News

August 25, 2016

Thanks to Herb Albert

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 2.35.29 PMTrumpeter Herb Alpert, known for his unique brand of Latin-tinged jazz pop, and for being a co-founder of A&M Records, a label that released key albums by artists from Cat Stevens to Janet Jackson, is now making his mark on education. To access the entire article please CLICK HERE.


Bay Chambers

August 25, 2016

On the water concert

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 6.53.54 PMEveryone’s buzzing about the concert ON Megunticook Lake that happened last Friday evening, August 19 brought to the community by Bay Chamber Concerts. The concert on the water featuring Slavic Soul Party! was filled with energy. It was a perfect evening to be on the water – the light over was amazing. There were kayaks, canoes, motor boats and paddle boats. I am guessing about 100 boats, about 300 people and 27 dogs. (Look closely in the photo and you can see the activity). Adults and young people and dogs swimming, dancing and listening to great music – it was a real fun time!

Most interesting – as we paddled back to the landing as the sun was setting there was a peaceful rare stillness. Two couples paddled by singing in their old green canoe with straw hats, bunches of plastic flowers and a dog. In the dark the dozens of cars pulled up to the beach to load their boats and the quietness continued. I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I am to live in a state that provides unique musical opportunities in such stunning places. I’m hoping that Bay Chambers or another organization will consider providing more concerts on the water!

Megunticook ConcertThank you Bay Chamber who said: You are at the heart of everything we present here at Bay Chamber– our aim is to enrich your days and weeks through thrilling musical moments. And what a difference music can make in one week… a performance that inspires you … transports your imagination to heights unknown… or triggers a memory of meaningful moments gone by.

For those of you not familiar with Bay Chamber Concert programs I included their story in the Who Are They?: Bay Chamber blog series just over a year ago. Check them out and if you like what you see they are having a fund drive this week at THIS SITE.


Everyone Has a Story

August 24, 2016


As the nights begin to get cooler and we start another school year I am reminded of how important it is to connect and reach out to others. So much of teaching has to do with the relationships we form with students and our colleagues.

Everyone has a story to share about summer vacation. How will you listen to your colleagues or students’ summer stories? How will you encourage those who are on the quiet shy side to tell their stories? Will it be through song, painting, words?

On my way into work this morning I caught the tale end of the “chicken farmer” story. This is not a new story, perhaps you’ve read it or heard it sometime in your life. I googled when I arrived and found the story below online. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It brought a smile to my face.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 7.36.57 AMTwelve feet or so off the east edge of State Road 103, which runs north-south through the town of Newbury, New Hampshire (population 1,500 or so), there sits a squarish brown-gray slab of rock roughly the height of a man. Its southern face is flat, nearly smooth, at a billboard angle toward the traffic, coming north.

About 25 years ago, across from the rock on the west side of the road, there sat a tidy white cedar-shingled house in whose backyard, as it is remembered, a dozen chickens pecked about. Their eggs made breakfasts (and a tiny sideline business) for a family named the Rules – whose daughter Gretchen was pretty, smart, wistful, and 16.

There was a boy – a shy boy, also wistful, also a farmer, whose name is forgotten today – who pined for Gretchen Rule. He cast about for ways to tell her or show her – without telling or showing himself – then he hit upon the rock.

“CHICKEN FARMER, I LOVE YOU” he wrote on it, in eight-inch high, spray-painted letters, one moonlit, high-starred night – or so the story goes.

And the girl saw and guessed the author (though it was only, really, a guess) – and the town and the passing motorists smiled, made their own guesses, and went on about their ways.

The message endured for years, though brambles grew up to obscure it, and the letters, once so bold and white, began to fade. Gretchen Rule went away to Harvard, then on to life. The boy, whoever he was – or is – became a man. The rock grew into a relic, a love note out of time.

One night – 10, perhaps 12 years ago (no one saw it happen, and no one today can say for sure) – the brambles were cut away. And the message was repainted and renewed: “CHICKEN FARMER, I STILL LOVE YOU.”

The rock became a landmark. “It’s your first left past Chicken Rock” the locals were wont to say. “Chicken,” “love” and “farmer” were the first words one Newbury kindergartner – today a teenager – learned to read. And every two years or so, barely noticed, the letters would be freshened and the brambles cut away.

Then, late last April, an unknown caller complained of “graffiti” to the New Hampshire Dept. of Transportation (or DOT). By nightfall the same day, a three-foot square of rust-colored primer was all that was left of a shy boy’s long-ago love. The Concord Monitor offered its requiem: “Love Message to Chicken Farmer No More.”

A week passed. Then with the coming of dawn on April 30, the new sun rose on New Hampshire’s stubbornest love: “CHICKEN FARMER, I STILL LOVE YOU.”

The same message, the same eight-inch letters. But bolder this time: thicker-lettered, almost crude, and painted rather than sprayed. As though written by an angry and defiant hand.

In Newbury, the townspeople, inspired now as never before, took steps to assure that their landmark would live on. “A Petition for the Status Quo” they called it and filled it with 192 signatures in the space of a day. The DOT responded with a letter. The Chicken Rock’s message would be forever safe.

And somewhere, surely, a shy, 40-ish man must have smiled.

Originally appeared in the February 1998 issue of Yankee Magazine as “The Best Love Story of 1997.” Also ran in “Chicken Soup for the Lover’s Soul” and in the Concord Monitor.


Happening Today

August 23, 2016


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Two Good Articles

August 22, 2016

Edutopia article

Edutopia is a website published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF). Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 8.14.22 PMFounded in 1991 by filmmaker George Lucas and venture capitalist Steve Arnold, the Foundation “celebrates and encourages innovation” in K-12 schools.

This is an interesting article called Learning From the Band Director, written by Dr. Rob Furman, published by Edutopia. He includes a list of what any teacher can learn from the band director. I include #2 below. You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

Performance- Based Learning: Music directors have always been driven by performance-based learning. The learning process in a band room is based on projects. The need to prepare for a concert, a small ensemble performance or a solo act is the definition of performance or project-based learning. Band directors teach the art and science of music, as they are preparing their students for their performances. Students know that each of them is responsible to the group as a whole.

A second article called Creating an Ecology of Wonder written by Stacey Goodman, an artist and educator from California. He believes that the best way to “cultivate imagination and wonder is through art”. He includes six ways to cultivation the ‘learning ecology’, as her refers to it. I include #4 below. You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

Create Assessments That Reward Good Questions, Not Just Good Answers                    What if we framed our exams as a series of answers and asked our students to ask questions? How do we take rote, clichéd statements such as, “Columbus discovered America in 1492,” and reveal them to be fraught with more misinformation than relevant information. Asking the right questions is the basis of good scholarship and query, and these questions are motivated by wonder.


National Arts in Education Week

August 21, 2016

Save the dates

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 6.12.15 AMCelebrate this year’s National Arts in Education Week! September 11–17, 2016

Designated by Congress in 2010, the third week in September is a national celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. Over the course of September 11–17, celebrate arts education in events across the country; advocate to federal, state, and local decision-makers; and participate in visibility campaigns on social media using #ArtsEdWeek. Americans for the Arts will also host a series of professional development opportunities on ArtsU. For more information, contact Arts Education Program Manager Jeff Poulin at jpoulin@artsusa.org.


Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 6.14.57 AMThe arts are a part of our lives every day, but we take all 31 days in October to commemorate the arts in a big way! National Arts & Humanities Month is the largest annual celebration of the arts and humanities in the United States. October may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start planning the celebration in your community. Our website offers resources and tools to establish a Do-It-Yourself Community Visioning Forum, host a Creative Conversation, or partner with a local arts venue on an open house or a special performance. Follow NAHM on Facebook for the latest updates on the national celebration, including a special social media challenge coming October 1, and to share your ideas and events with our followers.


Stories and Photos – Malawi

August 20, 2016

August 31 – Hope

Article from the Free Press – published this week at THIS LINK.

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