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Farnsworth Art Museum

October 22, 2020

Seeking Teaching Artists for online learning

Interested in teaching online with the Farnsworth Art Museum? The Education Department is seeking teaching artists and lecturers in the fields of visual art and traditional arts, literary arts, theater, dance, music and multidisciplinary / interdisciplinary fields, and art history. Let us know a bit about yourself, your discipline and teaching experience in the form link below. At this time, all programming is offered online via Zoom. 

Visit the Farnsworth Art Museum to learn more about offerings. Submit your proposal at this link. Questions? Email Jude Valentine at jvalentine@farnsworthmuseum.org

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Virtual Theatre Game Night

October 21, 2020

Maine high school students are invited to participate in a virtual theater game night. The Maine Thespians officers will lead participants in an interactive workshop at no cost. Mark your calendars and join teens from across the state – Sunday, October 25, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. This event is provided by the Maine Educational Theater Association.

For more information CLICK HERE! To register CLICK HERE!

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Grammy Music Educator Award

October 20, 2020

25 Semifinalists announced – Maine proud!

In the beginning of June 2020 the Music Educator Award presented by Recording Academy and Grammy Museum announced their quarterfinalists for 2021. I was proud to announce on the blog that three Maine music educators were named to the list of nearly 2,000 nominees!

  • CAROL CLARK – Gray-New Gloucester High School
  • PATRICK VOLKER – Scarborough High School
  • TRACY WILLIAMSON – Gorham Middle School 

As a follow up Tracy shared her Covid story posted on this blog that provided details on her teaching journey through the school year.

Tracy Williamson

Recently Tracy learned that she is one of 25 music teachers from 24 cities across 16 states to be named a semifinalist for the award given by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum.

CONGRATULATIONS TRACY!

The finalists will be announced in December and Maine Arts Educators will be waiting to hear the outcome!

The Music Educator Award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2021.

The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers are also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students’ lives. They will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school’s music program. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining fifteen semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.

The matching grants provided to the schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Museum’s Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

The finalists will be announced in December, and nominations for the 2022 Music Educator Award are now open. To nominate a music educator, or to find more information, please visit www.grammymusicteacher.com.

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Resources Supporting Arts Education

October 19, 2020

Amazing work

I know how time consuming it can be for teachers to collect resources so I’ve put together another list to help support your work – this one compiled over the last several weeks. Hopefully you’ll find the information informative!

  1. Neuroscience and Music written by Cassandra Sheppard – At a time when singing in school is marginalized this article/research reminds us that we need to sing!
  2. ArtsEdSearch A hub for research on the impact of arts in education where you’ll find academic studies and resources
  3. pink portfolio exercises As in Daniel Pink who I heard speak about the importance of the creative thinking people.
  4. Onion Foundation Funding source for Maine education
  5. STE(A)Mrolled Blog post from Americans for the Arts. Writer Daryl Ward is the principal of the Harrison School for the Arts in Florida. 
  6. Teaching Arts Education Advocates Blog post for Americans for the Arts. Written by Jennifer Katona, Director and Founder of the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at the City College of New York (CCNY), oversees the certification of pre and in-service Theatre teachers and training of non-certified theatre educators.
  7. The Teaching Channel has outstanding resources. Here’s one: Post Modern Art: Everything Is Information 
  8. Collective Impact in the Arts – Createquity. One persons information on the possibility of developing a collective impact model for the arts. Written by Ian David Moss a few years ago but information is still relevant for those interested in this work. 
  9. Deeper Learning: Why Cross-Curricular Teaching is Essential written by Ben Johnson for Edutopia. More difficult but so many benefits that outweigh not doing this type of teaching.
  10. Unlocking Passion in Education written by Tom Segal for Education Week. Another older article but good information. 
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Baby Grand Piano

October 17, 2020

Interested in a Yamaha Baby Grand Piano for free? Recently I learned about a piano that barely 7 years old looking for home. This ‘free to good home’ piano is currently in storage in Tennessee. If interested contact mariannestewwart2@gmail.com.

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So Long Jim Small

October 16, 2020

Kind, dependable, consistent, committed, and considerate are words that describe Jim Small. Jim had a huge heart and soft voice and was devoted to teaching. He was one of those teachers who was ALWAYS teaching – in his classroom and throughout his day – demonstrating for students and writing and recording ideas. He had a clear and deep understanding of creative thinking and taught it as a foundation to all of his art classes. In fact, he wrote about it over many years to make it more understandable for others and was an amazing advocate for arts education. Sadly Jim left this world on October 10 at the age of 67. Even though Jim is gone he has left us all resources on his YouTube channel called Imagine Again Jim – it’s soooo Jim! Below is Jim’s obituary.

Mr. Small – Art Teacher Extraordinaire

SKOWHEGAN – James Keith Small passed away peacefully in his sleep on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020 at the age of 67 at his home in Skowhegan.

Born on March 23, 1953 in Westbrook to his mother, Cora Ida York, and his father, Shirley Small. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; children, Stephanie, Adam and Ricky; and his grandchildren, Coraline, Geronimo and Torrington; as well as his sisters, Linda, Judy and Valerie. James also had the good fortune of being taken in by the late Pauline and Bob Johnson and siblings Gene, Alan, Patrick, Paula, and Lisa after the passing of his parents.

A devoted father, husband and career educator, he worked tirelessly to provide a magical world for his children to grow up in. Always a kid at heart himself, he believed that the imagination was the key that unlocked each person’s individual super power.

He was an extraordinarily gentle soul who was loved by many, and had endless love to give. He touched countless lives as an art teacher for the MSAD 59 and MSAD 54 school districts. Jim made friends at every turn and always knew how to spread his joy to those in need. His students always knew that his classroom was a safe place, free of judgement, where he would do anything in his power to inspire creative thinking and personal growth.

Other lifelong pursuits included passion for the arts, film, photography, and last but certainly not least, fishing. Recently retired, Jim had far too little time to be on the water whenever he desired, catching all the trout he could manage.

James passed his unfiltered creative energy to his daughter, Stephanie, along with a good portion of his immense compassion for those less fortunate. He would graciously admit cribbage defeat and fish until the bats came out with his son, Adam, and he would always be his son, Ricky’s #1 fan.

Jim courted his beloved wife, Dorothy, after retrieving her lost barrette at the former Sandy Beach in Madison, and the two spent 43 years in love. From barrette to soul mate, James was an ever-devoted husband to his stunning wife and would wade into any sized waves to do it again.

Visiting hours will be held on Friday Oct. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Smart and Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan. We ask that all attendees be respectful of the COVID guidelines and wear a mask while attending. Anyone wishing to virtually attend the funeral service may do so via the Albion Christian Church website – https://albionchristianchurch.com/, there will be a link located there to go to the live Facebook link starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 17. 

Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Smart and Edwards Funeral Home, 183 Madison Ave., Skowhegan. Anyone who wishes to leave the family messages can do so on our website at ? http://www.smartandedwardsfh.com

James (Mr. Small to many) would want us all to move forward with pride and confidence, while reminding us to also Imagine Again, and Imagine More. 

In lieu of flowers, the Small family will be encouraging anyone who wishes to donate to a scholarship for all manner of creative pursuits and the arts in Mr. Small’s name.

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MECA

October 15, 2020

Opportunity for Learners ages 4-17

The Maine College of Arts Master of Arts in Teaching Teacher Candidates will offer a variety of free art lessons to children grades K-12. Click here to register for this event – November 9 (fully online)! Virtual Art Fair! Please share this information with your students and their parents.

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How Learning Happens

October 14, 2020

Edutopia and social emotional learning

Edutopia tackles the challenges of social emotional learning by providing several videos on a variety of topics that are beneficial to educators, parents, and organizations who provide learning opportunities for learners. In this video series, they explore how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners. Below are just a few – you can find many more on the section of the Edutopia website called How Learning Happens.

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Peg Has Left the Building

October 13, 2020

Margaret (Peg) Maxwell, longtime art teacher at Bonny Eagle High School was recently featured in The Eagle Times, the school newspaper. Peg left her art classroom this year due to the Coronavirus but is helping out with the remote learning students.

In Peg’s words: “It was heartfelt and such an honor for me to be recognized….I sure miss all of what I had and hope to continue in another phase when this is over..I am grateful for Joann Lannin, a wonderful journalist and mentor to our students and to Kaylei Myers for her kind and thoughtul professionalism. She will do well in the world of Journalism.  Joann Lannin, a wonderful published author and journalist who often takes our students to the National Award status for our newspaper and in the past has taken them to the National Journalism Museum in Washington. We are so lucky to have faculty dedicated to student success. I so miss my colleagues, but they have found a way during this pandemic to keep us all connected.

BY KAYLEI MYERS
Oct. 1, 2020

      Ms. Margaret (Peg) Maxwel will not be teaching at Bonny Eagle High School this year due to Coronavirus concerns. She is currently still involved with school by helping out with the remote learning students. Ms. Maxwell has been an art teacher here since 1989. The beginning of this year would’ve been the start of her 38th year with us. Besides teaching art classes, she has coached tennis, advised the National Honor Society, the FACS (Fight Against Cancer Society), STAND (Students Affirming the Non-Use of Drugs), and the Outing Club. She mentored students in the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and had a Bible Club for a few years after school.  The Eagle Times caught up with Ms. Maxwell (remotely) for a question and answer session early last week.

Margaret Peg Maxwell in her classroom at Bonny Eagle High School

Was this a hard decision to make?
    This decision to not go back was and continues to be very difficult. It was made by me and strongly recommended by my doctor. After doing the research, she highly advised me not to enter the classroom due to my health issues.  I do not want to make the students ill and I do not want to get sick either.  My immune system is weak and I need to be aware of the current situation.

What are you going to miss most about working here?
    I will miss all of it. The students, my colleagues, the art room being such a special time for Mr. Twilley and I to share, that sacred place where so many students enjoyed making art, hanging out, and becoming great artists in the real world. Our classrooms were like open books. The door between us was never locked and students and teachers knew when and where to be in order to express their creativity and to find inspiration. Mr. Twilley was a great teaching partner. We had 30 years of collaboration, friendship and pure love of art.
    Every day I woke up ready to teach in that wonderful room. Waiting for students, walking the halls with many smiles, and hearing ‘Good Morning Ms. MaxwellI’.  I had a cluttered classroom, but I knew where everything was when someone needed something. I miss the students coming after school and needing to work on a project from another class and wanting help with posters, information, or just a cup of tea or pizza when we needed to clean the space.

​Has Bonny Eagle High School been a welcoming place for the arts?
    The Bonny Eagle community always supported the arts, our requests for materials, workshops, and additional educational resources to make all of this happen. This district rocks, including, the school board, administration at all levels, and the greater public. We have students working for CNN, Disney, North Face, Mass General Hospital, Dartmouth Press, Flowfold Inc., Illustrating for Amazon, FableVision, PBS, interned with Dale Chihuly, Nickelodeon, Wired Magazine, Burton, Rossignol, MIT Industrial Design, etc. The list goes on and on. I just had a former student, Chelsea Johnson, make me a great Wizard of Oz platter reminding me of my continued references to Dorothy and the importance of having a heart, brains, and the courage to succeed in tough times, like now.
     Our school was part of NEA grants through the Portland Museum of Art on three occasions commemorating the works of Winslow Homer ,and student work was displayed on the walls of the museum. Lastly, an essay about my curriculum during the pandemic last trimester was published in the Union of Maine Visual Artists this summer. 
     The MSAD 6 district has provided me with many opportunities to teach at the state and Tri-District levels with integrated Arts and STEAM workshops. They provided summer opportunities for me at Bennington College in their summer institutes, studying book arts with Meryl Brater, a Radcliffe Scholar. This brought much integration into the district for K-12 education. They gave me the opportunity to study at the Darling Marine Education Center in Damariscotta, as well as study Marine Biological Illustration, and many courses at MECA in botanical illustration and digital art and 3-d printing and laser cut art works. All of this enhanced the curriculum for the students when I returned each fall to share the information and my work.

Are there hopes of you coming back after this is all over? And if not, what other ventures do you have in the works?
    As for now, I will not be able to go back to the school and need to quarantine until this is over.  I am not able to have vaccines even if there is one, so I’m working at home developing a non-profit on food security. My dream is to have my puppets create an online or zoom presentation to teach children about food security. I worked with Jim Henson when I started teaching in the 1970’s at Princeton University when he was developing Sesame Street. I taught preschool in an inner-city head start program. We gave him stories and he gave us ways to teach kids through entertainment. I have a trademark in the final stages in Washington and the copyright to song lyrics that I have written to accompany a well known tune. I’m in the process of getting the rights to the music.
    I have a board started and the puppets designed. Several former Bonny Eagle students are consulting with me and helping me in the process. Our Backpack program inspired a set of puppets I do think all will like.
     My Dream is to start a production company at Bonny Eagle after I retire and work with departments who want to collaborate. I have a student interested in painting the backdrops for the puppet theatre. I would like to have students on the board and willing to work with all aspects of developing a production company. I have the drive and the expertise of great people. I was asked to go national with the idea, but I do not have the strength or the desire. My heart is at Bonny Eagle and that is where I want to end my career.  
     In addition, I have been writing a memoir and a musical for several years. My playwright teacher from New York City thinks this would be a great way to end it. ‘The closing of the BLUE DOOR’, as I see it.  I painted my house doors the same color blue as my classroom door. I have been writing silly songs since I was six years old and poetry essays and stories all my life. Now it is the time to tell my story.  Bonny Eagle has been a major part and will be the finale.

Peg – third from left in top row

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Learning and Teaching about Indigenous Cultures, Languages, and Territories

October 12, 2020

Global Oneness Project Webinar

If you’re not familiar with the Global Oneness Project now is a good time to learn more. Cleary Vaughan-Lee is an amazing person and serves as the Executive Director of the Global Oneness Project. Recently they provided a webinar entitled Learning and Teaching about Indigenous Cultures, Languages, and Territories. The webinar was hosted by Christine McRae from Native Land Digital. This is a timely resource since today is Indigenous People Day in Maine. The webinar was attended by close to 900 people and fortunately the webinar was archived so you can access it and also use the many resources that have been gathered to help support your work as educators.


The recording is available to view on the Global Oneness Project website and the resources are in this Google Doc. I’m looking forward to viewing the recording and taking a close look at the resources that are filled with  quotes, websites, books, articles, films, curricula, and podcasts, all of which provide ways to learn from Indigenous voices around the world.

Christine shared ways to engage with the mapping tool Native Land and communicated that there are complexities when mapping Indigenous territories. She said, “When we think of maps in the modern context, they often represent colonial boundaries or colonial understandings of the world. It’s a balance to communicate Indigenous relationships to land, which are so much deeper than shapes.”  

In addition, at the last minute, Margaret Noodin, Obijwe poet and linguist, joined the webinar and read one of her poems that was included in the slides. It is called “Babejianjisemigad/Gradual Transformation,” which she read in Anishinaabemowin and in English. She said, “I think one of the things I got from my dad and his mother was the ability to listen to the world singing around me and the desire to sing back to it.”

Thanks to Cleary Vaughan-Lee and the Global Oneness Project for their dedication and thoughtfulness about education. Most of the blog post was from a recent email from Cleary.  

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