Archive for December, 2010


Liverpool Football

December 31, 2010


Thank you to Carol Trimble, Executive Director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education, for sharing this link. It is so cool to see the bright red and white spirit colors and hear the strong singing of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by football fans of Liverpool.


Two Articles

December 30, 2010

Minn. teachers integrate movement, dance into curriculum
Some Minnesota educators are beginning to incorporate more movement, dance and the arts into classroom lessons, thanks to a two-year professional-development program. One high-school philosophy teacher asks students to consider the roles that emotion and reason play in analyzing art, and then students dance the salsa or the merengue as part of the lesson. Some teachers say students are better able to grasp the concepts of a lesson when movement is included. You can read the article written by Kelly Smith found in the Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, 12/7/10 by clicking here.

Private donors work to support arts in Charlotte, N.C., schools
Arts leaders in North Carolina are hoping to raise $1 million to fund field trips and cultural opportunities that have fallen victim to state and local budget cuts. Corporate donors have pledged $600,000 so far. “We don’t have a permanent solution, but this puts us at a better place than we would be otherwise,” the campaign’s leader said. “It’s a real collaboration with arts and sciences and schools.” You can read the article found in The Charlotte Observer written Ann Doss Helms, (N.C.) (12/14/10) by clicking here.


Voices of Destiny

December 29, 2010

On the Today show earlier this week I saw a segment on Voices of Destiny, a choir from a church in Compton, California. Music is used in a powerful way so inner-city young people learn that peace and hope is attainable.

Last week I attended the Maine Pro-Musica performance at Camden Hills Regional High School along with 800 others. The orchestra, chorus, bell choir, and dancers all contributed to a delightful afternoon. The audience was on their feet to show their appreciation.

In both of these cases, even though they are worlds apart in so many ways, it was the music that brought people together. East coast, west coast, urban, rural, African-Americans, white, predominantly older and comfortable economically, predominantly younger and limited economically, living safely, often fearing for their lives.

Mainers are familiar with the stories of community musical performances so in this blog post I will tell you only about the award winning Compton-based church choir, Voices of Destiny.

Michael J.T. Fisher is the choir’s 31-year-old leader and the pastor of the Greater Zion Church in Compton which he took over from his father in 2005. The community is full of violence and gangs so Fisher’s goal was to help young people realize that it doesn’t have to be that way and that they could be a role model to change patterns that exist. Through the formation of a choir that is a combination of choreography and song blended with hip-hop and modern music with traditional worship they are accomplishing the goal. They now have about 60 members.

In November they traveled to Washington to compete in the “How Sweet the Sound” where they were named “Bet Church Choir in America”. Their performance brought the 12,000 audience members to their feet. It is difficult not to want to move when you hear them.The $42,000 prize money is in part being used to build a youth center. The members are reaching out to schools, hospitals and community projects.

Many of the choirs members are former gang members, drug addicts, ex-cons, single mothers, and from broken families. They are learning how to use their energy for something positive and good and that hard work can help them achieve what is right in the world.

You can see the group perform, YouTube below, and read more about them by clicking here.


Great Article!

December 28, 2010

Please share these links with your colleagues, friends and family members

The recent elimination of some departments at higher education of some languages and arts programs has caused some to speak up. Please take the time to read this article written by Gregory Petsko, professor of biochemistry at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Not only the article but the comments are well worth the time.

Please click here for the article published in naturenews on December 22, 2010.


TED Talk: Vik Muniz

December 27, 2010

On his TED talk Vik Muniz talks about creation. Growing up in Brazil in the 70’s he was forced to think differently. His first job was with media where his task was to improve the readability of billboards. This job influenced his thinking and creating. Today he works with all kinds of materials, his work using sugar and chocolate are fascinating. He was born in Brazil and has lived in Brooklyn since 1983. His humor transfers to his art and he takes viewers on a tour beyond his art. He has acting in his background which integrates with his art creations. This TED video is worth viewing.


Using Music to Teach Science Concepts

December 26, 2010

Utilizing Music

A Illinois middle school science teacher is using YouTube as a venue for singing science lessons. Doug Edmonds is rewriting the lyrics to popular songs such as Abba’s “Dancing Queen” with lessons on chemical bonds and other science concepts. He also holds diagrams and flash cards to accompany the songs. He videotapes his work and puts them on YouTube for students and teachers to access. Teachers and students from within and outside the US have contacted him letting him know how helpful his videos are.

“If I’m ever struggling on a quiz, I’ll just sort of sing them to myself,” one student said. “People are going around singing them in the hallways. They’re actually really catchy.” (Chicago)/Northbrook, Ill. (12/14)


Moon Walk

December 25, 2010

A moon like no other

On the day of the scheduled eclipse earlier this week we were out for an early morning walk, my favorite time of day. We left just before the sky started to lighten, it was dark and chilly, the air was crisp. A couple of deep breathes heightened my senses.

We rounded the corner about 10 minutes into the walk and I could see something that almost resembled brightly colored Christmas lights in the trees. I thought, how odd that someone put lights so high up in the trees and I wondered how they did it?! As we got a little closer I quickly realized that it was the moon. For a split second I felt silly that I had mistaken it for something other than the moon. Why was I bewildered? It was the color and texture and I now find it almost impossible to describe accurately.

Neither my husband or myself had a phone to take a picture so we knew we had to depend on our minds to remember. We got past the trees to an open area and we stopped and stared at it for quite sometime. I realized that I had never seen the moon look like that before and stared at it for quite some time hoping our eyes would not forget.

It was a brilliant orange-red with shades of black throughout that made me think it was carefully crafted by an artist. It was a cross between a water color painting that had been sprinkled on by salt and marble paper. It wasn’t completely full but almost and it seemed to be suspended not far from the horizon. It was very surreal.

It was one of those life moments that reminded me of how tiny I am in the universe during the very small speck of time I am fortunate to live on this planet. The importance of making a difference day to day is a treasure that we have as arts educators. As many of us celebrate this joyous holiday season I hope each of you take a moment and go far a walk where I hope the world is in all its glory!

Happy Holidays!


Congratulations Susan Bryand!

December 24, 2010

Congratulations to Art Teacher Susan Bryand!

Susan was selected by Unum, the Portland Pirates and the Maine Center for Excellence in Education Coalition as the one of the two middle school honorees in their sixth annual Maine Educators’ Hall of Fame-Starting 6.

Each year these organizations recognize two elementary, two middle level and two high school teachers who “have created innovative classroom lessons and find ways to engage parents, families and communities to ensure all students succeed.”!

Suzy was nominated by principal Debbie Ladd. She will be honored at the January 21 Portland Pirates Hockey game. She will receive a free night’s stay at Portland’s Hilton Garden Inn on game night, a personalized Pirates uniform jersey, choice tickets for six, and a check for $500.


Post It Notes

December 23, 2010


Some of you know how much I LOVE to use the stickie notes on the MacBook. If you aren’t familiar with them I recommend their use for remembering bits of information. I used to have pieces of paper or stickie notes everywhere. Now I just have several on the computer. You can even color code them.

Well, I don’t recall who sent me this link to the post-it note artist, John Kenn, but it is fascinating work. The themes are a bit creepy but the work is fascinating. You can see the images and read the interview with the artist on my modern met blog by clicking here


In the News

December 22, 2010

Searsport students – all day arts festival

Middle school and some high school students were treated to a day-long program of arts demonstrations and workshops during the “Middle School Arts Festival” on December 16th. Read more of the article written by Ethan Andrews for Village Soup by clicking here.

Ronald Bisbee demonstrates

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