Archive for January 31st, 2011


Visit to South Berwick

January 31, 2011

Central Elementary School integrated team – Sally Gilbride and Kate Smith

Singing and dancing the Alabama Gal

Some of the ARRA funds that came into our state are being used for two projects that include the arts. One team of arts educators have been identifying Open Educational Resources (OERs). OERs are free, online, and high quality resources. The team of art, music, dance, and theater teachers are from each of the Maine superintendents regions and their resources are posted on the Maine Alliance for Arts Education site. This work is ongoing so visit the site often.

The second group of identified teachers are partner teams, one arts teacher matched up with another content teacher. They represent elementary, middle school, and high school. These teachers have created units that are aligned with the standards and exemplify best practices.

Kate Smith teaching about the Bones

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Central Elementary School in South Berwick where the music teacher Kate Smith and 2nd grade teacher Sally Gilbride have created an integrated unit. The unit is based on two farmers, brothers, who lived during 1860 named Beet and Turnip. The students are writing ballads based on Beet and Turnip’s lives. Of course they are learning about the music which has led them to dance and community gatherings and the underground railroad and on and on. It was a treat to watch Kate using a Smart Board to show the students “bones” being played and contra dances being called. I enjoyed my visit to South Berwick and was very impressed watching the unit unfold.


Remembering Christa McAuliffe

January 31, 2011

Twenty five years ago

While going through boxes to clear out an area of my workspace earlier this month I came upon the cover of a Life magazine I had saved on the 10 year anniversary of the Challenger disaster. I had mixed emotions as I read the articles this past week remembering the Challenger disaster from 25 years ago. I followed Christa McAuliffe’s story when she was selected to be the first teacher in space and was so proud that she was representing our profession as the first teacher in space. She was a passionate and highly dedicated teacher whose priority was students. It wasn’t about the content she taught but her focus was on the learning. In fact, I had forgotten that she was a social studies teacher and not math or science.

When I think about the impact she had made before and after the disaster I often wonder what it would have been like if the mission ended in success. Would Christa still be teaching today? Would the Challenger Learning Centers be built where 400,000 students have participated in simulated space missions?  I realize they are questions that can’t be answered. What I do know is that outstanding teachers are the key to good education. The relationship good teachers have with each student is a priority.

While I remember watching on TV in disbelief from that day I also remember her smiling face and am grateful that I continue to be inspired by someone I admired. You can read the article from Education Week, January 20, 2011 by clicking here.


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