Archive for April, 2011


Relax, Rejoice, Rejuvenate!

April 19, 2011

Everyone deserves a break

I am well aware of the time and effort it takes to be an arts educators. The characteristics and skills involved are different than other educators and yet there are similarities! One thing is clear and that is how necessary it is to take some time for yourself. And hopefully during this Spring break week you are able to do that, if only for one day! If you have a chance to relax it might lead to reflection. Reflecting hopefully will lead to rejoicing and feeling good about your contributions as an educator. I certainly appreciate what you do each day in the classroom for students. When the week is over and you return to the classroom I hope you feel rejuvenated! Not only do you deserve this week but your students do as well! For we know we can not take care of others if we neglect ourselves.

I had a chance to go away last week for a few days to North Carolina! I did some relaxing, rejoicing, and I am rejuvenated!


Students in Action

April 18, 2011

Boyertown High School students created this video


Nike Commercial

April 17, 2011

Nike tag – needs no introduction


Teaching Content is Teaching Reading!

April 16, 2011

Are you teaching reading in your arts classroom?

Thank you to Jill Spencer, educational consultant from Maine, author of Everyone’s Invited? and Teaming Rocks! Collaborate in Powerful Ways. Jill established a blog called Teaming Rocks and is a contributing writer to the Bright Futures blog. She shared this video with me.

Here is a YouTube video that provides information about the impact that LEARNING CONTENT has on the development of reading. It is so very important in the arts classrooms. PLEASE take the 9 minutes and 59 seconds to watch! I am certain it will be helpful in your conversation with your colleagues.


Turn Around Habits

April 15, 2011

Change of Frame of Mind

Gareth Malone is a charismatic choirmaster who works with young people (and others) and takes them beyond their dreams. He proves that groups of people can be taught to sing well enough to make a difference and bring communities together. One of his students says that her “frame of mind” was changed and it impacted all of her life.

“Gareth’s belief that people should have access to sing beautiful music drives his fearless passion to unite people in song. He feels a choir allows people to come together and express themselves as a community which can be a deeply personal and touching human experience.” From The Choir website.

I have enjoyed watching the clips of the young people Gareth has influenced and the segments of performances of beautiful music. This website has several short BBC film clips with individual stories

This is The Choir website and has video clips of community performances. The Choir is a two-time BAFTA, British Academy of Film and Television Arts award winner.


Today and the Future

April 14, 2011

Time to reflect

This winter I read a blog post called Can You Predict The Future Technologies in Your Classroom? written by Patrick Ledesma. Patrick is part of the Classroom Ambassador Fellowship program sponsored by the US Department of Education.

He had attended a national meeting where the presenter asked the participants questions that included these words: innovation, creativity, teaching, learning, creative expression, and new media. We know as arts educators that all of these words relate to the work we do each day in our classrooms. Other educators, and people who are outside of the education system, don’t necessarily see the connection with creativity and innovation to arts education.

So, this post is about two topics. One is to ask you what you’re doing in your classroom today that is different than what you were doing in the past to address or incorporate technology for the “natives”? The other question is what are you doing to connect and collaborate with other arts educators in your building or school district to strengthen your programs? In my mind these questions go hand in hand. Hopefully this blog post will give you a reason to “pause” and/or “ask yourself questions” and/or to “reach out to a colleague”.

Times are tough in education, no question about it. Will we face what is happening with anger or fear or embrace it as a challenge that will make us better teachers and provide high quality educational opportunities for our students? That’s up to each individual.

The 21st Century Skills Arts Map which was created by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills provides teachers with guidance on how arts skills provide what is needed in today’s world. Does your school administration and other teaching staff understand that when we talk about innovation and creativity that many skills are introduced and mastered in the arts classroom?

So, here is a segment from Patrick’s blog post from Education Week located on Leading from the Classroom blog, February 21st.

“Does your school have a culture of innovation or does your school have pockets of innovation?”

Expanding on the idea of a culture of innovation, we discussed the recent 2011 Horizon Report from the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative. This report “examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.”

Members of the Horizon Project Advisory Board, which is made up of mostly university researchers and corporations (note to New Media and Educause: more K-12 representation next time please….), were asked the following questions:

1) Which of these key technologies will be most important to teaching, learning, or creative expression within the next five years?

2) What key technologies are missing from our list?

3) What trends do you expect to have a significant impact on the ways in which learning-focused institutions approach our core missions of teaching, research, and service?

4) What do you see as the key challenge(s) related to teaching, learning, or creative expression that learning-focused institutions will face during the next 5 years?

The Horizon Report Wiki shows the various stages and development of the report. For example, you can view the early results to see the original 43 technologies, 14 trends, and 19 challenges listed by the board members. I think this early list is as interesting as the final list since it shows the variety of ideas and opinions.

In today’s educational arena when reflecting on practices including curriculum, teaching, and assessment it is important to consider collaborating with colleagues. Some of us teach in a “connected manner” by planning with other teachers to create integrated lessons or units. Standard E of our Maine Learning Results states: Visual and Performing Arts Connections: Students understand the relationship among the arts, history and world culture; and they make connections among the arts and to other disciplines, to goal-setting, and to interpersonal interaction. Some teachers report they believe this is easier at some grade levels than others. However now more than ever it is in our best interest to link arms, so to speak, especially with arts colleagues. Each of the art forms has benefits to students overall growth and development for a variety of reasons. If we divide our commitment it will have a negative impact in the long run.

Please ask yourself: where are you today in your teaching? Where have you been and what changes have you made since your first year? And just as important, where are you headed?



April 13, 2011

How strong is your tree?

I love trees and watch some closely as part of the changes in seasons but in other ways as well. Recently while on the phone I was standing in my mud room looking out the window when something red caught my eye. At a closer look I realized it was a Pileated woodpecker pecking at a huge red maple at the end of my driveway. The big bird was looking for some breakfast at the base of the tree. As I chatted away I watched and noticed a second one. The big old maple was scarred by a piece of equipment years ago when the driveway was put in which has impacted the trees health. Part of me was happy to see the woodpecker. Within moments a second one appeared. The sound got stronger as they both searched for bugs as the snow continued to melt from the long winter.

I was glad to receive the post below from Waterville High School art teacher Suzanne Goulet. She shares some thoughts on trees and its relationship to our connections after seeing Augusta elementary art teacher Robin Brooks’ exhibit in Gardiner at ARTDOGS. In Suzanne’s words…

The show is titled, “A sense of place” and Robins works put me there. Energetic perspectives of trees and light, shapes and colors, textures and lines. Her recent black and white images with broad lines and balance, appear kinetic and monumental. Though the trees tower, they do not intimidate – they are majestic and dancing.

I first met Robin through the fantastic educator show that Allison Price (Brunswick Arts Educator) facilitated at the Saco Museum. Robin practices the philosophy of Reggio Emilia in her classroom/atelier and shared with me the journey of her district to embrace this direction and her continued growth and community that she shares with like-minded educators.

Networking is one way to share and grow in our arts community. There are much too many names for me to list here as branches in my vitae. I am professionally pleased to say that Robin is one of them.

What? Who are your branches?………what do you do to keep your arts tree healthy?

Robin Brooks with her artwork


Video Blog

April 12, 2011

Very cool resource!

I am on the Getty list-serv for art educators and often there is interesting information and resources. Posted not to long ago was information from Harold Olejarz who is a Google Certified Teacher and teaches at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Harold started a blog called Art Education Videos and is located at This was a class project he started with his students in February 2011. Students create “how to” videos that are suitable to use in K-12 education with labels that make it easy to search. If anyone wishes to add videos to the blog please contact Harold at


Follow up to Webinar

April 11, 2011

Painting a Picture: Image Processing for Digital Narratives

On March 3rd MLTI (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) presented a webcast called Painting a Picture: Imagine Processing for Digital Narratives. The facilitator was Ruben Puentedura who provided great information and instruction that can easily be adapted to use with students.

iphoto and Acorn were both tools that Ruben demonstrated to help construct digital narratives such as digital storytelling.  The TPCK and the SAMR models were referenced since MLTI uses both of these models. You can learn more about the models by clicking here.

The session was offered twice on March 3rd. I attended the 7PM session but you can access either session at



April 10, 2011

Pretty amazing!

Take a few minutes and get lost in Weavesilk. It is an interesting interactive site where you can click and the movement of the pattern begins. Click again and again and the pattern layers and the movement changes direction. I am sure there are possibilities for this as a tool to demonstrate something in music, dance, visual art, and/or theater. I am sure that would be taking it beyond what the creator intended but it is fun to think about and fun to just click and see where it leads.

%d bloggers like this: