Archive for September, 2011


YAY – Arts Conference

September 20, 2011

October 7, 2011

I have heard from many arts teachers in the past two weeks since the information was released on the statewide arts education conference This is just a brief post to provide you with an update.

  • I am just to busy to count how many folks have visited the conference website but I can tell you it is thousands at this point. There are still spaces left at the conference so please don’t hesitate to register. We are topping the conference at 200 and it is first come, first serve.
  • I want you to extend a special invitation to all administrators in the state. Administrators, Curriculum Leaders, Department Chairs are invited for a portion of the day so they can learn more about Maine’s Arts Assessment Initiative. A special price of $35 includes the keynote and an administrators session during the Workshop I slot. This is only available only for these groups of educators. Registration information can be found on the website.
  • Registration is being topped at 200 so don’t hesititate to register. It is first come, first serve.
  • The conference is being held at USM, Portland on Friday, October 7, 2011.

If you have any questions about the conference or the initiative please don’t hesitate to email me or call me at the Department at 624-6825.


Promoting the Value of Arts Education

September 19, 2011

ASCD- Brief on policy priorities

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) released an information brief on policy priorities entitled Reaching for a Well-Rounded Education Creates Challenges for Educators. If you are short on time I suggest you go to the link and watch the video on the first page provided by David Griffith, ASCDs Director of Public Policy. He stresses the importance of all subjects which includes the Arts.

If you have time read on from there. If not, scroll to pages 10-12 and read the segment called Promoting the Value of Arts Education. This includes information from the Executive Director of the National Art Education Association and an audio clip from an art teacher who works with students and teachers.

ASCD provides their recommendations for a well-rounded education and can be accessed at this webpage


Pretty Day to Be Outside

September 18, 2011

Good music, art, crafts, and food

Drift boat

Yesterday I spent the day in Bethel for their 14th Annual Harvestfest. My husband fished out of a drift boat in the Two-fly tournament sponsored by Upper Andro Anglers Alliance. They headed down to the river early and all the reports the night before agreed it would be a cold day. However, the weather reports and the anglers were wrong. Turned out to be a beautiful day with a gorgous sky all day long!

Chub trophy

The Bethel Common was lively all day with many different activities. There were several area singers, songwriters, and recording artists performing. Many artists were set up selling their work and a chain saw sculptor was carving. There were activities for the kids including hay wagon rides. And the annual Chowdah cook-off and apple pie contest which I had the privilege of judging both. Let me tell you I sampled many delicious chowdahs and pies!

The day ended with the drift boats parading through town and around the common in time for the awards ceremony. There were about 9 boats with 2 people fishing out of each and a 3rd person rowing. All the fish were caught and released. A humorous award is presented for the largest (this year the smallest) chub caught. The trophy is magnificiently hand-carved (photo included).


Common Core State Standards

September 17, 2011

English Language Arts and Math

As I am sure many of you know the Common Core State Standards have been developed in Math and English Language Arts (ELA). The Arts national standards are being reinvented as I have written about in past blog posts and will continue to do so in the near future.

This post is to give you some updated information on ELA and Math Common Core State Standards. The Hunt Institute and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have commissioned a series of videos that explain the standards in greater depth.

These videos were developed to help diverse groups – educators, policymakers, parents – better understand the breadth and depth of the Standards and how they will improve teaching, make classrooms better, create shared expectations, and cultivate lifelong learning for all students. The segments are organized into separate Mathematics and ELA sections, and demonstrate critical concepts related to each.

These links will take you to the videos that have been created. To access the full introduction to the Standards video vignettes, please click here:
To access an introduction to the Mathematics video vignettes, please click here:
To access an introduction to the English-Language Arts video vignettes, please click here:

Along with the three listed above you can access all the videos at



September 16, 2011

Grade 6 – Now Eligible

Grade 6-12 students from Maine schools which are either participating in the MLTI (this includes all public middle and high schools, as well as those private schools that have chosen to participate), are ACTEM members, or are both, are eligible to win prizes.

With that said, we would encourage all young people from across Maine to consider creating and contributing a video in response to the current challenge, as the need for creativity to support the development of a better classroom, a better school, a better community, a better Maine, knows no bounds.

We are pleased to welcome the Maine Alliance for Arts Education as a partner in WatchMECreate Challenge #4 – WatchMEUseTheArts. This is the first of two Challenges to be issued during the 2011-2012 school year.  MAAE understands the importance of creativity, and hopes students from across Maine will show how they are leveraging the creative skills they are learning and practicing by working with arts professionals in arts classrooms to improve themselves, their schools, their communities, and their state.

The arrival of the MLTI in 2002 sparked a technology revolution in Maine middle schools and this moved on to Maine high schools. Technology is making a difference in every middle and high school. But what are these tech-empowered Maine kids doing on their own?  Making movies?  Creating podcasts? Blogging? You bet. It’s happening, but up to now there hasn’t been a place for these creative Maine kids to apply their abilities to help make Maine as great as it can be.

This is going to be the place for Maine kids to show what they can do when no one is telling them exactly what to do.  Sure, there will be challenges, but they will be like the real world – big, vague, and without a set number of pages that need to be written!

For more information please click here.


Story Books for Elementary Art Room

September 15, 2011

Many books available for teaching art

When I taught middle school I had several story books that I used for lessons. One of my favorites is Things that are most in the world written by Judi Barrett, illustrated by John Nickle. This book is filled with “things that are most in the world”. And example is The wiggliest thing in the worls is a snake ice-skating. I am certain you can imagine that without seeing the fabulous illustration in the book. I based a lesson on this book where I asked students to come up with their own something that is “mostest” in the world. Students’ ideas were varied and great!

This week I learned about this blog post on an elementary art teachers blog called Mrs. Picasso’s Artroom. The blogger said it is the most visited post on her blog and I know why. It is filled with many book examples, all examples of ones she uses in her classroom. The post is called MUST HAVE Story Books For The Elementary Art Room. It includes some of my favorites like Uncle Andy about Andy Warhol and Linnea in Monet’s Garden and a ton of others. If you teach art and you use books with lessons you will DEFINITELY want to check out this blog post.

If for some reason you can just click on the links above please let me know and I can supply you with the links.


Moving Towards Necessary Changes

September 14, 2011

Thinking about transforming, change, moving forward, out of the box…

Some days I just want to go for a paddle...

Lately I have been thinking about transformation, partially because I am aware that if arts educators become engaged in the statewide arts assessement initiative that is underway, that what we do as arts educators will transform. I say that based on what I have heard from the 18 arts teacher leaders that were identified in the spring and attended the assessment institute in August. What they experienced impacted the way they think about teaching and learning. And now into school for two weeks I am hearing that it has impacted the way they are teaching.

All employees at the Department of Education recently were asked to read Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning by Bea McGarvey and Charles Schwahn. To put it in a few words, it is about making inside of school be a more similar world to the outside of school. It is about providing opportunities for students to learn on an individual needs basis. To put it practically: I can purchase any song I want on iTunes, at any time of the day or night, in very little time. I can listen to it on my computer, pipe it through a large sound system, listen on my ipod or a variety of other devises. I can charge the cost to my credit card and not even have to pull the card out of my wallet because the system knows me or at least my card number. How can education mirror this? How can school meet individual and personal learning needs? At the Department meeting that followed we talked about what we might do to support an environment like this in schools across Maine.

I have been coming across articles and blogs that talk about how most of our schools are working with a very old model, one that was created for the farmers and factory workers. In fact, this is the 93rd year of the system we presently have in place. In this blog post written by Seth Godin called Back to (the wrong) school I am provided with the opportunity to think about what goes on day to day in schools. My brain gets pushed on when I read Mr. Godin’s blog posts. If you’re wondering why we should transform just read his post and I am guessing it will sense.

And my friend and colleague Ed Brazee sent me an link to an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Arts and Academe section, September 8, 2011. The article is called Desired Learning Outcome: Go a Little Nuts. The article is written by Charles O’Connor. It’s an interesting article that talks about the value of music, art, theater, dance, and film courses at the higher ed. level. He addressed the need for arts courses since we hear so much these days about innovation and creative thinking. Students in arts courses are naturally innovating and thinking creatively, always have, always will (hopefully). Some of his article including how accountability is important to the arts these days like they have been in other parts of the curriculum for years came through loud and clear. He asserts that accountability and innovation and creative thinking fight against each other. Hmmmmm….

His last three paragraphs I say “yay” to so I am re-printing all three so perhaps you go and read the article in its entirety.

The true value of the arts, the reason why they are essential, is that they are the last bastion of uncensored individuality. They ask students to think fresh and do things well.   The arts are not the only disciplines on campus to require that, but rarely is it so explicitly central to the education at hand.

Arts students are used to being outside the mainstream; used to the routine risk, if not the fact, of failure; and used to envisioning and defining success in bold new ways. One is reminded of how Steve Jobs came to work one day after seeing a Cuisinart food processor and directed his staff to start making computers that look like that.  Everyone thought he was nuts.

Couldn’t we use a little more unconventional thinking, and a lot less conformity on campus?  Isn’t being a little nuts sometimes not just the acceptable, but the desirable, learning outcome?

This is a great time to be in the field of education. The arts are essential and we do fit into a mass customized learning world. Will you transform to meet the world of the 21st century learner?????



National Arts in Education Week

September 13, 2011

Join ABC in celebrating

Maine’s Arts are Basic Coalition invites you to join the celebration of the second National Arts in Education Week September 11th – 17th.  They are calling upon schools, teachers, parents, artists, organizations, businesses, and community members to spread the word and celebrate arts in education week by coordinating community events and letting your communities know the importance of the Arts in Education.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Organize a community potluck celebrating Arts in Education, and invite students, parents, teachers, administrators, staff and community members to attend.
  • Create a banner or wall display in honor of the week and feature student artwork.
  • Take an arts project, dance, play, and/or musical performance to a school board meeting.
  • Ask your students to write letters to their Congressional delegates, letting them know the importance of the arts in their education and lives, and thanking them for their support of arts education.

Senator Susan Collins   

Senator Olympia Snowe  

Congressman Michael Michaud      c/o

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree      c/o

  • Ask your students what the arts mean to them and create an artwork/ performance piece to express their thoughts. Display/perform these works in your school/community.
  • Write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper on the importance of Arts in Education in your community.

Celebrate in the best way you can, and let us know what YOU did to celebrate! Send pictures and stories of your celebrations to, and Argy Nestor, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine Department of Education, will post them on the maineartsed blog for all to share in the celebration.

We wish you a Happy Arts in Education Week in recognition of your hard work, dedication, and creativity!


The Arts are Basic Coalition

The Maine Alliance for Arts Education  

The Maine Music Educators Association  

The Maine Art Education Association  

The Maine Drama Council                          

The Arts are Basic and for a lifetime.

For more information about ABC, contact Carol Trimble


Rolling Through the Bay

September 12, 2011

Over 100,000 toothpicks

Art teachers include sculpture in their curriculum using a variety of medium. This link will take you to a vimeo that documents a model of the entire city of San Francisco made out of over 100,000 toothpicks.  Making it very interesting is the artist, Scott Weaver, who narrates as the camera moves around the artwork. He includes personal stories about his family. You won’t want to miss this and in fact I suggest you share it with your students.  Click on the link below to see Rolling Through the Bay which took Scott Weaver 35 years to create.


Bates Dance Festival

September 11, 2011

Successful opportnities

The Bates Dance Festival that calls Bates College home had a successful summer with opportunities for all ages. You can see the highlights of the summer captured in this youtube video You can read about the summer program in the newspapers at The Bates Dance Festival blog has stories from participants that you can read at And you can read about the resident artists at And all other information Bates Dance Festival related can be seen on their website

Also on iTunes are interviews with students and staff from the Bates Dance Festival 2009 season.

If you couldn’t be at any of the events this past summer, 2011, plan on attending in 2012. It is amazing what Bates Dance Festival brings to Maine!

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