Archive for October 31st, 2011


Experiencing a Standards Based Classroom

October 31, 2011

From another perspective

Christine Anderson-Morehouse is the Director of the Midcoast Regional Professional Development Center. She arranged the professional development opportunity for arts educators at Jefferson School on October 28th. The all-day workshop provided an overview to participants on Maine’s assessment initiative along with breakout sessions facilitated by teacher leaders Allysa Anderson and Shannon Campbell. And a final session on the Open Educational Resources facilitated by Kristen Andersen.

I was thrilled that Christine fully participated in the entire day. She attended Allysa’s breakout session on music assessment and below is the email that she sent to Allysa as a follow-up. It provides a view that sheds light on the importance of including non-arts educators in our work. Not to mention highlights Allysa’s skills as a teacher. I am posting this with permission from Allysa and Christine.

Christine in the center

Dear Allysa:

I’ve heard it said time and again that the most powerful professional development is that which comes closest to the classroom.

Today, I felt as if I were a cherished student in your classroom–thank you so much for all that you did to make today’s “Arts Assessment Workshop” for Midcoast music educators such a powerful learning experience.

You energetically modeled effective teaching by guiding us through several lessons, helping us to understand how it feels to be learners in a standards-based classroom.  From the lecture to the small-group, collaborative (creative) activities, I really got a sense of the flow that is possible under the tutelage of a gifted instructor.  You warmed us up singing in much the same way that you’d do with your students, with helpful asides as a way of explaining the contexts in which you
would use the instructional strategies you were modeling.  Your rubrics helped me to see where I was in terms of my own personal learning (and where I could go next) and your assumption that I’m already doing some things on the rubric (and that I’m capable of doing those that are next)
left me feeling comfortable enough to pick up that guitar and strum along with those experienced musicians.  What a feat!

The group enjoyed (and learned much from) the student work that you shared, be it the videos of students playing guitar together, the Garage Band sample raps or the written artifacts such as self-assessments.

I don’t know how you did it but you managed to encapsulate snippets of so much of what you do in your teaching/assessment into that one two-hour session in a way that felt very seamless–bravo!

The students of Camden-Rockport Middle School are so fortunate to have you as their teacher and the teachers of the Midcoast region are equally fortunate that you are willing to share with and facilitate them in learning more about what is possible for their own classrooms.

With many thanks and best wishes,


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