Archive for December, 2011


Assessment Webinar – January 4th!

December 31, 2011


Join Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring and Guests on their webinar on Wednesday, January 4 at 3:30 pm.  The topic promises to inspire a lively exchange:  “An Elementary Discussion: How in the World Can I Possibly Do This?
 Addressing the Unique Needs of Elementary Arts Educators”.  This will be the fourth of five webinars on arts assessment, as part of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

The discussion will survey participants about the challenges of doing arts assessments at the elementary level.  After all, how can anyone expect that teachers will be able to teach and assess student work when they see 400 students for 40 minutes per week? Amazingly, arts educators are doing it and finding ways that make a difference for kids. Rob and Catherine will facilitate a discussion with their guests, Alice Sullivan (music educator), Shannon Campbell (visual art educator) and Barb Packales (music educator), on the unique challenges to teaching and assessing student work in elementary school, the advantages of assessing the work, and ways to implement quick, do-able and proven strategies that help improve student learning in the arts.

Argy Nestor, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist at the Maine DOE, will also participate and provide her perspective on arts assessment and how to move forward. Lots of resources will be shared.  There will also be information on graduate level courses (provided by the New England Institute for Teacher Education) where participants can take their knowledge and practice of arts assessment to a new level.

To join the meeting, go online to (sign in as “guest”). Conference Number: 1-866-910-4857, Passcode: 140893  Hope to see you there!!


In Today’s News

December 30, 2011

Brunswick High School students

Thornton Oaks Retirement Community is the location for an art exhibit by Brunswick High School students. You can read the article from the Times Record and see some of the work by clicking here.

Chair of the art department at the high school is Jennie Driscoll. Jennie serves as one of Maine’s teacher leaders in the assessment inititiave.

The exhibit remains until February 3rd. For more information please call 729-8033.


Gifted Arts Education Program in Aroostook

December 29, 2011

Great opportunity for students

Recently 60 gifted and talented middle school students from throughout Aroostook county had the chance to particate in the 10th visual arts day at UMaine at Presque Isle. WAGM, TV8 news covered the event and you can watch the segment by clicking below. Along with students interviewed, Sue Beaulier, art teacher from Ashland is in the segment. She said: “this is a nice opportunity for art programs to partner with the university and for students  to visit a college facility.” Art education professor Leo-Paul Cyr involves is pre-service students so they have the opportunity to work with middle school students.


Virtual Field Trips

December 28, 2011

Can’t get there from here

Some of you might be familiar with these but just in case you’re not… here is a list of opportunities for students of places that you can visit virtually:

The Art Institute of Chicago

The museum’s extensive online resources include superb lesson plans, related book titles, maps, and glossaries related to exhibitions and items in the permanent collection. Extensive resource sections, such as the museum’s “Cleopatra: A Multimedia Guide to Ancient Art,” are also accessible from this page and include fully bilingual English and Spanish text, video clips, time lines, and lesson plans for grades 4–12 in five subject areas.

Designed for students in grades 2–5, the Wacky Kids site focuses on world art and culture. It offers a range of hands-on craft projects based on items in the museum’s collection. The site also includes links to other museum artifacts and related book titles.

The Los Angeles museum’s site includes extensive image banks and excellent, interdisciplinary lesson plans, including the fascinating resource section entitled “Art & Science: A Curriculum for K–12 Teachers.”

New York’s biggest treasure house provides online teacher resources that cover subjects such as ancient Egypt, Indian carpets, and Byzantine life and art, with ideas for art, math, science, language-arts, and social-studies curricular links. The site also includes an online archive with thousands of highlights from the collection.

ArtsConnectEd, a joint project organized by Minneapolis’ two world-class art museums, offers a wealth of ideas on integrating art into the curriculum. There’s a searchable art gallery and a playground of activities just for kids. The “For Your Classroom” section contains the Teacher’s Guide to ArtsConnectEd, a useful document that maps out the site and explains how to fully take advantage of its offerings. At the bottom of each page of the guide are “Instant Inspirations,” one- or two-sentence ideas for activities, such as imagining what two works of art would say to each other at a party.

The museum’s online teacher resources include a wealth of art-focused lessons packed with interactive student activities, printable worksheets,  glossaries, biographies, and other related resources.



December 27, 2011

Recent articles that have come across my desk that you might find interesting:

  • Teaching the Teacher by Anthony Jackson, Dec. 21, 2011 from Education Week blog Global Learning. Programs across the country are offering learning opportunities for teachers to learn how to provide deeper learning in areas such as “global vision, integrating international content into all subject areas, and emphasizing world language learning”. To read the article please click here

God Rest Ye Merry Persons

December 26, 2011

This morning on the radio and TV

On Friday morning in my email there was a note from Loren Fields, music teacher from Lawrence Jr/Sr High School in Fairfield. He sent out an announcement that The Downeast Brass Quintet was performing this morning on WLOB radio. Luckily, as the snow falls this morning I was able to hear them perform “God Rest Ye Merry Persons”.

Other members of the Downeast Brass are music teachers as well and they include:

The other Downeast Brass musicians are:

  • Dwight Tibbetts who teaches grades 5-12 in Augusta
  • Andy Forster who teaches at Messalonskee High School in Oakland
  • Mike Peterson who teaches in Messalonskee Middle School in Oakland
  • Mark Mumme who teaches at Noble High School in North Berwick (absent that day, Scott Vaillancourt from Lewiston filling in for him)

They sounded like they were having a great time! Loren sent me the photo below of them and others who were joining the show that morning.

In a follow up email Loren said:

We all agree that we are blessed to be music educators and benefit from the enriching experience of music. We benefit from the musically
satisfying nature of our profession, i.e. we teach great kids before,
during and after the school day, perform professionally after school
hours, and come back artistically charged up to share music with our
students again…it is a deeply gratifying cycle that we all (students
and instructors) are enriched by. I suspect those of us in the VPA
profession and avocation must have it over those in other careers who
work strictly on the job but do not take things to a higher, nourishing
level outside the job. We in the VPA “have it wicked good”.


Hallelujah Chorus

December 25, 2011

These 5th graders in Quinhagak, Alaska certainly appear to be having fun with the Hallelujah chorus. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!


Wishing You..

December 24, 2011

MERRY! Just click on the link…


Trip to Portland Museum of Art

December 23, 2011

FOCUS grant from PMA

Third graders from Fairview School in Auburn traveled to the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) due to a FOCUS grant. The students were engaged and it was wonderful to see their hands raised for answers and questions. The “lightbulbs” were literally going off over their heads, there were lots of connections. As a follow-up, art teacher Melinda Campbell will continue to explore these avenues and curricula integration through the LOOK AT ME curriculum guide.

Out of the 80 children who went, only one had been to an art museum prior to this fieldtrip. One student told Ms. Campbell that she was up at 6:00 a.m. earlier than usual the day of the fieldtrip because she was so excited.

The field trip took a great deal of coordination to arrange and the docents were wonderful. One of the groups docent, Mrs. Horton, recited Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Undergarden” by memory and heart while the children were captivated by a Motherwell painting.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

Students were given FREE fmaily PMA admission passes.  Many of the  students expressed they will be taking advantage of their passes over Christmas break.

During 2012 Melinda is planning to take her 5th graders to Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as part of the Lunder Program.

Thank you Melinda for providing this information for the blog about your successfuly trip to PMA.


Arts Assessment Courses in Maine

December 22, 2011

York, Bangor, Augusta

Catherine Ring

Join arts educators Catherine Ring, Rob Westerberg, and Jake Sturtevant for some great opportunities to meet and work with colleagues while improving teaching and student learning in the arts!

The New England Institute for Teacher Education is providing a unique opportunity for arts educators throughout Maine to take a three-credit, graduate level course on on Arts Assessment. Visual art and music educators who are interested in deepening their learning in arts assessment are invited to participate in a cohort of peers to collaborate, and to learn about and apply best assessment practices in their classrooms. Course credit is given through Endicott Collegeʼs Van Loan School of Graduate and Professional Studies.  (The course is being offered at a reduced tuition of $750 for three graduate credits for a limited time.)

Rob Westerberg

These courses have been specially-designed as an outgrowth of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. Teachers can expect to work at growing their level of understanding and enhancing their schoolʼs practices in an individually-tailored, inquiry- based class. Classes meet on a teacher-friendly schedule, over two weekends, with inter-session and post-session work done online.

Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring are the instructors for the Music and Visual Art courses being offered at York High School in York, Maine.  Catherine will also teach the visual art courses in Bangor and Augusta.  Both Rob and Catherine are experienced arts educators and teacher leaders and bring a wealth of knowledge in their disciplines and in assessment practices.

Jake Sturtevant

The Music Assessment course will also be offered in Augusta on Feb. 10, 11 and May 11, 12, 2012 and will be taught by Jake Sturtevant, music educator at Bonny Eagle High School.  Jake has been a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and brings his skills as an educator and composer to this course.

Dates and Locations:

  • January 13, 14 and March 16, 17, 2012                                              York High School, York (Visual Art K-12 and Music 7-12)
  • January 27, 28 and April 27, 28, 2012                                        Bangor  (Visual Art K-12 only)
  • February 10, 11 and May 11, 12, 2012                                           Augusta  (Visual Art K-12 and Music 7-12)

For Registration and Information, visit or call the New England Institute for Teacher Education at 207-367-5807.

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