Archive for January, 2012


District I Music Teachers Workshop

January 31, 2012

Matt Doiron and Jake Sturtevant shared their knowledge!

Friday afternoon, January 27 at Noble High School in Berwick, was the cool place to be. Hundreds of the finest musicians from Maine Music Educators Association District 1 were being treated to outstanding rehearsals by guest conductors in 5 different performing ensembles. But from 3:30 to 4:30 the treat was for the teachers: Matt Doiron and Jake Sturtevant presented a session on their work on standards based assessment as part of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. Matt, the Band Director at Sanford High School, went into great detail about his journey to this point, outlining some philosophical perspectives before diving into the specifics of how he has incorporated new standards and assessment practices into his large group ensemble. Even since his presentation at the October Arts Assessment Conference, his experiences have been fascinating and impressive.

Jake followed with an engaging journey through the standards based assessment process and it couldn’t have been more relevant. It also couldn’t have been clearer or more precise; the attendees got to follow through a no nonsense approach that outlines practical application to any classroom setting. He concluded by showing us detailed examples of his work as a Music Educator at Bonny Eagle High School. A very inspiring hour flew by and reiterated yet again the value of all the regional workshops being held this year throughout the state. Be sure to hop in to any of the remaining ones in your area to get some more of “the good stuff”! The regional workshop schedule is located at The professional development workshops are being provided for Maine arts educators during the 2011-12 school year.

Jake Sturtevant presenting

Thank you to Rob Westerberg, who is a member of the Leadership Team for Maine’s Arts Assessment Initiative for his contribution of this blog post.


John Bohannon: Dance vs. Powerpoint

January 30, 2012

Dance those thoughts

This post is about a TEDx presentation by John Bohannon, an American, who presented in Brussels on this theory of dancing to present information instead of using power point. He is a biologist and a journalist and uses an alter ego known as the Gonzo Specialist. He runs the “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest.

This presentation is not only about that concept but John does it with an example of teaching/conveying science ideas. It also is about the information age and creativity and so many other ideas may popped into my mind as I watched this TEDx. John has challenged his students to use dance to present findings for Ph.D. research and it has turned into a world-wide contest. If you google Ph.D. dance you will see numerous examples of submitted ideas for the contest. But if you don’t have time right now to look at several right you can bookmark this link that has the 2011 winners of the contest. I suggest on the next snow day you can view them. And, perhaps this might give you ideas on how to engage your students in their learning/assessment in a different way. And here is one example that shows the epic mating battle of the fruit flies stars three dancers who undertake extremely clever choreography to depict various stages in the process. Consider sharing this information with your students. It would be great to hear their feedback.

Thank you to Karen Montanaro for sharing this information.


Music Lessons Electronically

January 29, 2012

Music lessons online

In an article from The New York Times published on January 10th, writer Catherine Saint Louis reports on how people are taking advantage of utilizing Skype and other online conferencing tools to take music lessons. For some it is on the to do list to take music lessons and now it can become a reality in a very different way. The article is called “With Enough Bandwidth, Many Join the Band” explains how this idea has taken a stronghold.

The advantages:

  • Players of niche instruments now have more access to teachers.
  • Parents can simply send their child down the hall for lessons rather than driving them, and
  • teachers now have a new way to build their business.

One parents claims: “It’s accessibility with quality,” she said.

The concerns:

  • Their chief reservation is that teachers can’t manipulate a student’s fingers to fine-tune the subtleties of playing a string instrument.
  • A lot of people don’t trust that the experience is the same.

Imagine you could have students from anywhere in the world.

Please share your thoughts on this idea. If you’d like to read the entire article please click here.


Music Teacher Finalist for National Teacher of the Year

January 28, 2012

Alvin Aureliano Davis-2012 Florida Teacher of the Year

Alvin Aureliano Davis is a music teacher at Miramar High School in Miramar, Florida. Alvin is one of four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year. He has taught a total of 11 years, the last eight at Miramar, a school of 2,760 students. He received a Bachelor of Science from Florida A&M University in 2000 and has been teaching music ever since. I addition to being Florida’s Teacher of the Year, Alvin is the recipient of numerous teaching honors, including the U.S. Congressional Record of Exemplary Service and Dedication. In 2011, the city of Miramar named July 7, 2011 Alvin A. Davis Day. Fascinated by music from a young age, Davis values the multi-faceted work of teaching the subject in an urban environment, and works to instill a sense of curiosity and community engagement in each of his students. Recalling a conversation with his late father, Davis writes about the realization that he was meant to become a teacher. “Whereas I learned as a youth that music was my passion, I now knew that the honor and responsibility of changing lives was my calling.”

A panel of educators, representing 15 national education organizations, chose the finalists from the 2012 state teachers of the year in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and four U.S. extra-state jurisdictions.

The organizations represented on the 2012 National Selection Committee are: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Association for Childhood Education International, ASCD, Association of Teacher Educators, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Congress of Parents and Teachers, National Education Association, National Middle Schools Association, National School Boards Association, and National School Public Relations Association.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.


Student Videographers Show Impact of the Arts

January 27, 2012

News Release

AUGUSTA — A team of four students at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast set out to prove in a three-minute video that the impact of the performing arts stretches well beyond the theater. And a four-student team at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft set out to demonstrate how the arts and a little more color in life can lift a person’s spirit and boost productivity.

The two teams of student videographers succeeded, and are winners of the first WatchMECreate challenge of the 2011-12 school year. Each member of both teams will receive an iPod Nano, and both teams will receive $500 each to use toward promoting the arts in their schools.

The video challenge, called WatchMEUseTheArts, called on entrants to show viewers “how the arts have moved, or could move beyond the music room, beyond the art room, beyond the theater, beyond the darkroom, beyond the expected spaces to help students like you make their school or their community a better place for all.”

It was the fourth challenge in the WatchMECreate series, which is a collaboration among the Maine Department of Education’s Maine Learning Technology Initiative, the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine, and the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. Members of those three organizations judged the video entries and determined the winners.

Cameron Pillitteri, Noah Howard, Eilha Charbonnier and Sarah Joy of Troy Howard Middle School show in their video how the skills they’ve picked up through participating in the school’s drama program have helped them build their self-confidence, bring concepts in social studies class to life, and make literature more understandable.

Shinsuke Mikame, Hollyann Leonhardt, Julian Quinn and Robert Trotter of Foxcroft Academy demonstrate how being surrounded by art – by bright colors and public murals – can change someone’s mood, reduce stress, increase school pride, spark brain development and make people more productive.

“How these students responded to this challenge is a perfect example of what can happen when students have a say in how they learn,” said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. “These videos demonstrate what we’re seeing more of in our schools as we move to a system designed around the needs of the student.”

The two videos can be viewed online at

Another WatchMECreate challenge will be issued in the spring.

All Maine Department of Education news releases can be found online at:

Thanks to the Department of Education for providing this information.


Arts Assessment Webinar: February 1st

January 27, 2012

LEADERSHIP AND THE ARTS – Wednesday, February 1st, 3:30 – 4:30 PM

Please join Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring in their Webinar on Wednesday, February 1st on LEADERSHIP AND THE ARTS: The role of Teachers, Administrators and the Greater Community.

We all know that in a culture that values the arts, that it takes a village to ensure that they are given a central role in the lives of its citizens.  It is not enough to simply have “arts classes” in schools; we need a culture that understands, values and supports a solid, quality arts education for our children.  And that requires leadership — not only from the teacher in the classroom, but from administrators in the school and leaders in the community.

In hard economic times, and particularly in times when perceptions about school achievement result in an almost exclusive focus on standardized math and reading test scores, (sound familiar?), support for the arts can decrease. Using arts assessment in the classroom can help teachers show the skills and knowledge their students have gained in the arts, as well as the 21st century skills, such as creativity, innovation, collaboration and communication.  High quality assessment practices in the arts classroom and supportive leadership can give us the evidence to help ensure that our children will continue to be exposed to and benefit from an excellent arts education.

This webinar will examine the various roles of teachers, administrators and community members in keeping the arts alive and well in our schools and communities. Webinar guests include teacher leaders, Matt Doiron (Music Educator from Sanford High School) and Jen Driscoll (Visual Art Educator from Brunswick High School), Carol Trimble (Executive Director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education), Argy Nestor (Visual & Performing Arts Specialist at Maine Department of Education). Join Rob and Catherine as they facilitate a discussion with leaders in arts education and the community.  Call-in participants take an active role in the discussion too, so this is guaranteed to be a lively and interesting forum.

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

I suggest you invite your principals to attend with you after school on February 1st for this informative discussion!


Webinar Today

January 26, 2012

Digital Art Creation with MLTI Tools facilitated by Ann Marie Quirion Hutton – YOU MUST REGISTER BEFOREHAND TO ATTEND – registration information at the bottom of this post

January 26, 2012
3:15pm and 7:15pm

Creating art can be traced back almost to the beginning of human kind. Even those with little background in art history have heard of the Lascaux Caves in France where prehistoric drawings and paintings can be found on the walls and ceilings depicting images of animals and humans.  Aesthetically these drawings and paintings, thousands of years later, still bring us to imagine their meanings.

If we continue to look back in history we also have the development of text. Illuminated Manuscripts brought us the initial. “The earliest surviving substantive illuminated manuscripts are from the period AD 400 to 600, initially produced in Italy and the Eastern Roman Empire.” These text images can be found in a variety of forms throughout history eventually even appearing at the beginning of fairy tales. Today initials are still in use and can be found in various artworks including street art tags often recognized as graffiti.

The MLTI program has many tools that allow for art creation. Over the years artists have used many materials to engage their interests and talents. We now have the ability to create digital pieces of art. Photography, painting, drawing, music, poetry, movies, stories, comics, to name a few…All these and more can be created with the suite of tools on our MLTI devices. Although traditional art will always be an important part of our cultures we now live in a time where digital images flourish. Digital Literacy includes digital images as well as digital text. Our students will need to know how to use digital tools in many different ways to be successful in their future.
Join us Thursday to explore creating digital art with MLTI tools. This is a hands on session so bring your MLTI device and roll up your sleeves. We will work together to create a piece of digital art.

To register: Visit and select the webinar/time you wish to participate in – you will be re-directed to online registration. We have a new registration system, so please ensure you enter your email address correctly!  Once you register you will receive a confirmation email that contains a login link that will be used the day of the webinar.

If you cannot access (due to temporary technical issues with the site), please use the links below.

To register for 3:15pm, please visit
To register for 7:15pm, please visit

Keep in mind:
– All of MLTI’s webinars are free and contact hours are available.
– Webinars are recorded and made available for viewing on the Maine121 Archives page.
– See our schedule at


In Today’s News

January 25, 2012

Learning from visiting artists at Tremont School

The annual Arts Week is happening this week at Tremont Consolidated School. Students working are working with artists to create tissue paper-mache crowns, cartooning, and drumming. You can read the entire article written by By Laurie Schreiber in the January 24th edition of the Bar Harbor Times Soup by clicking here.



Mystery of a Masterpiece

January 25, 2012

Nova at 9:00 on January 25, today!

This sounds and looks like an interesting NOVA episode that you might want to view. The program description below was taken from If you go to the link you can watch a preview of the NOVA episode. Your students might be interested in this as well.

In October 2007, a striking portrait of a young woman in Renaissance dress made world news headlines. Originally sold nine years before for around $20,000, the portrait is now thought to be an undiscovered masterwork by Leonardo da Vinci worth more than $100 million. How did cutting-edge imaging analysis help tie the portrait to Leonardo? NOVA meets a new breed of experts who are approaching “cold case” art mysteries as if they were crime scenes, determined to discover “who committed the art.” And it follows art sleuths as they deploy new techniques to combat the multibillion-dollar criminal market in stolen and fraudulent art.

Thank you Wiscasset Middle School Art Teacher, Molly Carlson for sending me this information to share with you.


Arts Standards, 21st Century Skills, Common Core

January 24, 2012

Webinar explains connections

Last Tuesday my colleague, Joyce Huser, from Kansas presented a webinar to SEADAE (State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education), our professional organization of state arts specialists on the topic of arts standards, ELA Common Core, and the 21st Century Skills Map. The webinar was very helpful and I hope you will have 45 minutes to listen to it. The resources and link to the webinar are on the arts education webpage at the Maine Department of Education at

Joyce was on the team that created the Art Skills Map for the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. The partnership is a national organization that advocates for 21st century skills for every student. The document provides information on how the arts teach 21st century skills and fulfill the needs for today’s learners. The webinar provides the connections (crosswalk) between arts standards, Common Core ELA standards, and the 21st century skills. The power point includes a graph that exhibits the skill demands for arts related careers for 2008 – 2018 which shows the skills taught in arts education classes.

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