Archive for October, 2012


Camden Hills Regional High School

October 31, 2012

West Side Story – November 9, 10, 17, 17 – 7:00 PM and November 11 – 2:00 PM

Photo taken by Patty Clark


MAAI Regional Workshops

October 30, 2012

Underway throughout Maine

We are fortunate to have nineteen phase 2 arts education teacher leaders from the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) who have created workshops and started delivering them throughout Maine. The topics vary greatly and I am sure there is something for everyone!

You can find the schedule posted on the arts assessment page at the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) and below. You will notice that some of the details are missing below but as they become determined will be added to the MDOE page. The locations are spread out through the state to make it possible for you to attend a session in your region.

Along with the regional workshop, Mega-regional workshops are being planned as well. They will be posted in the near future. These workshops will be all day opportunities and we have teamed up with MLTI for Mega-regional workshops. If you have questions please be sure and email me at

MAAI: Impossible – What exactly is the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and what direction are we headed in Maine Arts Education? November 2, 2012, 11:00am, Dexter Ridgeview School, District V Middle School Honors Festival Andria Chase, Instrumental, general music, grades 4,5, Corinth, RSU #64 and Sarah Williams, band/chorus grade, general music, grades 2-4, Glenburn Elementary School, RSU 26
Unpack it! Unwrap it! – Breaking down the Standards to Inform Instruction and Learning Information and techniques in breaking down the standards with students to provide a successful learning experience. November 2, 2012, 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Hancock Grammar Schoo Janie Snider, visual arts, grades K-8, Hancock Grammar & Laomoine Consolidated Schools
Getting Started: Incorporating Meaningful Assessment Within the Large Ensemble – A look at incorporating standards based learning and assessment within the large ensemble without the use of technology. District III High School Honors Festival & District III Junior High Honors Festival Drew Albert, Music director, Maranacook Community High School, RSU 38 and Ashley Smith, Choral Director, Brunswick High School, Brunswick School Department
There is no I in ART; Working Together to Promote Quality Art Education for all Learners – Presentation addressed to parents. The Maine Learning Results and assessment terminology will be explained in user-friendly terms. A hands-on component is also included, as the parents create a piece of art. The presentation can be tailored to suit the needs of arts educators, classroom teachers, and/or administrators. November 5, 2012, MSAD#32 Superintendent and Board of Directors
meeting, November 6, 2012 Ashland PTO meeting
Susan Beaulier, Visual Art, K-12 MSAD #32, Ashland
Assessment: This is NOT a Drive By (Assessment is MEANT for ME-student perspective) – Take a close look at a student performance in terms of formative and summative assessment. Through a hands-on exercise participants will determine what needs to be assessed and generate a rubric with the groups’ ideas. Information about the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and resources will be shared. January 19, 2013, All Aroostook Fesitval Mari-Jo Hedman, Director of Music K-12, Fort Fairfield, MSAD #20
A Skeptic’s Exploration of Rubrics – The presentation follows my research into rubrics in order to improve both the clarity of the assessment instrument for myself and my students and to find ways to genuinely involve my students in the process. January 16, 2013, Messalonskee High School, RSU 18, 4:00 to 6:15 Leone Donovan, Visual Arts, Messalonskee High School, RSU 18
Formative and Summative Assessment Two Big  Words with Practical Applications in an Art Class – Participants will create a clay sculpture and get a hands-on understanding of both formative and summative assessment as part of the creative problem-solving process January 16, 2013, Messalonskee High School, RSU 18, 4:00 to 6:15 Gloria Hewett, visual arts, grades 6-8, Mount View Middle School, RSU 3
Literacy – A Gateway to Creativity – This workshop shows how literacy strategies can be utilized to improve students’ ability to analyze artwork. Stronger art analysis abilities can change and improve students’ understanding of their own creative problem-solving process.  Assessments are discussed as a vital part of this process. January 16, 2013, Messalonskee High School, RSU 18, 4:00 to 6:15 Pamela Ouellette, visual arts, Lisbon High School
Theatre Games: Learning By Doing – Using a Theatre-based rubric allows any teacher to assess students using the MLRs, thus “hitting” standards that may not have been accessible before.  Theatre techniques will be taught to show how to enhance curriculum/learning in any subject area. January 25, 26, 2013, Mt. Ararat High School Susan Jones, chorus, theatre, social studies, Medomak Valley High School, RSU 40
A journey into the 21st Century – Changing the Way I Teach!  – Come along on my journey as I talk about the changes I am making in my Keyboarding Class to fit the learning styles of all my students! January 26, 2013, District I Music Festival, Noble High School, North Berwick Jane Kirton, chorus, keyboarding, music for the soul, Sanford High School
Assessment, A Self Help Program for the Art Teacher – My journey to understanding the power of authentic assessment and using technology to manage student product and track student growth. TBA Danette Kerrigan, Visual Art, Sacopee Valley Middle School, MSAD 55
Sighting in Rubrics: How to Hit Educational Targets – This workshop revolves around the concept of General Rubrics and how they can be used to assess a variety of different products and processes. A good portion of the workshop involves assessment of student examples and discussion of how to interpret criteria using the rubric currently used in my classes. TBA Samantha Orchard, visual arts, Woodland Jr/Sr High School, Baileyville
Conditions for a Creative Classroom Using formative assessments to promote creative thinking and student voice in the classroom. TBA Suzanne Southworth, visual arts, Camden Hills Regional High School
The Sweet Spot: Where Learning Meets Engagement              This presentation discusses the importance of engaging students in their learning and tools that can support them. TBA Barbie Weed, visual art, grades 5-8, Gray-New Gloucester Middle School, MSAD 15
How can we meaningfully assess a large and diverse student population in music classrooms?      A brief overview of: why to assess, formative verses summative, when to use which type, examples of different assessments, and Q & A TBA Andrea Wollstadt, music, grades k-5, Biddleford Intermediate School, John F. Kennedy Memorial School, Biddeford
Assessment: To Educate and Advocate!There are many benefits to bringing authentic assessment into the music classroom. This workshop will discuss fundamental core benefits by identifying connections to the student, the community at large and the classroom teacher. In doing so, the case is made for utilizing assessment as a core component of the educational landscape for all Arts educators. TBA Jarika Olberg, choral/general music, grades 2-12, Waynflete School, Portland

Maine Association for Middle Level

October 29, 2012


This past Thursday and Friday I attended the MAMLE conference at Sugarloaf where arts educators were well received in the workshops they presented on a variety of topics. I have included a bit of information below on each of the sessions where the arts teachers presented.

Allied Arts in the Standards World

Sacopee Valley Middle School art teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leader Danette Kerrigan and Medomak Middle School music teacher Julie Sanborn participated in a panel presentation on the work they are doing at their respective middle schools and in their classrooms. The other panel members Lisa Hogan from Mt. Ararat, Barbara Greenstone from Boothbay and Phil Brookhouse from MLTI also made connections to the arts. Friend of arts education, Jill Spencer facilitated the session.

Panel members: Lisa Hogan, Julie Sanborn, Barbara Greenstone, Phil Brookhouse, Danette Kerrigan

Steel Drum Band

Julie also presented a session with the Pantastics, the school’s steel drum band. The band performs at community events and has traveled to other schools and events in and out of Maine. The students played several pieces at the start of the conference as well as in an individual workshop. Other middle school teachers were invited to play one of the drums as well. The members of the band promised to write a blog post on their involvement playing the steel drums. Look for that in the future.

How Can I Teach for Creativity?

Danette was joined by MAAI leadership team member Bronwyn Sale from Bates College for a session on creativity. They made quite a team with Bronwyn presenting foundational information on the creative process, creativity, and creative problem solving. Danette shared the practical components of addressing the topic in a classroom setting and provided participants with hands-on exercises including SCAMPER which stands for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Magnify, Put to Other Uses, Eliminate (or Minify), and Rearrange (or Reverse).

Bronwyn Sale and Danette Kerrigan

Service Learning and Music Appreciation

Leonard Middle School music teacher Shianne Priest had students join her to share a service learning project that she her music appreciation class has undertaken for two years now. The 8th graders this past year raised $1600 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. They collaborated to write the lyrics for a song that 9th grader Lily Muscatell took a step further and wrote the music for and performed. Selling the CD was one part but hearing about their learning and how the experience affected them was amazing.

Shianne and Lily listen while the 8th graders explained the project.

Thank you to everyone for their fabulous work and sharing the opportunities that you afford Maine students!


Community Supporting Agriculture/Arts

October 28, 2012

Harlow Gallery, Hallowell

This past week I was invited to the Harlow Gallery to join a focus group they were having on Education and Programming that will provide information for their upcoming strategic planning meeting. I was glad to be part of a conversation with several community people who have varying connections with the Harlow Gallery. In many ways the Harlow is a model gallery for playing an important role in the Hallowell community.

I was especially happy to be meeting in the gallery with art all around and more so because of the unique exhibit they were having called Community Supporting Agriculture/Arts or CSA. Some of you might be familiar with CSAs. When my sons were younger we belonged to a CSA near our home. We paid in the spring for a share of food and each week during the summer we’d stop at the farm and pick up a surprise box filled with vegetables. The focus of the Arts connection is very exciting. It is easy for me to think of potential ideas on how to create something similar with students.

Retired Cony High School art teacher Christine Higgins is one of the artists who participated in the project along with one of my former students Erskine Academy art teacher Scott Minzy. Last weeks Maine Sunday Telegram had an outstanding article written by Bob Keyes on the project. I emailed Christine and she agreed to provide a description on the project and include her experience at Annabesacook Farm located in Winthrop.

In March of 2012, I was one of 14 artists chosen to participate in a CSA – Community Supporting Agriculture/Arts project sponsored through the Harlow Art Gallery in Hallowell, Maine. Each artist was paired with a CSA farm. We visited our farms throughout the next 8 months with the goal of creating art from those experiences. Our discoveries and stories about the farms are reflected in the various Maine exhibits at different venues through February.

sketch of soil map

My focus was on fibers, papermaking, and prints. My initial proposal was to abstractly ‘map’ the land. Through conversation with Craig Hickman, one of the farm owners, I learned specifics about raising animals, crop cultivation, and an attitude about farming that integrates responsibility of the land with the community. I soon discovered that my ‘farm’ was also a bed and breakfast, catering service, site for weddings, and other events. My ‘farmer’ was an author, poet, performing artist, philanthropist, Rotarian, and is currently running for the legislature to represent Winthrop and Readfield.

making paper in the vat

Gathering fibers from the farm, I made paper with cattails, cornstalks, garlic stems, meadow grasses, collard greens, and clay as pigment. Land and our attitudes about the earth was my primary subject.  I collected essays in response to my question, “What do you think of when you hear the word, land?”, and incorporated these on handmade paper maps, which were inserted into cattail baskets, that the audience may take out, touch, read, and reflect on their own relationship to the earth.

paper relief map with pulp painting

As I became more familiar with Annabesacook Farm, the geography, dwellings and residents influenced other themes in my work.  These farm ‘stories’ were printed on my handmade paper. 

I found that the parallels between artist and farmer are considerable: we both work many hours in satisfying, timeless, and seasonal work. Both artist and farmer are self-directed individuals, who, when not actually present in the studio or field, are thinking about their work. The endeavor becomes the fiber of the being.  

A CSA is collaboration with an audience, much as an artist’s exhibit depends on the support of its viewers. Both thrive on the excitement and satisfaction of successful production that involves a life-long, heart and soul commitment. Artist and farmer pursue a balanced life of seclusion, reflection, and production that welcomes an audience of community partnership. We both have a driving desire to care for, transform, mold, process, and shape through drudgery, sweat, stress, problem-solving, and creative, independent thinking. Both activities are risky with an unpredictable element. Craig once said to me, “Farming is not romantic – it will make you sore.”

Cattail maps

I hope that the art created because of this project increases awareness of the vital importance of the resources provided by the earth and appreciation for those who cultivate that delicate balance of farming and giving back to the land.

The concept for this project originated with Deb Fahy, Director of Harlow Gallery, and was supported by a tireless team of staff and volunteers. A manual for communities interested in a similar idea of pairing farms and artists will soon be available through the Harlow.  More information can be found at, including photos and blogs of the activities.

Chris and Craig at the Harlow opening

The Harlow Gallery exhibit closed yesterday, October 27th but there are many other locations that you can see the exhibit during the next 4 months.

  • Common Street Arts, Waterville  Nov. 3 – 30th 
  • Sheepscot General Store, Whitefield  Nov. 9 – Dec. 1st
  • Savory Maine Dining, Damariscotta  Nov. 13 – Feb. 5
  • Maine Farmland Trust Gallery, Belfast  Jan. 4th – Feb. 27
  • Art Gallery at Frontier, Brunswick  Jan. 11 – Feb. 24th

Thank you to Chris for providing this description and her part in the project.!



October 27, 2012

Lovely gathering

Aaron Nadeau

Last Sunday at Slates Restaurant in Hallowell about 35 people gathered to meet Peter Alexander, the new Executive Director of the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. Board president, Elizabeth Watson greeted guests and the master of ceremony for the evening was past board member and retired superintendent Rich Abramson. He introduced Peter who shared some of his plans. And the new director of the Maine Arts Commission Julie Richard spoke as well.

Art educator and past board member Linda Phillips set up an art exhibit of her student work from Maranacook High School. Peter and student Aaron Nadeau from Bath provided a musical performance.

Peter Alexander

The guests included past director Carol Trimble, interim director Gail Scott, board member Joan Staffiere, and Susan Potters. There were educators in attendance and supports of arts education.

Along with meeting Peter the reception was also a fundraiser for MAAE. If you were unable to attend, MAAE will continue to accept your donations by going to their website at

Good luck to Peter and best wishes to Maine Alliance for Arts Education as they start a new chapter of their arts education work.


MMEA Conference

October 25, 2012

Up on their feet and learning

I had a chance to spend a small amount of time at the Maine music educators one-day conference last week that was held in Augusta at the Calumet Club. Within 10 minutes of starting the all day event, Penny Mahoney had the more than 70 music educators on their feet. They sang, moved, listened, questioned, and experience the lessons by doing!

It was clear that the professional development opportunity was appreciated from the moment the day started. Penny Mahoney is a nationally known Orff-Schulwerk clinician and endorsed trainer in education through movement. She has been teaching for well over 30 years and has no plan on stopping. I got a follow-up email that said: “I could hit the ground running on Monday morning when I started teaching with new ideas that I could immediately put into practice.”

The conference was sponsored jointlyby The Maine Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and the Maine Music Educators Association.

Thank you to Patti Gordan for sharing her camera and the photographs! A great big THANK YOU to Nancy Cash-Cobb for her great work on planning the conference!


Sesame Street – STEM+A

October 24, 2012


So, even Sesame Street is including the A in STEM to make STEAM. During Season 43 Sesame Street continues its focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. According to information on Sesame Street’s curriculum webpage they have added the “A” to “help make learning STEM concepts relevant and enticing to young children by highlighting how artists use STEM knowledge to enhance their art or solve problems. It also provides context for the importance of STEM knowledge in careers in the arts (e.g. musician, painter, sculptor and dancer).”

Elmo the Musical is a new segment of the show that is interactive and a “musical adventure”. Can’t wait to see it. I will have to tune in so I can learn for myself. I wonder, is this “frosting on the cake” or outstanding examples of how the arts and the STEM subjects support each other while students are learning all 5 subjects?!

Anyone seen the show? If so, please let us know what you’ve learned on Sesame Street!


Arts Integration

October 23, 2012

In the best interest of students

Some of you are aware that the discussion at the Maine Department of Education (MDOE) is on LD 1422, the high school proficiency legislation. We are discussing the role of the Department in assisting school districts in implementation of this bill. We are looking at defining proficiency and what this looks like in standards-based systems in student-centered classrooms. Our conversations include how to deliver instruction in an integrated fashion.

In a September ASCD article independent consultant Christa Treichel reviews a project that brings educators together and breaks down the “silos” of content, classroom, and traditional teaching methods. The collaborative culture is used to improve student learning.

The school and teachers are located in west-central Minnesota and the arts educators are from the Perpich Center for Arts Education. The arts integration program uses “collaborative culture” to improve student learning. The teachers from different disciplines work side-by-side looking at the standards, plan and deliver, and assess arts-integrated lessons.

You can read the article to learn more about this Minnesota program by clicking here.



AP Studio Art Teachers Meet

October 22, 2012

Converge at Brunswick High School

Photo by Lori Spruce

On Saturday 15 visual art educators, who also teach the AP Studio art course at their respective high schools, gathered at Brunswick High School to network. The teachers were welcomed by the Brunswick High School teachers Jennie Driscoll and Allison Price. Everyone was glad to see the beautiful art rooms and display cases which included outstanding student artwork.

Kal Elmore and Sheila Bohlin planned a morning filled with the opportunity to share on a variety of topics. Some teachers are new this year to the AP process so they brought their questions and the veterans shared their wisdom. Some of the topics that were discussed included: grading, challenging students, risk-taking, motivating students, dealing with different ability levels, scoring, helping students get ideas, and skill building vs the creative process.

Kal shared the Maine AP blog and the new teachers were invited to join. They also looked at the AP College Board site as well as the AP discussion board. The AP college board site includes scoring statistics and an overview that is useful. The teachers shared many ideas.

Some teachers brought student art work to share and practiced scoring a set of figure drawings. Along with the ideas shared, some brought books and other resources as well.

The opportunity was interesting, informative, and participants agreed that is was a worthwhile discussion on all fronts! Afterwards the group visited the beautiful Bowdoin Art Museum – William Wegman exhibit!


Dancing and Children

October 21, 2012


Recently Karen Montanaro sent me a photo (posted below) of a young child dancing in front of a painting by the Irish painter, John Lavery. The painting of Anna Pavlova was created in 1911. A further search lead Karen to a blog post with information about the painter and the artwork. It reminded me of a book called Dancing in the Streets by Barbara Ehrenreich that includes the traditions of dancing that are embedded in many cultures around the world. Our need as human beings to come together and celebrate through dance is a natural part of development. We can’t locate the origin of the photograph but is certainly is wonderful!

And from there another email this week from Anne Kofler with a short video of dancers who move into the shape of an elephant. Turns out it was a commercial. I sent it on to Karen Montanaro who confirmed that the dancers Pilobolus had a performance that includes the elephant. You can check it out at this blog as it was performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, July 2008. I know they’ve performed at Bates Dance Festival and Portland Ovations. I understand Pilobolus has other connections to Maine. The work dates back to the early 1970s. You can learn more about them in this Portland Press Herald article from 2010.

Speaking of Bates Dance Festival I just received their electronic newsletter. They’ve celebrated their 30th year and had quite a summer with wonderful performances. You can read all about it on their site. They have amazing opportunities for Maine students, along with young and veteran dancers from around the world. If you are not familiar with the program: Founded in 1982, the Bates Dance Festival is a summer program of Bates College whose mission is: to bring an artistically and ethnically diverse group of outstanding contemporary dance artists to Maine during the summer months to teach, perform, and create new work; to encourage and inspire established and emerging artists by giving them a creative, supportive place in which to work; and to actively engage people from the community and region in a full range of dance performances, workshops and discussions. Maine arts educator Nancy Salmon has been with Bates Dance Festival for many years along with dedicating many years to promoting arts education in Maine!

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