Archive for August, 2014



August 31, 2014

Can Kickstarter Save Arts Education?
Despite overwhelming evidence that arts education correlates with higher graduation rates, better college performance and future success in the workplace, in some school districts across the country shrinking school budgets and strict curriculum standards keep restricting the time that teenage students spend exploring their creative sides. So a panel of artists, educators and activists — including marquee names like Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, author Salman Rushdie and design duo Rodarte — have come up with a novel solution, perfectly suited to the Internet age: a free, crowdfunded, peer-to-peer online arts school that brings the arts to students who need them.

The Washington Post article can be read entirely by clicking here.

Thanks to Americans for the Arts for providing this information for me to pass forwrwd



MAAI Phase 4 Official

August 30, 2014

Off and running

Summit_photo1The Summit on Arts Education held at USM, July 29-August 1 officially marked the start of Phase 4 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). The Teacher Leaders (new from phase IV and returning from the first three phases) are busy creating workshops to provide for educators across the state. MAAI has 38 active Teacher Leaders this school year. Locations are being determined and dates are being selected for the mega-regional workshops for the 2014-15 school year. Plans are underway. Stay tuned for the details of the next phase.

Just a reminder: every other year we have the statewide conference so that will NOT be taking place this October. Hopefully you can attend a regional and mega-regional (or perhaps more than one) workshop somewhere in Maine.

The MAAI is proud of the work that Teacher Leaders are doing, they are the HEART of MAAI. The names, disciplines, and schools of the Phase IV Teacher Leaders are included on the Who We Are page at the new MAAI website recently launched. If you have a question feel free to contact them. Each of them are wonderful resources. You might be considering taking a leadership role and joining as a Teacher Leader ,but aren’t quite sure. Please email me or any one of the MAAI Teacher Leaders or Leadership Team members. You can find their contact information on the Who We Are page as well.

If you haven’t had time to go to the Maine Arts Assessment website yet, please do. There is all kinds of information that can assist you in getting started with your school year. The MAAI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission.




International Dot Day

August 29, 2014

Celebrate Creativity, Courage & Collaboration? – September 15

dot_secInternational Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009. The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

Imagine the power and potential of a million people all around the world connecting, collaborating, creating and celebrating all that creativity inspires and invites. I hope you will join the growing global community of creativity champions using their talents, gifts and energy to move the world to a better place. Sign up now and celebrate Dot Day!

You can sign up to join the celebration by clicking here. And, available for teachers is an downloadable Educators Handbook which you can obtain for by clicking here.

This information is taken from the International Dot Day website that you can access by clicking here.


Funding Opportunities

August 28, 2014

 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

The NCTM is accepting applications from teachers of pre-K-2 mathematics for projects that incorporate music into the elementary school classroom to help young students learn mathematics. For 2015–16, grants of up to $3,000 will be awarded to individual classroom teachers or small groups of teachers collaborating in one grade or across grade levels. Any acquisition of equipment must support the proposed plan but not be the primary focus of the grant. Proposals must address the combining of mathematics and music, planning for improving students’ learning of mathematics, and/or the anticipated impact on students’ achievement. Please click here to read more.

P. Buckley Moss Foundation Accepting Applications For Arts-Integrated Education Programs
The mission of the P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children’s Education is to promote the integration of the arts into all educational programs, with a special focus on children who learn in different ways. The foundation is accepting grant applications from educators who need financial assistance to maintain or implement an arts education program. Grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to support new or evolving programs that integrate the arts into educational programming. Although the purpose of the grant program is to assist teachers who wish to establish an effective way of using the arts to teach children who learn differently, proposed projects must serve all children in the classroom, including those with no trouble learning in a general education setting. Please click here to read more.

Teens Teaching Tech
Apply for a grant to hold your own Teens Teaching Tech program in your community. Older adults have gadgets like digital cameras, tablets, mobile phones, and apps that they find challenging to use. The goal of this program is to help senior citizens feel comfortable with ever-evolving technology. The applicant must be part of a school-based club or homeschool community organization in the United States. The $250.00 grants are provided to high school clubs: community service, National Honors Society, and computer clubs. Deadline: September 15

Laura W. Bush Traveling Fellowship 
The State Department is currently accepting applications to help fund innovative travel around the world by young people who use education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and/or communication and information to build strong ties among nations. The fellowship is intended for American college students who have not been afforded many opportunities to travel abroad. Through 4 to 6 weeks of travel anywhere in the world, you can have the opportunity to interact with individuals from other nations while promoting the goals of UNESCO! Deadline: September 22

Captain Planet Foundation Grants 
Captain Planet Foundation will accept small grant requests for amounts between $500 – $2,500.  All proposed activities must be project-based, projects must be performed by youth; and projects must have real environmental outcomes. The Captain Planet Foundation primarily makes grants to U.S.-based schools and organizations with an annual operating budget of less than $3 million.  International requests are also accepted, with preference given to international projects that have U.S.-based partners. Preferential consideration is given to requests who have secured at least 50% matching or in-kind funding for their projects.   Deadline: September 30

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grants 
Whatever goals and dreams you have for your school, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grant Program can help fulfill them with grants of $2,000 to $5,000. K-12 public schools as well as school parent-teacher groups are eligible. Preference is given to funding requests that have a permanent impact such as facility enhancement (both indoor and outdoor) and landscaping or clean up projects.  Deadline: October 15

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program
The Grassroots Organizing for Social Change Program supports non-profit grassroots, constituent-led organizations across the country that are using direct action, grassroots community-organizing strategies to accomplish their goals. Proposals should align with the Foundation’s broad interests in social justice, environmental justice and sustainable food systems. They fund organizations with budgets of $500,000 or less. Grant awards are up to $20,000 for a one-year period.                      Deadline: October 15

NYLC Youth Leadership for Service-Learning Excellence Award
The Youth Leadership for Service-Learning Excellence Award recognizes service-learning programs and projects that demonstrate outstanding youth leadership. This award focuses on projects that show a high level of youth initiative in all areas including identifying an authentic need, planning the service, and putting that plan into action. Teams of young people participating in service-learning projects can apply.  Deadline: November 7

NYLC Service-Learning Practitioner Leadership Award
The Service-Learning Practitioner Leadership Award recognizes those who have equipped young people to lead and serve, both through their direct work with youth and by nurturing other practitioners. Nominations are accepted from the general public, and a committee of leaders from the service-learning field will select the winners.  Deadline: November 7


Arts at the Core: Making Standards Work

August 27, 2014

Online course starting September 17

Arts at the Core: Making Standards Work is being taught completely online. The 5 week course designed and taught by Barbara (Packales) Vinal. Registration opens soon and located at h

Course description
Arts teachers set high standards for their students by the nature of what they do. But how can you readily prove what your students know and are able to do? No matter where you are, this class will show you how to “begin with the end in mind” and structure your teaching around State, National and/or Common Core standards. We’ll explore online tools, building authentic rubrics, and how to manage your data. More importantly, you’ll learn how to enhance what you already do while meeting your Standards requirements.

For more information please go to the link above or email Barbara at



August 26, 2014

Off I go!

going to GreeceI am fortunate to be on vacation however, the blog will NOT be on vacation. Continuing over the next two weeks while I am away from the office, the blog will bring you all kinds of information. In fact, there are some wonderful resources that have been sent my way that I am passing on to you.

For example, International Dot Day is coming up on September 15 and you can read about it on the blog. People email and call asking specifically about funding sources and Thursday’s post, this week, will be filled with a variety of funding opportunities. There are interesting articles and ideas that are included in the next two weeks as well.

If you need to be in touch with me feel free to email however, I most likely won’t have access to email, so please wait until September 8 when I return.

I know that some of you started school a couple of weeks ago, some are starting before labor day and others not until after labor day. Whenever you start, my warmest wishes for a successful start to the new year!

It feels kind of odd to be on vacation while you are starting school but there is a first time for everything. While I have this opportunity I want to THANK YOU for the important work you do each day ensuring that students receive an excellent education in the Arts!


2000th Post

August 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Maine Arts Education blog

tom2Today’s post is number 2000! It is hard to believe that the Maine Arts Ed blog is that old! There are many people to THANK on this day that have provided so much support and encouragement and sooooooo much more!!

Thank you to Ed Brazee who encouraged me to write, to use my voice, and to, and most importantly to write and publish what I was writing. In fact, it was a requirement in the course I was taking with Ed to publish. As most people in the course (and other courses taken with Ed), I thought, Me?, Write?, no way. Fortunately, I am usually up to a challenge and with Ed’s encouragement, I did it. Starting this blog a handful of years later was  somewhat simple compared to that first writing. Thank you Ed!

Thank you to David Patterson for helping me to create the WordPress blog and guiding me every step of the way. The template, banner, format, and content were formulated with David’s encouragement. As you know David passed away in July and I miss him terribly. I dedicate today’s post to David since there would not be a Maine Arts Ed blog without him. Thank you David!

Thank you to my husband who also has a blog, at Maine Outdoors Don often gives me feedback on a post or a photo or an idea.  Not just the blog but on any writing, that I need a quick opinion on. And, then there are the times that we can’t leave the house until I finish writing a blog post. He is the BEST! Thank you Don!

And, most importantly to all the readers of the blog and the 963 followers of the Maine Arts Ed blog, THANK YOU! Without you there would be no reason to blog! I know that most of you are Maine educators and realize how busy your lives are during the school year. Yet, you still find a few minutes to read the daily blog posts (between 800 and 1400 readers a week). Your commitment to the blog is very appreciated!

Please join me in eating a tomato (if you are a tomato lover) to celebrate the meartsed blog! And, here’s to 2000 more! YAHOOOOO!




Art and Music Courses

August 24, 2014

Course Opportunities for Art and Music Educators

As arts educators, we know how important a quality arts education is for every student. That is why we are constantly seeking to improve teaching and learning  in our classrooms. And the arts have never been more relevant and essential than they are right now – in the 21st century.  But where do we find quality, professional development in arts education?

The New England Institute for Teacher Education is proud to announce that it will be offering three courses in Visual Art and Music Assessment practices this fall to any Art or Music educators, K-12.  The courses are all taught by leaders in art and music education who have played an integral role in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative in the past three years.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to work with Rob Westerberg, who will be bringing the Music course to Hanover, New Hampshire (Vermont and New Hampshire music educators, take note!), Jake Sturtevant who is teaching Music Assessment in Standish, Maine, or Catherine Ring who is teaching Visual Art Assessment in Bangor, Maine.  All of these courses meet on teacher-friendly schedules (two weekend sessions with 10-12 weeks in between) and are tailored to meet each individual’s needs.

If you want to be in on the most current thinking, research and best practices used in arts classrooms, this is a great way to get started and connect to a network of other professionals and a wealth of shared resources. Over 85 arts educators have taken advantage of arts assessment courses through the New England Institute and many have taken on leadership roles in their schools and districts as a result of their work. Three graduate credits will be awarded upon successful completion through the New England Institute’s academic partnership with Endicott College.

So please join us. We’re excited to share what we have with you and to learn from you!

Questions?  Call the New England Institute at 207-367-5807 or email

Catherine, Rob and Jake



What does the Spleen do?

August 23, 2014

Making videos to learn concepts.

Brunswick High School art teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leader Jennie Driscoll sent me this link. It was created by a medical student at Harvard. Perhaps you teach video or a media course and your students create videos to show their learning. Check this one out and think about the idea!

“What does the spleen do?”


Drawing with Camera-Like Precision

August 22, 2014

Twins reproduce Edward Steichen photogragh

Identical twins Ryan and Trevor Oakes have come up with a method for “tracing camera-obscura renderings”  onto a concave grid. The article in The New York Times Magazine from August 15 provides the information and a video with the twins discussing their work. It is very cool and I highly recommend that you check it out by clicking here.

Thanks to Anne Kofler for sending me the information.


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