Archive for August 7th, 2014

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Resource Bank

August 7, 2014

Unveiled at the Summit on Arts Education, July 23

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Julie Richard, Executive Director, Maine Arts Commission, announcing the MAAI Resource Bank

What do you get when you bring together intelligent, creative arts teachers from all over Maine and let them spend time together to talk about what they do? To share what they do best? To learn from each other? Then ask them to return home and do the same for others? You get a ripple effect. You get contagious enthusiasm. You get shared and improved resources. Strategies for improving teaching and learning. Bucketsful of Aha moments.  Discoveries. Connections. Networks. Zoom meetings! Who benefits from all this? Arts teachers, certainly. Teaching and Learning, definitely. And Students, ultimately!

When the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) started in 2010, the teacher leaders planned workshops, conferences, webinars, videos. Graduate courses for deeper study in music and art assessment were created. Resources were created, collected, shared. Soon, there was something really worth sharing with the larger world. Technology made it possible to live in Frenchville and share ideas and strategies with someone in Cape Elizabeth. Being the creative problem solvers that defined this group, the teacher leaders decided that a common place was needed  to “deposit” the tools, literature, videos, lesson plans, units, and assessments so that all could have these at their fingertips. Thus, the idea for the Resource Bank was born.

While it did go through a series of name changes – Depository… Repository… Resource Bank, the idea was the same throughout – teachers wanted a searchable place to put things anyone could use. But there were challenging questions to resolve first, such as how to ensure that the resources were high quality? Who would evaluate them?   What would a “peer reviewer” do? How would the Resource Bank be sustained? Where would it be housed?  What kind of template, if any, could be designed so that anyone could use them to upload resources? It was decided to narrow the focus in the first year to the development of standards based units.

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Top row: Jake, Jennie, Beth, Bottom row: Brian, Jenni, Jeff

Catherine Ring

Catherine Ring

In 2013, the Maine Arts Commission funded a six member team of teacher leaders representing Visual Art, Music and Theater, at elementary, middle and high school levels, who were be charged with two things: 1)  Create two full standards-based units, including assessments, lesson plans and resources, and 2) Create templates that anyone could use to submit resources to the bank in the future or to develop arts curricula for classroom use.

Mission 2013-14 accomplished! There are now 12 complete standards-based units, which can be accessed on the Resource Bank wiki located at http://maairesourcebank.pbworks.com/. These serve two purposes: 1) to be shared and/or adapted by other teachers for their own classroom use, and 2) as exemplars of quality arts curriculum work. The templates for unit design, lesson plans and assessments are available for all to use.

But our work has only begun. Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission announced the debut of the Resource Bank at the Summit on Arts Education in Portland last week. Jake Sturtevant presented a review of the work and critical friends and teacher leaders made recommendations for moving forward.

Imagine the possibilities. Quality arts resources of all kinds, in a searchable home base. Opportunities to share the best ideas and tools. The feedback from the Summit participants and teacher leaders in Phase IV will determine the next steps. Stay tuned. Teachers in the arts are leading the way!

This post was written by Catherine Ring who is on the Leadership Team of the MAAI and was project manager of the Resource Bank project in 2013. Catherine is also the Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education.

The teacher leaders involved in this important work during the 2013-14 school year:
Jennie Driscoll, visual arts, grades 9-12, Brunswick High School
Brian McPherson, visual arts, grades K-5, Woodside Elementary
Jeff Orth, visual arts, grades 7-12, Richmond Middle and High School
Jenni Null, music, grades K-12, Lake Region School District
Jake Sturtevant, music, grades 9-12, Bonny Eagle High School
Beth Lambert, performing arts, grades 9-12, Carrabec High School

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Phase III Teacher Leaders, MAAI Summer Institute, June 2013

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