Archive for June, 2015


MMEA Leadership Does DC

June 30, 2015

Visiting the Maine delegation

The leadership of the Maine Music Educators Association were in Washington, DC last week representing the professional organization in meetings with NAfME. Their week started with visits to the offices of Representative Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree. And, they met with Senator Susan Collins and Angus King. They did a great job of advocating and were pleased with the responses.

MMEA President-Elect Sue Barre, President Pamela Kinsey, Senator Collins, and Past-President Sam Moore-Young

MMEA President-Elect Sue Barre, President Pamela Kinsey, Senator Collins, and Past-President Sam Moore-Young


In Today’s News

June 29, 2015

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

Recently named Portland’s Poet Laureate Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is not only a poet but a hockey player as well. Read about him in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram Audience section in an article written by Bob Keyes at The Maine Arts Commission Poetry Out Loud program has been fortunate to have Gibson participating during the last few years.

Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer, Maine Sunday Telegram

Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer, Maine Sunday Telegram


Teacher Leader Quotes

June 28, 2015

Great opportunities

100_3195We often hear what participants have to say about the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) but we don’t share those comments quite enough. Below are some that really speak to me and hopefully they will you, as well!

You will have the opportunity to attend the Statewide Biennial Arts Education Conference: The Measure of Success, Friday, October 9, Point Lookout. The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative is proud to continually offer high quality professional development opportunities and The Measure of Success proves to continue this tradition. For more information and to register (during the early bird registration) please click here.

  • “(The Institute) affirmed what I already do and encouraged me to look for more ways to improve my practice”
  • “(I’m interested in) how to implement standards-based assessment in a school system that still uses a traditional grading system”
  • “I’ve changed my rubrics to better reflect what I’ve learned from the workshop and also to reflect what I’m learning about proficiency-based education”
  • “I’m using student input more now to create rubrics and (exemplars) as a basis for creating criteria for student work”
  • “I’m more aware of work other teachers are doing in this area”
  • “It totally changed my assessment practices”
  • “I’m learning with a renewed sense of purpose and a feeling that we WILL make a difference in re-inventing education.”
  • “I have shown video clips to students, I have started my own blog and become a lover of Twitter.  I have learned more about technology and the arts this year than I ever have in my life.”


June 27, 2015

Tips for Summer

From Edutopia Top 12 Summer Tips for Top Teachers. Number 4: Learn and Share. Read all 12 tips by clicking here.

WE are TEACHERS posted this piece called 16 Ways That Summer Drastically Improves Teachers’ Lives. I just had to share it with you. Click here

Number 10: You reteach yourself to eat leisurely, like a civilized human instead of inhaling handfuls of Starbursts meant for students. I am guessing that this is true for many of you!


NH Fall Conference

June 26, 2015

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Ricky and Doris

June 25, 2015


What happens when an off-beat street performer and an 86 year old community activist collaborate? Check out this marvelous story.


Ahhhh, Summer!

June 24, 2015

Happy summer vacation

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 9.17.58 PMThe end of the school year is cause for celebration!  I know for some it is bitter sweet. More than anything it is a time to reflect, breathe deeply, and catch up on your sleep. I know the best teachers are exhausted and taking it easy, sleeping in, and stop clock-watching (takes transition time).  Once that happens, look out, because some of you will be filled with energy to do what you love most. I am also aware that many teachers have to work in the summer to make ends meet. Others are already scheduled to do formal professional development and others self-directed learning. Whatever you do, wherever you go, I hope that it is a wonderful summer. One that provides you with the chance to revitalize yourself so you are excited and rested when you return to school at the end of the summer.

Even though my job at the Maine Arts Commission is year-round I find myself reflecting on the school year and on years from the past. Recently, I bumped into a former student. We’ve communicated since then by email and he shared his thoughts on why art making is important to him. As we close out another school year I thought this might bring a smile to you, as it did for me…

“Most people go to college to get jobs. They get smart degrees that will help make money for them as they grow. People who go to school for theatre, art, film, etc., they don’t have a choice in that decision. People who don’t go to college and instead they paint, write, dance, film, create… They/we’re creative minds that need to keep flowing. Keep creating. And sometimes that involves putting everything at risk for that expression (like getting an arts degree). It doesn’t feel like a choice. If it were a choice, I’d be an accountant. It’s not; I’m doomed to make films.  :)”

In the near future I will share his full story.


What is a Teacher Leader?

June 23, 2015

 What do you think?

In March 2014 the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leaders were asked to answer the following question: What is a Teacher Leader. Below are their answers.

able to see big picture… flexible/able to change their practice – effective communicator – good listener -facilitator – able to think on their feet – committed/passionate/reflective

life long learner

someone who can model/mentor in their discipline for other teachers and admin.

someone who is passionate about their work as an arts educator

everyone needs to define for self in multiple contexts: class, school, state, national…

someone willing to share and be flexible, willing to try new things + take risks… willing to jump in

someone with vision and abilities –communication skills -may not know it!

stand up for principles and advocate!

identify your strengths and those being led

someone with desire to improve and willing to face new changes.-an engaged learner-aware of

strengths and weaknesses

needs sense of purpose and guidelines as to how to fill that purpose

share in multiple ways; “talking about” isn’t always best

how evolved… where going… not a recipe

importance of developing your voice as a TL

be a facilitator

focused on student growth & well-being- student centered!

share your experience and engage the participants and provide resources

realistic expectations for self and community

modeling and giving good examples

needs to be animated/enthusiastic (especially as a teacher with kids)


Lake Region High School Dance Residency

June 22, 2015

 John Morris and Carmel Collins collaborate

Da.Res.1Students of Lake Region High School participated in an exciting “Dance Residency” with professional dancer and teaching artist John Morris. When I heard that a professional dancer had moved into our district I knew I had to reach out and connect with him. As it turned out John was a former LRHS graduate who had pursued a career in dance that had taken him to New York City. After his many travels he had returned to Bridgton with his family. Connecting with John was akin to finding a hidden treasure, right in our own backyard. His experiences, expertise, knowledge and skill that he brought to the residency were enlightening and valuable to both students and myself, and truly brought dance education to a new and powerful level.

Da.Res.3John and I immediately connected and I found myself able to talk about dance education on many levels without having to go though lengthy explanations. It was as though we had know each other for ever. We both shared our vision and goals for the residency with ease and the planning seemed to come together very cohesively.

We met a few times prior to John’s initial session with the students and he was able to view the space and what resources were available at these meetings. It was great to have someone else’s input of working with the students on dance and hearing their perspective of the program. The most challenging part was to know when would be a productive time to interject a dance residency and the most opportune time for John to start. The students and I were at the beginning of choreographing our spring show and both John and I thought it would be beneficial to embrace the show in some format with his residency. Once we had decided upon this everything fell into place.

Da.Res.2.I was very excited to share the residency with my students and in turn they were excited at the prospect of a new and different dance teacher coming into the arena. It was great to be able to work with another dance professional and for the students to witness and be part of this partnership. The students so often observe me working in isolation, this was a great experience for them to see me teaming with someone else.

It was fascinating to observe my students working with John. His approach was different and new to the students, because he focused on creative exploration and a contemporary dance approach, but one could see their awkwardness and reservations dispel as he quickly built up trusting and respectful connections with them. Conversations began to flow more freely as the students became more familiar and at ease with the new format. In between John’s sessions conversations continued and the students would build upon each session which enabled the students to share with John what they had accomplished since his last visit.

Da.Res.4There was much evaluating and supportive critiquing during the residency as students spent time reflecting upon what they were creating and the direction they wished to go.

Quite often the students would share with John what they would like to see happen and in return John would ask, “How can we make that happen? What can we do to get from where we are now to where you want to be?” To aid students with this process John collaborated with them to create and explore a list of choreographic tools that the students could easily access in assisting them through their problem solving journey.

Da.Res.5In between each of John’s visits we would communicate and give feedback to one another to ensure we were always on the same page and prepared for the next session, as well as supporting one another on this new journey. Our planning, preparation and communication were integral to the success of the residency and it was great to collaborate with a fellow dance professional. John reported that he was delighted with our collaboration, as well as with the students’ willingness to explore and try new things. The residency was a wonderful learning experience for both myself and my students, the spring show was a success, and we all look forward to the next one.


Dance Teacher Retires

June 21, 2015


This 60 year old retiring dance teacher from Canada celebrates in the most grand way.

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