Archive for February, 2017

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Jason Bannister

February 28, 2017

MALI Teacher Leader Series

mali_v1_color_100ppiThis is the first blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 72 posted to date. Thank you Jason for sharing your story!

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-10-11-23-pmJason Bannister presently teaches Theater to grade  7 and 8 students at the Troy Howard Middle School, RSU 71, Belfast. He has taught for 14 years, all in Belfast – 5 years at 4th grade, 3 years middle school ELA, 6 years middle school theater. Jason teaches 250 kids each year, one trimester of performing arts (theater primarily) each year for two years. He also directs the drama club productions and created the Maine Student Acting Competition.

 

What do you like best about being a theater educator?

I have the opportunity to teach something I love to kids, to expose them to theater. The best thing is seeing a student develop an interest in theater from taking the class, and maybe joining the next production onstage.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

There needs to be support from your staff and administration. You shouldn’t have to sell the importance of theater arts education to them. There needs to be a proper space to rehearse, perform and store costumes, sets and props. And the class needs to be required, but with the understanding that not everyone is ‘into it’ – so you need to find interesting ways to teach kids about theater where they aren’t worried they’ll have to get up in front of the class.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I have used many different forms of formative and summative assessment in my performing arts classes. Some are helpful, but sometimes the process is more valuable than the product.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative?

I was given a chance to focus on a particular unit of study I was creating for my classes. I bounced ideas off other theater teachers. I don’t get this chance very often as the only theater teacher in RSU 71.

What are you most proud of in your career?

When I see a former student go on to college and major in theater. Especially when I remember them being shy or not into theater before taking my class or being in a play/musical I directed.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

I see some teachers using old units over and over. I am always re-inventing units or coming up with new projects. I try to keep what works well and get rid of what doesn’t. When I started my performing arts class years ago lots of kids didn’t like it. This year most kids love it. If I didn’t make changes to what and how I teach I wouldn’t be effective.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I guess being a performing arts teacher in a middle school where the class is mandatory for kids to take. I worked hard to get this class created. There just aren’t lots of programs in Maine like what I’ve created. I am honored to have my job, but it’s been (and continues to be) a long road.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Fight the mindset some people have about theater arts education – it IS NOT an extra fluff type of subject. You can’t just say ‘oh, well the kids have drama club after school’ – that isn’t the same. Theater arts education is so important in so many ways to so many different kids. Don’t settle – work your hardest to get an equal footing with the ‘core subjects’.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

That’s simple – I would put it towards building a proper theater to perform in. Enough of these cafetoriums. It’s ridiculous that there isn’t a dedicated performance space in my school district.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I have regrets everyday – how I could have taught that better, worked harder to connect with a student, not said something that hurt someone’s feelings. I guess I hope when I’m that old I won’t regret the time I’ve spent teaching theater and the time I’ve missed with my own children.

THE MAINE ARTS LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE

 Committed to the development of Teacher Leaders to ensure deep understanding and meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts for all students.

If you are interested in becoming a teacher leader please email Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Arts Learning Grants

February 27, 2017

Maine Arts Commission grants

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 10.18.08 PMThe Maine Arts Commission awards grants to artists, arts organizations, and arts educators through 12 different programs. The 2017 applications for six of these, with a deadline of March 23, are now open. The Arts Learning grant is especially for schools and educators working with students providing arts education.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 23, 2017, 5 PM.

The maximum award is $5,000. Last year the average grant award was $2,300.

ABOUT THE ARTS LEARNING GRANT

Funds are to be used to enhance PK-12 arts education through teaching artist programs, connections with community arts education, curriculum planning, professional learning for arts educators, teaching artists and teachers of all content.

The proposal should include the use of best educational standards-based practices reflecting 21-century teaching and learning.

PK-12 schools, community organizations, and cultural institutions acting as or in partnership with teaching artists are eligible to apply for the Arts Learning grant.

There is a required 50% in-kind or cash match for this grant. (For example, an applicant asking for $5,000 must provide $2,500 of matching support.)

The funding cycle for this program is July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Your school or organization is eligible to apply only if it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is a nonprofit organization, legally established in the state of Maine.
  • Has a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, is a public school, or is a unit of municipal, county or tribal government.
  • Is in compliance with final reports required for any previous Maine Arts Commission awards received.

REVIEW CRITERIA

Arts Learning Grant applications are reviewed on a competitive basis using the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of high-quality arts education teaching and learning opportunities. (25%)
  • Clear description of the project and its impact. (20%)
  • Evidence of significant collaborative planning among teachers and other partners and capacity to carry it out. (20%)
  • Description of evaluation methodology with clear objectives and outcomes. (15%)
  • Alignment with State of Maine Learning Results for Visual and Performing Arts. (10%)
  • Assurance that the project will include certified, trained teaching artists and will provide professional development opportunities where appropriate. (10%)

APPLICATION NARRATIVE

  1. In two to four sentences, please describe your idea. (638 characters max.)
  2. Clearly state the objectives for the idea, and plans for evaluating your success. (1,275 characters max.)
  3. Describe your partnership, collaborative planning and the learners that you serve, including underserved students. (1,275 characters max.)
  4. How does your proposal align with the State of Maine Learning Results for Visual and Performing Arts and other standards if relevant? (1,275 characters max.)
  5. Who are the professional teachers and teaching artists involved in this project? Summarize their professional experience.(1,275 characters max.)

APPLICATION PACKAGE REQUIREMENTS

A completed application in the Grants Management System (GMS) for the Arts Learning Grant contains:

ONLINE

  • Completed answers to all narrative prompts
  • Completed project budget
  • Most recently completed Form 990 (for organizations only)
  • Resumes, bios, or curriculum vitae for all key personnel. Include resumes for all teaching artists
  • One to three letters of support from individuals or representatives of organizations or schools who can speak to their anticipated benefit from the project
  • Lesson Plan/Unit showing learning outcomes and assessment tools

To read all of the details please go to https://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Grants/artslearning.

If you have any questions please contact Argy Nestor, Director of Arts Education, Maine Arts Commission at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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#EatTogether

February 26, 2017

On a mission

In Canada they are on a mission to encourage people to eat together so they put this commercial together to help make it happen. Gotta see this…

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Ashley Bryan Film

February 26, 2017

Community support

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screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-3-14-47-pm March 17 at 6 pm – Portland Youth Film Festival, Portland, Maine Screening and Q&A of “Ashley Bryan´s World” at the Portland Museum of Art

Synopsis: I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan  is about this 93-year-old creative wonder who skips and jumps in his heart like a child. He served in a World War II all-Black battalion and experienced the racism of a separatist Army and the horrible carnage of D-Day.  As a result he dedicated his life to creating beauty and joy, spreading love and awe through his art. He’s a poet/illustrator of over 50 children’s books, makes magical puppets and sea glass windows from found objects inspired by his African heritage. Ashley lives on the remote Cranberry Islands, Maine and has been using art his entire life to celebrate joy, mediate the darkness of war and racism, explore the mysteries of faith, and create loving community. His life story and the art he makes from this wellspring of experience is an inspiration to people of all ages.

For more information please email ashleybryanfilms@gmail.com.

 

 

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Top 10 Reasons to Support the Arts

February 25, 2017

Americans for the Arts research and resources

Each year Americans for the Arts puts together the top 10 reasons to support the arts. It is published on the AFTA site which you can download by CLICKING HERE.

Randy Cohen, VP of Research and Policy, Americans for the Arts creates the list based on a survey collecting information from people across this country.

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-3-12-41-pmThe arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts also are a fundamental component of healthy communities, strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.

 

  1. Arts improve individual well-being. 63 percent of the population believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” 64 percent feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in,” and 73 percent say the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”
  2. Arts unify communities. 67 percent of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity” and 62 percent agree that the arts “help me understand other cultures better”—a perspective observed across all demographic and economic categories.
  3. Arts improve academic performance. Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs and standardized test scores, and lower drop-out rates. The Department of Education reports that access to arts education for students of color is significantly lower than for their white peers, and has declined for three decades. Yet, research shows that low socio-economic-status students have even greater increases in academic performance, college-going rates, college grades, and holding jobs with a future. 88 percent of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.
  4. Arts strengthen the economy. The arts and culture sector is a $730 billion industry, which represents 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, and agriculture (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). The nonprofit arts industry alone generates $135 billion in economic activity annually (spending by organizations and their audiences), which supports 4.1 million jobs and generates $22.3 billion in government revenue.
  5. Arts are good for local businesses. Attendees at nonprofit arts events spend $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking, and babysitters—valuable revenue for local commerce and the community. Attendees who live outside the county in which the arts event takes place spend twice as much as their local counterparts ($39.96 vs. $17.42).
  6. Arts drive tourism. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. Arts destinations grow the economy by attracting foreign visitor spending. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that, between 2003-2015, the percentage of international travelers including “art gallery and museum visits” on their trip grew from 17 to 29 percent, and the share attending “concerts, plays, and musicals” increased from 13 to 16 percent.
  7. Arts are an export industry. The arts and culture industries had a $30 billion international trade surplus in 2014, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. U.S. exports of arts goods (e.g., movies, paintings, jewelry) exceeded $60 billion.
  8. Arts spark creativity and innovation. Creativity is among the top 5 applied skills sought by business leaders—with 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. The Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report concludes, “The arts—music, creative writing, drawing, dance—provide skills sought by employers of the 3rd millennium.” Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged in the arts than other scientists.
  9. Arts improve healthcare. Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families, and even staff. 78 percent deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients—shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.
  10. Arts and healing in the military. The arts are part of the military continuum—promoting readiness during pre-deployment as well as aiding in the successful reintegration and adjustment of Veterans and military families into community life. Service members and Veterans rank art therapies in the top 4 (out of 40) interventions and treatments.
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Doodle 4 Google – Maine Winner

February 24, 2017

Medomak Valley Middle School, Waldoboro

A student at Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro has been chosen as the winner of the state’s Doodle 4 Google competition. Ruth Havener, a seventh-grader, is one of 53 state and territory winners whose doodles now have a chance to appear on Google’s homepage in March.

CONGRATULATIONS RUTH!

Medomak Middle School seventh-grader Ruth Havener won the Doodle 4 Google statewide competition with “The Same Ocean in the Future.”

Medomak Middle School seventh-grader Ruth Havener won the Doodle 4 Google statewide competition with “The Same Ocean in the Future.”

The Doodle 4 Google competition is an annual nationwide contest open to students in grades K-12. Students create their own doodle, which must spell the word Google, from any materials they want. The theme of this year’s competition was “What I see for the future.”

According to a press release Havener’s doodle, titled “The Same Ocean in the Future,” depicts a colorful array of  sea creatures. It was selected out of thousands of entries received this year.

An assembly to announce Havener as the state winner will take place at Medomak Middle School on Monday, Feb. 27.
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, will offer his congratulations to the winning student via video during the assembly.

From Thursday, Feb. 23 through Monday, March 6, anyone can vote for their favorite doodle from the 53 state and territory winners at google.com/doodle4google/vote.html.

The public voting will determine the five national finalists, who will be announced March 31. The finalists will be named from each of the competition’s age groups: grades K-3, grades four and five, grades six and seven, grades eight and nine, and grades 10-12. The national winner will be announced the same day and the winner’s doodle will go live on Google.

The winner will take home a $30,000 college scholarship and his or her school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant toward the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.

Google started the contest in 2008. Last year’s winner was Akilah Johnson, a 10th-grader from Washington, D.C.

This article was written by Alexander Violo and reprinted from the Lincoln County News, February 23rd edition.

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Teacher Greets Students

February 23, 2017

Special handshake

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-10-22-31-amGrade 5 teacher, Barry White in Charlotte, NC says that he’s all about bringing joy to others lives. He recognizes that school is a “sanctuary” for some students. He knows that the “relationship” is the key to student success. Each student has created a special handshake that he or she does when they enter Barry’s classroom. Mr. White said he got the idea from watching Lebron James doing handshakes with his inner-circle.

Read the entire article and view the video posted NBC by CLICKING HERE.

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