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PD All Around

June 27, 2017

Look Up!

There’s all kinds of professional development happening this summer in Maine on arts education. I’ve thought a great deal of PD over the years as a teacher who attended hundreds of learning opportunities and as a provider of PD. I found THIS ARTICLE recently that talks about what teachers wish to get out of PD. I believe that most importantly educators seeking quality arts education professional development need to be reminded to look up! I’m exploring what that means for me personally and professionally.

Participants at Hannaford Hall on the USM, Portland campus listen intently.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit two wonderful learning opportunities underway. One was held at the USM, Portland campus, sponsored by the Maine Department of Education. Jeff Poulin, arts education manager from the Americans for the Arts kicked off the day with a lively presentation on the history of federal mandates including today’s work on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). With his mom and sister in the audience Jeff provided a clear picture and included his own story of how he started and continues in the arts and the value of advocacy on many levels. He included a photo of himself at a very young age as a tap dancer and he delighted those in attendance with a tap dance at the conclusion of his presentation.

Participants broke into three groups: music, visual arts, and theatre/dance to continue work around assessment. The questions discussed included: Why do you assess? What do you assess? What is powerful about those thing that you access? I suggest that you take a minute and answer these questions. They could prompt a conversation with a colleague. Participants from all over Maine will continue their work tomorrow.

Laurie Downy and Molly Brown go over the details before sending participants on their way to select an artwork to respond to at the Portland Art Museum.

I spent part of the afternoon at the Portland Museum of Art with Side X Side. They had seven workshops happening simultaneously in different locations in the city with Portland teachers.   Laurie Downy and Molly Brown were facilitating a lesson. They sent the teachers out into the museum to observe and document something that they found interesting. Asking them to journal and selecting from multiple techniques from drawing to writing to journaling to mapping. Most inspiring was this quote by Shaun McNift from Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go. “People find that there most inspired creations come when they are “present” and responsive to what emerges naturally from the process. Creation requires attention and complete focus. But most of all it demands that we take the plunge into new territory without knowing what will appear.”

If you choose to engage in professional development this summer, whether independently or with a group, I do hope that you it ignites your creativity!

4 comments

  1. Sorry I missed you at the PMA (I was running around for those two days straight!) but so glad you were able to stop in. It was a really special event. Have a great summer, Argy.

    Best,
    Louisa

    Louisa Donelson
    Associate Educator for Youth Learning
    Portland Museum of Art


  2. thank you Argy for the wonderful mention in your blog! I’m sorry we missed you the day you came to visit. It would have been nice to have connected.

    My best, Beth


  3. So glad I could be there Beth! I am sure it was a wonderful opportunity at all of the sites!


  4. I am really glad I had time to stop in and visit the activities underway! Thanks Louisa!



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