Archive for October 1st, 2017


Our Responsibility as Educators

October 1, 2017

Beautiful Sunday Morning

Here’s some food for thought on a beautiful Sunday morning when the only newspaper of the week that I read calls my name, a new mosaic awaits being created, and the flower bed needs to be cleaned up before winter arrives.

It is clear that our jobs as visual and performing arts educators is to teach the specific content of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and/or visual arts. We have the Maine Learning Results and the National Core Arts Standards that guide local curriculum development at the local level. But what else are we responsible for today that wasn’t true in days gone by (you fill in how many years here)?

In Maine we know that the arts have always done a good job of addressing the Maine Learning Results Guiding Principles. In fact, the Guiding Principles are an integral part, embedded in daily lessons and overall curriculum. I know that many of you in Maine have been “unpacking” these principles so you can identify when they are introduced to students so they can be documented as part of their Proficiency Diploma Requirements.

     A. Clear and effective communicator

     B. Self-directed and lifelong learner

     C. Creative and practical problem solver

     D. Responsible and involved citizen

     E.  Integrative and informed thinker

And, across the country since we the 21st century started (yikes, 17 years ago – where does time go?), educators and others have been referencing 21st century skills. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning has taken the lead in much of this work and communication around it. Their Framework for 21st Century Learning is well respected across the country and Maine had an influence in its creation. Maine is a partner state in the P21. Again, arts educators have these four at the heart of what is taught.

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity

P21 has created a 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts for each content in their framework including the arts. It is a terrific resource divided by grade level clusters at 4, 8, and 12 that includes outcomes and examples.

But, I want to go beyond that for a moment. We know that a segment of our student population comes to school hungry, live in a home that is getting by with the assistance of welfare, and in some cases are parenting themselves. When they arrive at school some are bullied by their classmates and are unable to focus due to a variety of reasons. We know that the number of at-risk students is rising. These are our students with the greatest needs. All students need teachers and others in the education system to support them. Has anything shifted in your teaching to address these students needs? The arts can be life savers and the outlet for the challenges students face.

When we talk about teaching ALL STUDENTS it takes on a different meaning than it did not long ago. We can hone our teaching skills by attending workshops and connecting with others about standards, assessments, and methods of teaching. In addition to addressing the academic needs of students, we need to be conversing about their creative, social, physical, and emotional needs.

I was touched by this message I came across a video on a Facebook page called HrtWarming and reposted to the Maine Arts Education Facebook page. I hope that after you watch it you will share ideas on how you provide for the emotional needs of students. How do you address the many needs of ALL STUDENTS?


National Arts and Humanities Month

October 1, 2017


This month is recognized as National Arts & Humanities Month – a month to shed light on the importance of culture in America. What does that mean to you and how might you celebrate this with your students. In 1993 Americans for the Arts and national partners designated this month-long celebration with the following goals:

  • FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels;
  • ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts;
  •  ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts; and
  •  RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.

Below are ideas for you and your students to get involved.


If you want to participate you post a photo related to the day’s theme with the hashtag #ShowYourArt2017 in the caption on Instagram. Follow @Americans4Arts on Instagram for more information and updates.


Americans for the Arts is also hosting their second annual National Creative Conversation on Facebook on Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 9-10 p.m. ET. This is your chance to connect and chat with other arts advocates across the country about the arts in our communities. The hour-long conversation will be driven by a series of questions around the topic “Are the Arts for Everyone?” Let others know about the Facebook event!

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