Archive for July, 2018

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MALI Summer Institute Day 1

July 31, 2018

Storytelling at its finest

Today marked the first day of the phase 8 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Summer Institute and what an amazing day it was! Almost 40 educators are attending the three day professional development, exchanging ideas, collaborating, and building on their knowledge.

Participants comments

  • “Learning to lead the story to my “why” versus the “what” was a huge revelation today – and we’re only on day 1!” ~Shawna
  • “Love the social aspect of MALI and seeing old friends and making new ones.” ~Catherine Ring
  • “Exciting and inspiring safe space to share ideas with people who get it.” ~Dorie
  • “Such a beautiful and supportive group.” ~Nicole
  • “Always wonderful to have the “tribe” back together!” ~Pam
  • “Hair on fire.” ~Tom

The institute theme is “storytelling” which is integrated throughout the institute. The day started with the MALI story and ended with a story from Dorie Tripp who shared information about the drums created by the students of Dorie and art teacher Hope Lord. Making music together was amazing!

Throughout the day there were sessions on assessment, the Logic Model design, Express-a-Book (MALIs version of a book club), and making stories.

Tomorrow will be another day filled with new learning. If you have questions please be sure and email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

 

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Maine International Conference on the Arts

July 30, 2018

September 27 and 28

The Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA) is taking place at USM, Portland campus on September 27 and 28, 2018. Learn about the details and registration by CLICKING HERE. Early bird discount is available until July 31. Watch the video below and see familiar arts education colleagues and their students from the last MICA that was held in Lewiston.

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Quinn & the Tuplettes

July 28, 2018

Reach Auditorium – Deer Isle

George Stevens Academy’s Quinn & the Tuplettes final two performances are Saturday, July 28 & Friday, August 3. They will open for Chris Brubeck’s Triple Play on Saturday, July 28 at the Reach Auditorium in Deer Isle at 7:30pm. MORE INFORMATION
Their farewell performance will be at the Deer Isle Jazz Festival at the Stonington Opera House on Friday, August as the group will open for pianist David Virelles with acclaimed master percussionist Román Díaz. MORE INFORMATION.
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Visual Thinking Strategies

July 27, 2018

Waterfall Arts

Every so often I meet educators who are not familiar with Visual Thinking Strategies or VTS as it is commonly called. Waterfall Arts, a community arts center in Belfast, provides a program using VTS. As part of their outreach efforts of the Youth and Family Outreach (YFO) program at Waterfall Arts, program coordinator Bridget Matros offers Visual Thinking Strategies training to teachers in area schools. These strategies are activity used in the YFO after school programs and are also utilized in field trips to Waterfall Arts. Teaching Artist Bridget Matros has put together the information below (taken from the VTS site). Thank you Bridget! She is also on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist rosterWaterfall Arts programs are comprehensive and they provide multiple programs for learners of all ages.

Many teachers in Maine, visual arts and others, use VTS in their classrooms. Several years ago we provided an all day workshop on the topic. Once reading this blog post, if you’re interested in learning more please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

What is VTS?

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a method initiated by teacher-facilitated discussions of art images and documented to have a cascading positive effect on both teachers and students. It is perhaps the simplest way in which teachers and schools can provide students with key behaviors sought by Common Core Standards: thinking skills that become habitual and transfer from lesson to lesson, oral and written language literacy, visual literacy, and collaborative interactions among peers.

VTS provides a way to jumpstart a process of learning to think deeply applicable in most subjects from poetry to math, science and social studies. Art is the essential first discussion topic because it enables students to use existing visual and cognitive skills to develop confidence and experience, learning to use what they already know to figure out what they don’t; they are then prepared to explore other complex subject matter alone and with peers.

How does it work?

In VTS discussions teachers support student growth by facilitating discussions of carefully selected works of visual art.

          Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions:

  • What’s going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find?3 Facilitation Techniques:
  • Paraphrase comments neutrally
  • Point at the area being discussed
  • Linking and framing student commentsStudents are asked to:
  • Look carefully at works of art
  • Talk about what they observe
  • Back up their ideas with evidence
  • Listen to and consider the views of others
  • Discuss multiple possible interpretations
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Sand Sculptures

July 26, 2018

SØNDERVIG, Denmark

We’re in the middle of summer and I’m sure some of you are spending time at the beach and perhaps making sculptures. Below is a video showing what happened when the best sand sculptors came together in SØNDERVIG, Denmark in 2017. What might you do with your students using sand or perhaps snow?!

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

July 25, 2018

Leonard Middle School – Old Town

Leonard Middle School art teacher and MALI teacher leader Adele painting student

Adele Drake became a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative during phase 7 (2017). The work she has underway is a great example of approaching curriculum and assessment to meet the needs students in a very authentic way. She addresses their needs of today. Adele’s ongoing collaborative work is helping to prepare them for the future, all the while empowering them for the challenges of their world. Not to mention this is REALLY REALLY COOOOOOL! Read on…

In September 2012, the Leonard Middle School in Old Town art teacher Adele Drake and school counselor, Tracey O’Connell began the Leonard Middle School garden. Adele and Tracey shared a vision that small organic gardens were the optimal way of providing high quality produce to their local community and that this collaborative effort would create a nurturing environment where students would thrive. In the process students would be empowered by creating a space, the garden: a functional work of art which produced food.

Their first consultant for the project was Kate Garland from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. She agreed to meet and share her considerable expertise. She counseled them to get a soil test and helped them select a suitable location for the garden. The university has been a great resource in many ways. Kate has presented to the school’s garden club and art classes many times. They have had many volunteers from the master gardeners program and visited the university green houses.

After getting approval from the superintendent, they started digging. They soon found that digging was not an option due to debris and clay deposits in the soil. Faced with these challenges, they opted for raised beds. That first fall, they started with one 3’ X 3’ raised bed, a 50 pound bag of compost and several bulbs of garlic which they planted. Their dream of having a school garden had begun. That spring their first crop of garlic emerged from the earth.

COA volunteer Teagan and Susan preparing materials.

Adele wrote her first grant which was a service learning grant to construct an earthloom which would be the centerpiece of our garden. As the Leonard Middle School art teacher Adele has found the garden has provided a way of integrating the arts with the study of other disciplines. They have had so much support for this endeavor that they have built a garden shed, a greenhouse, several raised beds and fencing. Students designed the garden layout, help to create a gardenloom, made mosaic tile stepping stones and have most recently designed functional sculptures which collect water and beautify the garden at the same time. In a community where food insecurity is a reality the garden as a focal point for the curriculum makes sense.

Talk about trust!

This year they worked with Susan Camp to grow gourds into self-portraits. This project was funded by the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant. Susan’s work is a natural fit to the already established goals of Adele Drake’s arts curriculum. The lesson concept: Harvesting Identity / you are what you eat was the focus throughout the process. Susan invited the to be co creators; they made plaster casts from their faces, made molds, and used these molds to grow gourds. The gourds are flourishing in the garden and after harvested in the fall will be used as wall hangings and made into bowls to be used at the culminating event which is a community feast.

Adele reflects: Large-scale food producers shape crops, such as watermelons, in order to make packing and shipping more efficient. Our project subverts this practice, shaping gourds to create portraits that are individual and reflect both the character of the subject and the growing fruit.

I see how engaged these students have been in the process and I know that I am getting them to think differently about food, art and the future.

I hope that students will be involved in growing food for their communities and that they will understand the importance of food and art in bringing communities together.

Trusting enough to take a selfie together – even if he can’t see.

I have learned a lot about formative assessment and the need to collect evidence which is triangulated from different modalities. I plan to evaluate students on their use of media and techniques and on their ability to analyze the process of using these materials and techniques.I will collect this evidence through observations, student reflection and teacher feedback.I will creating opportunities to analyze the process and the product with rubrics. Students will also reflect on where the process takes them through a critical response process which will help them grow as artists.

College of the Atlantic student volunteer in the program, Teagan reflects: Waiting!

I was amazed at how both students and teachers worked together and communicated throughout the process of making casts. I felt that everyone was looking out for each other. I believe that this sense of collaboration is needed for engaging in broader dialogues within food systems. I see this project as a way for people to take action creating new relationships with food and community.

Leonard Middle School Principal David Crandall reflects: Gardens grow communities, not just of plants, but of students. Students that are engaged in the school garden are focused on growing plants and also growing themselves. Being a part of fostering life and working with peers to maintain a productive garden is a motivation that encourages attendance and engagement at our school.

Our Garden Club has an active role in managing our school garden and they continue to work toward more and better resources to support their work. Under the guidance and leadership of Tracey O’Connell and Adele Drake, the students have sprouted into successful young gardeners that grow vegetables, flowers, relationships and communities. The group dreams big and we can’t wait to see what blossoms next!

I’m sure there will be a great celebration when students see their own faces on the gourds this summer. This is a unit that the students will always remember!

Imagine what you might do with funding from the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant?! Grant application deadline will be in March 2019 for the 2019-1920 school year. Watch this blog and the Maine Arts Commission site for more information.

Waiting!

Waiting patiently for the paris-craft layer to dry before taking them off.

Example of the gourd about to grown into the mould.

Example of the gourds in the garden once they’ve come out of the mold.

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Holocaust and Human Rights Center

July 24, 2018

Visit this summer

Did you know that there is a holocaust and human rights center in Maine? I saw a friend last week who wasn’t aware until recently. Thinking that there are Maine arts ed blog readers who might not know either I thought I’d provide some information. It’s an informative center that I suggest you consider taking your students to during the 2018-2019 school year. Visit this summer and check it out!

Founded in 1985, the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine (HHRC) works to promote universal respect for human rights through outreach and education. It is located on the University of Maine, Augusta campus in the Michael Klahr Center. Many of you know that for the past four years the Maine Arts Commission has annually reviewed several of our grants at the center.

The center of the HHRC’s work in Maine focuses on education. During the 2017/2018 more than 5,000 secondary school students and teachers experienced at least one of the HHRC’s eight educational outreach programs. In addition, more than 6,000 visitors came to the Klahr Center for classes, workshops, trainings, or events.

The HHRC also hosts three ongoing exhibits at the Klahr Center. Those include a short video, Michael’s Story, about Michael Klahr who survived the Holocaust as a hidden child; The Holocaust: Presence of the Past photographs by Judith Glickman Lauder; and the 80-minute multi-media art instillation film Were the House Still Standing: Maine Survivors and Liberators Remember the Holocaust.

HHRC’s current exhibits, Along the Migrant Trails, is an exhibit focusing on the plight of migrants in the Arizona desert. Along the Migrant Trails is a collection of items left in the desert by migrants that were collected by volunteers who scour the desert looking for sick and injured people, while also leaving water and food. Since 2008, the remains of more than 3,000 individuals have also been found in the desert.

A long time friend of arts education David Greenham, known for his work in theatre education, is the assistant director at the center and has been there since 2013. The new director is Shenna Bellows.

The center is located at 46 University Drive. Admission and parking is free. The Klahr Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm during evenings or weekends by appointment.

 

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