Archive for August, 2018


National Arts in Education Week

August 31, 2018

September 9-15

Mark Your Calendars for National Arts in Education Week September 9-15, 2018! 

National Arts in Education Week is a Congressionally designated celebration of the transformative power of the arts in education. The field of arts education annually joins together to bring visibility to the cause, unify stakeholders with a shared message, and provide the tools and resources for local leaders to advance arts education in their communities. Find many ways to celebrate the week alongside 500+ other communities by visiting for more information. Are you in for the celebration? If so, please fill out this form!


Back to School Resources

August 30, 2018

Research, ideas, videos, suggestions from others all wrapped in one

A collection of items that will provide some food for thought for you or your students. There’s information, serious and fun, for all of the arts education disciplines. Have fun and don’t be surprised if you learn some things to use starting off the school year with students and/or staff.

  • Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts is working to incorporate yoga and mindfulness into classrooms to help both students and teachers manage their stress and regulate their emotions. This is happening district wide and they see that it is making a difference (June 7, 2017) Yoga and Mindfulness
  • Amazing website with a blog, podcasts, video, and a store. Subscribe and have access to many learning materials. Cult of Pedagogy
  • Start off the school year by focusing building relationships, making connections with students, and telling your story. Article in Ed Week (August 15, 2018) Build Student Trust by Sharing Stories on the First Day
  • What do Employers Want in a New Hire? Strong speaking skills, but they have a tough time finding candidates who are good at it, according to a survey released Tuesday. Good oral communication skills got the #1 slot among the 15 job skills that executives and hiring managers identified as very important in new hires. (August 28, 2018) READ EDUCATION WEEK ARTICLE.
  • Setting up your classroom for a new year can be fun or stressful. (August 27, 2018) Teachers, How Did You Set Up Your Classroom This Year?
  • Peter DeWitt keeps a blog called: Finding COMMON Ground and he had a superintendent write a post recently called “Kids Need Play and Recess. Their Mental Health May Depend on It”. He talks about the facts on the topic of anxiety, depression and suicide. (August 1, 2018) READ THE POST.
  • Flight of the Bumblebee performed A Capella style by Team Lachey on the television show Clash of the Choirs.  FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE
  • Musician and conductor André Rieu performing Amazing Grace live in the Amsterdam Arena with His Johann Strauss Orchestra and a contingent of bagpipes. AMAZING GRACE
  • The Spotlight Dance performed by Jackie and Charlie at the summer workshop of ShagAtlanta 2013. DANCING
  • Lead with an Open HeartAre you a teacher leader or taking on a leadership role in your school/district this year? The author starts with “leadership is hard work”. (August 22, 2018)
  • Do.Reflect.Do Better. That’s the motivation for the author of the blog called Project 180, Monte Syrie. He just posted his first day of school blog post BUILDING BETTER: PROJECT 180, DAY 1. Good food for thought!



Teacher’s Adventures in Wonderland

August 29, 2018

Work of Art

I suggest that you start the year by viewing this video and sharing it with your colleagues and the staff at your school! It will help educators, policy makers, and those in decision making positions to pause and it is a good place to start a conversation.

This film was created by Kathryn Berger who attended the National Gallery of Art 2018 Teacher Institute. Kate became a teacher because she loves books. She defines “books” as literature and defines literature as written works of art. “Writing that is a work of art.” And, she asks “what is art and why does it matter?” She asks many other good questions as part of the video and says that the testing environment is not helping students prepare for the future but that art and books will teach them to be problem solvers and independent thinkers.

At the very least, PLEASE Please take 4 minutes and 38 seconds to view this VIDEO


Call for Art

August 28, 2018

Life on the Trail


Deadline for submissions: September 1, 2018, 11:59pm.

Where: The Harlow, 100 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347

Contact: Allison McKeen, Marketing Manager, 207-622-3813,,


“Trail Flowers”, watercolor, by Chris Cart

HALLOWELL, MAINE —  The Harlow, in partnership with Friends of the Kennebec River Rail Trail (FKRRT), invites Maine artists to submit work inspired by or depicting the Kennebec rail trail for an upcoming exhibition “Life on the Trail.” The deadline for email submissions is September 1, 11:59pm, 2018. Submissions will be reviewed by a curatorial committee including members of Friends of the Kennebec Rail Trail and staff from The Harlow.

The exhibition will be on view October 5-27, 2018 at The Harlow, located at 100 Water Street in Hallowell, with an opening reception on Friday October 5, 5-7pm. Proceeds from art sales during the exhibition will benefit FKRRT and support programming at The Harlow.

Complete information and to submit your work.

The Harlow is a membership based 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to connecting and celebrating art, artists and community in downtown historic Hallowell since 1963. Exhibitions are always free and open to the public. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday noon-6pm and Sundays 12-4pm. For more information or call 207-622-3813.

The Harlow Gallery is supported by Camden National Bank, the City of Hallowell, Kennebec Savings Bank, The Liberal Cup and The Maine House, the Roxanne Quimby Foundation and by our members. Season Sponsors for 2018 are Book Orchard Press, Capitol Dental Care, Chris Walters Productions, Great Gatherings, Doug & Melinda Jennings, Eaton Peabody Attorneys at Law, Scrummy Afters Candy Shoppe, Slates Restaurant and Target Electric Corporation. Programming is funded in part by a Partnership Grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Storytelling in the Arts Classroom

August 27, 2018

How might you use storytelling?

At the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute “Storytelling” was the overarching theme. It was interwoven in many aspects of the 3 days.

Storytelling session led by Jake Sturtevant and Lindsay Pinchbeck

Falmouth High School and MALI Design Team member Jake Sturtevant and Sweetland School founder and director and MALI Design Team member Lindsay Pinchbeck provided a workshop on Storytelling and they set up a Story Corps tent where teachers could visit during the institute and have a conversation, similar to the National Public Broadcasting Story Corps.

We listened to musician and MALI Teaching Artist Leader Tom Luther tell his story of the stroke he had almost a year ago. He worked his way back and to almost full recovery using a ‘beginner’s mind’ and his music.

Brian Evans-Jones and Kris Bisson

MALI Teaching Artist Leader Brian Evans-Jones and Marshwood Middle School music educator and MALI Teacher Leader Kris Bisson shared their story of their incredible collaboration during the 2017-18 school year where they composed a song about an all but forgotten bridge in South Berwick.

Elementary visual art teacher and MALI Teacher Leader Elise Bothel shared her story and research on self-care tools and how they are enriching her life and positively impacting her teaching.

A panel on Leadership included stories from Catherine Ring, co-founder of MALI and art educator, teaching artist and MALI Design Team member John Morris, MALI Teacher Leaders: music from York Middle School Jen Etter, visual art from Brunswick High School Jenni Driscoll, and music from SeDoMoCha school and Maine’s 2018 Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Young. All unique!

Stories in the Leadership session

In a recent edition of the eSchoolNews from NAfME music educator Lori Schwartz Reichi reflects on her college wind ensemble rehearsal when her conductor would pause to tell a story. She wondered why he would take time out of rehearsal to share details of his personal life.

Years later when she started teaching it made perfect sense to her. The stories her professor told were intentional ‘pauses’ in the rehearsal. READ the entire article and learn more about the power of storytelling in the music classroom. (Storytelling has potential in any classroom)!


Maine Teacher Certification System

August 25, 2018

DOE update

The Maine Department of Education has now received 10,000 renewal applications since releasing the new online certification system, Maine Educator Information System (MEIS), to educators in June. There are currently 3,000 of those applications in queue, with an approximate eight-week processing time.

Approximately 70% of all Maine educators needing renewal have now applied. For those that have applied for renewal, it is important to note the following renewal procedure as outlined in Chapter 115 Part 1: In the case of a complete application for the renewal of a credential that has not lapsed, the existing credential shall remain in effectuntil the application is approved or denied, and a renewal subsequently issued shall be deemed effective as of the expiration date of the previous certificate.

More than 50% of all certification related calls to the Department are applicants requesting updates of their application status. To decrease these calls and consequently process applications at a faster rate, please note the following:

  • Current processing times can be found on the Certification webpage.
  • Processing times begin on the date the complete application is received.
  • Applicants – Please do not call unless you applied more than eight weeks ago.

To increase support, a concerted effort has and will continue to be made to keep the Certification webpages up to date with current information, support documentation, and answers to frequently asked questions.  If educators have additional questions not answered on the website, they can call 207-324-6603 or can email the certification department at

Further communications and updates are available on the Maine Department of Education Certification Webpage, Maine DOE’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, and the DOE newsroom.


Friends of Aomori

August 24, 2018

Looking for teacher to travel to Japan

Friends of Aomori – the non-profit organization that supports the Maine, USA-Aomori, Japan Sister State Relationship – is seeking a K-12 arts educator as a partner for an exhibition and teacher exchange with Japan.
The Teacher delegate selected should have a specialty in printmaking and will travel to to Aomori, Japan for a week in November. The prefecture will pay airfare and Friends of Aomori is providing a $500 stipend and help with housing, etc. Preliminary deadline, August 26. PRELIMINARY APPLICATION!

Friends of Aomori is a nonprofit organization consisting of many dedicated members striving to improve the relationship between the State of Maine and Aomori Prefecture, Japan.  Friends of Aomori’s goals are to:

  • Coordinate incoming and outgoing delegations between Maine and Aomori;
  • Coordinate artistic and cultural exchanges between Maine and Aomori;
  • Provide support to schools in Maine that operate educational exchange programs with Aomori;
  • Educate the public about the sister-state relationship;
  • Raise funds to support the sister-state activities.
The Teacher/delegate selected will participate in coordinating the 2019 Children’s Print Exchange between Maine and Aomori when they return.

Friends of Aomori is an all-volunteer non-profit that supports the Sister State relationship between Maine and Aomori, Japan. The relationship between Maine and Aomori has been in place for 20 years, but the fascinating connection between the two states goes back to a shipwreck in 1889. Read more about the connection.

The ideal candidate is a dedicated, active, certified K-12 art teacher with a focus in printmaking. The teacher will represent Friends of Aomori and the State of Maine in Japan from November 12th – 16th 2018 to observe art classes, printmaking workshops, and the Aomori Rotary Club as part of an ongoing children’s arts exchange between Maine and Aomori. Upon returning to Maine, the teacher will partner with Friends of Aomori on the production of children’s prints to be exhibited in Japan in April 2019.

The Friends send 10 prints by Maine printmakers to Japan for their civic festival every October and they send 10 prints to Maine by Aomori printmakers. These are exhibited around Maine in the spring and summer. (They have begun touring their collection around Aomori as well following the October event.)The exchange is entering year four. So there is a matched set of 20 prints in Maine and Aomori. This this year all 60 prints will hopefully be exhibited at Maine Orono. Thanks to Jeff Badger for making this happen.
The work in the online exhibits have been inspired by Japan and made by Maine Artisans.
The Aomori Print Gallery is located online in a David Clough gallery space.
The Maine Artist Gallery is located online in a David Clough gallery space as well.

Changing Kids’ Minds

August 23, 2018


“Most people assume that imagination takes place in the head, but the hands are just as important.” ~ Mitch Resnick, MIT Media Lab

When children find themselve at the intersection of discovering their capacity to make art and exploring the natural world, deep thinking happens. Local kids who participated in the Langlais LEAPS summer program “got the picture” by soaking up inspiration from the artist himself- Bernard Langlais.

In six weeks of observation, research, and making, led by LEAPS’ artist, Susan Beebe, children engaged in (1) a study of butterflies (2) the creation of a collaborative bas relief, and (3) the art of speaking through hand-made animal puppets – while becoming stewards of the Earth. And that was only the half of it.

The artworks that evolved reveal how nature inspires art and art helps change minds. Having planted their own garden, kids saw butterflies lay eggs there. From the magic of Langlais’ sculptures, they gained confidence as woodworkers. Walking the paths of the Sculpture Preserve got every child’s brain going. As humans, when we travel down new pathways (either literally or figuratively) we generate new neurons in our brains. We can, through these repeated experiences, actually alter the structure and function of our brains!

Taking kids out on trails, training them to observe closely, and inviting them to transform what they’ve seen into original art has impacted our campers this summer. And their commitment to nature and the practice of forging connections will stick with them down the road.

If you’d like to learn more about LEAPS and how we connect local artists with kids, come along with us. Check out our website. 

Wide-eyed with wonder, and grateful to all who made this program possible, Nancy Harris Frohlich, Director, LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is a partner with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. This is a repost from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog.Thank you Nancy Harris Frohlich for permission to repost this from the LEAPS of IMAGINATION blog


MAC Dance Education Grant Recipient

August 22, 2018

East End Community School 

Teaching Artist and dancer Elly (Elisabeth) Lovin worked with the Kindergarten students at the East End Community School in Portland during the spring of 2018. They received one of the Maine Arts Commission dance education grants. I had the opportunity of visiting and I was so impressed with Elly’s ability to connect with every student on multiple levels. She doesn’t miss a beat and she is full of positive energy!

Elly’s Reflections… I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the East End kindergarteners for ten weeks this past spring. Not only was it a joyful, memorable and necessary experience for the children, but it changed me as a dance educator and taught me so much about the power of of movement.

I was able to see each of East End’s four kindergarten classes once a week. We had a large community room to meet in, with a tile floor and big windows overlooking the Back Cove. The children would remove their shoes and socks and join me in a circle. Spending time barefoot is so important, and I wanted to make sure the kids could feel the floor and improve their proprioception by moving without the hindrance of shoes. We always started class in a circle, because I believe this shape is equalizing and empowering. We could all see each other’s faces, and were all equidistant from the center. In each class we started by reviewing our Agreements (my expectations for a successful class). These were: Keeping our bodies within our kinosphere (space bubbles), Using Movement as our language (voices off) and No Running (though we can dance really fast!). We often began with a sensorial warm-up using different types of touch from head to toe–brushing, tapping, squeezing, rubbing–to get into our bodies and prepare for movement.

In each session, I introduced a different element of movement, loosely based on Rudolf Von Laban’s movement themes. I explained that dance is like a recipe, and there are many different ingredients we can think of adding to our dances to make them more “flavorful.” In the ten weeks, we were able to study the following dance “ingredients:” space, an awareness of body parts & whole, time/tempo, locomotion, levels, weight, flow, shapes, and relationships.

“My favorite part was moving my body.”

After introducing the day’s theme, we would move into a locomotive dance. Beginning with walking, we would pay close attention our pathways on the floor, moving in the general space without bumping into one another, and really seeingthe other dancers in the room. The walking dance would build into other forms of locomotive movement–marching, skipping, sliding, galloping, bear crawling, etc.

We practiced dance skills like leaps, hops and jumps, and then explored the movement theme of the day with dance games and explorations. At the end of each class I tried to allow a brief moment of “settling” back into stillness, for reflection and sharing standout moments from the class, and to honor our bodies for all they can do for us.

I saw so many little moments of change in the students. From week to week, confidence blossomed around both physical skills and creative expression. For those 45 minutes, children with little or no English were able to participate on a level equal to their peers, as everyone worked to communicate through movement, watching, mirroring, and generating physical responses to the movement messages around the room. I honestly couldn’t always predict which children could not understand a lot of English–until the classroom teachers told me.

“My favorite part was when Miss Elly made our dance space small.”

A moment that really stood out to me happened during the sixth or seventh week of class. One student always came to class with a manipulative to work with. I assume he was experiencing difficulties with anxiety and attention. He would join us, but with his manipulative, and it seemed that for the first month or so of classes, he could not stay for the full class. At some point, he would become disinterested and leave the space with an aide. Gradually, he was able to stay for the full class, with a few breaks to use his manipulative. Then one day, I noticed that he had brought his manipulative into our opening circle but as we got up to begin locomotion, the object had been pushed to the side wall, where it remained for the rest of class. And then, the next week, he came to class without his object. He was able to stay engaged for the full class, and every time I looked at him, he was smiling and joyful in his moving body.

As a culmination to the project, we hosted an evening “open class” in East End’s beautiful cafeteria space, with floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the sun setting over the Back Cove. About 20 children came, and approximately 45 parents and grandparents. We demonstrated a full class, with several of the children’s favorite dance explorations from the past ten weeks. We finished with a game called “Art Museum,” but instead of dividing the children into groups to play, we invited the parents to be the museum-goers. The children spread out and made shapes with their bodies, staying still as statues or sculptures. As soft jazz played, the parents were invited to come to the museum, but in our museum, you don’t just look at the art. As the parents looked at each sculpture, they had to mimic the same shape with their bodies, from head to toes to facial expressions. The exploration lasted ten minutes or so, and it was really beautiful to watch. In children’s interactions with adults in their community, how often are they being talked at or guided or expected to follow the adults? What an opportunity to be truly seen by so many grownups–and be the one that all of the grownups must follow! I love this movement game because of the empathy sparked by the simple act of looking at another human being, studying the shape they are making, and mirroring what you see with your own body.

“My favorite part was jumping and eating the air.”

After the “performance,” many parents expressed their gratitude for the project. One little boy’s father came up to me excitedly and said “This has been so great… now we have dance parties at home!” Another dad asked “Who do we have to talk to? All kids should have this experience in school.” I wholeheartedly agree. Who do we talk to?

I don’t know what the future outcomes from this project will be. Will Maine schools begin to integrate dance into their educational philosophies–just as music and art hold a place in public education? Will my students continue to move through their lives with agency over their kinospheres and respect for others’ space boundaries, and enjoy creating dances to express themselves? All I can do is plant the seeds. This teaching experience has furthered my confidence in my philosophy: I believe movement is a human right, and as such am committed to furthering dance education for children in my community.

Teacher PD with Elly

Elly collaborated with kindergarten teacher Kathy Gray to plan, write and implement the Dance Education grant that they received from the Maine Arts Commission.

In Kathy’s words…

When I first responded to Elly’s invitation to work with her to apply for the Dance Education grant, I was excited about the possibilities, but really had no real background or knowledge of what that might look like! As we began the process of writing the grant, I began to learn about the many ways dance would support the youngest learners in our school not only to creatively express themselves, but to also listen in many ways, develop motorically, become aware of their body in space and develop many basic concepts through movement. All of these are basic Kindergarten foundational learning skills.

Parent night performance

Two thirds of the children in my class are English language learners and several have little or no ability to communicate in English. But oh how fluent they were in communicating through dance! They were all totally engaged and danced with smiling and joyful faces! I had especially hoped that dance would allow all the children, regardless of language or motor abilities, opportunities to be creative and competent
and it DID!

Dance classes supported core development and strength as well as balance. I had great concerns about one child’s development – fine motor as well as gross motor and
awareness of body in space. By the end of the dance education sessions, this child had made remarkable progress. He is no longer bumping into children or furniture.
He is no longer needing daily reminders about giving space to the peers sitting beside him. His focus and overall fine motor control has greatly improved.

Children saying good-bye to Elly

Another facet of this grant was on-going PD for our K staff. I have learned so much and have begun to use some of the dance strategies in our classroom. Creating our bubble of space, calming our body from toe to fingertips, traveling at different speeds and zones. District professional development was offered by Elly and staff came from 4 other schools and included pre-K and K teachers, an OT therapist and an OT intern and a grade 3-4 teacher.

This has been such a valuable element of our K students’ learning that I can’t imagine not having it as a permanent part of our curriculum! I think our administrative staff is looking to find ways to make this happen at least for our K students if not for others as well.

The MAC Dance Education grant funds are provided by a performance held each November at Thornton Academy by a collaborative group of school dance programs and community dance programs from southern Maine. The grant will be available again during the winter of 2019. If you’re interested in applying please read the guidelines posted on the MAC site from last year. 


Ticket to Ride Funds Available

August 21, 2018

Online application

Unveiling of the Rob Shetterly portrait of Kelsey Juliana at the Samantha Smith Challenge called The Synergy of Change: Children and Adults Inspiring Each Other, participation by Leonard Middle School students. Ticket to Ride funds provided.

The Ticket to Ride program provides funding to defray the cost of travel for Maine schools wishing to visit Maine arts based venues and events as part of a well-rounded curriculum. The goals of the trip should support student learning and be aligned with the Maine Learning Results Visual and/or Performing Arts standards.

Any PK-12 school in Maine with a documented free and reduced lunch student population between 30 and 49 percent is eligible to receive support of up to $300 each school year. Any PK-12 school in Maine with a documented free and reduced lunch student population of 50 percent or greater is eligible to receive support of up to $500 each school year.

Follow up work from trip by Laura E. Richards Elementary School Kindergarteners to Public Theater in Lewiston to see Everybody Loves Pirates. Ticket to Ride funds provided.

Applications are accepted throughout the year and funding will be made available approximately one month after they are submitted. Schools may apply more than once a year as long as they are applying to attend a different event, bringing a different student population or have not expended their eligible amount.

This program is currently funded thanks to the generosity of the Betterment Fund and proceeds from The Art of Giving Gala sponsored by DownEast Magazine.

Submission Instructions

NOTE: The Ticket to Ride application is now located in the Grants Management System (GMS).

Please apply for the funds at least 3 weeks before the trip you are planning to take.

  1. Download the Ticket to Ride Application Help Sheet for helpful instructions on completing your application.
  2. To access the Ticket to Ride Application Form log into our Grants Management System. If you do not have an account click “New User?” to create one. The account is free and you can browse application requirements without applying.
  3. When you have logged in, locate the Ticket to Ride grant description.
  4. Read the guidelines, complete and submit the application. After your application has been submitted you will receive a confirmation email.
  5. Completed applications must be submitted at least 3 weeks before the scheduled trip in order for the application to be processed in time.

Parties interested in funding or partnering on the Ticket to Ride program are asked to contact Argy Nestor at or 207/287-2713.

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