Archive for April, 2020


MLTI Student Conference

April 30, 2020

Online – Maine Learning Technology Initiative


Open Art Teachers Studio

April 29, 2020

Create, talk and share

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) is sponsoring Open Art Teachers Studio: Quarantine Edition. Five sessions are being offered on Wednesday’s May 6 – June 3, Zoom, 3:30 – 4:30. An opportunity to create, talk & share for K-12 visual arts educators. Contact hours available. You may attend one or more and receive contact hours for the sessions in which you participate.





  • Open Art Teachers Studio is a time (1 hour) and place (Zoom) where K-12 Visual Arts Educators can come together and create! Each session begins with a unique & creative teacher-led hands-on experience followed by discussion.
  • We believe that having a time to create and share as adult artists is vital to our continued success as Visual Arts Educators.
  • First half of the hour is creating & the second half is for sharing current activities, successes, trading resources, troubleshooting, networking, and to support one another.
  • Join us for the 5 session series:
    Wednesdays, 5/6 – 6/3, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
    Come to one or Come to All!
    First session: Portraits! Come prepared with materials you feel most comfortable with
    to create a portrait in any style! Questions – reach out via email:
    Martha Piscuskas, Director or Arts Education, Maine Arts Commission
    Melanie Crowe, Hampden Academy Art Teacher, MALI Teacher Leader –
    Iva Damon, Leavitt Area High School Art Teacher, MALI Teacher Leader –
    Bronwyn Sale, Bates College Instructor –
  • Contact hours available: Sponsored by Maine Arts Leadership Initiative


Transmission Times Project

April 28, 2020

Record your stories

It’s a crazy time we’re living in with COVID-19 changing all our lives. Not only is it emotionally challenging, but it’s history in the making.

So let’s capture this moment by recording it!

You’re invited by creator Katie Semro (bio below) to participate in an audio diaries project called Transmission Times. Let your voice and your story become part of history. The process is simple, record audio diaries, send them in, and your voice becomes part of the Transmission Times Archive. It also may become part of The Transmission Times podcast.


I’ve started an archive of audio dairies from people all over the world during this pandemic so that we can document this time for future generations. I’m also using some of the entires to make a weekly podcast so we can connect with each other over our shared, though separate, experiences.

“I’m collecting audio diaries from people around the world during the pandemic so that we can document this time for future generations. My hope is that we can not only create an archive to record this moment for future generations, but also that by taking time to reflect on our experiences we can help ourselves get through this time.”
The details including a sign up can be found on the TRANSMISSION TIMES WEBSITE. Consider occasionally recording your thoughts on your smartphone or another way and submit your audio files.
The recordings will all go into an ARCHIVE, and some of the entries will go into a weekly PODCAST so we can connect with each other over our shared, though separate, experiences.
      “My hope is that by taking this time to reflect, we each can better handle the impact of      this time. And I also hope that by sharing our stories we can encourage and inspire each other, as well as leave a record of this moment — that is more than just the news reports.”
Please share and invite friends, family, etc, whether in Maine or elsewhere—the project is international.
Katie’s bio
I’m Katie Semro, independent audio producer and health coach, living in Southern Maine with my husband and 2 kids. I was trying to figure out what would help me get through this time and I thought that maybe recording an audio diary would help. And then I though that it would be really amazing to do it on a bigger scale, a kind of collective audio diary. So the idea for an archive was born. (By the way Katie is the wife of writer, poet, and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teaching Artist Leader Brian Evans Jones).

Janie’s COVID Teaching Story

April 27, 2020

How the pandemic impacted Janie’s teaching

Janie Snider teaches has been teaching for 27 years in Washington and Hancock counties. Presently she teaches  Visual Art and is the Technology Integrator at Hancock Grammar School. Ms. Snider’s art curriculum provides art experiences for students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. The art classroom is designed as a  student-centered, standards-based curriculum. Ms. Snider has been involved with (MALI) Maine Arts Leadership Initiative since 2012, focusing on best practices that will provide all students with a successful art education.

 In this blog post Janie shares how she’s adjusted to ‘schooling away from school’ or “Art from Home” as she calls it! Janie has her lessons posted on the school website from her art classroom webpage. She is changing up her website to be more interactive.

In the early days of the closure I was in “survival” mode. I had to quickly develop some packets to go home physically with my students. I created “Art from Home” packets for grades K-4 and 5-8 considering their needs.


  • What are their needs?
  • Do they have supplies?
  • What can they use?
  • Do they have internet?

My goal was to try to meet these needs for at least the next two-three weeks! How can I reach them all?

I was overwhelmed by the amount of resources being offered via the web. Museum virtual openings, various websites for arts & crafts, teachers pay teachers, colleges and educational sites all available. I was busily sharing this info with colleagues, parents, friends and family until I couldn’t think straight. I spent about two weeks in my non-working clothes on the couch with three devices going and the news in the background. It was not working, my frame of mind was jumping from frantic planning to complacent non-belief thoughts.

Luckily, I woke one day with the ah-ha moment, “I AM THEIR RESOURCE!!!” What my students need is me and I need them! I need the one-to-one, class-to-class connection! So I settled in and redesigned my art studio/toy room. It has a whole new component, an art classroom! Google classrooms are evolving and with the addition of Google meets I’m feeling so much better. I can see their faces, can answer questions, make jokes and see their smiles! I must say I miss my daily hugs, so it’s (((Air Hugs)))! My 2nd grade class was amazing, they were all engaged, listening when needed, drawing with me, asking questions, muting and unmuting, giving thumbs up and showing me their work!! We were sharing an ART EXPERIENCE and my heart was filled with JOY!!

I have always known that the arts are vital to the growth of our inner spirit and our overall well-being. We see it everyday now in how people are choosing their time and self-care. They are creating artworks, listening and performing music, dancing and creating videos and performances to share with the world! However, what I have come to realize is the inequality of the playing field for my students. Not all of my students have the technology and supplies to create nor the guidance to support and nurture their creativity! As the teacher, how can I do my part to change this now and in the future? I am working on the answer to this question so that it will inform my teaching and learning.

How to raise student engagement in a digital setting is a priority! Creating best practices and strategies to enhance their art experience is essential to me! Contemplating the standards and skills are part of this new process. Personally for me, continuing to explore and use the studio habits in this digital planning and instruction is a good framework. I believe these habits/skills contribute to resiliency and that is something positive!

I am taking good care of myself! Im in a routine, daily yoga, a walk, dance three times a week, eating healthy, working in my yard and gardens. Being out in nature is really important for me, it enables great reflection and moments of insight! I find my mental state shifts between GRIEF and GRATITUDE and I allow both of these to exist as a daily part of my experience!

I think many positives will come out of this dark time, such as, light! A light that shines on many social and environmental issues. I’m thinking many people will emerge with a deeper appreciation for family, nature, arts, science, healthcare, education and the quality of how we use our time!!! I think we will look back and see how much inspiration and creativity flourished in during this time!


Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

April 26, 2020

Digital & Distance Learning Grants 

In an effort to provide our community of school educators, non-profit environmental educators, science communicators & others more tools for carrying out their work from home through these challenging times, Caso Bay Estuary Partnership is offering this pilot small grant program for creative tools for K-12 Digital and distance learning. The final products will be transferable lessons or materials that focus on estuary or related topics, such as found in the CASCO BAY PLAN.

Fundable projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Creation or modification of a virtual K-12 Casco Bay/estuary lesson plan that adheres to state standards
  • Place based field lessons for parents and educators
  • Creation or modification of a virtual estuary “toolkit” or other transferable package for educators
  • Creation of a fact sheet, infographics, or other digital resources that could be shared

Funded projects will be shared through all CBEP partners, as well as through the new Community Learning for ME site

Application deadline: Friday, May 8, 2020

Final Project deadline: Friday, June 5, 2020 at the latest (earlier is better)

Questions: Email Victoria Boundy

Digital and Distance Learning Grants Links


Got Worried Parents?

April 25, 2020

Share this

If you have parents that are worried, concerned and/or questioning their “teaching” at home during the pandemic please share this with them.


Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

April 24, 2020


I’m sure many of you are at the point of reflecting and questioning what you’re doing in the ‘schooling away from school’ environment that we’ve all been thrown into. Recently during a conversation with a colleague he shared how frustrated he was with how few students were actually engaging and fulfilling the assignments. “When we took away the grading of student work they lost their sense of purpose.” I keep reflecting on the conversation. I wonder about how many high school students do the work (when we’re in the school building) only or primarily for the grade? This wondering has lead me to many questions. For one, didn’t we go to Proficiency Based Education to ensure that students fulfill the learning requirements? So we could actually know that students had learned and more importantly so students could articulate what they were learning? This was the part that shifted education from what teachers teach being the most important part of the equation to what students learn.

I understand why many schools have gone to no grades during the pandemic – I’m not questioning or debating if that is right or wrong. Let’s face it teaching ‘online’ isn’t new and students are held responsible to document and fulfill their school work. I do think that as this continues it is important for teachers at the local level to have the conversation about how to assess student work. Let’s remember that assessment has two purposes – one to determine if students are learning AND for teachers to determine if their teaching is effective.

The critical question is how to assess in our ‘schooling away from school’? Not so the grade can raise the students GPA but to determine if students are learning and teachers are teaching.

Andrew Miller, Director of Personalized Learning at the Singapore American School has authored an article for Edutopia called Formative Assessment in Distance Learning. I’m hoping you’ll find it as informative as I have and perhaps you’ll take something from it that you can put into practice during the rest of this school year or in the future. If nothing else please share it with your colleagues so it can plants seeds for a staff conversation.

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