Archive for the ‘assessment’ Category

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Through the Intern’s Eyes

August 9, 2017

MALI: Enriching Arts Education in Maine

Hello there! My name’s Alex and this summer I’m working as an intern for the Maine Arts Commission. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the state-run cultural agency, what they stand for, the projects they support, and the events that they sponsor.

A typical week for me usually involves photographing public art, writing blog posts, compiling monthly arts events, and working on some graphic design. But last week, I took a break from my standard routine and joined nearly 70 arts educators at Thomas College where the Arts Commission hosted the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI).

Being the non-Maine native that I am, at first I had absolutely no idea what the institute was about. All I knew was that Thomas College’s quiet summer campus was all of a sudden bustling with crowds of energetic art teachers. Armed with my camera and my Nalgene water bottle, I set out to figure out what exactly was going on.

Luckily, I had the chance to sit down with Catherine Ring, one of the founders of MALI. She explained to me that the institute’s mission is to enrich arts education in Maine by enriching the skills of teachers themselves. In the 7 years since its creation, MALI’s professional development training has created an army of veteran “Teacher Leaders” who have shared their creative knowledge with over 1500 educators around Maine. At MALI, Teacher Leaders turn their experiences into lessons, sharing their creative methods with other arts educators through workshops, presentations, and webinars.

Catherine also said that a large part of being a Teacher Leader is acting as a liaison with their respective school districts, functioning as a representative voice for art teachers and students in their region.

It’s during these three action-packed days that the MALI summer institute aims to enhance arts educators’ skills, which in turn leads to empowered students who enjoy stronger ownership over their creative learning processes.

And what’s even more exciting is that by the end of the three days, each teaching artist and teacher leader will create and outline an individual action plan for the upcoming school year. The project could be anything from leading a workshop for an entire school’s faculty, to using grant money to create a new gallery space for a school community.It was inspiring to see the level of care the teachers have for bettering themselves and their lesson plans for their students. There’s so much that goes into prepping for the school year, and these arts teachers are dedicated, passionate, and itching to inspire.

During the institute, I crept into classrooms filled with teachers taking part in workshops, attending lectures, and sharing ideas for the sake of creative collaboration. Leaders spoke about assessments of creativity, the importance of problem-solving, and the values of media in the classroom, amongst many other topics. There was laughter, there were snacks, and there was something in the air that made Thomas College’s Admissions building come to life.

What I observed over the three days is that MALI works to better student’s education by strengthening the roots of creativity and learning. MALI’s intentions are so admirable that the feeling of personal and community enrichment was palpable. As much as MALI is a teaching space, it also functions as a meaningful point of community for visual and performing arts teachers and teaching artists who may feel isolated in less populated school districts. Just sitting in on the events for a few minutes offered me a glimpse into the importance of arts education on every level, from leader to teacher, teacher to teacher, teacher to student. I have no doubts that MALI has made a significant impact on arts education in Maine, and I’m sure the students feel that as well.

 

Alexandra Moreno is an intern at the Maine Arts Commission, a rising senior at Bowdoin College, and a happy human. She enjoys writing, collaging, and fun.

 

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 3

August 5, 2017

The learning continues

Our theatre folks, teaching artists leaders Dana Legawiec, Nicole Cardano, and teacher leader Jean Phillips

On the third day of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) summer institute ideas fell into place and the teacher leaders had multiple opportunities to come together to share their ideas and follow up plans. Traditionally the third day is stressful but also the most exciting since everything comes together.

The day started with the opportunity to learn about each other. We grouped and regrouped – how many years have you taught, what discipline, etc.? And, moving around the room doing so, mixed up the groups continuously and was a lot of fun!

We continued the day with an opportunity for new and returning teacher leaders to act as “critical friends”. In MALI the critical friend role is a leader who assists and supports another leader. This is done in a constructive way to help the teacher move forward with their ideas. Critical friends often continue the supportive beyond the summer institute.

Lindsay Pinchbeck, Design Team member, Kris Bisson, music teacher leader and Lynda Leonas, visual art teacher leader

Teacher leaders generated a list of topics/questions that were of interest. They selected a topic to discuss in small groups. The format is similar to an un-conference or Edcamp. Some went away with more questions and ideas that were new to them.

The rush was on to complete plans that describe actions for the next year. The day ended with participants sharing their plans in a Gallery Walk. Plans were filled with comments written on stickie notes to help each teacher leader continue working on their individual plans.

As we ended the day exhausted participants went away filled with the energy and ideas that everyone freely shared. We look forward to seeing the final plans in a couple of weeks!

WABI TV 5 visited during the day and featured the institute on the evening news.

The dancer stands alone, John Morris!

Critical friends: Samantha Armstrong and Hope Lord – visual art teachers

Critical friends – Jen Nash, music teacher leader and Laura Manchester, visual art teacher leader

 

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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Bags Are Packed and Ready to Go!

August 1, 2017

MALI Summer Institute

The Maine Arts Leadership Institute (MALI) gets underway today at Thomas College in Waterville. Almost 80 educators will come together to learn and share in a collaborative environment. PK-12 Teacher Leaders, Teaching Artists, and Teaching Artist Leaders will have the opportunity to build on their knowledge and consider how they will share the information during the next year. This is the 7th year that the initiative has offered summer learning and the schedule is chock full of rich sessions being delivered by teacher leaders as well as other educators who have much to offer.

The focus on teacher choices and teacher-centered learning will foster opportunities to consider how we do our important work of educating young people in visual and performing arts. The sessions include: standards and assessment, communication, networking, visual storytelling, drumming, creativity and much more.

As Karen MacDonald said recently as she prepares for the ECET2 conference coming up next week at Colby: “My basement is starting to look like a conference staging area”. I couldn’t agree with you more Karen! My bags are packed and I’m ready to go!

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CIE Summer Institute

June 30, 2017

Superb learning opportunity

I just returned from Thomas College where Catherine Ring and I worked as a team to create a resource for STEAM at the Center for Innovation in Education Summer Institute. The conversation on STEAM appears to be happening across the state in a small way but after three days of talking STEAM, proficiency-based education and digital learning I am sensing that we are at the edge of a giant leap forward. The most interesting part is that the conversations were not just with visual and performing arts teachers but with teachers of all grade levels and content representing all regions of the state.

From a participant: STEAM is important because it engages the whole brain in learning.

Tim McNamara

The summer institute opening keynote was provided by Tim McNamara, director of High Tech High School in Chula Vista, California. He works in a true student-centered environment where students are not only surviving but flourishing, as they find and explore and learn through their passions. His stories were so inspiring!

The inspiration continued throughout the three days with a very moving performance by Brook Haycock. Her docudramas encourage questioning and thinking.

The final engaging activity was facilitated by Explo. Yes, they brought 35 moose into the room. Teams collaborated to create anything you can imagine for the moose to transport all kinds of goods.

In between participants chose from a variety of workshops. Some of them: Innovative Learning Experiences, Interdisciplinary Unit and Course Design, STEAM Power – Why it Works, How it Looks, Flipping’ Fake News, and A=Arts. All teAms cAn steAm with Music.

Hope Lord “playing” a note on a bottle.

In between attending workshops each team continued work on their project. Catherine and I will continue our STEAM resource work and provide it for you in the future when it is ready to be launched. It will be a living document so if you have any STEAM resources that you’d be kind enough to share please email the link or the resource at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Providing feedback to each other on plans.

From a participant: The arts breathe life into everything that they touch – STEM is no different. The A in STEAM makes practical solutions beautiful – a chair becomes a sculpture, sound becomes music. When the arts are in the mix, it elevates the process and the product. A deeper, almost emotional connection seems to be made – kids get excited, I get excited. ~Chip Schwehm, Boothbay Region High School

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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!

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Happy Summer!

June 21, 2017

First day

Today marks the “official” first day of summer. I realize that most schools are out for the summer break and that some schools are still in session. Whatever is happening in your life right now summer plans can be underway, if they aren’t already. What will you do this summer? How will you spend your time?  Thought about any books to read? Any professional development to attend? Any videos to view or courses to enroll in? Rewrite lessons, units, or course syllabi?

There are a variety of professional activities to engage your mind in many different ways. Once you take a deep breath and catch up on a little sleep, consider setting some goals for yourself. What will you do and where might it take you?

Consider the following online resources that you can take along almost wherever you go and get your summer thinking underway:

More information and suggestions for summer professional development that you can take the lead on will be posted on the blog in the near future.

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