Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category


Pecha Kucha Waterville

December 12, 2019

What’s your story?

PechaKucha Night Waterville is a creative networking event centered on storytelling in 20×20. Every event is well attended and provides its own distinctive journey.

PK WTVL Volume 34 will take place on Thursday, February 7, 2020 (snow date: February 8, 2020) during Maine Craft Weekend. The deadline to apply for the February 7th event is Tuesday, January 7, 2020. in collaboration with the Colby College Center for the Arts + Humanities, proposals related to the 2019/2020 Colby College Center for the Arts + Humanities theme, Energy + Exhaustion are encouraged.

Selected presenters will be notified via email.





Light Up the World

December 3, 2019

Local workshops

On Saturday morning I arrived at the library in my town with a car full of materials to make lanterns. Basket reeds, telephone wire, tiny LED lights, industrial size coffee filters, white glue, blow dryers, brushes and containers to hold the water downed glue. I learned how to make lanterns from artist Gowri Savoor while attending the 2017 New Hampshire state arts education conference. I am forever grateful to Julianne Gadoury, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Education Program Director invited Catherine Ring and myself to attend.

Since that conference Lindsay Pinchbeck, founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts Center in Hope, and I have offered the lantern making workshop several times at the local and state level to all ages and backgrounds of people. This is the type of art making that is inviting to all.

When we’ve provided the workshop it exemplifies the essence of small communities in Maine. Whether it’s at the library, community center, a community event, or an arts focused facility people find joy and success making lanterns.

Kate Smith is involved in the South Berwick Lanternfest that takes place each August. This past summer she helped lead music making with a drum circle and at the end they release the lanterns down the river to honor those who have gone before.  All ages come together for an amazing day. Whether it is small or large communities art making has the power to bring communities together.

The two hour lantern making workshop is enough time to make at least one lantern (two people made 3 in the time allotted) and dry it enough to carry home. The next day the tree lighting on the town common was a chance to lead the processional with Santa following in a town fire truck. Two people returned with their lanterns decorated. I wondered if everyone would return and sure enough my heart was warmed seeing everyone with their lanterns lit waiting at the designated spot.

My takeaways:

  • The arts bring people together in a non-judgmental way and everyone feels good.
  • All ages need and want community based chances to come together.
  • People naturally work across generations to help each other.
  • Many adults don’t make art everyday but jump at the chance to do so and love it.
  • Adults are looking for opportunities to do something engaging side-by-side with children.
  • Having a follow-up chance to use the lanterns collectively is like the glue that is needed in communities.

What I’m curious about is this – what have you noticed or been involved with that includes the arts to bring people together beyond the school – in the community? Please feel free to share in the comment section below. Thanks!


Renaissance Paintings

November 23, 2019

Auto Mechanics 

Photographer Freddy Fabris had always wanted to pay homage to the Renaissance masters with his photos in some way, but he wasn’t sure how until he stumbled upon an automechanic shop in the Midwest. This led to a brilliant series of funny portraits with auto mechanics. You’ll definitely want to share THESE IMAGES with your students.



November 20, 2019

Learning from travel

My Dad, 1942

My father grew up in a small village called Akrata on the Peloponnese in Greece. When he was 10 years old he was sent on a boat to America with all of his worldly possessions to live with his uncle. His father had died and his step mother needed help to raise the three children so they sent “the worse one.” My father’s journey was only beginning – he went on to become a successful student, athlete, and leader in school and community.

He enlisted in the Army and fought for three years in WWII through Africa, Sicily, the beach at Normandy, through France and Germany where he was wounded and returned to the states. He was greeted by my mother (and his entire Greek community) who he had married a week before he left. Through all of the hardships my father never lost site of the opportunities afforded him because of traveling to the US. He gave to his community over and over and worked hard all his life.

My parents in 1944 not long after Dad returned from the war.

While growing up my family didn’t have money to use for travel purposes. My parents instilled in us the value of hard work and giving to our communities – their examples of that were provided daily. My sister and I worked from age 10 in our family summer businesses. We saved enough money to go to college and when the opportunity to travel to Greece and Egypt (3 weeks, $600 dollars included everything) came up, we couldn’t say no. Sitting in the hotel in 1973 in Athens a woman was introduced to us – turned out it was my father’s sister, Yiota. She was a new baby when my Dad left Greece in 1928. We traveled with her to Akrata and returned with the key to the homestead.

The Greek Orthodox church in Akrata

Returning home my parents decided not to wait until they retired to travel to Greece but went the next summer. My Dad had not seen or had any contact with his sister and his brother Nick since he had left about 40 years earlier. (Brother Nick passed away from TB when he was 21). It was an incredible homecoming for my parents.

Since my first visit I’ve returned a handful of times, one of the most memorable was going for Greek Easter in 1994 with my parents. That trip helped me realize the importance of family and of passing forward the love of family.

I returned last week from a trip to my family’s village with both of my sons. Passing forward the stories, the ideas and the understanding of our roots to them is important to me and now them.

At the Parthenon

The above provides the background for this post – it’s about stepping out of your daily routines to learn in a different way. We’re fortunate that we live in a time where we can access knowledge and information from around the world in multiple ways. We don’t have to hop on a plane and travel for 15 hours to get somewhere but we can view videos of far away places, connect through face to face communications with teachers and students on the opposite side of the globe, and collaborate on learning projects – to name a few ways. Yes, it takes time and work but it is all worth it.

My sons with Yiota

Think about these questions – what is different about education today? What might be the benefits to think differently about day to day education? Why connect with educators or help facilitate access to learning for your students with others from a different culture? Only you can consider the benefits for you and/or your students but I encourage you to do so.

I am grateful to stand on the shoulders of giants in the work I do in education and on the shoulders of family members from a tiny village 4,521 miles from my home in Maine. Every trip (in real time or electronic connections) help me to understand why I do what I do and the importance of pushing on my beliefs to continually learn.

The blue door on the pathway to the plakia not far from my father’s home. It is the one constant every time I return.


Emotional Well Being of Teachers

November 19, 2019

Important focus of education

We often hear teachers talking about the challenges of supporting every student for success. I don’t think anyone disagrees that this is our priority. It is clear that it takes qualified teachers who know pedagogy as well as skills and an understanding of child development, whatever the age. In addition, understanding the emotional needs of students is a critical piece of educating  students.

During the last two phases of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) we spent time on how to address and support teachers needs. If we can’t, and don’t, take care of our teachers they can’t give each student the best opportunity to earn.

The 2019 Nebraska Teach of the Year, Sydney Jensen, provided a heartfelt TED Talk on exactly that topic. It’s called How can we support the emotional well-being of teachers?”

In this eye-opening talk, educator Sydney Jensen explores how teachers are at risk of “secondary trauma” — the idea that they absorb the emotional weight of their students’ experiences — and shows how schools can get creative in supporting everyone’s mental health and wellness.

I suggest you take the time to watch this (more than once) and share the link with your principals, colleagues and community members.


Global Community

November 12, 2019

Education around the world

We all know that the world has become a smaller place and that we’re all connected in some way. Education and educators are no exception.

I had the opportunity to attend the HundrED Innovation Summit and participate in Education Week in Helsinki, Finland, November 5-8. Lindsay Pinchbeck from Sweetland School in Hope and I are Ambassadors for HundrED and we continue to share the amazing work of HundrED.

During the summit we met educators, young people and teachers from around the world who are doing amazing work, projects that exemplify HundrED – To help every child flourish in life, no matter what happens. Watch the video of the wrap-up of the summit.

Some of the Innovations from HundrED are below. You can learn about more at THIS LINK.

In addition to teacher Innovators and Ambassadors there are now Student Ambassadors. The program is all about sharing ideas. If you go to the page you can search in a variety of ways. I invite that you take some time to explore and learn from others AND consider applying to be an innovator for next years HundrED collection.


Language of Music

November 10, 2019

Amazing Grace

The annual Manitoba Music Educators “Tempo Conference” didn’t disappoint when keynote speaker Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser had 600 Music Specialists stand and sing “Amazing Grace” on “Ah”. This is what happens when you “speak the language of music”.


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