Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

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ECET2 Spot On!

August 14, 2018

Gathering at Colby College

The ECET2 – Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers – conference held last week at Colby College was outstanding. ECET2 Maine is an educator community and two-day event and based on the ECET2 national model offering a unique opportunity for teachers from across Maine to connect with other practitioners to gain leadership skills, share innovative classroom practices, and be “celebrated” for their work on behalf of Maine’s students.

Allan Monga speaking with Sydney Chaffee

There were three Cultivating the Calling speeches that provided seeds of inspiration. Hearing educators stories is motivating and validating. One was provided by the 2017 National Teacher of the Year, Sydney Chaffee. She has been moved by her own students stories and by Maine’s Poetry Out Loud champ Allan Monga.

The breakout sessions were terrific, presented by thoughtful educators sharing their ideas and practices. The Colleague Circles provided time to discuss challenges and successes and it was made clear that we share so much across our state in schools/districts.

Colleague Circle presentations during Gallery Walk

Participants could add their “Why I Teach” to a wall and I’ve included some of them in this blog post. You can see that the arts were well represented.

The conference closed out with a Shark Tank where three teams pitched their ideas. Five hundred dollars was given to the most convincing idea which was decided by participants votes on Twitter. And, of course, the door prizes were super!

A great big thank you to the planners – once again they did an outstanding job providing an opportunity that was “spot on” for educators!

There were at least 5 participants who said they will be working on having an ECET2 event in their communities. Watch for the information as it becomes available on their website or Facebook.

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In Today’s News

August 13, 2018

Ashley Bryan

Bob Keyes article in the Maine Sunday Telegram provides the latest news on Ashley Bryan. His show opened recently at the Portland Museum of Art and it is fantastic. At age 95 Ashley is working on a number of books and is planning on one being completed within the month. It is a book of collages based on Christina Rosetti’s poems. He’s also working on a larger project based on his time during WWII when he served in the segregated Army. Seventy four years ago he was at Omaha Beach.

I was very excited to read that he is working with Maine composer Aaron Robinson who happens to be a former student of mine. They are collaborating on an African-American requiem for chamber orchestra, choir and spoken voice.

He’s calling it “A Tender Bridge: An African American Requiem,” based on a Bryan quote: “I always confuse the past and the future, the way I mix up death and life – they are connected only by a tender bridge. This is why stories are at the heart of civilization.”

Plan to take your students to the museum for the show and watch for information on the performance of one of Ashley’s books scheduled for the end of October.

READ the entire article.

“Oh, When the Children Sing in Peace,” 2006, collage of cut colored paper on paper, from “Let It Shine: Three Favorite Spirituals,” 12 by 20 inches. Photo from Portland Museum of Art

 

 

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MALI Summer Institute

August 7, 2018

Work is just beginning

Even though another Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Summer Institute (MAL) is history (number 8), the work for the MALI Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders is just beginning.

I am so impressed with the topics that participants have taken on – each year the work is more comprehensive! I will include information about the research the leaders have underway in a future blog post.

The work is challenging and participants make a commitment to stretch themselves as they build on their knowledge and expertise as educators in the arts. MALI’s educators are committed to providing quality arts education for every Maine learner.

Often I am asked so what’s MALI all about and how can it impact me as a teacher? Below you will find some of the initial feedback received at the conclusion of the institute. The comments reflect the thoughtfulness of the participants and will provide a glimpse of the power of participating in MALI as a “leader”.

  • This institute may have changed my entire outlook. I feel like I have value and can help others through my work.
  • The energy was great.
  • Thank you for bringing us all together! The constant stimulating conversations are exhilarating! (joyfully exhausting). I LOVED the storytelling element.
  • Powerful presentations great stories
  • Gained a tremendous amount of insight into other teacher’s schools, jobs and lives. Always amazing experiences with MALI.
  • Thank you for the community connection of the Museum of Art and Ashley. Very inspiring.
  • Lots of great info. Introduced to new concepts. Networking and connections.
  • Amazing sharing! Inspired beyond belief by my peers.
  • Once again, I’m leaving excited about this year.
  • Leadership and creativity hit the spot for me personally. As always you can’t beat the connections made and renewed at MALI. I think I have benefitted a lot from a few key conversations.
  • OMG! I needed a 4thday now! Can you believe it? Great re-boot to my goals as an educator. Focused organization to start the year!
  • It was great! I have much to ponder over the coming months.
  • Lots of great information and inspiration. I liked the small workshops best.
  • I feel motivated and empowered by being around so many like-minded people. The positive energy that is found in this room is amazing.
  • This might be my favorite yet! I feel so fulfilled but not overwhelmed! So re-energized! Thank you and so much love for this organization!
  • I find it fascinating that as we add years on to our MALI gatherings our topics and ideas for our projects and presentations get bigger, better, deeper, more thoughtful, more global. I am so lucky to be part of this organization. Your hard pre-game work was truly appreciated!
  • Love the peeps – Love the sharing – especially the personal journeys. Leadership and artistic.
  • My overall reflection brings me to WOW! I have thoroughly been challenged, inquisitive, curious, exhausted, reignited, and REWARDED. Being surrounded by greatness has, again, been humbling.
  • This was an awesome opportunity to converse with people with similar professions and a wealth of experience to reflect on.
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Ashley Bryan at the PMA

August 6, 2018

Amazing artist and storytelling – share with your students

Ashley Bryan’s prolific and varied creative career has spanned more than half a century, and this is the first major art museum exhibition in Maine for the award-winning, 95-year-old artist and Little Cranberry Island resident. 

A pioneer of African and African American representation in the children’s book medium, Painter and Poet highlights the breadth of Bryan’s work, from his earliest books of African folktales to his 2016 book Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, which won a Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Honors in both Author and Illustrator categories.

Coming in October
Beautiful Blackbird: An Adaptation of the Story by Ashley Bryan presented by the Theater Ensemble of Color. This will take place at the PMA and also at USM where you will be able to bring students to the play. Watch for more information on this opportunity.

Coming in November. PMA Films presents I Know a Man…Ashley Bryan

Take a trip to Bryan’s Little Cranberry Island and into his home and studio in this article from the most recent edition of the PMA magazine, Inside the Circle. 

Ashley in his home

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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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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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