Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category


Calling All Teacher Leaders

April 16, 2015

Regional VPA Teacher Leader Search

MAAI Logo_Color_TxtCtrJoin us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Arts Commission invites YOU to be part of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI), Phase 5. MAAI is looking for teachers interested in leading and in taking a close look at assessment in the arts. If you are selected to be an MAAI Teacher Leader, you will be required to attend the summer institute, August 3, 4, and 5 for professional development and ask that you take what you’ve learned and share it with other educators in your region and beyond. The MAAI community of teacher leaders has grown to 61 and we hope that you will consider applying.

Application deadline is Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

To learn more about the MAAI, please go to!maai/cy91.

You can access the Teacher Leader application at

Please send a completed application to Argy Nestor at no later than Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

Selected teacher leader responsibilities for the 2015-16 school year include

  • Communicate by wiki
  • Attend the three-day Summer Institute, August 3, 4, 5 2015, Portland
  • Present workshop to critical friends, all-day Thursday, August 20, 2015, Portland
  • Present a workshop in your region, planned by you
  • Present a workshop at the mega-regional workshop site that will be coordinated by the leadership team
  • Attend a retreat to reflect on the work of phase V with teacher leaders and the leadership team to be held winter/spring 2016
Leading the Way

Phase 3 Teacher Leaders

MAAI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission with the following partners: Maine Art Education Association, Maine Music Educators Association, Maine Department of Education, University of Southern Maine, Maine Learning Technology Initiative, University of Maine Performing Arts, and New England Institute for Teacher Education.

Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Background Information


Create an environment in Maine where quality assessment in arts education is an integral part of the work all arts educators do to improve student achievement in the arts.

Since 2011 the initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of arts assessment so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities. The details of the initiative are at


Devise a statewide plan for assessment in arts education, which includes professional development opportunities, regionally and statewide, to expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers to improve teaching and learning.

  • Develop and implement standards-based assessment statewide for Visual and Performing Arts (VPA)
  • Continuation of building a team representing all regions of Maine
  • Workshops to provide ongoing learning opportunities for arts teachers

HISTORY – Phase I, II, III, IV – Summer 2011 to present

  • Sixty-one teacher leaders attended summer institutes on assessment,
    leadership, technology, creativity, standards-based and student-centered
    teaching and learning
  • Teacher leaders presented workshops at two statewide arts education conference, USM, Portland and UMaine, Orono with over 450 educators attending
  • Teacher leaders facilitated regional workshops across Maine
  • Teacher leaders facilitated workshops at 12 mega-regional sites across Maine
  • Another Arts Teacher’s Story series (60) on the Maine Arts Ed blog
  • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for
    Teacher Education
  • Nine arts education assessment webinars for Maine educators facilitated by Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring – archived
  • Video stories of seven teacher leaders that demonstrate a standards-based arts education classroom
  • Teacher Leader Resource Team ongoing development of items for resource bank
  • Maine Arts Assessment Resources website that contains a plethora of information

Phase V components

  • August 3,4,5, 2015: Summer Institute, Portland
  • Augusta 20: Critical Friends Day
  • Regional and mega-regional workshops throughout Maine
  • Continuation of Another Teachers Stories on the Maine Arts Ed blog
  • Continuation of the Resource Bank
  • Professional development for teaching artists

Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Frances Kellogg

April 14, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leader series

This is the ninth and last blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. You can learn more about MAAI at and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

4747f3_d808375765484117b6ae1b7e8f05a0cf.jpg_srz_p_147_138_75_22_0.50_1.20_0Frances Kellogg currently teaches K-3 classroom music and grades 6-8 chorus at Ellsworth Elementary Middle School.  She has taught in Ellsworth for the last three years.  Frances has just over 400 students and sees them twice each week for a total of 60 minutes. Previously, she taught PreK-6 classroom music and 3-8 chorus at Jay Elementary School and Spruce Mountain Middle School. This is her eighth year as a music teacher in Maine. Frances received her B.M.E. from the University of Maine at Orono in 2007, and currently performs with the University Percussion Ensemble there.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

I love to see students get inspired and have fun. I hear so many teachers say how much they wish they could do more creative things in their classrooms, but can’t because there isn’t time–often due to curriculum or testing. I get to watch my students unleash their creativity and give them the chance to think outside the box, while still teaching and giving them the information they need. I love it when my students draw a connection between music and ANYTHING else–their classroom, home, visual art, or physical education–when they make that connection, they get more excited about what we are learning and also remember more of what we are learning .

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

A supportive community is a major key to a successful arts education:  support from the students’ parents, teachers, and administration. But building that support needs flexibility and a willingness to be a part of it. Make yourself seen at a parade or a baseball game can make all the difference to a student or the community as a whole. Being willing to adapt the framing of a lesson to be more interesting to your students can make the difference between a lesson they will forget and a lesson they will ask to repeat again.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment has given me a way to know not only what my students are learning, but also how well I am teaching. I have long used assessment as a tool for measuring student knowledge, but have more recently learned how to use assessment as feedback for my teaching. If the students aren’t grasping a concept, what do I need to change? What has worked and what hasn’t?  t has been quite the eye-opening adventure for me.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Joining MAAI has been a huge growth experience for me. I took a leap, with both feet, into a leadership role which was new territory for me. The greatest benefit of all has been a chance to communicate and collaborate with other arts teachers around the state. I have been very fortunate to not be the only music teacher in my district, but I have often been the only music teacher at my level (elementary vs. high school or middle school). It’s been great to be able to talk with other elementary music teachers and to hear their ideas and perspectives, while at the same time being able to share my own. In addition, MAAI has given me a huge boost of confidence when talking with other arts educators which has in turn given me more confidence in working with other educators at my own school.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My growth. When I first started teaching, I taught things that I thought were fun and would interest students; a lot of them being things I remembered from when I was a kid or things that I learned in college. I tested students on the things I thought they should have learned and never really used them to learn about my teaching. Now, eight years later, I have learned to work with a curriculum, to use assessments with my students to give them and myself feedback, to adapt my lessons to interest my students while still teaching and/or reviewing the concepts that need to be learned, and to still have fun while learning. Looking back eight years, I see a transformation that I am truly proud of and I certainly hope it will continue.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Negativity. With all the seemingly overwhelming changes happening in education in Maine right now, it’s easy to get sucked in to people complaining or griping or worrying. The only way to fight it is to be positive!

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

A good image. I started out as a nervous and anxious, fresh out of college kid who needed guidance. I didn’t know how to run a music program, or create/work with a curriculum, or put together concerts. I needed a lot of help (or at least it felt like it) when I first started. But I worked hard: I listened to what people told me about what they thought I should do and “how we’ve always done it”, and in the end, I made my own educated choices about what to do.  Whether it was having concerts in the evening vs. during the school day, or giving students the opportunity to earn their recorder to keep (rather than just giving it to them), or taking the risk to ask for funding for a new idea; I was able to make those decisions based on what I had learned. When I left my first job and came to Ellsworth, I had already started down this path, so I had a better idea of what I should do and how I should act and ask for things.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Listen to your students. When my students ask if we can learn about something, I try to find a way to make it happen. Last year, one classroom of third grade students asked if we could sing a song about the environment because they were learning about the rainforest and ecology in their classrooms. So, I found a song that not only focused on saving the environment, but also taught students how to listen for a read two part harmony. Another classroom asked about rap; we discussed what students think rap is vs. what it is (and what it can be), and each classroom wrote a rap together. These two activities were some of the most enjoyable things I taught, because the students were so involved in the process.

If you were given $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would split it. Keeping some for myself, I would do some serious house renovations: new kitchen counters, painting, a front deck with a hot tub, and a temperature controlled room for musical instrument storage and enjoyment. With the rest, I would find the right way to invest it in bringing programs and visiting artists into schools, both the school I work for and other schools in my area.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

None. At that point, I will have had a chance to do what I always dreamed of in life:  teach. If I can inspire just one person, then I have done what I needed to do, and that is something to be proud of.


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MLTI Screen Savers Selected

April 12, 2015

Maine student artwork selected for MLTI screensavers

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 5.22.46 PMTwenty-one student artists will have an audience of more than 70,000 students and educators for their artwork starting this fall. More than 120 Maine students submitted images were considered for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) Screensaver Challenge. An independent panel of three judges used a rubric to score each image and select the winners. The winning student artists will have their work showcased on MLTI devices for the 2015-16 school year. They will also have their registration fees waived for the 2015 MLTI Student Conference and their winning pieces displayed at the Augusta offices of the Maine DOE.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 5.22.55 PMCONGRATULATIONS to the following students whose art work was selected.

  • Carlyn Davis, Kennebunk High School, Grade 9, “In A “Perfect” World”
  • Jake Wilson, Bangor High School, Grade 12, “Marker Family”
  • Jamie Bayha, Middle School of the Kennebunks, Grade 7, “Fire”
  • Lyndsey Cross, Bangor High School, Grade 12, “Studio”
  • Sherwin Yuen, Bangor High School, Grade 10, “Hallway”
  • Will Blastos, Kennebunk High School, Grade 9, “An Eye for an Eye”
  • Aylen Wolf, George Stevens Academy, Grade 11, “Aperture”
  • Brooke Wentworth, George Stevens Academy, Grade 11, “Sound Waves”
  • Claire Ciampa, George Stevens Academy, Grade 12, “Eagle Lake”
  • Katama Murray, George Stevens Academy, Grade 12, “Mischief”
  • Elizaveta Maslak, Maine School of Math & Science, Grade 11, “Cherry Blossom”
  • Ella Glatter, Houlton High School, Grade 12, “Collisions of the Universe”
  • Elona Bodwell, Middle School of the Kennebunks, Grade 7, “Car Top”
  • Max Cornman, Mount Desert Island High School, Grade 10, “Open Oval”
  • Michael Smith, United Technologies Center, Grade 11, “Wake Up”
  • Amber Hulstrunk, Houlton High School, Grade 12, “Simplicity”
  • Dylan Crockett, Houlton High School, Grade 9, “Ceramic Ball of Food”
  • Kate Newman, Houlton High School, Grade 10, “Rainbow Falls”
  • Shaina Hamilton, Houlton High School, Grade 12, “Pheonix”
  • Ellea Wilson, Monmouth Middle School, Grade 8, “Maybe They’ll Just Go”
  • Emilee Burton, Central High School, Grade 11, “The Younger Years”

All the selected artwork is available for viewing here. For more information about the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, visit

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The Sound of Music

April 10, 2015

Rick Wormeli meets Maria

Rick Wormeli has been an educator for over 20 years and middle level is his area of expertise. However, he hits the nail on the head when he uses Maria and The Sound of Music as an example for the type of learning that research is pointing to today. The information is applicable to all ages and grade levels.

Watch this short YouTube and listen for the terms below. Rick demonstrates all the “best practices” that Maria uses with the boys and girls in the Sound of Music.

Multiple pathways, high standards, differentiated instruction and grading, clear expectations, student-centered, provide big picture, visual imagery, sense of humor, formative assessment, real life learning, kinesthetic, contextual learning, meaning in learning, love of knowledge, student engagement, no child left behind, interdisciplinary learning, scaffolding, high standards.


Early Childhood Learning Through Play

April 9, 2015

Pre-K-4 learning opportunity – Starting Friday 4pm, April 17, 2015 in Portland with instructor, Judy Fricke!

IMG_1438Are you a Pre-K – 4 teacher looking for recertification or graduate credits? Do you want some inspiring and fun strategies for incorporating the arts in early learning? EDE 526: Early Childhood Learning Through Play may be just what you are looking for!

Current research supports the understanding that children learn through play. The importance of arts-based learning is emphasized to educators of young children and participants will learn how to integrate play and each of the art forms across the curriculum. The course covers the foundations of creative thought, the creative arts, and creative teaching and assessment.

Designed for educators from pre-school through grade 4, this course will help early childhood educators to integrate children’s creativity, play, and the arts into their curriculum in a way that fosters learning and growth and meets accountability measures. Course activities will enable educators to articulate the importance of creativity and arts-based learning to families, colleagues, and administrators. The course can be taken for 3 graduate credits or for 4.5 CEUs.

4747f3_20084657f003426298b40842b18f0bdc.png_srz_p_147_138_75_22_0.50_1.20_0The instructor, Judy S. Fricke, is a workshop facilitator and arts education consultant in both early childhood music and emergent literacy. Judy has taught music in large and small preschool settings as well as parent/child class settings over the past twenty years. She is a teacher leader in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative and she teaches graduate level courses for the New England Institute for Teacher Education.

For more information, or to register, visit the website of the New England Institute for Teacher Education or call 207-367-5807.


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Sarah Gould

April 7, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leader series

This is the eighth blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to learn from and about others. You can learn more about MAAI at and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

4747f3_99e8f0ca14cd47a597dd42c859c217f3.jpg_srz_p_147_138_75_22_0.50_1.20_0Sarah Gould is a Visual Art teacher who is on her ninth year at Gray- New Gloucester High School. This semester she has just over eighty art students in her classes that range from Foundations, Sculpture, Ceramics, Painting, and IB Art. She has been department head and a teacher leader team member at the school for seven years.

Sarah is actually a GNGHS alumni, who came back as a long-term substitute for her high school art teacher, who then decided not to return after her maternity leave. Sarah earned her BFA at USM with a concentration in Art Education in 2006 with a double focus in drawing and ceramics.

What do you like best about being an art educator?!

I can’t say as if there is one single thing I like best about being an educator, it is the complete picture that encompasses so much; connecting with students, teaching them, watching them grow, encouraging them, giving them the power to be proud of themselves, celebrating accomplishments with them, learning about life as well as art.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Comfortability. Art, visual or performing, naturally displays student ability. Kids can be nervous to participate in fear they will be no good, and that others are going to see it. I think providing an open, safe, friendly environment is an absolute must to nurture student participation, experimentation, and expression.

Personalization. Some students have natural ability, others have to work for it. Students all connect with different media and processes. Each has their own personal interests and pathways ahead. I think it is important to find how art can fit or connect into students lives, so they can value it’s importance and relevance as it’s importance to them. Also leaving room for personalization and student choice creates greater investment on top of creativity. !

Balance between “fun” and “rigorous.” I think we all want students to enjoy our classes and find inspiration in the things we teach and love. I also think we all want students, parents, colleagues and administration to respect our content areas. I do think there are many ways to find a balance, and it certainly looks different for everyone. But I think it is possible and important to find a happy place between students being excited to come to class to create and perform, and also want to work hard and have an appreciation for the subject and what they are learning.!

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

Assessment has played a large role in my teaching style, especially over the last few years. When we started our early transition to becoming a proficiency based school, the theory and the practice had a large effect on my approaches and strategies. Once we organized our standards and broke down what we wanted to assess, it changed our curriculum, units, lessons, and targets. With assessments and rubrics, it became clear what we were measuring, and in turn what to teach. It also became more clear to students, who then knew expectations, why they earned certain scores, and how to improve or revise their work. It also became a tool to communicate with parents, who may have thought scores were based on personal opinion. Well made assessments have gained our department respect and have become an advocacy tool.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

It has been great being a part of the MAAI work. Making connections and forming relationships with other teachers in the same content area can be awakening and rewarding both. It’s always nice to meet others with similar passions, and interesting to hear how different schools are structured, but learning from one another is the greatest benefit. I have found the conferences provide an open and understanding atmosphere where you can feel comfortable asking questions or sharing what you do. It is the friendly atmosphere that made me feel comfortable in becoming a teacher leader and presenting what I do, hoping someone can learn something from me and take that with them as I have from others in the past.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I think I am the most proud of building a well structured and respected art program. The other art teacher and I have worked really hard for years designing our courses and curriculum, and are constantly making changes, revising, and improving what we do. I believe we have earned respect professionally and in the community.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Time. There is never enough time! I know I could invest more, and use strategies better, and add steps, but sometimes there just isn’t time. Time in the block, time in the day, the week, the quarter, the year. There are so many things I’d love to do with my kids, and I can’t squeeze them in, or find time myself outside of the school day to further develop ideas. Most obstacles we can work around, but time seems to be the one thing I always need more of.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I think originally when I became the electives department head/ teacher leader at GNGHS some felt that I didn’t deserve or earn the position because I was a relatively young and new teacher. But I took the role very seriously and have invested myself in the greater improvement of our school, and I think I literally worked my way out of the doubts others had and proved myself.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Well, who knows what the future holds, but I would say the biggest piece of advice I can think of now is to be constantly evolving. Change what you do, let go of things that don’t work, take chances and try new things, revise things that work and make them better, be inspired yourself and keep things exciting, adapt to changes, be constantly changing and growing yourself, as an educator and artist, visual and/or performing.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

Hmm… how far does $500,000 go? Our economics class does that project, maybe I should sit in! :) As an art educator I would like to invest in a program for either underprivileged children or a program for individuals struggling with mental or emotional wellness as a means of therapy.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I dislike the thought of having regrets, I like to think we should try to appreciate the path we have taken and what it has given us. With that said, I do fear that I will look back and be disappointed I didn’t take more risks, or take advantage of opportunities, or push myself harder. I’m afraid of playing it too safe. Perhaps knowing that fear will encourage me to prevent it from happening and break out of what I find comfortable.

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Megas UMaine USM

April 6, 2015

MAAI Mega-regional workshops – last of the school year

Last Thursday and Friday the last two Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Mega-regional workshops were held at UMaine, Orono and USM, Portland campus. Both were a success and the 127 teachers who participated had positive feedback. It was an opportunity designed just for visual and performing arts educators including teaching artists.

I am so proud of the Teacher Leaders and the workshops they created. MAAI believes that “teachers teaching teachers” is very powerful!

Thank you to the following Teacher Leaders listed below who provided the following workshops:

UMaine, Orono – Thursday, April 2

  • Finding the Hidden Treasure in Art with Student Self Assessment, Jennie Driscoll Brunswick High School Visual Arts
  • Efficient and Effective Assessment in the Elementary Music Classroom, Frances Kellogg Ellsworth Elementary Middle School Music
  • Multiple Pathways: Helping Students Achieve Proficiency in ELA and Social Studies through Performing Arts Class!, Beth Lambert Carrabec High School Performing Arts
  • The Foolish Man Builds his House Upon the Sand: Laying a Firm Foundation for the Arts (and life) in Early Childhood, Judy Fricke Main Street Music Studios Music
  • My Choice-Based Art Class, Nurturing Proficiency through Voice, Choice and Reflective Teaching, Theresa Cerceo Dr. Levesque Elementary, Wisdom Middle/High School Visual Arts
  • Proficiency-Based Education in Visual Art, Gloria Hewett Mount View Middle School Visual Arts
  • Gold, Silver or Bronze? A Rubric fit for the Olympics!, Pam Kinsey Easton Schools Music
  • Rappin’ Differentiated Instruction and Implementing Standards Based Grading, Lisa Neal Nokomis Regional High School Performing Arts

Theresa         IMG_1273

IMG_1276USM, Portland – Friday, April 3

  • The Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy, Lisa Ingraham Madison Elementary School Visual Arts
  • The Recipe: Ingredients in a Proficiency-Based Curriculum, Michaela DiGianvittorio and Sarah Gould Gray-New Gloucester High School Visual Arts
  • Unpacking the Standards with your BFF (Best Foot Forward), Cynthia Keating, Village Elementary School Music and Kate Smith, Central Elementary School Music
  • The Foolish Man Builds his House Upon the Sand: Laying a Firm Foundation for the Arts (and life) in Early Childhood, Judy Fricke Main Street Music Studios Music
  • Writing What We Do: A Guide to Standards-Based Curriculum Mapping & Unit Design, Brian McPherson, Woodside Elementary School Visual Arts and Jake Sturtevant, Bonny Eagle High School Music
  • Using Digital Process Folios as a Journaling Approach to Self Assessment, Melanie Crowe Marshwood Middle School Visual Arts
  • Hatching A Songbird: Teaching and Assessing Singing Skills at the Primary Level, Patti Gordan Raymond Elementary School Music
  • Moving Towards Your Goals: Using Technology for Self-Assessment in a Performing Arts Classroom, Emma Campbell Thornton Academy Dance
  • Dancing With the Standards: How to Incorporate Standards-Based Dance and Movement Activities in Classroom Learning and Assessment, John Morris Dance
  • The How and Why of Digital Portfolios, Jeff Orth Richmond Middle/High School Visual Arts



IMG_2217Thanks also to MAAI Teacher Leaders Janie Snider, Jenni Null, and Shari Tarleton.

Artist showcases took place at each Mega with Teaching Artists John Morris and Stevie McGary provided information on their role and some movement as well.

In the afternoon sessions Proficiency-Based Education and Teacher Effectiveness were the discussion topics. Teachers shared what is happening in their schools, had a chance to ask each other questions and learn from what others are doing. Thanks to the following Teacher Leaders who facilitated the discussion:

UMO – Gloria Hewett and Jen Nash

USM – Jake Sturtevant and Amy Cousins (and several others assisted)

Both Megas were successful due to the work of Leadership Team members:

UMO – Catherine Ring

USM – Rob Westerberg and Jeff Beaudry

A special THANK YOU to Laura Artesani who arranged for the space on the UMaine Orono campus. And to Jeff Beaudry who arranged for the space on the USM, Portland campus!

At the end of the day at USM I said to all the participants how proud I was of the work all visual and performing arts teachers do. I know that the jobs you do can be challenging. At the end of the day at UMaine Orono Catherine asked folks how they were feeling and these are some of the words expressed by the group: inspiring – exhausted but happy – encouraged – enthusiastic – can’t wait to try things back in my classroom – my head is full – overwhelmed but supported – not alone anymore – great resources.  Catherine’s word: proud.

If you didn’t attend any of the four Mega-regional workshops provided this school year by MAAI and are looking for resources I suggest that you go to


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