Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Theresa Cerceo

February 24, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leaders series

This is the second 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 http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI# and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/#!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

Theresa CerceoTheresa Cerceo is in her ninth year teacheing Visual Arts, K – 12 with MSAD 33 in Frenchville / St Agatha school district. Check on the map, it is WAY UP NORTH! She teaches full time;  I teach full time; middle / high school in the morning (four times a week) and elementary in the afternoon (each class once a week). In addition to teaching art, Theresa is a certified Gifted and Talented teacher and works with students in this capacity for Visual and Language Arts enrichment.  At the elementary level, she helps facilitate Language Arts, Science and Math Skill Seminars as part of the school-wide daily schedule. These seminars occur for 45 minute Monday – Thursday and change topics every two weeks. Also, Theresa serves on the school district’s Leadership Team for Learner – Centered Proficiency-Based Learning. Before moving to Maine in 2006, she lived in (my home town) Philadelphia.  There, she spent some time at Tyler School of Art (Temple University) before receiving a BFA from Rosemont College and an MAT (Visual Arts) from the University of the Arts.  In addition to working for the Main Line Art Center and the University of the Arts as an arts teacher in their children’s weekend and summer programs,  she taught art for 3 years within Philadelphia and the surrounding area at the elementary, middle and high school level.

What do you like best about being a visual art educator?

What I enjoy most about being an art educator is being able to provide an opportunity for students to engage in one of our basic human instincts, to create. I am humbled that I can assist in nurturing a child’s ability to express their unique identity while providing them the knowledge in skills and  techniques so that they may communicate more effectively.

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

In addition to administrative support, I believe love and personal commitment for one’s content, assessment supported curriculum, and teacher flexibility are the three keys to providing a successful art education.

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

Good assessments offer me a tool in which I can communicate with my students regarding expectations and their growth. It allows me to plan for what students need and how they need instruction delivered. This allows me to make their time in my room as individualized as possible.  Students see constructive feedback regarding their thought processes and skills and then, they can set real goals that are meaningful to them. I am finding that this facilitates not only skill and concept development, but a deeper appreciation for their time spent in art class.

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

Becoming involved with MAAI has given me the tools and support to establish my voice in my district. By attending Mega-Regionals and then going through the Teacher Leader training I have gained the knowledge base to establish the arts as an academic subject. At the core, what I have gained through MAAI is the knowledge that I am no longer an isolated arts teacher; that I am part of  a large group of educators that believe that the Arts are essential to human development; they understand why and they are committed to strengthening arts education and advocacy for the arts in Maine. This has reinvigorated my passion for teaching as well as my commitment to building the best art program possible.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of my personal growth as an educator. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time developing, reflecting and revising my curriculum and it has gone from a basic outline of what I thought was important for students to know (based on my personal experiences as a student and my personal interests),  to a more (teacher – student) collaborative piece that allows for exploration and discovery, reflection and personal goal setting. The most important thing I have learned, and I am still developing is flexibility in terms of instruction. A concept may be important for all students to get, but the way I deliver it might change from class to class depending on their readiness level, learning styles or even time constraints. I strive to treat students as individuals and to allow the art room to be a place where they can make personal connections to the materials and techniques offered and feel safe to make mistakes and to grow. Although this was always my theory about how an art classroom should run, it took me time and a lot of reflection and revision in order to reach a place where I can feel I am closer to this goal.

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

I think we can often get in our own way through self doubt or rigidity in our thinking. I realize now, I used to act as though students should be the kind of student I was or should care about the subject matter I find important. Teaching through this paradigm produced some success but not much growth or the overall “ love for the arts” I was hoping to foster. By surveying students, hearing other teachers, reflecting, and trying new ideas, I feel I learned a lot about myself and how to be a better teacher.

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

I am not sure. I guess I believe luck can only get you so far. For real success to happen, hard work and determination has to be part of it.

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

My advice is; do what you know is right, honor your natural instincts and let your classroom be a reflection of who you are and how you want the world to be.

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

If the money went to my classrooms, I would build a ceramics studio at both schools.  If it was for me to use personally,  I’d get an RV and travel around all the parts of the US I have never seen and/or start an arts center.

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

No, I believe all the parts of our journey offer learning experiences to help us evolve.  And, as we go through the various ins and outs of our life, we influence and are influenced by those around us.   As long as we keep learning from our mistakes, working positively and honestly toward our goals, there is nothing to regret.

 

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Who Are They?: Bay Chamber, Part 4

February 18, 2015

The Lullaby Project

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director. You can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/.

The following post was written by Manuel Bagorro, the artistic director for Bay Chambers. Manue can be reached at manuel@baychamberconcerts.org.

Please tell the Maine Arts Ed blog readers about yourself.

Manuel

Manuel Bagarro

I am is originally from Zimbabwe, but moved to London when I was 18 to study classical piano and take part in international piano competitions (sometimes fun, sometimes nightmarish!). I worked as a pianist for many years and then became more and more interested in organizing events, series and festivals, as well as exploring the power of music to change people’s lives – cheesy I know, but I really believe that music has special powers! I founded a large and exuberant festival in Africa (www.hifa.co.zw ), established music programs at several London hospitals and began to curate and present performances. Eight years ago I decided to move to New York City, partnered with Carnegie Hall to establish a new community engagement program called Musical Connections (http://www.carnegiehall.org/MusicalConnections/), and 3 years ago, I proudly became the Artistic Director of Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School in Rockport. Manuel provided the following post on the Lullaby Project.

Provide the background of the Lullaby Project

Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project offers pregnant women and new mothers in challenging situations, their partners and extended family an opportunity to create and share a personal lullaby, with the help of artists working in communities across the country. Carnegie Hall has been running this project in New York City for 4 years, and in partnership with national organizations for the last two years. Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School was the first national organization to offer the project outside New York City, and we are now part of the ongoing national program of lullaby composing and sharing. The project brings together the learning generated through research and evaluation initiatives and shares the songs created through SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/carnegiehalllullaby. Each arts organization partner works with community partners that they select – we’re very fortunate to have a truly amazing partner in Rockport, Wayfinder Schools’ Passages Program, a home-based high school degree program for young parents aged 14 – 20 whose education has been derailed by early parenthood. – http://wayfinderschools.org/passages-program/program-overview. Professional Bay Chamber artists work with a group of young parents from the organization to write personal lullabies for their babies and record them in a professional studio.

What are the benefits to young parents and babies?

Lullaby ProjectBeing involved in making music and creating an intimate lullaby helps to relieve some of the anxiety of participants undergoing pregnancy or early parenthood in challenging social or emotional circumstances. It bolsters self-confidence, promotes communication between parent(s) and baby and enhances participants’ perception of themselves as capable parents and caregivers. Working on the program, we’ve seen the project’s positive impact on the emotional state, relationships and self-image of participants as well as on the quality of participants’ interaction with baby, family members, and site-based caregivers.

What kind of feedback have you received from participants?

We’ve had such a wonderfully positive response to the project, from the participants but also from staff members of Wayfinder Schools. I have a lovely quote from the Director of the Passages program: “The Lullaby Project touched on so many layers of connection that it is difficult to describe its full impact. There was the connection between music and words, students and musicians, mother and child, and the participation in this creative process from thought all the way to the finished product – all to create a lasting memory and legacy. It was truly memorable experience for all who participated, and most especially for the young parents to have this gift for their child.” To read about one NYC participants’ experience of the project, here is an article from the Daily News – http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/teen-mothers-bond-babies-jacobi-medical-center-music-program-article-1.1248008

Are there any ah-ha moments that you can share from this experience you are providing to young people?

I think one of the most powerful moments in the process for me was reading a word chart created from participants’ responses in a Chicago Lullaby Project before and after the project. Here they are!

Before the project

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 11.28.59 AMAfter the project

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Another Teacher’s Story: Kate Smith

February 17, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leader series

This is the first blog post for 2015 on the Phase 4 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative’s (MAAI) Teacher Leaders sharing their arts teachers’ 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 http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI# and learn more about all 61 of the MAAI Teacher Leaders at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/#!teacher-leaders/c1qxk.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.58.23 PMKate Smith is an elementary music teacher at Central Elementary School in South Berwick where she teaches 400 students in PreK through third grade. PreK students receive half a year of music, 30 minutes a week. Kindergarten receive 30 minutes a week and First through Third Grade receive 50 minutes a week. Kate also offers second and third grade chorus during January and February for 30 minutes a week. Prior to teaching at Central, Kate was the Music Director at Presentation of Mary Academy, a private all-girl high school in Methuen, MA. Kate received her bachelor’s degree from USM in 1998 and her Master’s in Technology in Education from Lesley University in 2011. Kate is the Outdoor Classroom Coordinator at her school and the 2014 York County Teacher of the Year and the 2015 District 11 VFW Teacher of the Year.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

The joy on the children’s faces each day as they experience music in its many forms.

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

  1.  Highly trained passionate and effective educators.
  2.  A well planned curriculum with meaningful objectives
  3.  Support from the administration, staff and community. Support should come not only in the form of adequate funding but also through parent involvement and authentic opportunities for collaboration and integration with peers. The Arts MUST have a place at the table.

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

Assessments tell me where we are and inform my next destination. Without them I am left to guess (or worse, assume) that students understand and can perform the content. Frequent assessment assures me they still remember or allows me to fill in the gaps. I refer to my favorite form of assessment as “dipstick” assessments, kind of like checking the oil in your car. Quick, easy and essential. Student centered assessment and proficiency based assessment mean the kids know I am with them to the end. I am going to differentiate until I find the right method for their learning style and I am not going to quit until they have met their objectives.

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

There are so many benefits!!! For one, the teacher leaders are like one big family. Everyone is incredibly helpful and supportive. There are many readily available resources through the initiative that take the guess work out of creating authentic, effective assessments. Best of all, it is a “Judgement Free” Zone. Everyone realizes no journey is the same. We have all received vastly different levels of professional development through our individual districts, and that’s okay The point is to move forward from wherever you find yourself through the arts assessment initiative.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My students. My growth as a teacher too. I am constantly learning and willing to take risks.

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

Isolation. We are often the only music, art or drama teacher in our building. It’s really important that we find ways (and time!) to observe each other, collaborate with each other and share resources. Technology can make this possible, but we have to be willing to take risks, step out of our comfort zones and open ourselves to opportunities for powerful collaboration and personal reflection.

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

Relationships and connections. These include community members, parents, staff, local businesses, our education foundation, local musicians, artists and past and present students.

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

Drink water. Eat breakfast. Go for walks. Build a PLC (personal learning community) comprised of exceptional Arts teachers . Read for pleasure. Go on vacations or staycations. Rest. Remember, you need to be at your best for these kids, they deserve it.

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

I would split it three ways-

  1. a donation to our local education foundation
  2. establish after-school Visual and Performing Arts classes, Culinary Arts programs, and Gardening classes for South Berwick residents ages 3-103.
  3. a donation to Copper Cannon Camp, a free fresh air camp for underprivileged children, located in Bethlehem NH.

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

I am a visionary. We don’t look back. My grandparents never stopped making a difference in other people’s lives. Even in their 90s. I intend to follow in their footsteps.

DSC_0107 - Version 2

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Sir Ken Robinson

February 6, 2015

Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up

I’ve shared several YouTubes, articles, and thoughtful items from Sir Ken Robinson. Sir Ronbinson is an educator who works with school change and cultures around the world. He has a new book being released called Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up. In this video he provides a snippet of what the book is about. I look forward to reading the book.

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Who Are They?: Bay Chambers, Part 2

February 4, 2015

Odeon

This blog post is part of a series called Who Are They? where information is provided for the Maine Arts Ed blog readers to learn about community organizations and institutions that provide educational opportunities in the arts. You will learn that they are partnering with other organizations and schools to extend learning opportunities, not supplant.

Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School is the first organization being highlighted. Located in Rockport, they provide rich music opportunities for students of all ages in the mid-coast area. Monica Kelly is the Executive Director and you can learn more at http://www.baychamberconcerts.org/. This post was written by Monica about their program called Odeon.

Marti Stone photo

Marti Stone photo

I don’t really know how it happened. I am not a strings player. My children weren’t either. But somehow I managed to found Odeon, a community string orchestra in 2000 in mid-coast Maine.

I had been involved with Bay Chamber Concerts for four years as a trustee and kept hearing about the concerns that there were no string ensemble programs in our area and the Next Generation program, a summer camp for Maine youth interested in playing chamber music together, was struggling to find participants. At the same time, my three young boys were attending the Riley School, an arts-focused K-9 school in Rockport and I was chair of the parent committee. The then director, Glenna Plaisted, a true visionary educator, said to me that she thought we should start an orchestra at Riley. Well, the truth was that the school didn’t have enough students to make that happen, so I convinced her to partner with me in writing a grant to the MBNA Foundation, which at that time was funding a lot of arts education programs in our community. Low and behold we were awarded a small sum which we used to hire our first conductor, the amazing Augusto Salazar. Not only was he an amazing musician, he was willing to drive to Rockport each week from Kittery because he believed so much in what we were doing.

Marti Stone photo

Marti Stone photo

So on a cold January night in 2000, eight children, ages 8-18 showed up to audition for the Odeon Ensemble. We had three quite advanced students, and a handful of intermediate and beginning ones to boot. Kindly a couple of the parents who played stringed instruments agreed to sit in and help out. At the debut concert held that spring, the first work on the program was called “Warm-up – the scale in G major”!!!

Quickly the program began to grow and within 5 years we were up to 40 members in three ensembles. Some of the students at that time were quite advanced and we experienced some glorious moments of music before they all graduated and went off to schools like Oberlin, Wellesley, and Tufts. And then, in 2006 we were invited to merge with Bay Chamber Concerts.

Throughout the years Odeon has evolved and the groupings have changed. Our latest configuration is as follows: Allegro, for beginning young string musicians; Symphony, for intermediate youth in strings, winds, brass and piano; and the Adult Ensemble. We perform at least two formal concerts per year and seek opportunities to play in assisted living facilities, schools, etc. We even did a flash mob in Hannaford’s and Reny’s one year!

It has been one of the most rewarding parts of my life to foster this program and see it evolve, grow and adapt to the people who make it happen. I am grateful to the musicians who have led Odeon over the years: Augusto Salazar, Gilda Joffe, Marshunda Smith, Deirdre McClure, Nate Martin and new to this spring, Sarah Glenn, for their contributions in building a community orchestra for mid-coast Maine. And I cannot write a complete story of Odeon’s history without mentioning two supporters from the board of Bay Chamber who have given their hearts and souls to the ensembles because of their belief in the value of being music makers; Eleanor Poe Barlow and Caroline E. Seamans.

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Certification

February 3, 2015

Opportunities for contact hours

Last week the paperwork arrived from the Maine Department of Education Certification office informing me that it is time to resubmit paperwork and a check to continue my certification for another five years. I was a bit nervous since I am not in a school district with a certification committee to help guide me if I have any questions. I read through the paperwork three times just to be sure I understood all that I had to do.

I dragged out my portfolio where I file my proof of contact hours and CEUs looking for the magic “90” hours. I stacked them in order and copied them highlighting the hours so it would be easy to get a total. I was surprised to learn that I had over 200 contact hours.

Periodically I receive desperate emails from teachers asking if I know of any professional development opportunities since they’ve received the same envelope that I did and that they don’t have enough hours. Quite frankly, I am not sure how, in this day and age, someone can not have enough!

For example, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) is offering five professional development opportunities during this school year throughout Maine.

MAAI Logo_Color_TxtRtMAAI MEGA-REGIONAL WORKSHOPS
Details and registration information is available at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI-Mega-Regionals-2014-2015#. Each site has different offerings and you can attend one or more.

The cost is $25 and 5.5 contact hours are offered.

I made that last part nice and large so you can see the contact hour offering quite clearly.

Locations and Dates

Schedule for each Mega-regional

  • 8:15 a.m. Registration begins
  • 8:45 a.m. Opening Session and Morning Workshops
  • 9:10 – 10:20 a.m. Breakout Workshop Session I
  • 10:20 – 10:30 a.m. Break
  • 10:30 – 11:40 a.m. Breakout Workshop Session II
  • 11:40 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch, participants on their own
  • 12:30 – 12:45 p.m. Artist Showcase
  • 12:45 – 2:45 p.m. Session III Large group by Arts Discipline on Proficiency-Based Education and Teacher Effectiveness
  • 2:45 – 3:00 p.m. Closing Session

Maai group 2PM Session

The Arts and Proficiency: What, Why and How?

The afternoon session will be focused around group discussions utilizing key questions on how proficiency (and teacher effectiveness) is being implemented across the state of Maine in our own arts classrooms. Participants will leave with concrete ideas and/or plans to facilitate their own actions. These may lead to breakout sessions to deeper discussions and common concerns. This session will be separated between visual and performing arts teachers.

I hope that you will take advantage of these opportunities to learn from and with your colleagues. Maine has a wonderful network of visual and performing arts teachers who are willing to collaborate and share information. We are so fortunate! Please email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov if you have any questions.

 

 

 

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Playing it Forward

February 2, 2015

Hampden Academy’s Music Industry Class

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.47.57 PMStudents in Pat Michaud’s music industry class at Hampden Academy have created a CD. The class teaches students how to operate audio, work in a music studio, and produce a CD.

We know that this curriculum is not so unusual, but this learning opportunity turned into something larger. Students decided to plan a concert to perform the music that they wrote and included on the CD they created. The proceeds from the selling of the CD has become a way to help out others. At the concert they sold the CD to raise money for the former workers of the Verso Mill workers in Bucksport.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 8.48.53 PMSenior Daniel Rice said: “I think it’s just a great feeling because I get to do what I love and to be able to donate the money it also a great thing.”

And, Mr. Michaud adds, “The nice thing about this is what they’re going to hear mostly tomorrow is all original material. These are all compositions the student have written themselves.”

The students have raised $1000 and there are a few CD’s still available to purchase for $8 by contacting Pat at pmichaud@rsu22.us. And, you can learn more at http://wabi.tv/2015/01/14/talented-young-hampden-musicians-play-it-forward/.

This is not the first time that this type of project has been done at Hampden Academy. You can read about their other projects at the following links.  This is the third collaboration we’ve done. We will sell those for $1 a piece.  Folks can contact me through e-mail me at Hampden Academy pmichaud@rsu22.us

The first time they undertook the project the following was published in the Bangor Daily News
http://bangordailynews.com/2010/12/16/living/hampden-academy-students-get-trained-in-music-industry/?ref=search

An article was published in the Feb. 2011 edition of the Maine Music Educator’s Bulletin. The article is called “Playing it Forward at Hampden Academy” on Pages 26-28 at http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1r1yx/MMEABulletinFebruary/resources/index.htm?referrerUrl=http%3A%2F%2Ffree.yudu.com%2Fitem%2Fdetails%2F288695%2FMMEA-Bulletin-February-2011–Technology-Issue

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