Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Emma Arenstam Campbell

March 17, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leader series

This is the fifth 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.

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Emma Arenstam-Campbell

Emma Arenstam-Campbell teaches dance to students in grades 9-12 at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine. This is Emma’s 4th year working at the school. She has 200 students in 6 classes. She also co-directs the spring musical and is the junior class advisor. She attended Bates College where she studied Dance and Anthropology and is currently a masters degree student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Arts Administration.

What do you like best about being a dance educator?

My favorite part about teaching is the lessons that I am able to share with my students. My main role is to guide students towards a lifelong appreciation for the arts. If they become a talented dancer along the way that’s great but that isn’t my first priority, especially having 200 students from all different backgrounds.

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

  1. Share what you love, what you like, and what you hate. Help students develop their own aesthetic.
  2. Art is not a competition- make sure that your students know that the only person who they should be competing against is themselves.
  3. Be patient! The lesson might not go as planned and that is OK.  Exploration is the lesson as much as the content.

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

Assessment has allowed me to validate and advocate for what happens in my classroom.

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

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative has transformed the way in which I think about my personal assessment as well as the assessment for dance classrooms in general. I have always been a lone star in professional development opportunities as the classroom dance teacher is an uncommon profession in Maine. Becoming a part of this group of amazing teachers has allowed me to connect with educators in a similar capacity and share teaching excellence.

What are you most proud of in your career?

The thing that really invokes a sense of accomplishment is when I see a student have an ‘a-ha’ moment- finally understanding something as a result of THEIR hard work. This can happen in many different ways, but these are the moments when I know that I am in the right profession.

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

My number one barrier is time. I am trying to reach a huge group of students as the sole dance teacher in my school. I try my best and often times work with students outside of school in order to try to connect with them on an individual level.

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

Growing my program from 75 dancers to over 200. I recruited students who never thought they could dance but were very interested in exploring their creativity through movement. I really try to make dance accessible and not exclusive.

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

Patience and flexibility are the two most important things that I attribute to those days when I feel like I am really ‘on’ as a teacher. As we know the ways in which students learn vary from student to student and day to day to the ability to roll with the punches has saved me from flopping in some more challenging lessons.

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

Open a dance school that offers subsidized tuition to students who could not otherwise afford it. This is a dream of mine.

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

I hope nothing! My hope is that I will have a fruitful career advocating for dance in any capacity that I am able.

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MAAI Mega Aroostook

March 16, 2015

Successful day in the County!

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Judy Fricke presenting a music session

“VPA teachers were excited to participate in the whole group discussion regarding Proficiency Based Education. Throughout the day, any ideas, frustrations, successes and strategies were shared.  The over all feel is that arts teachers are leading the way and are indeed positive and ready to keep moving forward!”

Twenty-seven Arts educators came together in Easton, Maine for the Aroostook Mega-Regional Workshops, co-sponsored by Central Aroostook Council on Education (CACE) and the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI).  Everyone who attended agreed that the day was a success and came away grateful and excited for the opportunity to get together for meaningful content workshops and discussion.

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Susan Beaulier presenting a visual art session

The day started with two Zoom presentations; one with MAAI Leadership Team member Rob Westerberg who shared the Maine Arts Assessment Resources website and one with MAAI Leadership Team member Barbara Vinal (from North Carolina) on Technology Tools.

Thanks to the cook staff at Easton school for providing fabulous home-made bread at the make our own sandwich spread featuring salad, cookies and other yummy things!

Planners Easton Music educator Pam Kinsey and Frenchville / St Agatha school district Visual Art educator extend their thanks to David Ouellette of the CACE Partnership for his support, organizational help and his presence!

 

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Barb Packales zoomed in for the tech session

 

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Samantha Davis

March 10, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leaders series

This is the fourth 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.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 4.53.33 AMSamantha Davis is a visual arts teacher for grades 6 through 8 at Molly Ockett Middle School in Fryeburg, Maine. She is in her first year in this position. She teaches all students at Molly Ockett Middle School, which is approximately 240. The students have visual art for one quarter – 5 days per week, 50 minutes per day (and then rotate to Physical Education, Health, or Music for the next quarter(s)). Prior to teaching in Fryeburg, Samantha taught visual art at the high school level at Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan, Maine from 2010-2013. She obtained her B.A. in Art Education at the University of Maine in Orono in 2010.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

I like being a part of my students’ experiences of discovery and creativity; of their excitement with exploring media and engaging in their varied artistic processes.

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

  1. CONNECTION – Arts educators collaborating with one another, administration, parents, and most importantly, students!
  2. RISK-TAKING – A willingness to try something new and different…and do it often.
  3. ADVOCACY – Getting others on board with believing that the arts program is essential to the educational experience of all children.

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

Assessment has taken many shapes and forms in my classroom, but it consistently keeps me grounded. As a teacher, developing assessments requires me to reflect on what is truly essential for my students to know and be able to do as a result of being in the art program. Developing my units, lessons, and projects around assessments keeps everything focused on the end goal. Having clear assessments steers my classroom away from the “opinion-based” or “judgement-based” grading that many students have experienced, and drives it toward meaningful conversation and reflection, authentic learning, and measurable growth.

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

By far, the benefit that stands out in my mind the most is that of connection. In my short career as a teacher, I have already discovered how detrimental it is to be isolated in this field (in particular, as an arts educator). Being a part of MAAI has brought me to the heart of what I do, and that is connecting with others through meaningful collaboration, shared experience, team-building, constructive feedback, and all of the other fruits of being connected with other people who are passionate about what I am passionate about.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I cannot point to a single event or achievement in time, but I am proud of my “spark.” I crave new learning about my field. I am excited about trying new things and I continue to work toward improving myself as a teacher and artist. I am a big-picture person, so I am continually thinking about the vision for my classroom and the art program in my district. I am excited about things to come and I think my “spark” will take me to places I can now only dream of.

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

I think many things get in the way of a becoming a better teacher. First and foremost, I think a teacher can get in his/her own way. I know this to be true from experience. Self-doubt can be crippling and it can have a domino effect.  Teachers also need to take care of themselves (eat, sleep, play) or their work will suffer. Lack of support from administration will most certainly get in the way. Lack of connection with other educators will, too.

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

I have a difficult time thinking of something that I have done that would be considered due to luck or circumstantial, but what I will say (that is somewhat related to the question) is that we teachers (especially arts educators) do a lot of background/behind the scenes work that is not obvious to others. We have to prep materials and space, practice  skills with our students outside of regular class time, test projects before assigning them to students, and the list goes on! What is visible to others is not always the full picture of the work that was put in!

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

Keeping reasonable expectations of ourselves as teachers is important. Celebrating small accomplishments can keep teachers excited and motivated. Fixating on seemingly large shortcomings can set huge obstacles and does not lead toward improvement, but rather more self-doubt and criticism. Being kind to ourselves is necessary before we can be kind to others we work with – especially our students.

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

I would like to expand the art program at my school by obtaining the following: a ceramics studio,  photography equipment, printmaking equipment, standing tables, full-size easels, and funding for field trips.

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

I think I will always have small regrets in life, but in general, I do not have any major ones. I see a life fully lived and many dreams fulfilled. I see many lives I have touched, but most importantly, many lives who have touched mine.

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MAAI Winter Retreat

March 5, 2015

MAAI Teacher Leaders taking the lead

MAAI Group Feb28bLast weekend the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leaders met in Rockland for a professional development opportunity and for phase 5 planning. This is a yearly event, that is not only productive – generating ideas to meet the needs of arts teachers, but it is also a great opportunity to meet with cherished colleagues.

On Friday night Sarah Swain provided a workshop that was called Advocacy Video Creation. The goal was to learn basic technical and design aspects of video-making. The essential questions were: How can video be used as an effective communication tool? and How can I create videos with the visual interest that engage and inform the viewer? Participants created videos on a variety of topics. Thank you Sarah for sharing your wisdom and expertise!

On Saturday the Teacher Leaders met all day at the Gamble Center at the Farnsworth Art Museum. We reflected on Phase 4, celebrated the many accomplishments of individuals, and were provided updates on the work underway. Among the parts to celebrate are how several Teacher Leaders are taking on leadership roles in their schools and/or districts across the state.

Participants were asked to self-reflect on their individual teacher needs on the following topics:  Proficiency-Based Education, Teacher Effectiveness, Students-centered learning, Creativity, Technology, Assessment, Advocacy, Arts Integration.  They each brought an artifact that is symbolic of their MAAI journey. (Where you were, where you are, and where you may be headed?)

This lead to the next part of the day sharing artifacts and noticing similarities among the Teacher Leaders. This helped in determining the goals for all regions of Maine. The goals were condensed for a carousel exercise that generated SOOOOOO MANY WONDERFUL ideas on how to address your needs.

The day ended with a quick feedback that generated a Wordle. This wordle was based on the following question: Write 1-2 words that describe your feelings about MAAI based on your experiences.Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.01.23 PM

And this Wordle was based on the following question: Write 1-2 words that describe your feelings about MAAI as you plan for future activities and professional development.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 10.03.10 PMWe are all looking forward to Phase 5 and we intend to celebrate and I can guarantee you that the many ideas have your best interest in mind to assist you in dealing with the teaching challenges of today.

In the near future I will post the “call for teacher leaders” for Phase 5 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. I hope that you will consider taking on this role. Watch the blog for information.

Thank you to Mount Desert Island High School Art educator Charlie Johnson for creating this video showing the highlights of the MAAI Winter Retreat.

 

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In Today’s News

March 1, 2015

Maine Sunday Telegram

Youth Art Month celebrates the visual arts

Youth Art Month celebrates the visual arts – Read about the present exhibit with 100 Maine student artists from grades PK-12 at the Portland Museum of Art. For several years the Maine Art Education Association and the museum have partnered on the YAM student exhibit. To read the entire article written by Bob Keys please go to http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/01/youth-art-month-celebrates-the-visual-arts/.

Maine Drama Festival signals hopeful change of season

Over 2,500 high school students from 80 schools located throughout Maine will perform their one-act plays at nine sites next Friday and Saturday. This annual event weekend has been taking place since the 1930’s. It is a great way to see several 40 minute plays while you are supporting the school communities. To read the entire article written by Bob Keys please go to http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/01/maine-drama-festival-signals-hopeful-change-of-season.

The playwright’s the star of this show

Morse High School’s one-act play was written by senior Morgan Quigg. Next weekend 60 Morse students involved in the One-Acts will be keeping their fingers crossed that the play ‘Look Up,’ by Quigg will do well. To read the entire article written by Bob Keys please go to http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/01/the-playwrights-the-star-of-this-show/.

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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.

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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

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