Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Jason Bannister

February 28, 2017

MALI Teacher Leader Series

mali_v1_color_100ppiThis is the first blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader stories. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work each Maine visual or performing arts teacher or artist is doing.  CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 81 Teacher Leaders plus 4 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. There have been 72 posted to date. Thank you Jason for sharing your story!

screen-shot-2017-02-26-at-10-11-23-pmJason Bannister presently teaches Theater to grade  7 and 8 students at the Troy Howard Middle School, RSU 71, Belfast. He has taught for 14 years, all in Belfast – 5 years at 4th grade, 3 years middle school ELA, 6 years middle school theater. Jason teaches 250 kids each year, one trimester of performing arts (theater primarily) each year for two years. He also directs the drama club productions and created the Maine Student Acting Competition.

 

What do you like best about being a theater educator?

I have the opportunity to teach something I love to kids, to expose them to theater. The best thing is seeing a student develop an interest in theater from taking the class, and maybe joining the next production onstage.

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

There needs to be support from your staff and administration. You shouldn’t have to sell the importance of theater arts education to them. There needs to be a proper space to rehearse, perform and store costumes, sets and props. And the class needs to be required, but with the understanding that not everyone is ‘into it’ – so you need to find interesting ways to teach kids about theater where they aren’t worried they’ll have to get up in front of the class.

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

I have used many different forms of formative and summative assessment in my performing arts classes. Some are helpful, but sometimes the process is more valuable than the product.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative?

I was given a chance to focus on a particular unit of study I was creating for my classes. I bounced ideas off other theater teachers. I don’t get this chance very often as the only theater teacher in RSU 71.

What are you most proud of in your career?

When I see a former student go on to college and major in theater. Especially when I remember them being shy or not into theater before taking my class or being in a play/musical I directed.

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

I see some teachers using old units over and over. I am always re-inventing units or coming up with new projects. I try to keep what works well and get rid of what doesn’t. When I started my performing arts class years ago lots of kids didn’t like it. This year most kids love it. If I didn’t make changes to what and how I teach I wouldn’t be effective.

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

I guess being a performing arts teacher in a middle school where the class is mandatory for kids to take. I worked hard to get this class created. There just aren’t lots of programs in Maine like what I’ve created. I am honored to have my job, but it’s been (and continues to be) a long road.

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

Fight the mindset some people have about theater arts education – it IS NOT an extra fluff type of subject. You can’t just say ‘oh, well the kids have drama club after school’ – that isn’t the same. Theater arts education is so important in so many ways to so many different kids. Don’t settle – work your hardest to get an equal footing with the ‘core subjects’.

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

That’s simple – I would put it towards building a proper theater to perform in. Enough of these cafetoriums. It’s ridiculous that there isn’t a dedicated performance space in my school district.

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

I have regrets everyday – how I could have taught that better, worked harder to connect with a student, not said something that hurt someone’s feelings. I guess I hope when I’m that old I won’t regret the time I’ve spent teaching theater and the time I’ve missed with my own children.

THE MAINE ARTS LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE

 Committed to the development of Teacher Leaders to ensure deep understanding and meaningful implementation of high quality teaching, learning and assessment in the Arts for all students.

If you are interested in becoming a teacher leader please email Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Ashley Bryan Film

February 26, 2017

Community support

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screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-3-14-47-pm March 17 at 6 pm – Portland Youth Film Festival, Portland, Maine Screening and Q&A of “Ashley Bryan´s World” at the Portland Museum of Art

Synopsis: I Know a Man … Ashley Bryan  is about this 93-year-old creative wonder who skips and jumps in his heart like a child. He served in a World War II all-Black battalion and experienced the racism of a separatist Army and the horrible carnage of D-Day.  As a result he dedicated his life to creating beauty and joy, spreading love and awe through his art. He’s a poet/illustrator of over 50 children’s books, makes magical puppets and sea glass windows from found objects inspired by his African heritage. Ashley lives on the remote Cranberry Islands, Maine and has been using art his entire life to celebrate joy, mediate the darkness of war and racism, explore the mysteries of faith, and create loving community. His life story and the art he makes from this wellspring of experience is an inspiration to people of all ages.

For more information please email ashleybryanfilms@gmail.com.

 

 

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Doodle 4 Google – Maine Winner

February 24, 2017

Medomak Valley Middle School, Waldoboro

A student at Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro has been chosen as the winner of the state’s Doodle 4 Google competition. Ruth Havener, a seventh-grader, is one of 53 state and territory winners whose doodles now have a chance to appear on Google’s homepage in March.

CONGRATULATIONS RUTH!

Medomak Middle School seventh-grader Ruth Havener won the Doodle 4 Google statewide competition with “The Same Ocean in the Future.”

Medomak Middle School seventh-grader Ruth Havener won the Doodle 4 Google statewide competition with “The Same Ocean in the Future.”

The Doodle 4 Google competition is an annual nationwide contest open to students in grades K-12. Students create their own doodle, which must spell the word Google, from any materials they want. The theme of this year’s competition was “What I see for the future.”

According to a press release Havener’s doodle, titled “The Same Ocean in the Future,” depicts a colorful array of  sea creatures. It was selected out of thousands of entries received this year.

An assembly to announce Havener as the state winner will take place at Medomak Middle School on Monday, Feb. 27.
U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, will offer his congratulations to the winning student via video during the assembly.

From Thursday, Feb. 23 through Monday, March 6, anyone can vote for their favorite doodle from the 53 state and territory winners at google.com/doodle4google/vote.html.

The public voting will determine the five national finalists, who will be announced March 31. The finalists will be named from each of the competition’s age groups: grades K-3, grades four and five, grades six and seven, grades eight and nine, and grades 10-12. The national winner will be announced the same day and the winner’s doodle will go live on Google.

The winner will take home a $30,000 college scholarship and his or her school will receive a $50,000 Google for Education grant toward the establishment and improvement of a computer lab or technology program.

Google started the contest in 2008. Last year’s winner was Akilah Johnson, a 10th-grader from Washington, D.C.

This article was written by Alexander Violo and reprinted from the Lincoln County News, February 23rd edition.

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Another Kind of Blue

February 22, 2017

Britain’s got talent

Dance? Media arts? Theatre? Amazing….

 

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Monhegan Residencies

February 18, 2017

Open to Maine Artists and Teachers – Deadline March 17

Photo by Bradley Beukema; 2016 resident and art teacher Krisanne Baker night painting on Monhegan.

2016 resident and art teacher Krisanne Baker night painting on Monhegan.

MONHEGAN—The Monhegan Artists’ Residency is pleased to announce its 2017 residency programs. Residencies are available to Maine-based visual artists during the weeks of May 27 to June 30, and September 2 to October 7. To accommodate the summer schedule of Maine K-12 teachers, there is also a two-week residency from July 2 to 14 open exclusively to art teachers. Applications are now being accepted online at www.monheganartistsresidency.org through March 17.

Krisanne Baker, art teacher at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro, was the 2016 Monhegan Art Teacher Resident. The body of paintings she produced during her two weeks on the island depict land, ocean and expansive skies at night that include planets and constellations.  She often worked outdoors at night wearing small LED lights, with her color palette laid out in consistent, planned manner so as to know what to reach for in partial darkness.

Krisanne Baker Little Spruce Sentinel at Lobster Cove, 2016, Oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches

Krisanne Baker Little Spruce Sentinel at Lobster Cove, 2016, Oil on panel, 24 x 24 inches

In addition to making a body of paintings during her two-week residency, she also did some underwater filming for her next water art activism short.  This continues her way of combining many of her interests through her art practice, her teaching and her environmental work focusing on protecting water sources and water quality.  She is involved with the Medomak Valley Land Trust and engages her high school art students in environmental work. Krisanne is currently showing her work at Husson University in an exhibition titled ‘Water is Life’: Art & Science on behalf of our oceans (January 20 – March 31, 2017). See more about Krisanne at http://www.krisannebaker.com/paintings_drawings__printmaking

Krisanne Baker working on the deck of her Monhegany residency studio, 2016

Krisanne Baker working on the deck of her Monhegany residency studio, 2016

Not just for landscape painters, the Monhegan Artists’ Residency is open to artists working in new media, photography, sculpture, drawing, painting, and multi-media. This year’s jurors include Chris Stiegler, curator, art historian, and chair of the MFA in Studio Art at the Maine College of Art, Portland; Hilary Irons, artist, and co-founder/curator of Able Baker Contemporary, Portland; and Kelly Finlay, a Monhegan Artists’ Residency board member and museum educator at the Farnsworth Museum of Art, Rockland.

Founded in 1989, the Monhegan Artists’ Residency program is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by donors, art galleries, corporate sponsors, and foundation grants.     

Photos taken by Bradley Beukema.  

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Mega Message from Suzanne

February 13, 2017

Teaching as a Craft

Skills, collaboration, support, and innovation –

Quality professional development for educators is characterized by the above areas demonstrating the understanding of introducing, reinforcing and supporting deeper understanding of knowledge and skills. Our profession is a craft.

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Mega-Regional Professional Development opportunities with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, in support with your Maine Arts Leadership Associations, are exponential in value for learning about best practices or expanding your skills to bring back to your school, colleagues, and classroom/studio/stage/rehearsal room.

This is educator to educator professional development – what you need, and when you need it.

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Suzanne Goulet

Yes, the next one is during a weekday – for some an in-service day. Yes, this sometimes means that you will be away from your students artists/performers for one day. And YES, you will be glad you did.  This is the catcher/pitcher conference on the mound – a time to come together, share, and grow. I always leave with gems that impact my students, my practice, my craft, immediately

Please join us, and consider asking someone to join you – for our profession, for your craft.

Looking forward to meeting you at the next Mega-Regional.

Thank you to Suzanne Goulet, MALI teacher leader and visual art teacher at Waterville Senior High School and Maine Art Education Association Teacher of the Year, for writing this blog post!

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Dance Grant Series 3

February 11, 2017

Dance education funding – “Hopes for the Future”

This is the third of three blog posts included, February 9 – 11, describing the dance education residency that took place in December 2016 from a special grant called the “Hopes for the Future” funding. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader and dance educator from Thornton Academy Emma Campbell collaborated and planted a seed and it grew into a dance education opportunity for Maine students. Thank you to John Morris, teaching artist and dancer for contributing this post. He describes the work that he did in MSAD #33 with the grant funding. Please note: funding will be available again during 2017. Please watch the blog and the Maine Arts Commission arts education list-serv for information.

A Teaching Artist’s Perspective

John Morris

John Morris

Thanks to a dance grant created by the Thornton Academy Dance Program and the Maine Arts Commission, in December of 2016 I conducted a week-long arts residency for MSAD #33, in Northern Aroostook County. My approach in working with students in dance is creative, student-centered and standards-based. I give students foundational movement tools to invent and explore their own movement, and I guide them through the process of making their own dances.

In collaboration with visual arts teacher Theresa Cerceo, I worked with a group of middle and high school students, and with S.L.A.M.!, the high school arts advocacy group directed by Ms. Cerceo, to create dances based on a theme of identity and community. The dances were shared during an end of week holiday performance put on at Wisdom Middle/High School.

img_4561During the week, I also worked with music classes at the elementary school in the district. Along with music teacher Charles Michaud, we explored connections between the elements of music and dance. In addition, I worked with Ms. Cerceo’s visual arts classes to explore the same theme of identity and community.

It was a full week working with every grade level, from Pre-K through grade six, to explore their class content in movement. The students created dances based on poems and visual art works they had made individually and as a group in the weeks before the residency. Their dances incorporated the elements of dance movement, including use of different shapes, change of speeds, and variation of high, middle and low levels. We worked together to structure their dances with clear beginnings, middles and endings. We also addressed the crucial life skills of collaborating with others, building confidence, and evaluating work – all in one class session.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-1-51-58-pmI encountered students in the elementary school at every age and developmental level who were eager to move, explore, and make connections to other content areas, including music, visual art and language arts. They were curious, inventive, and open to exploring the arts in a structured way to express their thoughts and feelings.

The middle and high school students, having more time together, were able to more deeply explore the dynamics of working collaboratively, the process of making artistic choices, and polishing artistic work for performance.

The week went by in a blur, and before I knew it, the performance (a full house!) was over, and I was making the long drive toward southern Maine. I felt both satisfied and inspired by the students’ work. What made this residency so successful? Three factors, which I believe are important for the success of any arts residency in the schools, stood out.

Planning and prep work in collaboration with the teacher

img_4610 Ms. Cerceo and I were in contact long before the residency began, brainstorming ideas together using a shared Google Doc that allowed us to work around our busy schedules. We arrived at a theme (identity and community) that would be timely for her students to explore in visual art and writing, and that I could work with easily in dance.

As the residency drew closer, we continued to share documents, trade emails, and supplement with a few timely online conference calls. Ms. Cerceo articulated her plan for exploring the theme with her students before my arrival. I shared an outline of how I would approach the theme in movement based on her work and the student samples she posted online. This step was critical, helping me to be ready with a flexible plan for each class, and know what to expect when I walked into each classroom.

Full support of the school administration

img_4641Ms. Cerceo maintained regular contact with her administrators about our plans. As a visiting teaching artist, it was both reassuring and freeing for me to know that I had their support. I felt free to fully engage with the students in the creative process of dance-making.

The administrators introduced themselves and welcomed me to their schools. The superintendent of schools in the district sat down with me early one morning before classes began to talk about the residency. The teachers I met expressed their support for the project, and turned out in force for the performance on Friday night.

 

Classroom culture

img_4570I could tell that the students were used to focusing on the process of structured creative exploration in their classes. Also, because their teachers had prepared them for my visit, they were excited and positive about our working together. One fourth grade student even sent me a video in advance, inviting me to create a dance with her!

This expectant, growth-oriented mindset set the tone for our time together, and was supported by the collaborative planning Ms. Cerceo and I did beforehand. The connections she and I found between our ways of working helped her to guide the students with confidence that my work with them would integrate with their classwork, and deepen their connections to the arts.

Thank you John Morris for providing this blog post and the work that you did before and during the dance education residency in MSAD #33. I am sure that the learning that you provided will be felt for the lifetime of those involved.

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