Archive for the ‘Curriculum and Instruction’ Category

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Storytelling and Innovation

May 19, 2019

Southern Maine Partnership

The annual conference sponsored by USM and the the Southern Maine Partnership, Assessment for Learning & Leading was outstanding. These year’s theme was Brain-Based Strategies to Cultivate Positive Learning Environments. Conference planners Jeff Beaudry and Anita Stewart  McCafferty did an amazing job planning two days of

Jen Etter

keynotes and sessions that left participants excited and filled with information to use in their classrooms and school districts.  The featured keynote speaker was Dr. Marcia Tate whose work parallels much of the teaching and learning that takes place every day in visual and performing arts education.

Arts education played an important part of the conference as it has each of the past three years. Presenting at the conference were Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI)

Shawna Barnes

Teacher Leader York Middle School Music Educator Jen Etter and MALI Teaching Artist Leader Shawna Barnes. Their session was titled Brain-Based Strategies – Gateways to Creativity, Growth and Recovery. Jen provided information on strategies used in the music classroom that align with the brain research. Shawna offered information the role of the arts has in responding to disabilities and injuries. Each of them used examples from their work as teachers in the different settings.

I had a chance to with Lindsay Pinchbeck and offer a workshop called Storytelling and Innovation – an exploration in arts integration. If you click on the image on the right it will be larger and you can read our agenda. 

The participants were thoughtful and willing to share – opening their thinking and ideas. During part of the session participants had a chance to try Express-a-Book which is an idea created by Falmouth High School music educator Jake Sturtevant, Lindsay Pinchbeck and myself. It’s our answer to traditional book clubs. An opportunity to dive into a resource like a book, TED Talk or a pod cast and instead of only ‘talking’ about it, participants create a response using an art form and share the art with the group. We created it as part of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and have tried it with people around the world through our work with HundrEDExpress-a-Book is part of Jeff and Anita’s recently published book Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners.

Participants used the Hundred site or a segment of The Innovators Mindset by George Couros, Mindset by Carol Dweck or If I Understood You Would I Have This Look on My Face? by Alan Alda. Afterwards they shared their take-aways from these resources so they could help build on everyone’s knowledge. I highly recommend all four resources for independent or collaborative reading with colleagues.

The most fun part of the session was at the beginning when participants used “story starters” and created a dragon together – a technique that we learned from MALI Teaching Artist Leader Nicole Cardano who is the founder of Theater Today.

We provided numerous research reports, articles and links to a variety of resources that participants could follow up with if they wish to learn more on arts integration, innovation, mindset, storytelling and many more topics that are centered on good teaching and learning.

We completed the session by participants providing a “one word poem” – growth, environment, open-minded, transformative, opportunities, engaged, non-linear, and global.

Lindsay and Argy

For those of you who don’t know Lindsay, her bio is below. If you’re interested in purchasing Jeff and Anita’s book please contact them at jeffrey.beaudry@maine.edu and anita.stewart@maine.edu

Lindsay’s Bio – Originally from Scotland Lindsay Pinchbeck came to Maine for her undergraduate degree. Lindsay has been teaching with and through the arts in a variety of settings for the past 20 years. Lindsay is the director and founder of Sweet Tree Arts and Sweetland School, a community organization in Hope, ME offering a K-6 arts Integrated, Reggio Emilia inspired school. Pinchbeck received her Masters in Education through Lesley University’s Creative Arts and Learning program. Lindsay believes the creative arts should be accessible to all. She encourages everyone to be active participants and keen observers with the hope of enriching communities through the arts. Learn more at sweettreearts.org.

 

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Make History

May 12, 2019

Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum

You are invited to Make History at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum

5 Portland Street South Berwick, Maine

Historic New England celebrates the third annual Make History, an exhibition featuring the work of Berwick Academy and Marshwood High School art and music students with a reception on Thursday, May 2, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center and Education Space.

Both the exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public. Make History is the culmination of an educational collaboration with educators Seth Hurd, Raegan Russell, Jeff Vinciguerra, and Julia Einstein, in which students were inspired to create personal meanings from the Sarah Orne Jewett House story through visual and performance-based interpretations. On visits to the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum, students explored rooms and collections, including objects by Marcia Oakes Woodbury and Charles Woodbury, Sarah Wyman Whitman, and Celia Thaxter, investigating the influence of Jewett’s surroundings on her work. One visit took the form of “classroom in the museum,” as students selected a space in the house to study, sketch, or write. Students and teachers came just as in 1891, when Jewett invited artist friends Marcia Oakes and Charles Woodbury to work in her home to immerse themselves in her surroundings and her writing to develop the drawings that would become the illustrations for her book, Deephaven.”

The project was the conceived by Historic New England Maine Education Program Coordinator Julia Einstein. Said Einstein, “I enjoy creating learning spaces to cultivate the creative process. New thinking, and fresh ways of looking excite young people to come up with original ideas.” Visitors to the exhibition will look for ways the students have connected art and history. Two students from Berwick Academy’s Senior Studio Seminar share their thoughts. Eila Shea said, “What resonated with me the most about the Sarah Orne Jewett House were the details, and objects that made up each room. I focused on the small, but beautiful, and often peculiar things that told stories about the history of the house.” Eliana Fleischer spoke of how she found “a way to understand who a person is, is by the books they read. For an author, the books they write serve the same purpose.” Eliana goes on to describe how “Inside Sarah Orne Jewett’s house there is a beautiful library stacked high with books, and filled with furniture of various shapes and textures. I made a print which combines fragments of texture with words that were influenced by that creative place.”

Marshwood High School’s Jeff Vinciguerra, describes how “Everything about this project fits perfectly with my own philosophies as an educator. When students are tasked with designing and making a piece of art which will be displayed in the community, that increased sense of responsibility kicks the students creativity and work ethic into high gear. As an educator I really enjoy this project because it takes students out of the classroom and into the real world and allows us all to see what they are really capable of. The results are consistently impressive. I’m always proud of their hard work and diligent efforts. And to see them connecting in some way to the past history from our hometown is an experience I wish everyone was able to partake in.” Principal, Paul Mehlhorn has expressed an interest in the project becoming a purposeful part of the curriculum going forward where it happens each year.” Raegan Russell, of Berwick Academy adds “the Make History Project has been a thoughtful collaboration between my art students and the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Our students visited the historic home of Jewett, read excerpts of her writing and were invited to experience the space personally and authentically. They were given sketchbook prompts that encouraged them to find what resonated with them, and to discover what questions they had about Jewett, and her time. Our art students further explored these ideas in their sketchbooks, and ultimately through an expressive art work.” Seth Hurd’s Berwick Academy Chorus recorded a period piece of music in the historic house museum to create an audio installation to the exhibition. He is pleased to work on “projects like this one, which align perfectly with our student centered and project -based curriculum at Berwick Academy.”

Make History is on exhibit at the Sarah Orne Jewett Visitor Center until May 18, 2019, and at the Sarah Orne Jewett Museum Education Space until June 30, 2019. Hours are first and third Saturdays, through May, and Friday – Sunday, from June 1 – October 15, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, please call Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center, 207-384-2454, JewettHouse@historicnewengland.org. or visit the website www.historicnewengland.org. The project and exhibition wad funded in part by the Sam L. Cohen Foundation.

Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center is one of 36 house museums owned and operated by Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country.

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Sustainability Festival

May 11, 2019

Sweet Tree Arts

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ECOARTS Project

May 10, 2019

Gulf of Maine   2019 – 2022

Krisanne and Anna

Artist Anna Dibble is working closely with educators on a multi-year project described below. She’s presently matched up with Medomak Valley High School art teacher, Krisanne Baker, for the start of this project. Anna is actively looking for other teachers and schools to work with so after you read this article consider emailing Anna at THIS LINKShe is most interested in schools in the greater Portland area for the school years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. 

The Project

The central physical focus of the project is the making of a large scale visual art installation to be exhibited for two months or longer in at least two public venues. Utilizing a special fusion of art and natural science, this project’s goals are to increase public awareness of the ecological issues, promote stewardship, and illuminate current changes in biodiversity due to human source climate change and pollution in the Gulf of Maine. The project is an educational collaboration, and also an attempt to create an active dialogue between artists, scientists, educators, and students on the subject of environmental action and solution.

Because of its particular rapid warming, and the unique nature of its ecosystem, the Gulf of Maine is on the forefront of the global climate and ecological crisis – which makes it an excellent metaphor for a public work of art in Maine.

Integral to the project – a catalytic way of public engagement with the installation – will be an accompanying program of related arts events, including music, poetry readings, science talks, and possibly a panel of civic-minded artists and scientists discussing the biodiversity crisis in the Gulf of Maine, and common goals related to the emergency situation.

The Installation

The elements of the installation and the 2D wall displays will be created by a collaboration of over a hundred art and science students – middle, high and college levels, professional artists and filmmakers, lighting and sound designers.

Anna Dibble will direct the entire project with advice and help from a multi generational Creative Team of 12.

Science

The lifecycles and current climate change challenges, as well as the changes in biodiversity will be an important part of the program when I and the other teachers are working with the students to create the sculptures.

First Venue

The Commons at Bigelow Laboratory:  Within a 24 by 7 by 30 foot area between the windows and balcony edge – a facsimile of a Gulf of Maine ecosystem – cross section of upper atmosphere, sky and ocean.

An explosion of hanging light sculpture constructed of marine debris and recycled/found materials: From the top down: Depiction of CO2 overload above sky of sandpipers, knots, plovers, curlews and other endangered flying migrant shorebirds, salt marsh sparrows, puffins; a centrally located 20 foot Right Whale encountering a wild tangle of monofilament, plastic bags, soda bottles and fishing nets; schools of species chosen as symbolic representatives – herring, tuna, cod. Leatherback sea turtles – all  suspended at various levels from the ceiling and stretched cables between the windows and the balcony. Also, ‘alien’ species moving into the Gulf from the south: Green crab, black bass, squid. The ‘texture’ of the installation: hundreds of hanging, floating enlarged versions of Calanus and other microbial  marine animals, jelly fish, algae.  

Wall displays

Anna sharing information in Krisanne’s art room at Medomak Valley High School, Waldoboro

A special film about the process of the project: Interviews with students, artists, teachers and scientists, footage of beach field trips, and edited documentation of the building of the whale, the other animals and elements of the installation.

Two Timelines: Life on earth and Human life on earth. A chart showing ten year increments of the CO2 overload from the time of the industrial revolution until 2021.

The Animals: From the Calanus to the Right Whale: Each represented animal in the installation will have a yet to be determined visual art piece showing the changes in its life cycle, geographic location due to climate change and other human caused impact.

Thank you to Anna for providing the content for this community. 

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Gone to Malawi

May 2, 2019

Water is Life

Thank you to Krisanne Baker, Ecological Artist and Educator, teaches Visual Arts at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro,  who provided this blog post. It was previously published in the Union of Maine Visual Artists Journal and again in the Courier-Gazette newspaper. You can see Krisanne’s artwork at HER WEBSITEKrisanne has continued the work that was started in July 2016, Arts Integration workshops for teachers in Malawi, Africa. If you’re interested in learning more please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

At this time last year, Medomak Valley High School art teacher Krisanne Baker took her mantra, “Water is Life,” to Malawi, Africa, where she educated teachers at the top of a rainforest about their water systems, and then made art about preservation and conservation.

I found myself waking up, in what I thought was a National Geographic magazine spread, at the top of a rainforest mountain in Malawi, Africa. Passion can take you on some funny paths. Ten years ago I could easily have imagined a safari in Africa, but not for the reason that got me there in April 2018 with my teaching colleague, Melissa Barbour, who had invited me to collaborate with her. My reason for embarking was water, the rains of Africa, and the passion to make and empower change.

My day job for the past 25 years has been as a crazy high school art teacher. I get a kick out of working with hormonal teenagers getting ready to jump into life. When people find out that I teach at the local high school, they say, “Oh, thank you!” They can’t imagine why I’d be crazy enough to want to spend all day with their kids, but they are grateful.

Teaching also funds my main job – I mean the one in my head and my heart – being a painter; and all the expensive art supplies that go along with it. Once my son was old enough, I finally had the opportunity to work on a Master of Fine Arts. I didn’t do it to become a better teacher, although it did make me that, but to get deeper into my own work. You see, I’d always felt like there was something missing.

One of the hardest and yet simplest things to put together as a research thesis in grad school was what I was passionate about. I knew it was water. But where to go from there? Twelve years ago, there were no front page headlines about climate change; Flint, Michigan; Nestlé Corporation or drought. Why water? I’d spent years making paintings of its many moods and atmospheres. But the reveries just weren’t enough. What it came down to is that I CARE about water. And when you look at the myriad ways in which it touches our lives and makes our lives possible, I thought, well, EVERYBODY should care about water!

My research led me down a road I never thought possible – one that scared the pants off of me – ACTIVISM. “Oh, no, I can’t do that! I don’t know the first thing about it… what would I say? What could I possibly do? Does that mean I have to give a performance or something? Wait, no, I can’t do that, I’M AN INTROVERT!”

All I can say is, introvert or extrovert, if you are passionate about something, you find a way to share it with people. The hardest thing I found was to stay positive and not blame or make people feel bad about all the difficult water situations. I found the most meaningful way to bring about a change is to educate people. With knowledge comes the care and the desire to do positive helpful things. Actions start small and grow bigger, bolder and louder.

First I did my work in true introvert style. I made short videos, using myself as a model, superimposed upon various water situations that need our attention. That way I could perform, but didn’t have to come eye to eye with an audience. But after my short films, I began having to do question and answer talks, or tell stories… or give a gallery talk about series of paintings I made to raise awareness of water quality, chemical infiltration and women’s body burdens.

Five years ago, I began incorporating my water awareness work into my classroom teaching. I developed the “Gulf of Maine: Endangered Ocean Creatures” curriculum and “Gulf of Maine: Dare to Care.” Students wholeheartedly engaged. When I was presented with the idea of interdisciplinary teaching in Africa to teachers in a remote area, the first thing I looked up was their connection to water. My first thoughts were the Darfur droughts and water wars between Israel and Palestine. The area where I was to go was water rich in comparison. Malawi, if you don’t know where it is – I didn’t – is just inland from the Eastern shores of Africa, and is home to one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the continent, Lake Malawi. It’s just above Mozambique.

My mission was to incorporate art and the local rainforest ecology in a teachable curriculum for the Ntchisi district teachers, in the hopes that they would implement local ecological stewardship through art and action. When we think of rainforests, we usually think “rich in resources,” which they are. Rainforests currently face major deforestation problems, not only due to removal of rare and beautiful woods, but also through exponentially increasing populations – a global problem. I hired a forest ranger to guide 12 teachers and me through the Ntchisi rainforest. We learned about the water system, in concert with the plants and animals, and how everything is connected through water. Back in a classroom, I drew global water systems on a chalkboard. I talked about how much the ocean covers the planet, and how we need to care for all waters, as they continually circulate from oceans to clouds to mountains to rainforests, and beyond. There were looks of amazement, and lightbulbs glowing in the minds of these remote educators. I was amazed that this was new knowledge to them, but in a landlocked very remote area, what else should I expect? I was grateful that they were receptive and completely engaged and passionate.

We discussed the water sources that humans use, the mountain rainforest, and how people cutting down trees for cooking fuel would eventually collapse the water system. Malawi is the world’s second poorest country. This mountaintop population of about 40 small villages has no running water and no electricity, no fuel other than wood. When I say poor, I mean to write on a piece of paper, a teacher would first divide it into four quarters before handing it out, if they had any. Children walking with me on the road between the school and the Go! Malawi compound would ask for a sweet. If I didn’t have any, they would ask me for a pencil. They are hungry to learn. Books are a rarity. A current fundraising project begun by an 8th grade student in Maine through the Go! Malawi non-profit will build the first mountain library in the Ntchisi region, hopefully in 2020. (Visit go-malawi.org/donate-online/ if interested in making a donation.)

I led the teachers to incorporate their drawings (images from our rainforest walks, talks and microscope viewings) into plans for three large, painted murals. Each mural showed the place, the cycles of water, plants, trees, animals, people, fish, phytoplankton and zooplankton. I brought a digital microscope, which we plugged into a solar inverter at the Go! Malawi compound. Each told a visual story of how we are all connected through water and how we must care for this place to protect the water. Each mural had the simple words: Water is Life / Madzi ndi Moyo.

At the end of two weeks, my teachers had become new water art activists. They had a plan to circulate the murals amongst several schools, with thought-provoking questions to spark discussions with their students. We have future plans through Go! Malawi to underwrite tree planting workshops and do-it-yourself solar cookers. Until my workshop, many of the teachers had not ever been in the rainforest at the top of the mountain. They thanked me for opening up that part of their world to them, along with the concept and practices of stewardship. I thanked them by asking them to engage their students, and left a suitcase of art supplies for them to make more murals in their classrooms as constant reminders of the importance of water to our lives. Someday I hope to meet up with one of those rainforest village children who has become a water activist.

Krisanne Baker is a Waldoboro artist, an art and ecology educator at Medomak Valley High School, a former professor at the University of Maine Farmington and an avid ocean advocate. Her work concerns water quality, availability and rights, both locally and globally. Baker’s multimedia installations and paintings are studies of the patterns of the natural world, arrangements of colors and ocean life in macroscopic and microscopic views of the “heart of the planet.”

Baker exhibits nationally, gives talks internationally and collaborates with others. She was recently a Visiting Artist in Residence at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in its world-renowned living marine algae lab. This collaboration will result this summer in a large-scale installation of phytoplankton created as phosphorescent glowing glass sculptures.

Baker’s paintings can be seen locally at Caldbeck Gallery, 12 Elm St., Rockland and online at KrisanneBaker.com.

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LEAPS Celebrates Student Art

April 29, 2019

LEAPS of Imagination

Working Across Communities

A Celebration of Student Art

presented by

Thomaston’s + Cushing’s Second + Fourth Graders

LANGLAIS SCULPTURE PRESERVE, Cushing

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 12:15 pm

This LEAPS’ program has been made possible by

Maine Arts Commission, Maine Community Foundation, Jane’s Trust, and RSU 13

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Teaching Artist Professional Development Workshop

April 23, 2019

Space limited

The Arts Commission is providing a one-day professional development workshop for Maine Teaching Artists.
Monday 17 June 2019
8:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Only 20 spots available – REGISTER TODAY
Viles Mansion/Governor Samuel Cony House, 71 Stone Street, Augusta.
$25.00. Registration is required.
Purpose
The workshop is focused on the role and benefits of a teaching artist. We will address how to structure and market a residency as well as tips for communicating and collaborating teachers,  administrators, and community arts representatives. The workshop will include resources and techniques on applying your expertise as an artist to the structure of your work as a teaching artist including communication tips, connecting standards and assessments in your lessons, promotional information, funding opportunities, messaging and much more.
Outcomes
  • Information on applying your expertise as an artist to the structuring of your lessons and residencies.
  • Hands-on experience in relating the learning standards and assessments to your work.
  • Participation in sessions that are planned to fit your specific needs as a teaching artist.
  • Promoting yourself and your work as a teaching artist
Workshop Presenters
  • Tom Luther – Teaching Artist, Musician, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teaching Artist Leader
  • Lindsay Pinchbeck – Arts Educator, Founder and Director Sweetland School, Hope
  • Kate Smith – Elementary music educator, Central School, South Berwick
Please note: To be eligible to apply for the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster teaching artists must attend the one-day workshop.
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