Archive for the ‘Curriculum and Instruction’ Category

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Falmouth High School Making Music

November 30, 2020

Recognizing Veterans Day

Across the state and country it is a tradition in many schools that the music curriculum includes a Veterans Day program. With a pandemic underway these programs have been altered and in many cases eliminated.

CONGRATULATIONS Falmouth High School students and staff for working together to make this happen. Jake Sturtevant and Wendy Northrup, Falmouth High School music educators, made some adaptions this year. The concert band and chorus played on the football field and in the bleachers two selections that have been posted online for all to appreciate.

STAR SPANGLED BANNER (CONCERT BAND)- Veterans Music Performance 2020  

MY COUNTRY TIS OF THE (CONCERT CHOIR)- Veterans Music Performance 2020 

We all know that it takes cooperation and collaboration from many to put together a virtual performance – students, parents, music teachers, administrators and maintenance staff. The reality is that in a normal year the rest of the world most likely would not see/hear this performance. Another silver lining of the pandemic world.

I understand that there will be more virtual performances in their future. You can find those at the Falmouth Music website.

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Celebrating Indigenous Song

November 29, 2020

Global Oneness Project

Global Oneness Project is providing incredible resources which you will find below and linked.

We are part of an old story, and involved in it are migrations of winds, of ocean currents, of seeds, and songs of generations of nations. 

—Joy Harjo, member of the Mvskoke Nation and first Native American Poet of the United States

Songs often reflect cultural values, ethics, and beliefs. In Indigenous cultures, songs are passed down from generation to generation and contain stories that honor ancestors and the living world: rivers, the earth, and animals. Many Indigenous songs do not translate directly into another language, a reflection of how the messages are unique and specific to people and place. 

In partnership with Google Earth’s Voyager story, Celebrating Indigenous Languages, we produced an in-depth discussion guide, Exploring Indigenous Language Vitality, which provides ways for students to explore the linguistic diversity and vitality of Indigenous languages from speakers around the world. Students discover how Indigenous languages are interconnected through identity, cultural heritage, traditional ecological knowledge, and how Indigenous peoples and communities are a vital part of the fabric and story of humanity.


Use the following four question sheets we developed to further explore the Google Earth Voyager story, which contains eighty-four Indigenous peoples who share their favorite phrases and songs. Students are encouraged to make their own observations and connections. 

Margaret Noodin—American poet, linguist, and Anishinaabemowin language teacher—briefly joined us during our recent webinar, “Enhancing Our Understanding: Learning and Teaching About Indigenous Cultures,” with Christine McRae from Native Land Digital. She said that one of the things she learned from her father and paternal grandmother was “the ability to listen to the world singing” around her. And, with that, she said, “there is a desire to sing back to it.” Listen to Noodin sing a beautiful poem, “Chickadee Song” (at the 1:09:55 mark) in her Native language, Anishinaabemowin. There is so much joy in this song.  

If you use any of these resources in your classes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director of the Global Oneness Project would love to hear from you by emailing info@globalonenessproject.org.

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Thanksgiving Takeaway

November 23, 2020

Food for thought

Susannah Remillard is a language arts teacher in Cape Cod where she has been working to “present a balanced Thanksgiving story to students.” She has been building her knowledge by participating in professional development online sessions being offered by the National Museum of the American Indian, Shelburne Farms and the Tarrant Institute at the University of Vermont. The archived webinar is available at THIS LINK.

Recently she wrote Thanksgiving Takeaway for the Atlantic Black Box Project. These are her sharing points taken directly from Susannah’s writing:

  • Scrub the word tribe. So many good things happen when you focus on the indigenous groups that live in your particular area and use their names. Adopt words like peoples and communities. Drop Squanto for Tisquantum and use Ousamequin instead of Massasoit. These may seem like small switches, but the thinking behind them, and the thinking you ask students to do because you have made these priorities, can teach them much about honor and respect.
  • Release the primary sources into the classroom. Students need the skills we teach with primary sources, the skills of discernment and comparative analysis, even though these documents can be challenging to analyze. Present them with voiceovers. How is your colonial English accent? It doesn’t really matter. When students examine sources from a time period, they feel that they are solving the puzzles of the past, so they often come to realizations in authentic and deeply felt ways. Give them the time and space to do this work.
  • Talk about the difference between inaccurate and inappropriate. Talk about how an inaccuracy can start a conversation, but inappropriateness can often shut one down. Bring in the mascot debate, even when it’s hard to talk about or you can’t find an easy counter argument for every justification. Use examples with white people. Talk about pain. These are important conversations that bring up hard historical truths that need unpacking today. You are in a position to do this.
  • Finally, just keep doing the work. It took years for our educational system to look like it does today. It’s not a bad system, but we know how to break through some of the most damaging remnants of our colonial past, as long as we keep doing the work.

What Susannah says makes good sense and reminds me of the work my colleagues and I did when we established a Holocaust unit when we realized that the number of survivors of the Holocaust were dwindling. Primary sources and resources on the topic are plentiful today. A fair and comprehensive curriculum honoring and recognizing truth is at the foundation of education that we must all be committed to and strive for in all subjects – for the learners we presently teach and the ones not born yet.

Susannah teaches language arts at Cape Cod Lighthouse Public Charter School. She holds degrees from Colby College and the University of South Carolina and is a National Geographic Certified Educator, an NEH Summer Scholar, and a lifelong Cape Codder.

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Samantha Smith Challenge

November 19, 2020

Guidelines available

The guidelines for Americans Who Tell the Truth‘s (AWTT) Samantha Smith Challenge are posted on the website (www.americanswhotellthetruth.org). Connie Carter, Education Director, from AWTT hopes that you and your students will take this opportunity to engage in this challenge as we work collectively to find creative and powerful ways to make our society stronger.

MISSION

The Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) is a dynamic educational program for Maine middle and high school students that uses art to to build a bridge between the classroom and the world to create curious, courageous, and engaged citizens. SSC projects teach students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them.  

Maine student, Peace Activist, 1972-1985

SSC 2020-2021: Show US Who You Are

As Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) reflects on the past year and looks forward to the months ahead, we are asking students this year to focus on one of three critical themes – racial equity, climate change, and health care. The SSC asks students to use their voices on one of these topics, take action, and Show US Who You Are. AWTT portrait subjects model how the beliefs, voices, and actions of youth can influence important social justice issues. Check out: 

Kelsey Juliana
Zyahna Bryant
Claudette Colvin
Becci Ingram
Rachel Corrie
Barbara Johns
LeAlan Jones
Nicole and Jonas Maines
Chloe Maxmin
and, of course, Samantha Smith

There is no deadline for registering unless you want to have a virtual visit Robert Shetterly and Connie. Please contact Connie Carter at connie@americanswhotellthetruth.org with question or if you’d like to connect with any of the living portrait subjects about your projects.  

A warm message from Connie: “Thank you all for being phenomenal educators in a time that demands so much.  Your students are very fortunate to have you!

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Watershed Resources

November 18, 2020

New resources are now available about finding, processing, and creating with native Maine clay. With support from the Maine Arts Commission and the Anonimo Foundation, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts education team has created resources for teachers, students, and makers interested in working with clay found in Maine’s great outdoors. Follow the link below to access videos and tutorials on digging and processing glacial marine clay.  

The videos feature Watershed and Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Malley Weber.

The Maine Clay Tutorials are interesting and creative, I’m sure you and your students will learn from them and enjoy them.

Artist Malley Weber
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Teaching and Learning Outside

November 17, 2020

You in or out or ?

During the last few months we’ve been hearing about moving the classroom outside since it is safer than being inside during the pandemic. Many teachers patched together how to teach online in the spring, the summer studying how to teach online and simultaneously with students in person. Many are holding their breath that the pandemic doesn’t worsen so they are forced to go full time online once again and I see in the news this morning that is happening in some schools across the state of Maine.

In the Maine Sunday Telegram this past weekend an article was included written by Rachel Ohm about what many Maine school districts and teachers are doing to move learning outdoors. The benefit to students learning visual arts outside are numerous. Close observation for drawing, painting, sculpting and actual experiences with a variety of textures are just two examples that make the curriculum more authentic and engage learners at a deeper level.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Katie West teaches an outdoor art class to third graders in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

LYSETH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The article includes how art teacher Katie West is using an outdoor classroom at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland. As long as her students are safe she plans to continue teaching outside. Her classroom includes a tarp with waterproof cushions and stumps for students to stay appropriately space. I’m sure some of you are wondering about the winter elements and learners being prepared with the clothing to keep them warm. Fortunately the school district is using some of their relief funds to purchase clothing for students; 500 hats and 1,000 pairs of gloves have been distributed to students. Six-hundred pairs of snow pants are expected to arrive after Thanksgiving. An order of fleece will be cut up into blankets and neck warmers. Katie has received a $1,000 grant to start a gear exchange for the students at Lyseth.

MORE PROGRAMS

South Portland Schools have created over 90 outdoor learning spaces across eight schools for outdoor instruction to take place. The grades K-5 students in Freeport have the option for remote learning with the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment. In Alna the the PK-grade 5 Juniper Hill School has been teaching and learning outside since it was established in 2011 with the school’s focus on nature. At Sweetland School in Hope (where I teach) over the summer a gazebo was built so teaching and learning can take place in a location protected from the elements. Along with the gazebo they have a greenhouse complete with a wood stove that is used for another outdoor learning space.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Third grader Gianna Meas works on her painting of a tree during an outdoor art class in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

KATE EHRENFELD GARDOQUI

About a year ago Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui wrote an article that was published in Education Week called The Irrefutable Case for Taking Class Outside. She told a story about being at a Teacher of the Year event when someone made this comment to her: “Oh, you do the nature stuff, right? That sounds so fun!” As visual and performing arts educators we can relate to that type of comment, right? Kate works with the Great Schools Partnership and is the cofounder of White Pine Programs, a nature-connection organization in southern Maine. She was a finalist for the 2011 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Needless to say Kate is no slouch when it comes to teaching and learning. She included in her article that teachers who simply don’t know what is taught and learned in outdoor education can’t possibly understand the potential of the curriculum. Her story drives the point home about how we not only have to education children but adults as well.

I heard from Kate yesterday and she said how inspiring the work that Maine schools are doing opening the door to incorporating outdoor learning throughout the school day. She shared information about three schools.

  • Kingfield Elementary, where teacher Selina Green Warren has spearheaded a vibrant gardening program, and principal Johanna Prince has supported many teachers in exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning. LEARN MORE. Selina’s work was started before the pandemic; when teachers at her school started searching for ways to bring learning outside, they realized what an amazing asset Selina’s garden was.
  • Great Works School in South Berwick has also been doing some amazing work on building year-round environments for outdoor learning. Here is an article about LEARN MORE.
  • Kate recently published a blog on the Great Schools Partnership page about some other programs that have been inspiring her. LEARN MORE.

KATE’S WISH

” On the whole, my deepest wish is that one legacy of this pandemic is that more teachers will recognize the incredible value of learning experiences that don’t happen inside classrooms. There’s been so much loss, but I’m hoping that this might be one silver lining.

There’s plenty of resources available for those considering ‘taking your classroom outside’ I certainly agree with Kate and in addition I know that quality education programs in the Arts are not only providing deep meaningful learning but holding the hope in our hearts and minds that we will get through this pandemic and be better people for it!

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HundrED

November 12, 2020

Global collection announced

Last week in Helsinki, Finland during the HundrED Innovation Summit 100 leading innovations in K12 education from around the world were announced. These free resources are part of the 4th Collection. The goal is to inspire a grassroots movement by helping pedagogically sound, ambitious innovations to spread and adapt to multiple contexts around the world.

Unfortunately, the in-person summit had to be adapted this year to an online opportunity. Luckily this didn’t get in the way of providing inspirational speakers, panels, and discussions for all participants. Educators were invited to share their creative ideas with an audience from around the world.

HundrED partnered with Lego to release a Spotlight Report on Creativity answering the question: How can we effectively nurture creativity in education? The report highlights that there are no shortages of ideas around the world that are scalable and impactful. You can access the report and read what was learned. I’m sure it will be important information for you navigating education at the local district and community level.

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Congressional Art Awards

November 5, 2020

Opportunity for high school students

The Congressional Art Awards has taken place each spring since 1982. This is a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent across the country and in each congressional district. Since its inception more than 700,000 high school students have participated.

2020 District One Winner
Gus by Alek Gideon
Grade 10, Freeport High School
Art Teacher: Kimberly Medsker-Mehalic

This opportunity is open to all high school students. The overall winner of each participating congressional district will have the opportunity to have their work displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol for the entire year, beginning in June. In addition, students will be flown to Washington, D.C. for the official opening of the show in June.

The Maine Arts Commission partners with the Maine College of Art (MECA) and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards to select the artwork. Artwork that MECA has invited to exhibit for the annual Maine Regional Scholastic Art Awards are automatically submitted to be juried for the Congressional Art Competition.

2020 District Two Winner
Noor Aden by Carolyn Adams
Grade 12, Lewiston High School 
Art Teacher: Sarah Stocker

For more information please visit the Maine Arts Commission’s website or the Federal Congressional Art Competition website or email Pamela Moulton at pmoulton@meca.edu.


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Art and Climate Change

November 2, 2020

Student response 

Thank you to Cynthia Pease, art teacher at Deer Isle Stonington High School, for providing the information for this blog post.

The Deer Isle Stonington High School 8th grade Art students have produced a number of paintings reflecting their thoughts and feelings about climate change and their global concerns.  In this show, you will see hope, anger, humor, and a plea for everyone to wake-up and take action.  Above all else, the art show reflects the concerns our students have for their future.  This show is about raising awareness!

In order to achieve this level of work, students researched the topic they connected most with.  There were weekly critiques and class discussions on each topic chosen.  Sketches were created and refined with a focus on the Elements and Principles of Art and included Type Face as an element of their designs.  Color compositions and final drawings were created prior to the final work being painted.  These students “earned” a higher level of recognition because of the hard work, grit, awareness, and level of honesty they have portrayed in their final work. 

To bring this show into the public light, we give great thanks to the climate change organization, Climate Action Net (CAN), and to the DIAA Gallery for hosting this show.  Other elements of this initiative included a conversation with these young artists about their work and the climate situation they are inheriting. The interviews were conducted by Rob Shetterly of Americans Who Tell the Truth.  The paintings will be displayed on the CAN website in order to select a painting which  powerfully communicates a young person’s view of Climate Change. The most popular painting will be reproduced on ‘T’ shirts and offered for sale in order to raise money for school ecological initiatives, such as solar panels.

Special thanks to Tony Ferrara for his support, commitment and passion to inspire and motivate young people to take action.  From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you!  Our deep gratitude goes to DIAA for hosting this event.

Cynthia expresses many thanks to Dennis Duquette for positive energy and support and Little Eagle for making all the frames.

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Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM

October 28, 2020

13 Strategies for Making Thinking Visible in the Classroom

For many educators focusing on the process and not the product has been a gradual change. The pandemic has forced this shift rapidly and educators are gracefully embracing it in many cases. This requires a growth mindset and ideas and suggestions from supportive colleagues. Susan Riley’s Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM has put together a comprehensive list of strategies that you can apply (in person and/or remotely) in your classroom environment that will make your students thinking visible.

Why make learning more visible you may wonder? Critical and creative thinking skills are an integral part of teaching and learning, always have been part of arts education. I’m glad that other educators have gotten on board with this in this 21st century. One key for developing and assessing critical and creating thinking skills is to making thinking more visible. If we can see the process students are using to analyze problems, make predictions and draw conclusions, teaching and guiding students thinking becomes easier.

I encourage you to take a look at the ideas Susan Riley suggestions below to support your teaching and students learning.

  1. Use Artful Thinking Routines
  2. Try Close Reading of an Art Composition
  3. Connect with Cooperative Poetry
  4. Explore Ekphrasis Poetry for Vivid Language
  5. Generate One Word Focal Points
  6. Develop Collaborative Narrative
  7. Sketch to Write
  8. Create an Art Recipe
  9. Design Haibun Poems
  10. Perform a Human Slideshow
  11. Build Summarizing Skills
  12. Composing a Soundtrack
  13. Produce Curriculum-Based Reader’s Theatre
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