Archive for the ‘Curriculum and Instruction’ Category

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In Today’s News

April 17, 2017

Poet Brian Evan-Jones

“I create a blur of color,” said one young poet.

Another student wrote, “I’m a shiny pearl, white and precious.”

“I remind you of the memories that have happened in the past,” a student wrote.

“It was as if I was saying I love you mom and dad with my eyes,” another young poet wrote.

Brian Evans-Jones

These are some of the lines that 2nd graders at Central School in South Berwick have written as part of an artist-in-residency with poet Brian Evans-Jones. Brian is on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster and has created a program called “Literacy Through Poetry.” The residency at Central School was made possible through a grant from the Marshwood Education Foundation.

Deb Cram wrote the above for seacoastonline.com. You can view a video and read the rest of the article by CLICKING HERE. Thanks to Central School music educator Kate Smith for sending me the information to share!

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Jean Phillips

April 11, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the seventh 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 77 posted to date. Thank you Jean for sharing your story!

Jean Phillips has been a teacher at Wiscasset Middle High School for fifteen years. Originally hired to teach English, but, in 2008, when the drama coach and director left, she picked up the three drama classes. In 2010, when the person hired to direct the One Act Festival play suddenly quit, the opportunity to direct came along. The following year, Jean was “hired” to teach three drama classes: Acting Workshop, Children’s Theatre, and Tech Theatre Design and to direct the two yearly productions. She has been doing both “jobs” ever since. Presently, Jean also teaches the 8th Grade drama component of their Allied Arts program. Her  yearly responsibilities include two public performances – one in the fall and the One Acts Festival piece – creating, building, or procuring all the sets, costumes, and props, as well as the maintenance, storage, and upkeep of the lights and the stage. She usually teaches nine to twelve 8th graders per quarter and 10-15 students per year in the Acting Workshop class per year; 8-12 students per year in the Children’s Theatre class; and 20 – 30 students per year in the Tech Theatre Design class. Jean’s Acting Workshop class involves teaching the terminology specific to theatre, stage positions and body positions – creating characters through analysis and fulfilling the performance standard by producing a public performance piece. Children’s Theatre begins with each student reading a children’s book, creating a story board for the book, a group decision of which play be the best to produce, writing a script, practicing together, and putting on a public performance – sometimes with children in the audience. Tech Theatre Design involves the technical aspects of theatre – specifically the design and construction off a set, sometimes the design of costumes, if time permits lighting and makeup.

What do you like best about being a theater educator?

My most favorite part of being a theatre teacher is watching students become hooked on working on the stage – either behind the scenes or as actors. I love that many disenfranchised students have found a home in theatre and even if they don’t pursue it any further than high school, they will have gained skills that will carry them throughout life.

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

The three essential things to a successful performing arts education is full support by administration, parents, and state; less interference by outside agencies; and fewer budgetary constraints.

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

I am just beginning to utilize more formative assessment in the classroom. The public performance has always been the summative assessment, but I have found it important to the success of the summative assessment if more formative assessments are given.

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

Before becoming involved in MALI, I taught my three classes and directed my plays. Now, I have never been as involved with professional development for the arts as I have this year. I have made more contacts and found advocates. I have also been able to engage more students in advocacy for the arts, too.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of two things: first, that I have been directly responsible for having students opt to become theatre arts majors in college; and two, that students who have not normally found a home in high school have found a safe haven on stage.

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

For me there are two things that get in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as an educator: people who have no idea what happens on stage telling me how to do my job – the more constraints put on me by bureaucrats makes connecting with students harder because I’m spending more time with pointless paperwork than working directly with the students; and my own inhibitions. I am not a risk-taker and feel safer with the tried and true.

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

My whole life has been about hard work and determination. I have major anxiety and live my life in stress. In spite of this, I have earned two BA’s and an MA – all because I do not believe in quitting. I broke my leg my third year of getting my MA and learned to drive with my left foot so I could continue going to class because I knew that if I took the rest of the semester off, I would never go back. I set my sights on a goal and just push forward since I’ve never been very lucky or relied on circumstances to get what I want.

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

Wow – I’d tell them there’s a fine line between keeping discipline and being a hard nose about following the rules. I’d tell them that there will be times when you won’t sleep because you’re worried, or you’re scared, or you’re frustrated, or you’re stuck – and all of those sleepless nights will be worth it when just one student comes back to thank you or remembers you fondly later in life. I’d say that no matter how much your budget gets cut just keep on keeping on. Arts education is important and students need this creative edge as well as a haven – be these things and more.

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

If I had $500,000 I would build a separate arts facility for Wiscasset Middle High School – one with adequate space and light for the visual arts, a clean, soundproof room for band and chorus, and a dedicated space for the construction of sets, the construction and storage of costumes, and a place for all performances. If this isn’t feasible due to budget constraints, I would overhaul the stage lighting, build a space for the construction and storage of sets, maybe get more tools, and have someone come in and design a much cleaner, more organized space for the lights.

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

Who doesn’t have regrets? I guess my biggest regret would be that I didn’t reach more students, especially since many of them shied away from my program because they were anxious about performing or because they were afraid of me because of what they had heard from other people. I hope to have worked on the latter before I’m 94.

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Dance Education Grant

April 5, 2017

Funding available

For the second year the dance world in Maine has provided funding for a dance education grant program that the Maine Arts Commission is administering. I am so impressed with the commitment to dance education and the grassroots efforts of individuals and collaborative groups. I encourage you to apply for these dance education funds. Application deadline: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Please note: Funding is only available to school districts presently with no dance education. Extra points will be given to those applications from schools with less opportunities in arts education. This information was learned in the statewide arts education data collection conducted during the last school year.

The Maine Arts Commission is offering dance education grants to schools/districts interested in providing dance education by teaching artists who are part of the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster located at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Teaching-Artist-Roster.

The Thornton Academy dance education program collaborated with seven schools and studios with a culminating performance on November 18, 2016 and raised $3575. On March 4, 2017 Dancers Making a Difference, a non-profit organization held their fifth annual benefit performance with fourteen schools and studios performing to raise $6730. The total, $10,305.00, has been generously provided for the funding of this dance education grant program. This opportunity provides funding to support high-quality dance education for PreK-12 students and/or educators of this population in schools where dance education is not currently in place. This funding is meant to inspire and to exhibit the value of dance education.

Deadline: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Total funding available to be divided: $10,305.00 (maximum award of $3,500)

The funding cycle for this program: September 1, 2017 through March 30, 2018

REVIEW CRITERIA

  • Demonstration of high quality teaching and learning for all learners.
  • Clear description of the idea and its impact.
  • Description of the learning opportunity including objectives, outcomes (including performance information), and assessment methodology.
  • Alignment with dance standards.
  • Evidence of collaborative planning among the school educator(s) and the Teaching Artist(s) and evidence on how you will sustain this program.

NARRATIVE

  1. Provide a brief overview of your dance education project.
  2. Describe in detail your project. Include the following:
    1. Who will be served? Describe the school community.
    2. Who is involved? Teaching artist(s) from the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster, and professional teacher(s) from the school. Describe their collaborative/involvement in the planning and implementation?
    3. Time line. When will each component of this project take place? Who are the Teaching Artists and teachers involved. Who are the professional teacher(s) from the school, and teaching artist(s) from the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster and describe their collaborative/involvement in the planning and implementation of this project.
  3. Clearly state the objectives and outcomes for the idea, plan for the culminating performance and for evaluating the success.
  4. How does your proposal align with the State of Maine Learning Results for Visual and Performing Arts? If relevant, speak to the National Core Arts and/or the Common Core Standards.
  5. What are your plans to sustain this work?

APPLICATION PACKAGE REQUIREMENTS

A completed application in the Grants Management System (GMS) for the Arts Learning Grant contains:

  • Completed answers to all narrative prompts
  • Project budget
  • Two letters of support. One from a teacher from the school and one from teaching artist on the MAC roster who will provide the residency.

Applicants will be notified of the review outcome by June 19, 2017.

CONSIDERATION

Evidence of long-term impact.

The school/district awarded funds for dance education will be expected to document the teaching artist residency so others can learn about the work.

TO APPLY

To start a dance education grant application please go to https://mainearts-grants.maine.gov/account/login?ReturnUrl=%2fapplicant%2fgran and establish an account if you do not already have one. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Rick Osann

April 4, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the sixth 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 76 posted to date. Thank you Rick for sharing your story!

Rick Osann teaches grades 9-12, Theatre, Film & Video at Bonny Eagle High School in Standish. He has been teaching for 13 years, 11 at Bonny Eagle. His courses include Theatre 1 and 2, Stagecraft, Film History, and Video Production. The theatre classes are all experiential learning classes. In Theatre 1 students produce a children’s play that tours the elementary schools. In Theatre 2 students write their own play and perform at an evening at the high school. In Stagecraft students design and build the scenery for the main stage productions. The Stagecraft class has won a “Set Design Commendation” at the One Act Festival for the last several years! Rick has about 80 students per term between four classes.

In addition to classes, Rick serves as Drama Club and Thespian Society Advisor. Thespian Society is a dramatics honor society sponsored by Maine Educational Theatre Association. He directs two main stage productions per year, a full length play in the fall and a one act play in the winter, taking part in the Maine Drama Festival, and Rick serves as Producer for their spring musical. In addition, he  volunteers as State Chapter Director of the Maine Educational Theatre Association.

What do you like best about being a theater educator?

I often tell my friends I get to go to work and play every day. Now, this is not saying I don’t work hard. I spend more hours working and work harder each of those hours than I did before I was teaching. The difference is that I totally believe that what I am doing is important and meaningful. When I was in high school I was totally passionate about theatre and I love having the opportunity to share this passion with students. Theatre is a place to create magic- we bring into existence whole worlds out of our imagination, and then we invite the public to live in our world for a couple of hours. It is a life-changing experience to create a moment of extraordinary beauty on the stage!

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

  • Be passionate- We need to be passionate about our art and believe it is the most important study that our students will experience in school. I often tell my students that our theatre class is the best place to learn the skills they will need to succeed in the modern world. We study and practice collaboration, creativity, communication- all the 21st century skills- and we do them with a strict deadline. Business leaders are recognizing this!
  • Love- We need to love our students and support their own passions. Sometimes this isn’t easy!
  • Learn- Keep learning something new every day.

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

It is so important for students to understand what they are doing well and where they can improve. Traditional grading methods average out student strengths and weaknesses. Proficiently Based Education (PBE) identifies for the student each individual strength and weakness and how to improve.

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

Getting a handle on PBE is challenging! Working with MALI has forced me and helped me to make my own assessment practices more genuine so they’re meaningful for my students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

We just won the Maine Drama Festival Class A State Championship!! This was pretty darn exciting. I am incredibly proud of how well my students worked together and supported each other to reach this goal. It was an honor to help these students grow and mature through their years in high school. A long time ago it was pretty spectacular working on the film, “The Muppets Take Manhattan”!

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

There is never enough time to do all the things we know we should do to help our students. I struggle to get my priorities straight to balance home, family, classes, theatre, and volunteer work. There are so many important things we can do to help our students and sometimes I worry I’m not doing any of them well enough.

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

I still consider my first teaching job to be my greatest moment of “luck”. Sylvia Pease, Superintendent of SAD #55, will always be my angel for hiring an inexperienced teacher and giving me this chance. I would like to think she recognized in all of my “non-teaching experiences” something that might be of value to students.

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

Believe in what you do and the importance of every moment you share with your students. You are making a difference in many lives. Be confident that what you do and say MATTERS, even when it looks otherwise.

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

Create more opportunities that would encourage students to get involved in theatre. Open a theatre somewhere? We went to London over February break and saw that the upcoming London production of “Hamilton” is enabling them to renovate and open a theatre that has been closed for over 50 years. Awesome!

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

When I was fresh out of graduate school, my wife encouraged me to try teaching public school. I thought it was crazy, when my degree qualified me to teach at the college level, that I would need to go back to school to teach at the high school level. What a fool I was! When I finally took the education classes after about 30 years in various careers, I realized how helpful and important they were. I don’t regret my other careers and learned a tremendous amount from the experiences, but I wish I had listened to my wife and started teaching sooner. The past 13 years have been my very best!

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Sanford – 35 Years!

April 3, 2017

Tradition

Joyce St. Pierre will be retiring at the end of this school year from Sanford Schools after 35 years of teaching. During her first year she established a tradition that has continued for all of the years she’s been there. The teachers work together to make this annual 3-day art exhibit a huge success. You can join Joyce and visit Sanford for her last show, April 10 through 13, Veteran’s Memorial Gym (an interesting space) located beside the Sanford Jr. High School. The district’s jazz bands will be performing on April 10 and 11.

 

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MCL National Summit

April 1, 2017

July 16-18, 2017 – Portland

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Empowering the Customized Learning Community

July 16 – 18, Holiday Inn, Portland, Maine

Register Here
inevitable-too-207x300Please join us as educators from across the country meet to learn, share, and problem solve how they are transforming their learning communities to provide the “Ideal Learning Experience” for all learners.  Based on the vision described in “Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning: Learning in the Age of Empowerment” written by Chuck Schwahn and Bea McGarvey, educators in our National Alliance are identifying the school structures that need to change in order to customize the learning experience for all learners.

Our National Summit will highlight the work of learners, facilitators and leaders who have been designing and transforming their learning communities. We will engage and leverage the experiences of our summit participants in a variety of learning experiences that will help support all levels of implementation. Summit participants will expand their knowledge, strategies, processes, resources, tools and professional network.

Our 2+ days will include:

  • Sunday Evening Dinner & Opening Session
  • Messages from Chuck Schwahn & Bea McGarvey
  • “Voices of Learners” Empowerment Sessions presented by Young Learners
  • 30+ Empowerment & Vendor Sessions including “Make & Take Sessions”
  • General Session Facilitated Conversations
  • A “Reflection Cafe”
  • Monday Evening Lobster Bake

Registration Fees

inevitable-too-203x300Register here!

Early Bird Special: $350/person or $325/person for teams of 3 or more

After May 20th: $375/person or $350/person for teams of 3 or more

The registration fee includes dinner on Sunday night, continental breakfast, luncheon, and afternoon refreshments on Monday and Tuesday as well as a Lobster Bake on Monday evening. Schools and other education organizations are encouraged to bring teams and make their participation a collaborative experience.

Lodging

A limited number of rooms are being held at the Holiday Inn by the Bay (http://www.innbythebay.com/), until June 16, 2017

Call 1-800-345-5050 or 1-207-775-2311 and mention the MCL Summit to get the summit rate. Room rates are: $210 for single or double occupancy (standard room with 2 double beds), $159 for single or double occupancy (Standard King Size Bed), $179 for Executive edition room (King or Double/Double).  Maine has a hotel tax of 9%.

Parking

All overnight rooms will be subject to a nightly fee of $10 if parking in the hotel garage area. Those traveling in for the summit must park in the multi-level garage beside the hotel and will be charged a discounted $5 daily parking fee.

Lobster Bake

(For the first 300 registered) Our Lobster Bake includes a ferry ride around Casco Bay and to Peak’s Island. Choice of Lobster (1 1/4 lbs), Grilled Sirloin Steak, Grilled Chicken, or Vegetarian (Stuffed Shells), steamed clams, drawn butter, clam broth, corn on the cob, coleslaw, boiled potato, rolls, coffee, tea, and fresh Maine blueberry cake. The Vegetarian meal includes a fresh garden salad, corn on the cob, coleslaw, boiled potato, and roll. Bar service is not included in your registration but will be offered on the island. Departure from the ferry terminal will be at 5:30 and will return around  9 p.m. (Please arrive at the ferry terminal by 5 p.m.)

If you have a family member or friend who will join you at the Lobster Bake, you must purchase their ticket when you register for the summit.

Registration Contact: Linda Laughlin lindaflaughlin@gmail.com

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What a Month!

March 31, 2017

So Long Arts Education Month

Visiting LEAPS of Imagination program

Happy last day of March and good-bye to Arts Education month. During the last month I have been fortunate to travel to many parts of the state and visit amazing programs and people doing great things in ARTS EDUCATION! Yes, I am shouting that word – I am so proud of what is going on in arts education! YOU are doing amazing work for young learners across the entire state!

Below are some of the highlights of the month – certainly not all of them. But there is only so many hours in a day, so many days in a month and only so much time to blog!!! Thank you to those who invited me to visit.

  • March 4: THANK YOU to the Dancers Making a Difference performance, Noble High School. Amazing gathering of dancers from schools and community studios which raised $6730.00 that will be combined with the funds that were raised at a performance in November at Thornton Academy $3575.00 for a total of $10,305.00. In the next week the grant will be announced. Watch for the information on the blog and consider applying. Watch a clip of the performance.
  • March 8: Arts Advocacy Day, State House, Augusta. Marshwood High School student Mikayla Smith spoke passionately about the importance of arts education. (Yes, she is the daughter of Central School (South Berwick) music educator and the 2014 York County Teacher of the Year Kate Smith!). The Hall of Flags was filled with learners of all ages.
  • March 11: MALI Winter Retreat, Thomas College, Waterville – Teacher Leaders met to review phase 6 and plan ahead to phase 7. What a great day everyone had – many ideas were generated. If you are interested in applying to be a MALI Teacher Leader this year watch for the blog post in the near future.
  • March 11: Youth Art Month opening, Portland Museum of Art, a collaboration with the Maine Art Education Association.
  • March 13: Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Waterville Opera House. See and hear Gardiner Area High School senior Gabrielle Cooper, Maine’s Champ and the 10 finalists at THIS LINK.
  • March 14: Nancy Harris Frohlich founded LEAPS of Imagination and she says: “We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making art, they will thrive”. To learn more about the work Nancy does with teaching artists in classrooms please CLICK HERE.
  • March 17: Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Mega Conference held at Hebron Station School, Oxford Hills School district. The day was filled with learning – MALI Teacher Leaders provided sessions on many topics. After lunch we worked collaboratively in groups to create dancers thanks to the instruction of John Morris. Below you can view one of those dances. Thanks to MALI Teacher Leader Samantha Armstrong and Curriculum Leader Heather Manchester for hosting the mega. I understand that the other teachers in the district were having a workshop day as well. They used MALI’s model for scheduling the day! 
  • March 21: Christina Warren teaches art at Jordan Small Middle School in Raymond. There is great work (and play) going on inside and outside of Christina’s classroom. She  showed me all of the wonderful George Mason artwork that has been there since the school was built in 1988.

    Christina Warren

  • March 21: Visited Portland Stage with Julianne Shea and Hannah Cordes and what a hoot these two are. Looking for great programming in theatre? Contact either of these energized educators.
  • March 22: Teaching artist and MALI Teaching Artist Leader Tim Christensen was at Prescott School for several days working with the K-6 students and their staff where they created clay pieces that make up a large Panda – the school mascot. They’re already talking about bringing Tim back in the fall.
  • March 25: Helped with the presentation awards for the Junior Duck Stamp program held at LL Beans in Portland. Freeport High School Art teacher, Kim Medsker was so proud of her student who took topic honors.

    Kim Medsker-Mehalic with her student Min Wu who took the top honors.

  • March 29: Met with Senator Angus King’s staffers to discuss educational topics so he can be better informed. Such thoughtful colleagues that we have in our state and such a wonderful opportunity to share information and ideas. And, great to hear arts educators as well as other educators address the importance of the arts educators.

I love learning about what you and your students are accomplishing!

Junior Duck Stamp program, presentations held at LL Bean

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