Archive for the ‘Curriculum and Instruction’ Category


Art in the Heart

March 21, 2019

YAM Mall Exhibit

Art in the Heart of Maine annually partners with the University of Maine Museum of Art, the Maine Art Education Association and the Bangor Mall to exhibit artwork created by students from the greater Bangor area. This 3 week exhibit celebrates Youth Art Month and allows art educators to show off the magnificent work their students are producing. One of my favorite outcomes of this exhibit entails garnering inspiration from my fellow educators for lesson ideas to bring back to my own classroom. Our show opened on Sunday, March 3rd and will close Saturday, March 23rd. The following educators and schools participated in the 2019 Mall Show.
  • Angeli Perrow – George B. Weatherbee School
  • Michael Vermette – Indian Island School
  • Mary-Ann Hennessy-Ashe – Smith Elementary and Wagner Middle Schools
  • Wendy Libby – Fruit Street School
  • Heidi Crahen – Abraham Lincoln and Mary Snow Schools
  • Ashley Curtis – Dr. Lewis S. Libby and Veazie Community Schools
  • Katrina Lajoie – William S. Cohen School
  • Jenna Caler – Fairmount Elementary and Fourteenth Street Schools
  • Lindsay Hartwell – Glenburn Academy
  • Julie Anthony – Orono Middle School
  • Rachel Case – Hermon Elementary and Middle Schools
  • Marion MacEwen – Brewer High School
  • Jessica Barnes – Orono High School
  • Margaret Jones – Miles Lane/Jewett Schools
  • Helen Allen-Weldon – Holden Elementary and Eddington Elementary Schools
  • Jenn Mishou – Alternative Education, Bangor
  • Lori Spruce – Brewer High School
  • Holly Leighton – Mattanawcook Academy
  • Sarah Moon – Dedham Elementary
  • Sasha Bladen – Penquis Valley
  • Eva Wagner – Bangor High School
  • Diane D’Amour – Bangor High School
  • Terry Thibodeau – Carmel Elementary, Suzanne Smith Elementary and Caravel Middle Schools
  • Sue Shapiro – Hermon High School

Theater for Social Change

March 20, 2019

Portland Stage


Saturday, May 4 | 1PM-4PM
Grades 9-12 | $50
Join Education Director, Hannah Cordes, for a hands-on look at how to use theater tools and techniques to address difficult topics, encourage dialogue, engage communities, and create socially-driven pieces of theater.
Need-based Scholarships Available


Burnt Island Summer Workshops

March 16, 2019

Summer workshops

Two professional development opportunities are being offered this summer on Burnt Island. Learning on an island in Maine – waahooooooo!

  • Burnt Island Workshops including Innovative Learning through Nature, Inquiry, and Mindfulness – June 25-27
  • Lighthouses across the Curriculum – July 16-18, and Visual Literacy through Gouache – July 30-August 1. LEARN MORE!



MALI Teacher Leader Story: Catherine Newell

March 13, 2019

Music Educator 

This is the last of six blog posts in 2019 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 8 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 96 Teacher Leaders and 11 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. Thank you Anthony for sharing your story!

Catherine teaching

Catherine Chesley Newell is a music educator who calls herself a “Once-And-Future Elementary Music Teacher”, because that’s what she was before she had her daughter and what she plans to do again in the future. Recently Catherine said: “Right now I have the supreme joy of teaching music with small groups of children ages 2-5 at Beansprouts Early Learning Center in Freeport. From a child development standpoint, this has been the most fascinating part of my career!”


What do you like best about being a music educator?

The magic of making a song or a rhyme or a movement artful. Children’s hands become beehives or sparks or stuck in the mud. A word becomes a laugh, a shout, or a sigh. A song becomes a declaration, an adventure, or maybe a wish. Everything is transformed by imagination into what is needed in that moment. What could be better than that?

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

A passion for learning and growth, delight in the success of others, and flexibility. Maybe not THE three keys, but they’re certainly my keys.

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

If I don’t know where my students are, I can’t lift them up to where they want to go next. Assessment has an undeserved, negative reputation. It needs a rebrand! Assessment isn’t the problem; the problem is when some administrators and politicians think the data gathered should be used to punish educators.

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

There’s nothing like spending time with other passionate educators. I come away feeling energized and motivated and full of hope and inspiration. This has been one of the very best things I have been part of and I am so excited to continue our work.

What are you most proud of in your career?

All of the times I was afraid to try something new and did it anyway, or worked through a challenging experience. Especially if it was particularly scary (public speaking leaps to mind!) or the stakes were high. Those are the times I’ve grown the most as a person, musician, and educator.

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

There so very many misconceptions about who is and who is not a musical person or learner. I find that reshaping perception around this is challenging work!

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

My transformation from a “band person” to a “little kids” person. I worked incredibly hard at the Kodály Music Institute to develop the skills I use today. I spent a good part of three years learning repertoire, solfege, pedagogy, and analyzing music. I studied until one or two in the morning every night of my summer sessions in Boston. It was wonderful and worthwhile and I loved it, but it was some of the hardest academic work I’ve ever done. It was, however, luck that landed me in a district that (despite having limited means) supported my summer study. Our local Maine Education Association chapter did a wonderful job negotiating a contract that prioritized professional development!

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

Keep growing, keep learning, but take care of yourself, too. Say no when you need to, accept help when you can, and rejoice in your achievements harder than you dwell on your disappointments. Long-term goals are wonderful to have, but the climb is a lot easier if you celebrate along the way!

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

A good friend of mine passed away at 26 from a lifelong, chronic disease. Her greatest wish was to live long enough to get to be a music teacher. I have long thought that if I ever became fabulously wealthy, I would start a fund in her name to support music education. I think $500K would probably be a good start!

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

Taking so long to join MALI, of course!


New England Institute for Teacher Education

March 9, 2019

Professional Development Opportunities

Sign Up Now for Spring/Summer 2019 Courses!
Get a jumpstart on your recertification requirements, work with a team on an online course, get a new endorsement or just get some great refreshers on best teaching practices, pre-K – 12. All courses are approved by the Maine Department of Education for 4.5 CEUs.
Want to learn new Technology skills with Barb, about Maine Writers with Stephen, or how to work with Children of Poverty with Tracie? Our instructors are fabulous and our new website makes finding a course and registering easy. Online Spring courses begin April 8th.
Now is the time to get your paperwork in to your central office for approval, and to sign up for courses!
For more information, visit our website.

MALI Winter Retreat

March 6, 2019

Amazing day

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) held the annual Winter Retreat on Saturday at Waterville Senior High School. Thank you to music educator and teacher leader Sue Barre who provided and arranged for a space for us to meet, exchange and share ideas, and most importantly to learn from each other. This is the foundation of the MALI community.

2019 MALI Winter Retreat

I was curious about words that are related to community. On a recent google search I found the following: amity, benevolence, cordiality, friendliness, friendship, goodwill, kindliness. civility, comity, concord, harmony, rapport, charity, generosity. affinity, compassion, empathy, sympathy. chumminess, familiarity, inseparability, intimacy, nearness. affection, devotion, fondness, love. In Japanese the word is コミュニティ pronounced Komyuniti. In Greek the word is κοινότητα and pronounced koinótita. The Greek community is directly related to the culture and emerged and rose to great heights in 525 BC to 350 BC. The traditions that exist today are built on the original ideas.

When MALI educators come together the opportunity is about connecting with people, their idea, and all of those words in the previous paragraph that I found online. In addition, new learning is offered and depending on individual experiences educators enter the conversation from their own place. Everyone is a learner no matter how much experience they have with teaching, learning and/or living. MALI teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders range in teaching experience from 2 years to 49 years.

On Saturday we revisited the work that teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders have underway in this phase (8) of MALI. During this session we looked at the MALI “This We Believe” statements that are each defined. The titles include Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity, Effective Educators: Teaching and Learning, Student-Centered Learning, Teacher Leadership and Social Responsibility. The revised definitions will be posted soon for each topic. I’m sure you’ll all agree that these are critical topics to the success of teaching and learning in arts education.

We were fortunate to have Brittany Ray, Director of TREE (Transforming Rural Experience in Education) speak with us about ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and how trauma interrupts the brains capacity to learn. Heavy stuff but so worthwhile to learn more. I will write more about this in later blog posts.

We had a chance to paint using Process Painting as a jumping off place. Listening to music and painting provided an opportunity to think about where we were as educators. And, the day finished out with information on HundrED and the resources and opportunities the organization provides. It’s difficult not to get excited about an organization that believes that the purpose of education is to help every child flourish, no matter what happens in life. HundrED is looking for Youth Ambassadors so if you have students who are interested in leading check out their Youth Ambassadors webpage.

The last of the Phase 8 MALI Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders stories will be posted this next Tuesday on the blog. I hope you’ve had a chance to read about their journey’s.


Maine EdTA

March 3, 2019

Theatre Professional Development Day

On April 24 at UMaine, Orono, the Department of Theatre will host the third annual professional development conference. The cost is $25 per person, which includes lunch in the UMaine Cafeteria.
This year’s workshops will focus on technical issues for high school directors and teachers, with a high-level group of professionals presenting workshops.
  • “Costuming for High Schools”, presented by Shirlee Idzakovich, a professional costumer working in NYC.
  • “From Script to Opening Curtain”, set design for high schools, presented by Brave Williams, Husson University
  • “Lighting Design for High Schools”, presented by Quentin Stockwell, Port Lighting, Portsmouth NH
Information is available on the Maine EdTA website.  
Registration is now open.
Please contact Rick Osann,, for more information.
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