Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category

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Summer Workshop

March 26, 2017

Science and Art

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Dance Grant Funds

March 23, 2017

Another great opportunity to dance

On a chilly Saturday in March I traveled south to the beautiful Noble High School for the Fifth Annual Benefit Performance for Dancers Making a Difference, “Dancing To Make A Difference 2017”  Benefit.

Dancers Making A Difference was formed to allow studios and their performers the opportunity to come together and share their passion and talent in a non-competitive environment while working for the good of a local non-profit whose mission they support. In the last 4 years Dancers Making A Difference have raised almost $15,000. Proceeds raised have gone toward helping the following organizations. End 68 Hours of Hunger, Camp Kita, Friends In Action, and youth in the Maine Foster Care system. Initiatives for Maine Foster Care included Josh’s College Care Packages, Rose Mary’s Sacks of LOVE, and H.O.M.E. (Having Opportunities Means Everything).

Dancers Making A Difference is an official 501c, and this year the proceeds from the performance in early March are designated to the Maine Arts Commission’s Dance Education Grant Fund. The money raised was a little more than $5,000 and will be combined with the $3,500 raised in November at a dance performance held at Thornton Academy by a combined group of dance studios and school dance programs.  The grant will be announced in the near future and is earmarked for PK-12 school programs where no dance education is available to students.  

Last year the students in St. Agatha, MSAD #33 benefited from the first funding awarded and had dance educator/teaching artist John Morris spend a week in December at their two schools meeting with every student in grades K-12. You can read about the residencies in three blog posts dated

A great big thank you to the board of Dancers Making a Difference for their commitment to providing dance opportunities to learners of all ages. Through their hard work and supportive families and community members they have raised $6730 that will go towards the dance education grant administered by the Maine Arts Commission. Watch future blog posts with information on how your school/district can apply. You can check out their facebook page “Dancers Making a Difference, or email them at DMAD122014@gmail.com for more information.

Nicolette Wilford, Barbra Childress, Argy Nestor, Tricia Bates, Cheryl Arnold – board members of Dancers Making a Difference

 

This is the Senior Repetory Company from Brixham Danceworks, host of the Dancers Making a Difference benefit performance. Pictured are (back) Grace Wirling, Kianna Lynch, Alyssa Saltz, choreographer Cheryl Arnold, Emma Dodier, Sammi Pooler, Mikayla King, Gracie Lodge-McIntyre (front) Hannah Sparks, Maggie Childress, Holly Proulx, Sarina Arnold, Leah Sobotka and Maddie Letellier (lying down)

 

 

 

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Hilary Martin

March 21, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the fourth 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 74 posted to date. Thank you Hillary for sharing your story!

Hilary Martin is currently working as a grades K-8 ed. tech. at the Vassalboro Community School in AOS 92. Before this year, beginning in 2013, she worked as the K-12 theatre teacher at the Vinalhaven School, where she taught K-5 drama, high school public speaking, and middle and high school electives in acting, directing, playwriting, and technical theatre and design. While at Vinalhaven Hilary also directed after-school productions.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

Having the opportunity to help students be creators, and giving students who might not be highly successful in other classes a place where they can shine.

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

Community support, investment from administrators and colleagues, and a passionate teacher.

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

Assessment allows me to get a sense of what students have and haven’t mastered, so I know what curriculum areas to spend extra time on, and it allows me to give students useful, constructive feedback on their work.

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

Being an arts educator can often feel very isolated–a lot of time you’re the only one in the building in your subject area, and being a theatre teacher even more so, as there aren’t that many of us in the state! Being involved with MALI has been a wonderful opportunity to network and share resources with other theatre teachers.

What are you most proud of in your career?

While at Vinalhaven, I began taking students to the Maine Drama Festival. Our first year attending we placed second at the regional competition, and the program has been successful enough to continue under the new Vinalhaven theatre teacher. I’m very proud of how I was able to expand the already very strong theatre program at Vinalhaven!

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

Time, or the lack of it! With all of the responsibilities teachers have there is very little time for professional development, collaborating with colleagues, or even individual curriculum planning–all things that are crucial to being an effective educator.

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

While on Vinalhaven, I had the opportunity to become a literacy interventionist, in addition to my work as the theatre teacher. This gave me a great opportunity to improve my skills as a teacher and get to know my students in a new way. While to some extent that opportunity was a result of being in the right place at the right time, it was also a result of my own hard work and commitment to continuing my education and training.

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

Know your limits, and don’t be afraid to say no to additional commitments. Arts educators tend to love what we do a great deal, and as a result it can be easy to overextend ourselves–I know I’ve found myself in positions where I took on more than I could reasonably handle! Remember to leave yourself space for rest and recovery.

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

I would create a program to expand the number of in or after school theatre programs for elementary students. For many students, their first opportunity to participate in theatre comes in middle or high school, but elementary students can benefit just as much from being involved in theatre.

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

It’s hard to say, but I hope that by the time I reach 94 I’ll have the perspective to look back on all the moments of my life as valuable learning experiences!

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Podcast on the Arts

March 19, 2017

Making the Case for the Arts Economy

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-3-03-58-pmThe arts in America is big business — a $704 billion-a-year business, according to Department of Commerce figures. Nearly a fifth of that economic activity, $134 million, is generated by the nation’s 100,000 arts and culture nonprofits, as are millions of jobs, says Robert Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts. You can listen to the podcast by CLICKING HERE.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Pam Chernesky

March 14, 2017

MALI Teacher Leaders Series

This is the third 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 74 posted to date. Thank you Pam for sharing your story!

Pam Chernesky teaches theatre and visual art at Houlton Middle/High School. She has taught art and theatre in Maine for the past 29 both downstate (Gov. Baxter School for the Deaf and Bonny Eagle High School) and, has been teaching art in the County for the past 3 years. Her high school courses include Art 1, Art 2, Advanced Art, Ceramics, Photography, and Theatre. She also teaches art and theatre with 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the Middle School. In total Pam teaches about 400 students with 3/4 of her time in visual arts and 1/4 teaching theatre.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

 I love seeing students connect with each other and discover their own creative voice. In my district students have not had any elementary art or theatre so I see them transform into artists. Teaching students to take risks, believe in their ideas, and work collaboratively energizes me on a daily basis.

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

Opportunity to learn, passionate teachers who love sharing their craft, and resources and support from the administration and the community. If these happen consistently then success is at hand.

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

Many of my students have their first ever art or theatre class in middle or high school and truly believe they can’t create, have no ideas, or are afraid that they will get it “wrong”. Quality assessment provides clear expectations for both the students and me.   They see their progress toward meeting standards and realize that they CAN achieve and create.

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

I definitely cherish meeting and working with so many wonderful arts teachers from across the state who are like-minded and willing to think outside the box. The trainings and leadership opportunities that have been afforded to me since joining MALI are impacting my practice and leadership in so many ways.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud of the accomplishments of my students. This includes the state and nationally recognized performers and artists, as well as the students who just take my classes to earn a graduation credit and instead learned so much more. I know that when you learn to create, you will be less likely to destroy. When you put yourself out there and take a creative risk, you will be less likely to criticize different ideas. When you connect with others and see diverse ways to express ideas, you will not see your world in such a black and white, right and wrong view. The arts impact every human being who participate in profound and long-lasting ways, and I am proud of my part in facilitating those changes in my students.

Visual Art and Theatre teacher Pam Chernesky and Dance and Phys. Ed. teacher MaryEllen Schaper (Bonny Eagle Middle School)

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

In schools, time is always a huge factor, coupled with the strange concept that the arts are not a “core” subject and therefore don’t really matter in the same way as other subjects. The resistance to change at a systemic level is most frustrating. I think that if schools let all the arts teachers reinvent the way a school day would operate, I could be a better teacher and my students would see connections and be better learners and future citizens.

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

I have worked hard to expand offerings for students both during school and in extra-curricular areas. Students participate in the MLTI Screensaver Challenge, the Scholastic Art Awards, art shows outside of school and the MPA One-Act Festival. I am on the boards of our community arts center and the local children’s theatre. Most people have no idea of the hours of work and coordination it takes to build relationships, provide opportunities, and share those successes with the community.

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

Never underestimate your power as a teacher to change a student’s life and make a difference. Your students are learning more than vocabulary or skills, they are learning to think, empathize, connect and become better human beings, and we teach all those things through the arts.

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

I would travel with my family and experience arts and cultures around the world. I could probably even get a ticket to Hamilton in New York! I would also save money for my daughter’s college expenses as she pursues her love of music. I would use the rest of the money to provide more opportunities for my students. Field trips to museums and performances are out of reach for many rural schools who live great distances away from those venues. It would be a thrill to be able to afford to take them to see the works of art that they have only seen in books or on the internet, or to see live performances.

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

I hope not. I struggle with balancing my family life with my arts life, and it is wonderful when they intersect. I am lucky to have the loving support of my family but I don’t underestimate the time we have together. Hopefully at 94 I can look back with fond memories of it all! I know I love what I am doing right now.

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Songs that Survived the Holocaust

March 13, 2017

Just after the war – 1946

A group of young Holocaust survivors at a home in Hampshire, England, in late 1945. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

A group of young Holocaust survivors at a home in Hampshire, England, in late 1945. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

In July 1946 an American psychology professor named David Boder traveled to Western Europe to interview refugees and Holocaust survivors. After the war the prisoners who had been freed had no home to go to so they became refugees. Boder’s goals were to record how “living through something like the Holocaust changes someone’s personality”. In addition, he wanted to “preserve these people’s oral histories.” Along with talking with them he recorded the songs that they had written during their time in the concentration camps. He was hoping that their voices would help Americans accept Jewish immigrants.

At the time Boder traveled he took along a state-of-the-art wire voice recorder and 200 spools of steel wire tape. Some of the songs have been housed since 1967 at the University of Akron in Ohio. Recently they decided to digitize the songs which took more than a year since getting them off the spools was not an easy task.

The discovery of these songs have been shared with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Henonville songs, which had been thought to be lost, were in fact found and you can listen to some of the selections by CLICKING HERE. The Henonville songs were named after the refugee camp in France where they were recorded.

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MAMM SLAM

March 11, 2017

Maine’s High School Rock Off

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