Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category


National Gallery of Art

November 16, 2018


The National Gallery of Art has an online free resource catalog that contains numerous resources for individuals and institutions to borrow. The catalog provides brief descriptions of the teaching packets, guides and DVDs available.


  • Over 100 sessions and 15 interactive programs for students from Pre-K to grade 12 that focus on art-making and the intersection of art with math, science, language arts, and history. LINK
  • The National Gallery of Arts Pinterest page contains themed, lessons, workshops, and project ideas.
  • High-quality digital images are accessible to download through NGA Images. More than 51,000 open access files are yours to search, browse, share, and download. LINK

Visit HERE to create an account to borrow free teaching packets, guides, and DVDs not available online. They offer a wide selection of programs on well-known artists such as Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, and Alexander Calder. Each program highlights an aspect of art history which can be appreciated by a wide variety of audiences

If you have any questions contact Lily Abt, 202.842.6269 or email Lily


A Bit of Helsinki

November 13, 2018


I traveled to Helsinki, Finland last week for the HundrED Summit. An amazing group of  gathering of inspirational educators from around the world participated exchanging ideas, sharing work, and learning from each other. And, learn did I do! Below are a few photos with more information and details to come – just as soon as my jet lag is behind me and I catch up on my sleep! You can start by going to the HundrED site and see the live streamed recordings from all three days.

Visit to a music class on Tuesday

Lindsay Pinchbeck and I were selected as Ambassadors for HundrED

Finland Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen

Young people were present and their voices were loud and clear!

There were amazing presentations with thoughtful ideas including this one by Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell




You Get to Be That

November 11, 2018



Arts Focused Field Trips

November 10, 2018

A close look in Atlanta

The Brown Center Chalkboard published an article written by Jay P. Greene, a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas, that included the research on what students are gaining from arts experiences during field trips. Up until recently there has been little evidence on the impact of out-of-school field trips has on students.

The study was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and was focused on Atlanta, specifically on field trips to the Woodruff Arts Center, located there. The center houses the High Art Museum, Alliance Theater, and the Atlanta Symphony. The study looks closely at trips taken by grade 4 and 5 students to these venues. The students will continue to be tracked over time.

You can read the entire article at THIS LINK


Dance for Joy

November 9, 2018

What fun

Amber Pendleton, grade 6, Prescott Memorial School, Washington

This collage was created by Amber Pendleton who was in 5th grade at the time when Teaching Artist Chrissy Fowler provided a dance residency at Prescott Memorial School in Washington. She was working with art teacher Anthony Lufkin and a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader (MAL) in a Gifted and Talented art class. This was Amber’s response to the fabulous opportunity. The residency took place with funding from the Maine Arts Commission Dance Education fund. This fund was established by a MALI dance teacher at Thornton Academy, Emma Arenstam Campbell. If you’re interested in bringing dance education to your school please watch for the information coming soon on this blog for the 2019-20 school year. The dance performance that has provided the funding for this grant will take place at Thornton Academy on Friday, November 16, 6:30 p.m. Only dance educators on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster are eligible for the funding. Please consider reaching out to one of them and begin planning for next year. This funding has been in place for three years and hundreds of students in grades Pre-K through 12 throughout Maine have benefited from the opportunities it has afforded. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at


Maranacook Middle School

November 8, 2018

The Labor Mural

Best known as the Labor Mural, artwork created by Judy Taylor, now hangs in the entrance to the Maine State Museum in Augusta. Dan Holman, a team leader for the Acadia Team at Maranacook Middle School applied for the Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride funds for a trip to the State Museum. After reviewing the application I was curious about the trip and the details of the lesson/unit.

Dan worked with Joanna Torow the Chief Educator at the Maine State Museum to design a field trip that would coincide with the studies back at school. They took a deep dive look at the meaning behind each of the murals panels.


The museum has been working with outside contractors to create a digital kiosk that will allow visitors to have a more in-depth interpretive experience in regards to the mural using additional museum objects, photographs, documents, and oral history. They are interviewing the artist, Judy Taylor, and will include a video of her talking about her process and goals for creating the work.  Through this work, the curator and the museum’s educators have made more connections to the artwork and the exhibits on display, it is these insights they hope to share with the students visiting.


To prepare of the trip, the students read short essays (200 words or less) they have written about each panel. They were excited to hear their personal thoughts on the panel, as an artwork with a very specific goal and as a historic document.

Museum Curator of Historical Collections, Angela Goebel-Bain and Joanna lead a discussion with the students (based on discussion and emails with Dan Holman) in front of the Maine Labor Murals. They talked about the subjects as well as the choices the artist made in what she included in each panel, what she left out, how she choose to depict the subject, tools, and people, and how she deliberately used the foreground and background to extend the storytelling.


Dan plans to have the students work on an journal activity in response to the mural after the discussion at the mural. The students will also be took part in two 30 minute gallery programs focused on either Ice Harvesting, Granite Quarrying, Logging & Lumbering, and a guided tour of the Made in Maine exhibit (19th century work and life in Maine with a focus on textile productions and waterpower).

The mural provides first hand knowledge from an artists’ perspective of so much history – granite quarrying, textile industry, child labor, and wood industry all included images in the mural. It provides the opportunity for the educators – museum and school – to reinforce student learning.

If you’d like to learn more about the museum programs please contact Joanna Torow. If you’d like to learn more about the unit that is underway please contact Dan Holman. Thank you to both for providing information for this blog post and the opportunity to be at the museum during the presentation.

The Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride program provides funding to defray the cost of travel for Maine schools wishing to visit Maine arts based venues and events as part of a well-rounded curriculum. The goals of the trip should support student learning and be aligned with the Maine Learning Results Visual and/or Performing Arts standards. Any PK-12 school in Maine with a documented free and reduced lunch student population between 30 and 49 percent is eligible to receive support of up to $300 each school year. Any PK-12 school in Maine with a documented free and reduced lunch student population of 50 percent or greater is eligible to receive support of up to $500 each school year. Applications are accepted throughout the year and funding will be made available approximately one month after they are submitted. Schools may apply more than once a year as long as they are applying to attend a different event, bringing a different student population or have not expended their eligible amount. 


Images Lead to Questions

November 7, 2018

What are those things?

Photo by Argy Nestor

I was so fascinated with a container that had left over food in it recently that I took a photo of it. I’ve included it on the right. And, asked myself how I would explain what it is. While at the MAMLE (Maine Association for Middle Level Education) conference recently a speaker said that children at age 5 ask an average of 150 questions per day and middle school students only 3. I wondered, how can humans learn if they ask so few questions? And, how do we as educators provide learning opportunities that leads to more questions that leads to more learning – so, we can all become life-long learners? I know what some of you are thinking, not everyone learns by asking questions. Perhaps not, BUT if there aren’t questions that lead to learning, there certainly needs to be curiosity. And, how do we keep that curiosity alive as our students grow and go from one grade to the next successfully? How do we support learners to reach their potential?

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

The next day after exploring these ideas came a post dated December 2013 and titled: The good, the bad, and the ugly of humans’ impact on the Earth, in 13 aerial photos. It was written by Evan Porter about a man named Ben Grant who was looking at satellite images of the Earth. Turns out Ben was doing a search and Google popped up images of Earth. That would be Earth, Texas. What Grant saw and fascinated him was a strange pattern that turned out to be irrigation fields.

He was seeing the world through a different lens than what he was used to and it turned his learning upside down and gave his “looking” a different meaning. This led him to viewing other satellite images and a really different perspective. Some of the images were created by human beings and some were impacted by human beings and others were in their natural state. He made this into a project that leads people to asking questions and learning.

You can check out several more images and read the entire article in THIS PIECE from Unworthy.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.


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