Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category

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LEAPS of IMAGINATION

December 15, 2017

Kids Put the Pieces Together

LEAPS of IMAGINATION received funding from the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant to provide amazing opportunities this year for some midcoast schools. If you’re not familiar with the LEAPS program, this is what they ‘walk’ day to day: LEAPS of IMAGINATION brings local Maine mentor artists together with elementary school students and teachers in a collaborative school-day classroom program. Mentor artists interweave in-depth art making experiences with carefully chosen social justice and literature themes linked to the class curriculum. Our project empowers children to believe in their own capacity to create and to make change in both their local community and the larger world.

Thanks to Nancy Frohlich, founder and director of LEAPS of IMAGINATION, for sharing her latest blog post with the Maine Arts Education blog. Students from grade 4, St. George School, spent a day at the newly opened Bernard Langlais Preserve. 

Working in Langlais’ medium, on his home turf, next to his own studio brought the artist to life for St. George School’s fourth graders today. LEAPS’ mentor artists had been planning this visit for months. Although adults had anticipated children’s reactions, they hadn’t quite envisioned how children would put the pieces together.

Once kids had toured his workshop, they skipped around the property, astounded at the scale and detail of his sculptures. Sitting by the fireplace on a chilly morning, they listened to the story, “Why am I me?” Then, imagining what it must have been like to have been “Blackie” Langlais, they shared their insights with their classmates.

“He was creative – how he made the cow with the utter.” “He used a lot of random stuff.” “He doesn’t just use wood. He adds texture.” “With his bears, he adds creases.” 

He made his own tools.”  “In his photos he looked so serious. But if he really was serious, he’d make things serious. Instead he made them imaginatively!”  “He just went on and took a risk. If he made a mistake he just kept going and went with the surprises.”  “He made animals you can walk into.”  “He used ladders.” “He was smart.”  ” I can’t believe he made 3,000 sculptures!”  “He used a lot of measurements.” “He was inspirational!”

A few minutes later they began investigating animals and wood for themselves. Each child had a 12X12 piece of plywood on which to create a creature they identified with. They had plenty of time to “play” with the wood pieces, choosing them, adjusting them, and exchanging them. When they felt ready – they adhered them to their square.

We thought, what would happen if we put all the pieces together like a quilt? So that’s what we did! If you look closely you can see an eagle, a butterfly, a monkey, a chameleon, a cheetah, a wolf, a shark, a tiger, a horse, a hummingbird, a fish, a caribou, a pig, a bunny, a worm, and a whale. In the new year, we’ll install the art in the school. We bet our fourth grade Langlais experts will be excited to talk about the artist and how they approached this collective work of art.

We thank Cynthia Trone at the Langlais Sculpture Preserve for making us feel at home. We loved that roaring fire and the opportunity to become explorers on the artists’ own turf.

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Gap in Learning

December 14, 2017

Soul Pancake

I’ve posted other videos created by Soul Pancake. I subscribe to the videos and really like the spirit and message that they represent and shed light on. This one is a bit different and can be applied in multiple ways to our learning. Take 3 minutes and 10 seconds to check it out and if you have a minute, please email me what you think.

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Courage

December 13, 2017

What does it take?

Sometimes I wonder how my middle school students had the courage to stretch themselves and achieve at the level that they did. Some seem to be born with courage and others seem to learn how to challenge and stretch themselves continuously. Maya Angelou believed that people develop courage.

And, then there’s curiosity. If you’ve been around very young children you’ve probably had them ask lots of questions. They are curious, thinking, watching, absorbing and creating. At age 4 they ask 300 questions a day. By the time young people reach middle school their question asking goes to 0.

If students are encouraged and supported in their learning the opposite can happen. In addition the ideas they imagine and generate flourish. Along the way their creativity is fostered.

You may know Inc.com – it is a weekly magazine whose focus is small businesses and often includes the creative aspect of those businesses. Contributing editor Geoffrey James provided a piece called 77 Motivational Quotes That Will Give You Courage – It takes courage to live your life the way you want, especially when you’re changing the world. The quotes include a wide variety, some have been around for a very long time like this one by Aristotle: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others.” There are several written by those still living like this one by David Letterman: “There’s only one requirement of any of us, and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior.”

If you’re looking for motivational sayings, I suggest that you CHECK OUT all 77.

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Maine Poetry Out Loud

December 11, 2017

Poets go to school

The Poetry Out Loud (POL) program is underway across Maine and the country. Over 10,000 Maine high students are selecting their poems, furiously memorizing and practicing them for themselves, their classmates, and their teachers.

Maine has 48 high schools participating this year, 10 new to POL. At some schools every student, grade 9-12 participates. Maine is repeatedly one of the states with the highest participation and this year will be no exception.  The 2017 Maine State Champ, Gabrielle Cooper, attended Gardiner Area High School; one of the schools where all students participate every year. Three of the new schools this year were fortunate to have

Winthrop High School students with Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

poets visit them to work with students and teachers. Portland’s fifth Poet Laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc provided a workshop at Winthrop High School and Hampshire County Council’s Hampshire Poet Brian Evans-Jones provided workshops at Herman High School and Van Buren District Secondary School.

Students had a chance to experiment with their voices and ‘try out’ their poems for feedback. Both Gibson and Brian are on the MAC Teaching Artist roster and available to provide workshops for schools and community organizations.

Brian at Hermon High School

Thanks to all of the teachers who are working with students across Maine. I was thrilled to be at Hermon High School for the workshops. Brian led the students through exercises to help prepare their voices and their confidence. He said: “It’s important to understand your poem. The better you understand your poem the better you communicate the meaning and with that comes confidence.” Even listening to students recite their poems 2 and 3 times, I could hear their confidence rise.

Poetry Out Loud (POL) is organized nationally by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation and administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission.  This exciting program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. Maine’s POL represent public and private high schools as well as high school homeschooling populations.

You have a chance to learn more about POL in Maine. The Maine Arts Commission invites you to attend the regional and state finals.

  • The Northern Maine Regional Finals will be held on Monday, February 12, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Hampden Academy Performing Arts Center, Hampden. The snow date is Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 3:00 PM. Hampden Academy, Regional School Unit #22, is an in-kind sponsor of this event.
  •  The Southern Maine Regional Finals will be held on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 3:00 p.m. at the Westbrook Middle School Performing Arts Center, Westbrook. The snow date is Thursday, March 1, 2018, 3:00 p.m.
  • The Maine State Finals will be held on Monday, March 12, 2018 at the Waterville Opera House, 93 Main Street, Waterville. The snow date is Tuesday, March 13, 2018. Doors open to the public at 2:30 p.m. and the event begins at 3:00 p.m. No tickets are required. The event is free and all are welcome to attend. We anticipate that the event will conclude by approximately 5:00 p.m.

Working with teachers at Hermon High School

Learn more about the POL program at the national site or at the Maine Arts Commission POL webpages. If you teach or live near a high school that does not participate please plan on joining the program in the 2018-19 school year. Email Argy Nestor if you have any questions about how to get involved!

 

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Thomas College

December 8, 2017

Center for Innovation in Education

Thomas College is in the midst of gearing up for the 2018 CIE Summer Institute scheduled for June 26 – 28, 2018. The theme  is “Innovating In Education for Maine’s Diverse Population of Students,” with a focus on Digital Learning, STEAM, and PBE.

You can learn more at the CIE Summer Institute website and on the Thomas College CIE homepage. More information will be added as it becomes available.

Early bird registration costs $175.00, and ends February 1st, 2018. The regular event ticket price will be $195.00, and this cost takes effect starting on Feb 1st, and will run through June 1st, 2018. Registration is available at Eventbrite.

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Happenings at the Farnsworth

December 7, 2017

Art Museum in December

The Farnsworth Art Museum has several opportunities during December.

  • On a Mountain in Maine opens on December 17th in the galleries.
  • Art Talk: Unexpected Journeys: Louise Nevelson and Pedro Guerrero, Thursday, December 7, 2pm
  • Membership: 20% discount through December 15 – use code GIFT365 at checkout
  • Art Talk and Film: Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes: When Art Danced with Music, Thursday, December 28, 2pm
  • Dramatic Reading: All She Must Possess, Saturday, December 30, 2pm. New play about the famed art-collecting Cone Sisters of Baltimore.
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Save the Date

December 6, 2017

MALI conference 

MAINE ARTS COMMISSION

Mega Conference

Friday, 23 March 2018, 8:30a.m.-3:00p.m.

Oxford Hills High School, South Paris, Maine

Join us for an outstanding professional development opportunity.

Details and registration will be available in January! Watch for the information right here on the Maine Arts Education blog.

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