Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category


I Love This

August 18, 2017

Making a difference

I just love it when a teacher (especially a young one) shares an arts education story. Here’s one from Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Elise Bothel. Be sure and click on the image so you can get a close look at the response. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity for you to pause!

“Came across this response from a second grader at the end of this past school year. I love this. This student was not interested in art at all at the beginning of the year and I was in constant contact with family due to behavior issues. At the end of the year he enthusiastically circled all materials as his favorite and ended with this perfect response to my question about being an artist.”

Please share your stories so others can learn from your experiences.


Holographic Projection

August 17, 2017

9-second demo

This video is just over a minute long that is a holographic projection of a whale. It is a photographic process that produces images thanks to the differences between two laser beams. These images are projected into a gym using a special camera. You can see the students in the background sitting on the bleachers. In the video you can see the students faces of surprise in the foreground. There is not a drop of water in this room, let alone a whale. To view the video CLICK HERE.

This process is simple developed in the 1800’s. If you’re curious as to how this is done, take a look at the youtube video below.



Your Life Story,

August 16, 2017

in six words

I may have blogged about this in the past but I just came across this article again while cleaning out a box of old stuff and just had to share it. The article is called Your life story, in six words and written by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser. I don’t know which newspaper I cut it out of or the date it was published. It helped me “pause” the first time I read it and again today. Perhaps when you read it below, you will pause as well.

     Everyone has a story. That’s the tag on the masthead of SMITH, our online magazine. Yes until we asked the world to send us six-word memoirs, even we had no idea how true it was. 

We took a page from Ernest Hemingway. According to legend, he was challenged to write a novel in only six words and came up with “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” We posed the same challenge online, but we asked for true-life stories – in just half a dozen well-chosen words. 

     To launch the challenge, we posted examples from names we figured most readers would know, such as “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert (“e see world! Me write stories!”; she naturally emailed hers in from an airport runway in Indonesia) and celebrity chef Mario Batali (he sent seven, each enlightening but none as pitch-perfect as “Brought it to a boil, often”).

     More than 15,000 (and counting) submissions later; we are continually struck by what proves possible in just six words. The shots, shot life stories keep coming in. As we try this, a quick glance reveals Emily Cambridge “wanted to write but feared failure”. With half a dozen words and a few clicks of the keyboard, she has rewritten the story of her life. 

     What’s yours?

     Ex-wife and contractor now have house. – Drew Peck

     Wasn’t born a redhead; fixed that. – Andie Grace

     Chinese immigrant loathing drama in Anaheim. – Eric Wong

     Can’t tonight, watching “Law & Order.” – Rory Evans

     Found true love, married someone else. – Bjorn Stromberg

     Fifteen years since last professional haircut. – Dave Eggers

     One tooth, one cavity, life’s cruel. – John Bettencourt

     Must remember: people, gadgets. That order. – Brian Lam

     Made a mess. Cleaned it up. – Amy Anderson

     Hockey is not just for boys. – Alexandra Duplin

     Put whole self in, shook about. – Melissa Delzio

     My second-grade teacher was right. – Janelle Brown

Well, I though it was funny. – Stephen Colbert

     Where the hell are my keys? – Brady Udall

     Dad wore leather pants in Reno. – John Falk

     Secret of life: Marry an Italian. – Nora Ephron

     Little bit Lucy, tempered by Ethel. – Tami Maus

     I think, therefore I am bald. – Dickie Widjaja

     Took scenic route, got in late. – Will Blythe

     Being a monk stunk. Better gay. – Bob Redman

     Became my mother. Please shoot me. – Cynthia Kaplan

Should not have eaten those mushrooms. – Emilie Raguso

     Was father, boys died, still sad. – Ronald Zalewski

     ABCs MTV SATs THC IRA NPR. – Jancee Dunn

     It’s pretty high. You go first. – Alan Eagle

     Me: consistently avoiding death since 1978! – Daniel Fowlkes

     New Jersey to California. Thank God. – Ayelet Waldman

     I still make coffee for two. – Zak Nelson

     It was embarrassing, so don’t ask. – Alex Lindquist

You can go to the website at and check out the work. Could you do this with the other arts somehow? Six notes perhaps. There is a tab for schools at the site so you can read what students have contributed.

What about you? What’s your life story, in six words? I’m going off to write mine now!


More Than Notes

August 15, 2017

Music – Teaching and Learning

Central High School teacher Quincy Stewart uses music to teach African-American history to his students. “These children have been robbed by this system. … They’ve been miseducated, undereducated and misused,” he said.

Earlier this summer a colleague sent me a link to this piece on a Detroit high school music teacher named, Quincy Stewart. He not only teaches music but pushes his students to learn other subjects including math, English and history and he does it all in music appreciation class.

Mr. Stewart said: “They walk in here and they don’t even know who they are.” So, Stewart teaches them: about the nations of Africa all the way through American Civil Rights, along with music theory. One student agrees: “This class gave me more information about myself than I could even imagine” (Einhorn, Chalkbeat).

You can read the entire article on Chalkbeat by CLICKING HERE.



August 14, 2017

Ideas and images – writing, drawing, photographing

We are all filled with thoughts and ideas. Each of us has some type of record keeping, documenting, remembering of the ideas and thoughts. Some formally through journals, photos, shoeboxes. perhaps on blogs. Some informally in our memories, getting together with friends or family to reminisce. And multiple other ways!

Photo by Sai Mokhtari/Gothamist

Some people use an electronic devise, some use a pencil or pen and paper. The act of writing or note taking was discussed on Freakonomics on Saturday (public radio show). Research on which is more impactful on remembering – computer use or actual writing. Another segment on Saturday included “I, Pencil” an essay written by Leonard Read in 1958. The story started out with a visit to a shop in NYC owned by a young woman who moved from Ohio to open the store, CW Pencil, because she LOVES pencils. If you like pencils the website alone is a delight to the eyes. I can only imagine that the store is a wonderful place to visit. You can see some photos of the store at THIS LINK. Anyone been there? If so, Leave a Comment below so others can learn about your visit or email me and I can include an update on the Maine Arts Ed blog here. And, if you’re interested in blogs (or pencils) the owner of CW Pencil, Caroline Weaver, has a blog on the website at THIS LINK. The shop is located at 100a Forsyth Street in Manhattan. I’ve added it to my “places to go” list.

This morning I received a quote in an email from my colleague and friend Lindsay Pinchbeck. I’ve blogged about Lindsay’s work; she is the founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts Center and Sweetland School in Hope and we traveled to Malawi in July 2016 to provide professional development for Malawian teachers on arts integration. Sweetland is an arts integrated school inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. The quote Lindsay shared is from Lucy Caulkins on Writing: “I take a moment – an image, a memory, a phrase, an idea – and I hold it in my hands and declare it a treasure.”

This blog post is really about how our experiences come together to inspire and move us to living life a bit differently. The idea of taking a moment each day to hold something in our hands coupled with what I heard on public radio and what I experienced yesterday, brings it all together for me and reminds me to PAUSE.

Here is my moment from yesterday after a few hours spent with a dear friend walking on the beach in a not so far away place with the water, the rocks, the birds, laughter, and stories.

Today Kal and I took a leisurely walk along the beach filled with rocks of difference sizes and shapes. I was struck by how angular many were. Several were split by glaciers and some by the cold and ice of winters past. The split ones still standing in formation, their negative spaces as important as the rock pieces. Each rock, water and wind worn – a variety of types – their smoothness invited me to touch them. One had sea weed attached to the top and it reminded me of screaming hair. Within 3 inches around it – perfect eyes, nose and mouth. 

Clicked this picture to remember. It first spoke to me without the eyes, nose and mouth. LOVE the beach – especially when it is remote (yet not far) and provides me a moment to insert myself into the natural world. 


ECET2 Conference

August 11, 2017

Teacher leaders from across the state

Yesterday and today educators from across the state are convening on Colby College campus for the summer ECET2 conference. What does ECET stand for? I’m glad you were wondering. Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching in Maine. This is the third summer that the convening has taken place. The sessions are provided by teachers and by all reports all outstanding. I am reminded of the great work going on in classrooms across Maine and how fortunate learners are. Since most of my contact is with visual and performing arts teachers, it is great to be with teachers of all subjects and grade levels. And, you betcha, I am taking time to talk about arts education and the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Leadership is woven throughout the conference. It is great to be here with one of MALI’s new Teacher Leaders and the Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year from SeDoMoCha Elementary School, Kaitlin Young.

Yesterday started with a “Cultivating the Calling” session presented by Matt Drewette-Card from AOS #94. Followed by speed dating where participants had the chance to meet with 4 different people representing educational organizations. It was great fun to share! We headed to colleague circles over lunch where we got to the dreams and concerns in small groups. After lunch we had the opportunity to select from the following breakout sessions.

  • Teach to Lead – watch for an opportunity coming in the near future to attend an event in Maine
  • Time for Change: A 3-Step Process to Becoming a Better Teacher-Leader
  • Safe Environments and Honest Conversations
  • Unlocking Never-Before-Seen Doors for Kids
  • Professional Development BY the teachers and FOR the teachers
  • Creating Opportunities for All Students
  • Today’s Literacy Community: Reaching Beyond Classroom Walls

Today we will hear two more “Cultivating the Calling” provided by Tracie Travers and Brittany Ray. I’m really looking forward to them and the line up of sessions promises to be just as interesting and filled with learning as yesterday’s. If you are interested in learning more please CLICK HERE to see not only the sessions and resources but to read about ECET2 and the organizations that support and are partner.

Congratulations to the planning committee for a great job in planning the learning opportunity!


Social Justice

August 10, 2017

Book list

Last week at the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute we included a session that was facilitated by Nancy Frohlich on Social Justice and Art. Recently the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) compiled a list of books on Social Justice. They’ve broken down the information by grade level clusters; Early Childhood (PK-2),  Elementary (Grades 4-6), Middle School (Grades 7-9), High School (10-Adult). NNSTOY just published the information for others to access as a .pdf and you can find it by CLICKING HERE.

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