Archive for the ‘Integration’ Category

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MALI Reflections

August 8, 2017

What’s it really all about

As I take a few minutes to reflect on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute that was held last week at Thomas College for three days I can’t help but think about what MALI is really all about. If I had to select one word it would be COMMUNITY. As many of you know there are about 1200 visual and performing arts educators in the state and I really don’t know how many teaching artists there are throughout Maine. Both were well represented last week. Bottom line, each of the participants were teachers, striving to be better at teaching and the desire to connect with others who care deeply about arts education.

Wow, I am so humbled by their commitment and proud of what they accomplished in three days!

Reasons for MALIs success

  • Teachers teaching teachers is a critical component
  • MALI is a community that provides ongoing support. Teachers learn that they have peers throughout the state experiencing the same or similar situations that they do day to day. They no longer feel like islands.
  • This summer’s institute had three strands; one for Teaching Artist Leaders, one for returning TLs and one for new TLs. The strands are customized for the unique group and individual needs. The strands came together for cross pollination and collaborations are formed.
  • All of the ideas are based on research and what is in the best interest of teacher development.
  • Phase 7 New Teacher Leaders

    A Design Team guides the work of MALI and plan every detail of the summer institute. They are totally committed to contributing above and beyond.

  • The MALI community grows each year with some teacher leaders returning year after year.
  • Through their work TLs find their voice and are invigorated to return to their school districts. Many are recognized in their new leadership role and are invited to the table at the local level. They serve on district leadership committees, lead the school and district professional development work for all subjects and grade level teachers, and are honored for their leadership.
  • The institute schedule is different each year to adapt to the changing needs but the foundation is built on What is good teaching? What is good learning? What is good assessment?
  • Teaching Artist Leaders Phase 6 and 7

    In 2015 Teacher Leaders created a set of Belief Statements on that include the topics that are vital to Maine arts education today: Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity and 21st Century Skills, Educator Effectiveness, Effective Teaching and Learning, Proficiency Based Learning and Student Centered Learning, and Teacher Leadership.

  • Teachers are connected and become Critical Friends to help support each other’s teaching.
  • MALI models teaching tools

So, what makes involvement in the MALI community so special?

Looking closely at Tim Christensen’s pottery are Jenni Driscoll, Jean Phillips, Tim, and Charlie Johnson

Participants comments

  • “MALI has helped me grow tremendously as a professional and my students grow tremendously as learners.” ~ Charlie Johnson, Visual Art Phase 1
  • “It’s leadership through the arts and as artist/teachers we have so much to offer.” ~ Cindi Kugell, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI has made me feel like I have a voice in my school, my community and in my state. ~ Jen Etter, Music Phase 3 Teacher Leader
  • “It is a lifeline for arts educators and education. ~ Jane Snider, Visual Art Phase 2 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows us to share our artistic strengths and perspectives in a forum which will directly impact the educational experiences of children across the state of Maine. ~ Brigid Rankowski, Phase 6 Teaching Artist Leader
  • “I feel so validated in my beliefs in the arts being so important to the “WHOLE CHILD”. This week has allowed my confidence to soar in my building!” Amy Nucci, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • Brian Evans-Jones, Teaching Artist Leader conducts poetry mini-lesson

    “MALI has helped me grow more confident both personally and professionally, especially as a leader. ~ Mandi Mitchell, Visual Art Phase 5 Teacher Leader

  • “It makes me brave. By stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things and improve my practice. MALI is my safety net. ~ Dorrie Tripp, Music Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows me to connect with exceptional arts educators from across the state; share resources and knowledge and improve my teaching!” ~ Pam Chernesky, Visual Art Phase 6
  • “I am thrilled to be part of the MALI team and so energized for my year of learning ahead.” ~ Kris Bisson, Music Phase 7
  • “Because of my role as a MALI Teacher Leader I got the opportunity to be chosen as one of three teachers to lead the professional development work in my district. It takes you places.” ~ Holly Leighton, Visual Art Phase 5
  • “Through the MALI Summer Session I discovered that both my art and my teaching are really directed at the same goal (engagement/interaction) and that who I am is as important to teaching & learning as what I know”. ~Tom Luther, Teaching Artist, Music Phase 7 Teaching Artist Leader

Next steps

Some of the MALI Teacher Leaders (TL) and Teaching Artists Leaders (TAL) will be sharing their learning in a workshop format at the local or regional level. Others will be continuously sharing in a social media mode. The Phase 7 summer institute was really about customizing the learning for each educator. I will keep you posted as they wrap up their plans for the school year I will share the information here on the blog and also on the Maine Arts Assessment site and through the communications that are delivered by the Maine Arts Commission.

Please let me know (argy.nestor@maine.gov) if you have any questions and are interested in applying to be involved as a Teacher Leader or Teaching Artist Leader for Phase 8.

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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CIE Summer Institute

June 30, 2017

Superb learning opportunity

I just returned from Thomas College where Catherine Ring and I worked as a team to create a resource for STEAM at the Center for Innovation in Education Summer Institute. The conversation on STEAM appears to be happening across the state in a small way but after three days of talking STEAM, proficiency-based education and digital learning I am sensing that we are at the edge of a giant leap forward. The most interesting part is that the conversations were not just with visual and performing arts teachers but with teachers of all grade levels and content representing all regions of the state.

From a participant: STEAM is important because it engages the whole brain in learning.

Tim McNamara

The summer institute opening keynote was provided by Tim McNamara, director of High Tech High School in Chula Vista, California. He works in a true student-centered environment where students are not only surviving but flourishing, as they find and explore and learn through their passions. His stories were so inspiring!

The inspiration continued throughout the three days with a very moving performance by Brook Haycock. Her docudramas encourage questioning and thinking.

The final engaging activity was facilitated by Explo. Yes, they brought 35 moose into the room. Teams collaborated to create anything you can imagine for the moose to transport all kinds of goods.

In between participants chose from a variety of workshops. Some of them: Innovative Learning Experiences, Interdisciplinary Unit and Course Design, STEAM Power – Why it Works, How it Looks, Flipping’ Fake News, and A=Arts. All teAms cAn steAm with Music.

Hope Lord “playing” a note on a bottle.

In between attending workshops each team continued work on their project. Catherine and I will continue our STEAM resource work and provide it for you in the future when it is ready to be launched. It will be a living document so if you have any STEAM resources that you’d be kind enough to share please email the link or the resource at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Providing feedback to each other on plans.

From a participant: The arts breathe life into everything that they touch – STEM is no different. The A in STEAM makes practical solutions beautiful – a chair becomes a sculpture, sound becomes music. When the arts are in the mix, it elevates the process and the product. A deeper, almost emotional connection seems to be made – kids get excited, I get excited. ~Chip Schwehm, Boothbay Region High School

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PD All Around

June 27, 2017

Look Up!

There’s all kinds of professional development happening this summer in Maine on arts education. I’ve thought a great deal of PD over the years as a teacher who attended hundreds of learning opportunities and as a provider of PD. I found THIS ARTICLE recently that talks about what teachers wish to get out of PD. I believe that most importantly educators seeking quality arts education professional development need to be reminded to look up! I’m exploring what that means for me personally and professionally.

Participants at Hannaford Hall on the USM, Portland campus listen intently.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit two wonderful learning opportunities underway. One was held at the USM, Portland campus, sponsored by the Maine Department of Education. Jeff Poulin, arts education manager from the Americans for the Arts kicked off the day with a lively presentation on the history of federal mandates including today’s work on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). With his mom and sister in the audience Jeff provided a clear picture and included his own story of how he started and continues in the arts and the value of advocacy on many levels. He included a photo of himself at a very young age as a tap dancer and he delighted those in attendance with a tap dance at the conclusion of his presentation.

Participants broke into three groups: music, visual arts, and theatre/dance to continue work around assessment. The questions discussed included: Why do you assess? What do you assess? What is powerful about those thing that you access? I suggest that you take a minute and answer these questions. They could prompt a conversation with a colleague. Participants from all over Maine will continue their work tomorrow.

Laurie Downy and Molly Brown go over the details before sending participants on their way to select an artwork to respond to at the Portland Art Museum.

I spent part of the afternoon at the Portland Museum of Art with Side X Side. They had seven workshops happening simultaneously in different locations in the city with Portland teachers.   Laurie Downy and Molly Brown were facilitating a lesson. They sent the teachers out into the museum to observe and document something that they found interesting. Asking them to journal and selecting from multiple techniques from drawing to writing to journaling to mapping. Most inspiring was this quote by Shaun McNift from Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go. “People find that there most inspired creations come when they are “present” and responsive to what emerges naturally from the process. Creation requires attention and complete focus. But most of all it demands that we take the plunge into new territory without knowing what will appear.”

If you choose to engage in professional development this summer, whether independently or with a group, I do hope that you it ignites your creativity!

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Conservation and Visual Art

June 4, 2017

Yarmouth High School Artist Residency

Art classes at Yarmouth High School in Maine are channeling their creativity in a new direction.  Students, led by internationally known artist Tim Christensen and Yarmouth High School Art Teacher Holly Houston, are creating clay masterpieces to showcase endangered wildlife from across the globe. The results are stunning and serve as an artistic display of the beauty in nature we strive to protect every day.

Students researched threatened and endangered critters to best convey their subjects through art. The students used clay to create sculptures, pots and tiles and later incorporated food and habitat needs and animal adaptations into their artwork using sgraffito, a carving technique. The contrast of light carvings on the dark surface draws the eye to every detail.

Each student approached the the assignment in a creative way to raise awareness for the species of their choosing. Not only did they develop new techniques for clay, but they learned how to share meaningful conservation messages through art.

Alex’s inspiration was the New England cottontail. “I was concerned with the endangered animals that live near and around me. This animal is found in young forest habitats which are depleted in this area and more habitat is needed to help it recover.”

Kelcie chose the piping plover as her focal species. “I chose the piping plover because it is an animal I am familiar with but did not know it was endangered before I started this project. The piping plover is found along the Atlantic Coast, including Maine. If you’ve been to the beach you have probably seen these birds before. They enjoy nesting on the beach near the dunes and forage for food near the waves. Unfortunately our presence of the beach has disrupted their habitat. In order for them to repopulate we need to give them space to breed and live.”

Daly describes how she planned to convey what she researched about the roseate tern through her work. “The viewer would be able to see where the roseate tern lived and what it ate, as well as their flight patterns. My primary goal with this piece was to convey this animal in the middle of an action, such as fishing or flying. The tern at the top was placed there in order to show how the Tern glided through the air, which would give the viewer clues about what kind of bird it was. The central tern was placed in order to show it capturing its food, something that also provides important information about this animal to the viewer.”

Many students had similar accounts; drawing attention to wildlife that need it most. Their work shows many species that are protected in many different ecosystems across the globe. For many species, work has been done to protect both wildlife and their habitat but much more is needed to ensure their survival. CLICK HERE to learn more about endangered species and how you can help!

The following post is being reprinted from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service blog located at THIS LINK.

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Malawi Stories and Photos

May 31, 2017

Tidemark Gallery, Waldoboro

Interested in learning about arts integration work that took place in Malawi last summer? If so, Lindsay Pinchbeck and I will share stories and photos at the Tidemark Gallery in Waldoboro, Saturday, June 3, 7:00PM. We traveled to Malawi with the Go! Malawi whose mission is to collaborate with rural Malawian communities to develop sustainable programs in education, healthcare, commerce, and education.  are to In addition to Lindsay’s photographs on display will be some of my mosaics that I’ve been creating since our return in July 2016. We’ll start with a Pecha Kucha format and move from there to more in-depth stories and share a video of a Malawian classroom in action. Please email me if you have questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov. And, if you are interested in traveling to Malawi this summer to continue the work please email me ASAP. 

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MALI Teaching Artist Story – Tim Christensen

April 25, 2017

MALI Teaching Artists series

This is the eighth blog post of the Phase 6 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) stories. And, this is the first one provided by a Teaching Artist Leader. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the Teaching Artists work.  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 78 posted to date. Thank you Tim for sharing your story!

You can view his beautiful artwork at http://www.timchristensenporcelain.com/.

Tim Christensen works primarily in porcelain, with sgraffito. He has been teaching art and pottery since 2002. His favorite age group really depends on the project at hand, but generally, his favorite group is middle school. Tim loves collaborating with art teachers of any type, and enjoy the challenges and rewards of working in our public schools.

What do you like best about being a teaching artist?

I like that every day is a new day, with new kids and new challenges. I find that I can come into a classroom and work with the young artists unencumbered by any expectations on either of our parts. It allows the experience to be both fruitful and fun for everyone, and often can provide a new view on learning for both the teacher and student. I love helping students to discover their visual voice, and love inspiring them to say the things that they most need to say.

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

Any endeavor must be challenging, engaging, and have clearly defined, achievable, parameters for success.

Have you found assessment to be helpful in your classes, workshops and residencies, and if so, how?

I very much like teaching in environments where assessments are used. I find that the students rely on rubrics, when available, as a basis I for formative self-assessment. I like that a rubric, used correctly, opens up a project for multiple pathways of showing success, and engages the students in customizing a project to best fit their interests.

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

MALI has allowed me to learn about and discuss the latest ideas and science in education with the leaders in our field, and has given me a voice within my community. Before MALI, I didn’t know there even WAS a community.

What are you most proud of as an artist and/or a teaching artist?

As a TA, I am most proud of those moments where I see a student or teaching professional leap forward in their understanding of a student’s abilities and thoughts. As an artist, I am most proud of the hard work it has taken to develop my voice, AND develop an audience to hear it.

What gets in the way of doing a better job as a teaching artist?

There are only 24 hours in a day…..

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

My entire life as an artist is due to hard work and determination. I know that sounds glib, but it is true. In 2007, I moved to the woods in Maine with a tent, some skills, and a stack of lumber, and literally built my life from clay, dirt, wood, and sweat. Everything I have accomplished since then has come from that basis, and still is derived from those 4 assets.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teaching artist or is just starting out?

Get out there and do it. Don’t wait for perfect conditions. Create acceptable conditions, and improve them as you can. Also, always assume that you are on the right path, and that there is a solution to every problem you encounter. Work every single day. Trust your thoughts and instincts, and work on ways of expressing those things that make it easier for others to understand you. Tell everyone who will listen about your ideas, and your passion. Lastly, if you don’t see a way forward, make one: not just for yourself, but to make the way easier for all those people who are not as confident of their feet as you are.

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

I would be doing exactly what I am doing right now.

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

I do, but not around the way I have spent my time, only in paths not taken, or too soon abandoned.

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