Archive for the ‘Integration’ Category

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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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Sanford – 35 Years!

April 3, 2017

Tradition

Joyce St. Pierre will be retiring at the end of this school year from Sanford Schools after 35 years of teaching. During her first year she established a tradition that has continued for all of the years she’s been there. The teachers work together to make this annual 3-day art exhibit a huge success. You can join Joyce and visit Sanford for her last show, April 10 through 13, Veteran’s Memorial Gym (an interesting space) located beside the Sanford Jr. High School. The district’s jazz bands will be performing on April 10 and 11.

 

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What a Month!

March 31, 2017

So Long Arts Education Month

Visiting LEAPS of Imagination program

Happy last day of March and good-bye to Arts Education month. During the last month I have been fortunate to travel to many parts of the state and visit amazing programs and people doing great things in ARTS EDUCATION! Yes, I am shouting that word – I am so proud of what is going on in arts education! YOU are doing amazing work for young learners across the entire state!

Below are some of the highlights of the month – certainly not all of them. But there is only so many hours in a day, so many days in a month and only so much time to blog!!! Thank you to those who invited me to visit.

  • March 4: THANK YOU to the Dancers Making a Difference performance, Noble High School. Amazing gathering of dancers from schools and community studios which raised $6730.00 that will be combined with the funds that were raised at a performance in November at Thornton Academy $3575.00 for a total of $10,305.00. In the next week the grant will be announced. Watch for the information on the blog and consider applying. Watch a clip of the performance.
  • March 8: Arts Advocacy Day, State House, Augusta. Marshwood High School student Mikayla Smith spoke passionately about the importance of arts education. (Yes, she is the daughter of Central School (South Berwick) music educator and the 2014 York County Teacher of the Year Kate Smith!). The Hall of Flags was filled with learners of all ages.
  • March 11: MALI Winter Retreat, Thomas College, Waterville – Teacher Leaders met to review phase 6 and plan ahead to phase 7. What a great day everyone had – many ideas were generated. If you are interested in applying to be a MALI Teacher Leader this year watch for the blog post in the near future.
  • March 11: Youth Art Month opening, Portland Museum of Art, a collaboration with the Maine Art Education Association.
  • March 13: Poetry Out Loud State Finals, Waterville Opera House. See and hear Gardiner Area High School senior Gabrielle Cooper, Maine’s Champ and the 10 finalists at THIS LINK.
  • March 14: Nancy Harris Frohlich founded LEAPS of Imagination and she says: “We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making art, they will thrive”. To learn more about the work Nancy does with teaching artists in classrooms please CLICK HERE.
  • March 17: Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Mega Conference held at Hebron Station School, Oxford Hills School district. The day was filled with learning – MALI Teacher Leaders provided sessions on many topics. After lunch we worked collaboratively in groups to create dancers thanks to the instruction of John Morris. Below you can view one of those dances. Thanks to MALI Teacher Leader Samantha Armstrong and Curriculum Leader Heather Manchester for hosting the mega. I understand that the other teachers in the district were having a workshop day as well. They used MALI’s model for scheduling the day! 
  • March 21: Christina Warren teaches art at Jordan Small Middle School in Raymond. There is great work (and play) going on inside and outside of Christina’s classroom. She  showed me all of the wonderful George Mason artwork that has been there since the school was built in 1988.

    Christina Warren

  • March 21: Visited Portland Stage with Julianne Shea and Hannah Cordes and what a hoot these two are. Looking for great programming in theatre? Contact either of these energized educators.
  • March 22: Teaching artist and MALI Teaching Artist Leader Tim Christensen was at Prescott School for several days working with the K-6 students and their staff where they created clay pieces that make up a large Panda – the school mascot. They’re already talking about bringing Tim back in the fall.
  • March 25: Helped with the presentation awards for the Junior Duck Stamp program held at LL Beans in Portland. Freeport High School Art teacher, Kim Medsker was so proud of her student who took topic honors.

    Kim Medsker-Mehalic with her student Min Wu who took the top honors.

  • March 29: Met with Senator Angus King’s staffers to discuss educational topics so he can be better informed. Such thoughtful colleagues that we have in our state and such a wonderful opportunity to share information and ideas. And, great to hear arts educators as well as other educators address the importance of the arts educators.

I love learning about what you and your students are accomplishing!

Junior Duck Stamp program, presentations held at LL Bean

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Portland Museum of Art Open House

March 10, 2017

Teachers, we appreciate you!

In appreciation of teachers the Portland Museum of Art is having an Open House, just for you!

Image credit: Side x Side Summer Arts Institute, June 2016. Photos by Joel Ellis Brown and Tonee Harbert.

Image credit: Side x Side Summer Arts Institute, June 2016.
Photos by Joel Ellis Brown and Tonee Harbert.

Thursday, March 23
Drop in any time between 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Free; registration is strongly encouraged.
R.S.V.P. by March 10 to Louisa Donelson, Associate Educator for Youth Learning, at ldonelson@portlandmuseum.org.

Teachers, you are our best allies when it comes to sharing the PMA collection with Maine youth and we want to show our appreciation with a free Open House. Teachers in any subject, Pre-K to 12, as well as homeschoolers are invited to visit the newly reinstalled PMA.
Participate however you like, for as long as you like.

  • Join in interactive gallery activities such as haiku writing or
    contour line drawing.
  • Explore our reinstalled galleries, which now host 20% more art.
  • Learn about our new school tour themes from staff and docents
  • Network with educators across grades and disciplines.
  • Tour the new Peggy L. Osher Art Study and Collection Committee Conference Room (3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. only).
  • Enjoy complimentary refreshments.
  • Receive complimentary classroom resources.

Note: educators are always welcome to visit free of charge to assist in field trip planning. Information on parking can be found here.

Student and teacher programming at the PMA is made possible by Unum.

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Mega Message from Suzanne

February 13, 2017

Teaching as a Craft

Skills, collaboration, support, and innovation –

Quality professional development for educators is characterized by the above areas demonstrating the understanding of introducing, reinforcing and supporting deeper understanding of knowledge and skills. Our profession is a craft.

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Mega-Regional Professional Development opportunities with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, in support with your Maine Arts Leadership Associations, are exponential in value for learning about best practices or expanding your skills to bring back to your school, colleagues, and classroom/studio/stage/rehearsal room.

This is educator to educator professional development – what you need, and when you need it.

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Suzanne Goulet

Yes, the next one is during a weekday – for some an in-service day. Yes, this sometimes means that you will be away from your students artists/performers for one day. And YES, you will be glad you did.  This is the catcher/pitcher conference on the mound – a time to come together, share, and grow. I always leave with gems that impact my students, my practice, my craft, immediately

Please join us, and consider asking someone to join you – for our profession, for your craft.

Looking forward to meeting you at the next Mega-Regional.

Thank you to Suzanne Goulet, MALI teacher leader and visual art teacher at Waterville Senior High School and Maine Art Education Association Teacher of the Year, for writing this blog post!

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Dance Grant Series 3

February 11, 2017

Dance education funding – “Hopes for the Future”

This is the third of three blog posts included, February 9 – 11, describing the dance education residency that took place in December 2016 from a special grant called the “Hopes for the Future” funding. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader and dance educator from Thornton Academy Emma Campbell collaborated and planted a seed and it grew into a dance education opportunity for Maine students. Thank you to John Morris, teaching artist and dancer for contributing this post. He describes the work that he did in MSAD #33 with the grant funding. Please note: funding will be available again during 2017. Please watch the blog and the Maine Arts Commission arts education list-serv for information.

A Teaching Artist’s Perspective

John Morris

John Morris

Thanks to a dance grant created by the Thornton Academy Dance Program and the Maine Arts Commission, in December of 2016 I conducted a week-long arts residency for MSAD #33, in Northern Aroostook County. My approach in working with students in dance is creative, student-centered and standards-based. I give students foundational movement tools to invent and explore their own movement, and I guide them through the process of making their own dances.

In collaboration with visual arts teacher Theresa Cerceo, I worked with a group of middle and high school students, and with S.L.A.M.!, the high school arts advocacy group directed by Ms. Cerceo, to create dances based on a theme of identity and community. The dances were shared during an end of week holiday performance put on at Wisdom Middle/High School.

img_4561During the week, I also worked with music classes at the elementary school in the district. Along with music teacher Charles Michaud, we explored connections between the elements of music and dance. In addition, I worked with Ms. Cerceo’s visual arts classes to explore the same theme of identity and community.

It was a full week working with every grade level, from Pre-K through grade six, to explore their class content in movement. The students created dances based on poems and visual art works they had made individually and as a group in the weeks before the residency. Their dances incorporated the elements of dance movement, including use of different shapes, change of speeds, and variation of high, middle and low levels. We worked together to structure their dances with clear beginnings, middles and endings. We also addressed the crucial life skills of collaborating with others, building confidence, and evaluating work – all in one class session.

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-1-51-58-pmI encountered students in the elementary school at every age and developmental level who were eager to move, explore, and make connections to other content areas, including music, visual art and language arts. They were curious, inventive, and open to exploring the arts in a structured way to express their thoughts and feelings.

The middle and high school students, having more time together, were able to more deeply explore the dynamics of working collaboratively, the process of making artistic choices, and polishing artistic work for performance.

The week went by in a blur, and before I knew it, the performance (a full house!) was over, and I was making the long drive toward southern Maine. I felt both satisfied and inspired by the students’ work. What made this residency so successful? Three factors, which I believe are important for the success of any arts residency in the schools, stood out.

Planning and prep work in collaboration with the teacher

img_4610 Ms. Cerceo and I were in contact long before the residency began, brainstorming ideas together using a shared Google Doc that allowed us to work around our busy schedules. We arrived at a theme (identity and community) that would be timely for her students to explore in visual art and writing, and that I could work with easily in dance.

As the residency drew closer, we continued to share documents, trade emails, and supplement with a few timely online conference calls. Ms. Cerceo articulated her plan for exploring the theme with her students before my arrival. I shared an outline of how I would approach the theme in movement based on her work and the student samples she posted online. This step was critical, helping me to be ready with a flexible plan for each class, and know what to expect when I walked into each classroom.

Full support of the school administration

img_4641Ms. Cerceo maintained regular contact with her administrators about our plans. As a visiting teaching artist, it was both reassuring and freeing for me to know that I had their support. I felt free to fully engage with the students in the creative process of dance-making.

The administrators introduced themselves and welcomed me to their schools. The superintendent of schools in the district sat down with me early one morning before classes began to talk about the residency. The teachers I met expressed their support for the project, and turned out in force for the performance on Friday night.

 

Classroom culture

img_4570I could tell that the students were used to focusing on the process of structured creative exploration in their classes. Also, because their teachers had prepared them for my visit, they were excited and positive about our working together. One fourth grade student even sent me a video in advance, inviting me to create a dance with her!

This expectant, growth-oriented mindset set the tone for our time together, and was supported by the collaborative planning Ms. Cerceo and I did beforehand. The connections she and I found between our ways of working helped her to guide the students with confidence that my work with them would integrate with their classwork, and deepen their connections to the arts.

Thank you John Morris for providing this blog post and the work that you did before and during the dance education residency in MSAD #33. I am sure that the learning that you provided will be felt for the lifetime of those involved.

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Dance Grant Series 2

February 10, 2017

Dance education funding – “Hopes for the Future”

This is the second of three blog posts that will be included, February 9 – 11, describing the dance education residency that took place in December 2016 from a special grant called the “Hopes for the Future” funding. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader and dance educator from Thornton Academy Emma Campbell collaborated and planted a seed and it grew into a dance education opportunity for Maine students. Please note: funding will be available again during 2017. Please watch the blog and the Maine Arts Commission arts education list-serv for information. Thank you to Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud for their contributions to this blog post.

img_4626On a chilly Friday night in early December the Wisdom Middle / High School Arts Faculty hosted the Holiday Night of the Arts. The performance was very well attended with the Wisdom High School cafeteria being filled nearly to capacity. The audience was treated to a variety of holiday songs, new and old. In addition, SLAM!, the Student Leadership in the Arts Movement, Wisdom’s student led arts advocacy group, created a performance art piece as a form of arts advocacy. The evening included the Pioneer Band, solo performances,  student artwork, and for the first time ever, thanks to the Teaching Artist Dance Grant from the Maine Arts Commission and the Thornton Academy dance program, two dance performances under the direction of teaching artist, John Morris. The students created dance performances were the result of a week-long residency with Mr. Morris. Students worked with Mr. Morris & art educator Ms. Theresa Cerceo to create original dance pieces based on students’ poems around the theme of identity & community.

img_4607Throughout the week, John worked with two groups of high school students, S.L.A.M.! and a volunteer group of 8 students that became known as, The Butterfly Group. The students worked with John, first learning basic techniques, warm ups and then exploring concepts around identity. S.L.A.M.! used a poem about artistic process and struggle written by member, Jasmine DeMoranville, as inspiration for exploring personal expression and collaboration. The Butterfly Group took time to write “I am…” poems and then, individually created movements in response to their writing. Through much planning; reflection, critique and practice, the students worked with John to use their individual work and build a unified dance that expressed their interdependence as a community.

Student comments

“This work was more intense then I thought it would be and I learned more about physical motion then I thought I would.  It opened my eyes to a new medium of expression that I never explored before. SLAM!” ~ Daley

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John Morris

“The experience last week was beyond words. It actually taught me that any idea can be turned into something great and to never give up, no matter how stupid it may seem. It also taught me that there can be different interpretations to your idea that may contribute to other great ideas. Yes, I was shy because that shell of me is still not gone but I think this experience finally cracked my shell a bit and I know that SLAM! is capable of cracking and breaking my shell little by little. This dance residency helped me think of new ideas for SLAM!. What I want to do with SLAM (since it is my first and final year)  is to have fun and really advocate for art (music, dance, art, drama) in the community and I think the things that happened (the week of the dance residency)  is really going to help me throughout the entire year with my ideas because I have learned that no idea is going to go wasted and it could trigger other ideas!”  ~ Kelly

“As the author of the poem, it was an incredible experience to see and be a part of the process of transforming my poetry into another form of art. Watching (other students) interpret my work deeply and out loud is something I’ve never really had before. Seeing the thought process and the thoughts that it instilled was amazing. Then performing it was really incredible.” ~ Jasmine

img_4639In addition to the work Mr. Morris did at the Wisdom Middle/High School, he had a full week, teaching in the elementary visual art and music classes as well. Along with Mr. Charles Michaud, John worked with general music classes, using dance to teach music elements.  The work done in the Ms. Cerceo’s  classroom was integrated with visual art lessons that were implemented before Mr. Morris’ arrival, around the theme of individual and community identity. Under John’s direction, students used dance to further explore their compositions as well as artistic purpose and communication. These dances included individual, small group and whole class collaboration.

 

Reflections from grade 5 students:

  • “I learned to personify a painting (using elements; pattern, repetition, etc.).”
  • “There are more categories of dance than I thought.”
  • “Dances need cooperation & teamwork.”
  • “You can see a painting and then dance it out!”
  • “I figured out that movement is a type of beautiful art.”
Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud

Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud

“As arts educators, our goals are centered around the students. We are here to give our learners a place to be self directed, a place to explore and express themselves and their emotions, and a community where their differences are strengths instead of mistakes. Being able to include dance into our arts program at MSAD #33 has expanded our the students’ understanding of arts and arts education and has increased our knowledge base as educators.” ~ Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud

Highlights

This video provides highlights of the dance education residency. Thank you to Theresa for creating it! https://vimeo.com/198665764

February 9-11 are the blog posts about the dance education residency in MSAD #33. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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