Archive for the ‘Integration’ Category

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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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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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