Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

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Teaching and Learning Outside

November 17, 2020

You in or out or ?

During the last few months we’ve been hearing about moving the classroom outside since it is safer than being inside during the pandemic. Many teachers patched together how to teach online in the spring, the summer studying how to teach online and simultaneously with students in person. Many are holding their breath that the pandemic doesn’t worsen so they are forced to go full time online once again and I see in the news this morning that is happening in some schools across the state of Maine.

In the Maine Sunday Telegram this past weekend an article was included written by Rachel Ohm about what many Maine school districts and teachers are doing to move learning outdoors. The benefit to students learning visual arts outside are numerous. Close observation for drawing, painting, sculpting and actual experiences with a variety of textures are just two examples that make the curriculum more authentic and engage learners at a deeper level.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Katie West teaches an outdoor art class to third graders in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

LYSETH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The article includes how art teacher Katie West is using an outdoor classroom at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland. As long as her students are safe she plans to continue teaching outside. Her classroom includes a tarp with waterproof cushions and stumps for students to stay appropriately space. I’m sure some of you are wondering about the winter elements and learners being prepared with the clothing to keep them warm. Fortunately the school district is using some of their relief funds to purchase clothing for students; 500 hats and 1,000 pairs of gloves have been distributed to students. Six-hundred pairs of snow pants are expected to arrive after Thanksgiving. An order of fleece will be cut up into blankets and neck warmers. Katie has received a $1,000 grant to start a gear exchange for the students at Lyseth.

MORE PROGRAMS

South Portland Schools have created over 90 outdoor learning spaces across eight schools for outdoor instruction to take place. The grades K-5 students in Freeport have the option for remote learning with the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment. In Alna the the PK-grade 5 Juniper Hill School has been teaching and learning outside since it was established in 2011 with the school’s focus on nature. At Sweetland School in Hope (where I teach) over the summer a gazebo was built so teaching and learning can take place in a location protected from the elements. Along with the gazebo they have a greenhouse complete with a wood stove that is used for another outdoor learning space.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Third grader Gianna Meas works on her painting of a tree during an outdoor art class in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

KATE EHRENFELD GARDOQUI

About a year ago Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui wrote an article that was published in Education Week called The Irrefutable Case for Taking Class Outside. She told a story about being at a Teacher of the Year event when someone made this comment to her: “Oh, you do the nature stuff, right? That sounds so fun!” As visual and performing arts educators we can relate to that type of comment, right? Kate works with the Great Schools Partnership and is the cofounder of White Pine Programs, a nature-connection organization in southern Maine. She was a finalist for the 2011 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Needless to say Kate is no slouch when it comes to teaching and learning. She included in her article that teachers who simply don’t know what is taught and learned in outdoor education can’t possibly understand the potential of the curriculum. Her story drives the point home about how we not only have to education children but adults as well.

I heard from Kate yesterday and she said how inspiring the work that Maine schools are doing opening the door to incorporating outdoor learning throughout the school day. She shared information about three schools.

  • Kingfield Elementary, where teacher Selina Green Warren has spearheaded a vibrant gardening program, and principal Johanna Prince has supported many teachers in exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning. LEARN MORE. Selina’s work was started before the pandemic; when teachers at her school started searching for ways to bring learning outside, they realized what an amazing asset Selina’s garden was.
  • Great Works School in South Berwick has also been doing some amazing work on building year-round environments for outdoor learning. Here is an article about LEARN MORE.
  • Kate recently published a blog on the Great Schools Partnership page about some other programs that have been inspiring her. LEARN MORE.

KATE’S WISH

” On the whole, my deepest wish is that one legacy of this pandemic is that more teachers will recognize the incredible value of learning experiences that don’t happen inside classrooms. There’s been so much loss, but I’m hoping that this might be one silver lining.

There’s plenty of resources available for those considering ‘taking your classroom outside’ I certainly agree with Kate and in addition I know that quality education programs in the Arts are not only providing deep meaningful learning but holding the hope in our hearts and minds that we will get through this pandemic and be better people for it!

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Richard’s Leaves Commission

November 16, 2020

In the news Portland Press Bob Keyes

Julie Richard, who has directed the Maine Arts Commission since 2012, will leave her post in Augusta next month to return to Arizona, where she will direct the Sedona Art Center.

“This has not been an easy decision for me,” Richard wrote in her letter of resignation. “I care deeply about the arts and culture sector in Maine and I am very proud of what has been accomplished during my tenure.”

David Greenham, the commission’s chairman, thanked Richard for her service and wished her well. “I am very happy for Julie and also very grateful for the work she has done in Maine to bring the arts commission forward in so many areas,” he said in a phone interview. An interim director likely will be named in a few weeks, while the commission begins looking for a replacement, he said.

In a news release announcing Richard’s departure, the commission cited her work to create a statewide cultural plan in 2015, her efforts to reform the agency’s grant programs and the creation of an advocacy and support organization for the state’s cultural sector, ArtsEngageMe. She also oversaw a statewide census of arts education in Maine and instituted the biennial Maine International Conference on the Arts.

Greenham said Richard and her staff have been responsive to the pandemic, taking on at least two extra grant programs since March to help artists and arts organizations. “That’s a lot of work and a big process, and that was on top of all the regular work they do with the grant programs,” he said.

In a typical year, the commission processes about 450 grant applications across multiple programs and artistic disciplines. In 2020, it reviewed and processed 1,421 successful grants to provide emergency relief with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and CARES Act.

Read the entire article from the Portland Press at THIS LINK.

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HundrED

November 12, 2020

Global collection announced

Last week in Helsinki, Finland during the HundrED Innovation Summit 100 leading innovations in K12 education from around the world were announced. These free resources are part of the 4th Collection. The goal is to inspire a grassroots movement by helping pedagogically sound, ambitious innovations to spread and adapt to multiple contexts around the world.

Unfortunately, the in-person summit had to be adapted this year to an online opportunity. Luckily this didn’t get in the way of providing inspirational speakers, panels, and discussions for all participants. Educators were invited to share their creative ideas with an audience from around the world.

HundrED partnered with Lego to release a Spotlight Report on Creativity answering the question: How can we effectively nurture creativity in education? The report highlights that there are no shortages of ideas around the world that are scalable and impactful. You can access the report and read what was learned. I’m sure it will be important information for you navigating education at the local district and community level.

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Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM

October 28, 2020

13 Strategies for Making Thinking Visible in the Classroom

For many educators focusing on the process and not the product has been a gradual change. The pandemic has forced this shift rapidly and educators are gracefully embracing it in many cases. This requires a growth mindset and ideas and suggestions from supportive colleagues. Susan Riley’s Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM has put together a comprehensive list of strategies that you can apply (in person and/or remotely) in your classroom environment that will make your students thinking visible.

Why make learning more visible you may wonder? Critical and creative thinking skills are an integral part of teaching and learning, always have been part of arts education. I’m glad that other educators have gotten on board with this in this 21st century. One key for developing and assessing critical and creating thinking skills is to making thinking more visible. If we can see the process students are using to analyze problems, make predictions and draw conclusions, teaching and guiding students thinking becomes easier.

I encourage you to take a look at the ideas Susan Riley suggestions below to support your teaching and students learning.

  1. Use Artful Thinking Routines
  2. Try Close Reading of an Art Composition
  3. Connect with Cooperative Poetry
  4. Explore Ekphrasis Poetry for Vivid Language
  5. Generate One Word Focal Points
  6. Develop Collaborative Narrative
  7. Sketch to Write
  8. Create an Art Recipe
  9. Design Haibun Poems
  10. Perform a Human Slideshow
  11. Build Summarizing Skills
  12. Composing a Soundtrack
  13. Produce Curriculum-Based Reader’s Theatre
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Passamaquoddy People

October 26, 2020

Geo Neptune is a performance artist, educator, and basket maker who left Indian Township where he grew up to attend Dartmouth College in 2006. Geo returned to the Indian Township community in 2010 and has learned a great since. As a newly elected member of the Indian Township school board Neptune has plans to make a difference for young people.

One of the things that makes the Passamaquoddy unique, Neptune says, is that they don’t have a “migration or removal story.” The tribe, which numbers around 3,500 people, has “lived on the shores of these lakes and our ancestral river for 13,000 years.”

Geo plans to advocate for greater education on Passamaquoddy culture and language, which they feel have been deprioritized by faculty and administrators in recent years.

Read Geo’s strong and clear statements about what it’s been like for the Passamaquoddy people in this interview for them with Nico Lang.

Photo credit: Sipsis Peciptaq Elamoqessik
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Virtual Theatre Game Night

October 21, 2020

Maine high school students are invited to participate in a virtual theater game night. The Maine Thespians officers will lead participants in an interactive workshop at no cost. Mark your calendars and join teens from across the state – Sunday, October 25, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. This event is provided by the Maine Educational Theater Association.

For more information CLICK HERE! To register CLICK HERE!

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Grammy Music Educator Award

October 20, 2020

25 Semifinalists announced – Maine proud!

In the beginning of June 2020 the Music Educator Award presented by Recording Academy and Grammy Museum announced their quarterfinalists for 2021. I was proud to announce on the blog that three Maine music educators were named to the list of nearly 2,000 nominees!

  • CAROL CLARK – Gray-New Gloucester High School
  • PATRICK VOLKER – Scarborough High School
  • TRACY WILLIAMSON – Gorham Middle School 

As a follow up Tracy shared her Covid story posted on this blog that provided details on her teaching journey through the school year.

Tracy Williamson

Recently Tracy learned that she is one of 25 music teachers from 24 cities across 16 states to be named a semifinalist for the award given by the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum.

CONGRATULATIONS TRACY!

The finalists will be announced in December and Maine Arts Educators will be waiting to hear the outcome!

The Music Educator Award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. The recipient will be recognized during GRAMMY Week 2021.

The award is open to current U.S. music teachers, and anyone can nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans, and administrators. Teachers are also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers are notified and invited to fill out an application.

Each year, one recipient is selected from 10 finalists and recognized for their remarkable impact on students’ lives. They will receive a $10,000 honorarium and matching grant for their school’s music program. The nine additional finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium and matching grants. The remaining fifteen semifinalists will receive a $500 honorarium with matching school grants.

The matching grants provided to the schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Museum’s Education Champion Ford Motor Company Fund. In addition, the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, NAMM Foundation, and National Education Association support this program through outreach to their constituencies.

The finalists will be announced in December, and nominations for the 2022 Music Educator Award are now open. To nominate a music educator, or to find more information, please visit www.grammymusicteacher.com.

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Resources Supporting Arts Education

October 19, 2020

Amazing work

I know how time consuming it can be for teachers to collect resources so I’ve put together another list to help support your work – this one compiled over the last several weeks. Hopefully you’ll find the information informative!

  1. Neuroscience and Music written by Cassandra Sheppard – At a time when singing in school is marginalized this article/research reminds us that we need to sing!
  2. ArtsEdSearch A hub for research on the impact of arts in education where you’ll find academic studies and resources
  3. pink portfolio exercises As in Daniel Pink who I heard speak about the importance of the creative thinking people.
  4. Onion Foundation Funding source for Maine education
  5. STE(A)Mrolled Blog post from Americans for the Arts. Writer Daryl Ward is the principal of the Harrison School for the Arts in Florida. 
  6. Teaching Arts Education Advocates Blog post for Americans for the Arts. Written by Jennifer Katona, Director and Founder of the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at the City College of New York (CCNY), oversees the certification of pre and in-service Theatre teachers and training of non-certified theatre educators.
  7. The Teaching Channel has outstanding resources. Here’s one: Post Modern Art: Everything Is Information 
  8. Collective Impact in the Arts – Createquity. One persons information on the possibility of developing a collective impact model for the arts. Written by Ian David Moss a few years ago but information is still relevant for those interested in this work. 
  9. Deeper Learning: Why Cross-Curricular Teaching is Essential written by Ben Johnson for Edutopia. More difficult but so many benefits that outweigh not doing this type of teaching.
  10. Unlocking Passion in Education written by Tom Segal for Education Week. Another older article but good information. 
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How Learning Happens

October 14, 2020

Edutopia and social emotional learning

Edutopia tackles the challenges of social emotional learning by providing several videos on a variety of topics that are beneficial to educators, parents, and organizations who provide learning opportunities for learners. In this video series, they explore how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners. Below are just a few – you can find many more on the section of the Edutopia website called How Learning Happens.

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Education Innovators Series

October 8, 2020

You’re invited to join Educate Maine virtually for a NEW speaker series addressing innovation in education. The series will bring together national thought leaders and leading Maine educators to share their best ideas and deep wisdom on the topic of how education can adapt and evolve to meet the unique demands of our time. 

Educate Maine is partnering with the Education Action Forum of Maine and Thomas College’s Center for Innovation in Education to host this timely series. Join them Thursday, October 15 from 3:30-4:30pm for the first of several engaging conversations among national thought leaders and Maine’s top educators as they discuss and explore what is next for the field.

REGISTRATION

SPEAKERS

At the first event, the presenter is Jason Swanson who is the Director of Strategic Foresight at KnowledgeWorks, where he helps lead the organization’s research into the future of learning. An award-winning futurist, Jason develops forecasts, sensemaking guides, artifacts from the future, and immersive experiences. Jason is a frequent public speaker and workshop facilitator and holds a BA in Public Policy from West Chester University and an MS in Foresight from the University of Houston. He is a fellow with the Royal Society of Arts and is a member of the Remake Learning Council and Learn Life Alliance.

In addition, we will engage two Maine educators to discuss the research and explore how educators can partner with government officials to explore these options for Maine’s families.

Matt Drewette-Card is the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for MSAD #46, a small, rural school district in central Maine. Matt is also the President of Maine ASCD, the Maine CSTA Penobscot/Piscataquis County regional representative, a Future Ready Schools mentor, and host of the “Maine Education Matters” podcast. Matt has been in education for over 20 years, has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon, and has taught in Maine, Oregon, New Mexico, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Heather Whitaker is the Alternative Education Teacher at Gorham Middle School and the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year. During her 18-year teaching career at Gorham Middle School, Heather has been a true advocate for combining learning opportunities with the needs of the community. She started her school’s garden, which donates over 800 pounds of produce for the local food pantry each year. She also was a founding member of the Gorham BackPack Program, which provides students in her community, experiencing chronic hunger, with food over the weekend. Her alternative education students are active volunteers for both programs. Heather is passionate about and experienced in using restorative practices and experiential learning. She believes in the power of relationships and that learning should be meaningful to students. Whenever possible, Heather takes students out of the classroom and has them engaged in the community. Heather graduated from Boston College in 2000, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with Moderate Special Needs. She later earned her Master of Science in Literacy Education at the University of Southern Maine.

Schedule for the event

3:30-3:50pm: Jason Swanson

3:50-4:10pm: Matt Drewette-Card and Heather Whitaker

4:10-4:30pm: Q & A 

The zoom link will be emailed to all registered participants prior to the event.

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