Britain’s got talent
Dance? Media arts? Theatre? Amazing….
Britain’s got talent
Dance? Media arts? Theatre? Amazing….
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
During 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.
I 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
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
Ms. 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.
I 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.
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.
On 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.
Throughout 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.
“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
“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
In 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:
“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
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 email@example.com.
Dance education funding – “Hopes for the Future”
This is the first 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. Learn more from this series of posts. Please note: funding will be available again during 2017. Watch the blog and the Maine Arts Commission arts education list-serv for information.
In November of 2015 a collaborative performance was held at Thornton Academy in Saco. Two schools and five dance studios work together as part of the Community Dance Project to create the performance and raise funds to help establish a dance education grant. The “Hopes for the Future,” funding was available to schools/districts who have no dance education program in place during the school day. Applications were accepted with a handful of guidelines. Two of them being that the funding was to be used during the 2016-17 school year and a dance educator from the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster had to be selected to provide the artist residency. The roster presently has 15 dance artists.
The funding was to be used as seed money so schools/districts would actually have a complete opportunity to experience the benefits of dance education for learners. In April 2016 the funding was awarded to MSAD #33, comprised of Dr. Levesque Elementary School in Frenchville and Wisdom Middle/High School in St. Agatha located in the northern most part of Aroostook County. The district’s 240 students and teachers had the unique opportunity in December 2016 for dance educator/teaching artist John Morris to spend a week in their schools.
I was thrilled to be able to travel to the County and visit the classrooms and see the students in action working with John Morris. Along with John worked closely with art teacher Theresa Cerceo and music teacher Charles Michaud to be sure that the learning opportunity was at an extremely high level. The preparation work that both teachers did before John arrived was evident. The 5 days were documented very well with photos, video footage, quotes from students and staff. It was obvious at the culminating performance on a chilly Friday night in St. Agatha that the opportunity exceeded the expectations.
Dr. Fern Desjardins, Superintendent of Schools, MSAD #33 said the following:
“MSAD #33 had a unique opportunity to have a dance artist come to the District for a weeklong residency to introduce K-12 students to dance education as an art form. I gratefully acknowledge Thornton Academy for their generous donation to the Maine Arts Commission to make the competitive grant, “Hopes for the Future” possible. To bring dance to our rural area opened our students to a different way of expressing themselves by using a talent they may not have recognized or even considered. This could have opened career options for some of our students who were not destined to seek a post-secondary college degree. As I watched the closing performance of students at Wisdom Middle/High School’s Night of the Arts, I saw how dance artist John Morris had reached students of all academic abilities. I was convinced I needed to make an effort to bring Mr. Morris back next spring for a follow-up residency. He made it possible for a segment of our student population to really express their creative talents that are not otherwise discovered and displayed for our community to observe and truly appreciate – as they did on the evening of December 9, 2016. The smiles, applause, and comments from the audience brought much pride to our little school.”
Lisa Bernier Principal at the Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Frenchville said the following:
“Having Mr. Morris in MSAD# 33 was phenomenal for students. Not all students will excel in sports. The students who participated and benefited in the Dance Residency are students who have talents that would have remained hidden otherwise, especially at the high school level. Administrators and the community of MSAD# 33 believe in the arts and it’s ability to shape and mold the lives of all students. The residency solidified our belief. We are also very lucky to have exceptional educators who care enough to go above and beyond to bring such activities to the district.”
Over the next 3 days you will have the chance to read more posts that explain the details of the dance education residency. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maine Arts Commission is offering the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Mega-Regional Conference at Hebron Station School in the Oxford Hills School District on Friday, March 17. In addition to these fabulous sessions (listed below) past participants remind us how the opportunity to network with arts educators from across Maine is so valuable!
Mega-regional conferences take place between 8:15 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Stars and Stairs, Where am I now and Where am I going? How can the use of Stars and Stairs in your classroom help to inform you and your students of their learning progression and actively engage them in the learning process. This will be a round table discussion. Looking at your standards and your curriculum how can you use the Stars and Stairs model in your classroom. All grade levels. All content.
Samantha Armstrong Paris Elementary School and Hebron Elementary Schools, Grades K-6 Visual Art
Dive into iBooks Author to harness the power of developing multi-modal, Multi-Touch iBooks. You’ll learn features which make iBooks come to life for learners by incorporating audio files, 3D widgets, image glossaries, study cards, jailbreaking templates, and much more. Be prepared to create an art history chapter together. You can also use this app for making comics and graphic novels or creating art portfolios. This session is great for MLTI beginners and experts. MLTI MacBooks with iBooks Author preinstalled is encouraged. Grades 7-12
Lindsey Carnes MLTI Apple Learning Specialist
Many arts educators in K-12 education have never had the opportunity to work with a teaching artist. Knowing where to start and identifying the most important steps to take can feel daunting. This workshop provides a framework for creating a high-quality teaching artist residence in the schools. We will focus on the steps needed to create a powerful residency, and the nature of an effective collaboration between teaching artist and arts educator. We will provide experiential work and guidance in addressing the complexities and sometimes different languages of the teaching artist and the school-based educator. All grade levels. All content.
Carmel Collins Lake Region High School Dance and Visual Art John Morris Teaching Artist Dance
Improve content literacy with a tool box of formative assessments and literacy strategies to gauge what your students already know, how well they are learning content, and help drive your classroom instruction. All grade levels. All content.
Iva Damon Leavitt Area High School Visual Art
Playing and composing songs on your own is a blast for some, however there’s something special about making music in collaboration with other like-minded folks that just can’t be beat. In this hands-on, music making session, participants will use GarageBand to learn the basics of song writing and music production. Participants will have plenty of time to explore and experience the fun of collaborative music creation. Musicians of any and all skill levels are welcome. Make sure to bring your Mac and/or iOS device with GarageBand installed. All grade levels.
Tim Hart MLTI Apple Learning Specialist
Participants will learn how to use graphic notation as a visual tool to reach all learners in the music classroom. (This is a great STEAM lesson!) Grades 4-6
Linda McVety Songo Locks Elementary School, Grades K-5 Music Jenni Null Songo Locks Elementary, Grades K-6 Music, District Fine Arts Coordinator
When you are deeply engaged in Arts Integration you realize it is about learning with you mind, body and heart in the present moment. This hands on workshop explores this idea through drama, music, movement, poetry, storytelling, and the visual arts. Come prepared to experience arts integration through your own individual lens in a safe environment. All grade levels. All content.
Lindsay Pinchbeck Director Sweet Tree Arts/Sweetland School
A combination of sketching and traditional note taking results in rich educational documents to support learning. Studies show that sketching leads to better retention of information and helps clarify ideas. Sketching is one of our original forms of communication. Visualizing ideas is a great way to learn. Why not bring this creative form of learning into your classroom? Explore how visual notes support learning. Discover techniques to create, share and integrate visual notes into your instructional practice. Visual notetaking, often called sketch noting, uses two parts of your brain, which is referred to as Dual Coding Theory. This has been found to improve learning. Research has shown that people who doodle while listening retain 29% more information (Andrade, 2009). Join this hands-on session and start sketching your notes today. Please bring your updated MLTI iPad, if available, with Notability installed. Arts supplies will also be available. All grade levels. All content.
Ann Marie Quirion Hutton MLTI Apple Professional Learning Specialist, former Art Educator
This workshop focuses on a collection of techniques that aim to support literacy in the art classroom. From using word walls, sight words, and phonemic awareness participants will leave with a fresh perspective on incorporating literacy while still adhering to their art curriculum. K-5 Visual Arts, adaptable for middle school.
Elise Bothel Vivian E. Hussey School, Grades K-5 Visual Art
Use stations and sites fostering independence to help students collect assets for creating art infused iMovie productions. This session will showcase how a green screen and some photos can provide opportunities for all learners to showcase their creative side. MLTI MacBooks with the most current version of iMovie is encouraged. Grades 7-12. All content.
Lindsey Carnes MLTI Apple Learning Specialist
This workshop will demonstrate a scaffolded instruction process and assessment system created to guide middle school band students through the basic levels of performance to highly skilled musicianship. Grades 4-12
Dianne Fenlason Spruce Mountain Middle School, Grades 6-12 Music
This is a step by step experience designed to help you to consider how to use a digital portfolio to help students self-asses and manage the evidence of their learning. Access to Google Drive, Drawing, email, built in camera and mic ideal…but not required. . All content areas. All levels.
Suzanne Goulette Waterville Senior High School Visual Art
Beginning with early Atari and Nintendo video games, the 8-bit aesthetic has been a part of our culture for over 30 years. No longer just nostalgia art, contemporary 8-bit artists and chiptunes musicians have elevated the form to new levels of creativity and cultural reflection. In this session, we will focus on tools that assist in creating 8-bit images, animations, and music. Please bring your MLTI MacBook. All grade levels.
Tim Hart MLTI Apple Learning Specialist
Educators will leave with the knowledge of how to create and present a variety methods to advocate for issues pertinent to their arts educational causes and how to organize those methods to feel comfortable in beginning personal advocacy efforts. All grade levels. All content.
Lynda Leonas Farwell and Longley Elementary Schools, Grades K-6 Visual Art
Introduction to the process of using devised theatre as a teaching tool. I will take participants through that process and give them strategies for using devised theatre across curriculum areas and grade levels. All grades levels. All content.
Hilary Martin Vassalboro Community School, Grades K-8 Theatre
One creation lends a hand to the other. Illustration is a part of many great stories, extending the ability of ideas to be shared, and increasing enjoyment and comprehension on the part of the reader. Apple technology provides many possibilities for creating illustrations, making drawing and visual images a part of the overall literacy experience. Learn how to use your MacBook Air to draw and paint creative illustrations in this “hands on session”. Bring your MacBook Air with Acorn installed (included with your MLTI participation). All grades levels.
Ann Marie Quirion Hutton MLTI Apple Professional Learning Specialist, former Art Teacher
Information on the professional development offerings this year from MALI located at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MALI-Mega-Regionals.
The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative provides ongoing professional development opportunities. Resources are available by CLICKING HERE.
If you have any questions please contact Argy Nestor, director of arts education, Maine Arts Commission at email@example.com.
Power of connecting
It is great being on the road with the Iditarod. I am reminded at each event how interesting, varied and connected arts people are and that they are the backbone of communities – large and small. While at the Belfast Iditarod held at Waterfall Arts it was great to see old friends and colleagues including founders of the arts center, Alan and Lorna Crichton and director of programming Martha Piscuskas. I also had a chance to meet new people like composer, performer, and media artist Tom Luther.
Tom approached me and said that he has been following this blog for quite some time. He teaches at Midcoast Music Academy in Rockland. A center that I’ve been hearing about but haven’t had the chance to visit yet. They are doing amazing work providing learning opportunities for young people in the mid-coast. Tom promised to connect me with the founders Tom Ulichny and Anne Bardaglio. Interestingly enough he did let them know we met and on Friday night, two days after we were in Belfast, I attended the Pecha Kucha in Rockport and there was Tom presenting. He shared the story of the academy and afterwards I met him in person.
Anyway, it turns out that Tom Luther lives not 4 miles up the road from me and he was inspired by the blog post 1,000 Musicians Perform, January 8. I asked him to relay his story so I could let others know what he did after reading the post. You’ll get to meet Tom yourself if you attend the March 17 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Mega-regional conference at Hebron Station School since Tom will be there.
In Tom’s own words…
A few weeks back, Argy Nestor posted a really cool video on her Maine Education blog. It showed 1000 musicians in Italy performing David Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel”. I was struck by both the magnitude of this event, and the timeliness of the posting. I don’t know if when the video was actually done, but I had been thinking about Bowie recently, as just about a year has passed since his death. As I listened, the idea hit me to fool around with the tune, and see what I could do with it. I wound with a much softer, slower version that is really a vehicle for improvisation, and has a flexible form that can change with each performance. Aside from toying with the notion of a trio arrangement, I really had no plan for it (“bottom drawer music” we call it), until I decided to play it at a church gig that I do regularly. Unbeknownst to me, the Pastor’s sermon that week was about spiritual revolution, so it was a perfect fit. I told Argy about the whole thing when I saw her at the Maine Arts Iditarod, and she reminded me that the true power of art is in connections like these. So thanks David, and thanks Argy!
You can check out Tom’s version he calls Lazarus Dreaming at his soundcloud post at
https://soundcloud.com/tom-luther-music/lazarus-dreaming. Learn more about Tom Luther at his site: tomlutherpiano.com.
And, if you’ve been inspired by blog posts please do share your stories so others can learn from you!