Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

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In Today’s News

January 19, 2019

Art in Education Triangle – Maine, Malawi, Helsinki

Article written by Dagney C. Ernest, for Village Soup, January 16, 2019. “We teach because the future belongs to learners.” CLICK HERE to read Dagney’s article about Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor’s trip to Helsinki and the connection between Maine, Malawi, and Helsinki.

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Arts Accessibility

January 14, 2019

What does it mean?

This post is reprinted with permission from Shawna Barnes’ blog located at THIS LINKShawna is a Teaching Artist Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALi). She is a ceramic sculptor and mixed media artist who loves sharing her passion with others. Shawna is a strong advocate for the arts being accessible to all. She is an Army veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 7) from 2009-2010. Shawna lives with several disabilities including myasthenia gravis, cervical dystonia, seizures, hypermobility joint syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, and PTSD. 

Shawna created a survey on arts accessibility which you are invited to complete; access it at THIS LINK

One of the things I talk about a lot is the phrase “arts accessibility” and the fact that I am an advocate for it. In discussions with colleagues and friends, I realized that it isn’t really a clear term. This point was driven home even further when I included the question “What does arts accessibility mean to you” in a survey I shared asking for feedback regarding educators’ struggles with arts accessibility in the classroom/studio. So I figured I’d take some time and provide an overview on all the different possible definitions of arts accessibility and what it means to me.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #1

For me, it started when I was exploring different opportunities for artist residencies, workshops,  and seminars. As someone with mobility impairments, I always had to ask if the facility was accessible. No…….handicap accessible, not accessible from the highway. One of the things I discovered was that most of the facilities are not friendly or easy to navigate for those of us who have any type of mobility impairment/disability. This was a discovery made long before I became a teaching artist leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative; it was then, however, that arts accessibility became my pet project. I was disappointed and downright bummed out about missing out on some amazing learning opportunities because the studio spaces were on the second floor of an old barn with no elevator access… or down several flights of outside stairs down the side of a cliff…or lacking any sort of climate control (air conditioning or heat source). And those barriers were from just a few of the locations I looked at locally. The facilities themselves are spectacular and amazing; drawing high caliber artists and professionals from around the world… This is just one example of what arts accessibility could look like – the most literal definition of the phrase – physical accessibility to a facility.

My disabilities are acquired; I was not born with them.  As a result, I am acutely aware on all the amazing things I am missing out on as a result. That FOMO (fear of missing out) is real ladies and gentleman, and the sting is one that is ever present. I quietly made it my mission to let the administrators of these facilities know that I was deeply saddened to be missing out because the facilities were not accessible. Some enlightening and hopeful conversations have been had as a result of this dialogue.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #2

Another quite literal definition of the term is actually having access to the arts. This includes students having access to art classes at their school, having nearby museums or art studios to attend, local theaters and dance halls, et al. There was a big focus on STEM curriculum, and as a result the creative arts saw a lot of cuts in Prek-12 curriculum. Recently however, administrators, educators, and clinicians are acknowledging the importance art has in youth development. This re-discovery has transitioned STEM curriculum to STEAM with the A standing for the arts. There are still many students who do not have the opportunity to take an art class – either one offered as part of their daily curriculum OR after school activities. This access barrier extends well beyond academic and includes all people who have interest in learning more about a topic in art.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #3

A third definition of “arts accessibility” is one of economic hardship. Learners of all ages who live in impoverished communities lack the financial means to be able to explore the creative arts. In areas where art and band are still offered as part of the middle/high school curriculum it’s less of an issue; at least they have the exposure to a creative outlet. However for others where these classes are not available, lacking the financial ability to enroll in after school classes at studios or arts organizations is a barrier. Economic barriers prevent access… which leads me to my next definition…

Arts Accessibility – Definition #4

Accessibility to the arts could have nothing to do with infrastructure and everything to do with the abilities of the staff. For adults and children with a wide range of developmental disabilities, the physical access definition is less important than having access to teachers who are able to meet them where they’re at. What I mean by that, is that for many in this demographic, teaching/leading them through an art class takes considerable patience and an understanding of how their brain functions. When families find artists/educators who ARE qualified and adept at working with these populations, the financial barrier is then factored in. Finding and hiring experienced artists can be expensive.  Investing in custom equipment and tools to allow the student the highest level of engagement in activities can be cost prohibitive.

Arts Accessibility – Definition #5

My fifth and final definition for arts accessibility, is one of the psychological variety. It has everything to do with the possible/potential student. The commonly accepted definition/understanding of creativity is that it’s something artists have. If the student feels and truly believes that they just don’t have the skill to create anything worthwhile and thus are defeated before they even try, that is a barrier to access. If it’s one thing I LOVE doing…it’s breaking down this particular barrier to arts access. It is a barrier that anyone can break down and help the student over if the teacher has the right tools in their toolbox.

And there ya have it. Those are MY five definitions of what  arts accessibility barriers could look like. There’s likely more that I haven’t thought of or come across yet. In future posts, I will break down each definition and explain how I personally work towards overcoming the barrier to access. It’s just as much about breaking down the stigma that only artists can appreciate art and reap benefits from a creative outlet as it is about providing opportunities for people to explore activities they’d never considered.

What does “arts accessibility” mean to you? How do you overcome the barriers?

You can follow Shawna at the following: 

www.shawnabarnes.com
www.facebook.com/shawn.n.m.barnes
www.instagram.com/shawna.n.m.barnes

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Fulbright Teacher Opportunity

January 5, 2019

Teaching Semester Program – Deadline: January 15, 2019

The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Semester Program for U.S. Teachers (Fulbright DA) provides an opportunity for K–12 educators from the United States to take part in a three- to six-month professional development experience abroad. Participants will pursue individual inquiry projects, take courses at a host university, and collaborate with colleagues on best educational practices.

The Fulbright DA Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. It is governed by policies established by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Eligibility

  • Full-time K–12 teaching position, including classroom teachers, guidance counselors, curriculum coordinators, special education coordinators, media specialists, librarians, and gifted and talented coordinators and others who spend at least half of their time interacting with students
  • Five years of full-time teaching experience in the U.S., a U.S. territory or school associated with DODEA is preferred
  • Be a U.S. citizen, and reside in a U.S. state, territory or campus associated with DODEA
  • Master’s degree or enrolled in a master’s degree program
  • Demonstrated record of professional development activities and leadership

APPLY NOW

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Teacher and Educator Open House

January 4, 2019

Digging into Winslow Homer

You’re invited: Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Portland Museum of Art, open house for educators!

Winslow Homer (United States, 1836–1910), Weatherbeaten, 1894, oil on canvas, 28 1/2 x 48 3/8 inches. Bequest of Charles Shipman Payson, 1988.55.1

Come explore Winslow Homer and ways to dynamically bring this iconic Maine artist’s work into your classroom! Discover ways to infuse lessons with Maine’s rich artistic history through the lens of Winslow Homer’s artwork, and through explorations of contemporary artists’ depictions of the Maine landscape. Featuring a talk with Frank Goodyear, Winslow Homer Scholar and Bowdoin College Museum of Art Co-Director, and in-gallery activities facilitated by museum educators and docents.

Click here for more information

Complimentary refreshments and classroom resources will be shared with attendees. Limited Free Parking is Available: Attendees will be able to park in the Holiday Inn By the Bay lot for this event.
Just mention you are a teacher attending an event at the PMA.

Click here to RSVP electronically today  or RSVP call Emily Junker at (207) 775-6148 ext. 3228.
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Good Read

December 9, 2018

The Arts at the Center

Recently on Facebook Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Janie Snider from Hancock Grammar School shared a link to Mind/Shift with an excerpt from Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica’s book You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education. The book was published on March 13, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

The piece talks about schools that are changing and successfully meeting the best interests of their students, families, and communities. Teachers and school leaders are using innovative ideas to envision the school plan.

Sir Ken Robinson

Orchard Gardens Elementary School in Roxbury, MA was one of these schools. In 2010 students were doing poorly by all measures and there was a revolving door of teachers and principals. They spent more than $250,000 a year on security guards. Principal number six arrived and decided to spend that same money on arts education. Together staff and administration established systems to support students as individuals, established a school culture and did all that we know is impactful in the arts. Teaching artists, investment in instruments, displayed artwork in the halls and classrooms, and offered creative workshops for teachers and parents.

Orchard Gardens is one example that Robinson and Aronica outline in the book. The essence of the book is really about how schools can transform. It’s not about the learners in the school, most likely the problem is the system. Change the school and many of the problems will disappear. It is possible and is happening.

You can read the entire article by CLICKING HERE.

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Critical Friend Days

November 26, 2018

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative

What happens when you bring together arts teachers, teaching artists, and arts leaders who are committed to arts education? An opportunity for all to learn at a very high level. On October 13 and November 13 – both rainy days and one a little snowy – educators traveled from all parts of the state for the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Critical Friend Days.

CRITICAL FRIEND DAY

Critical Friend Day provides an opportunity for MALI educators to share their “Logic Model” work that has been underway since the summer institute and for some before that time. Each educator has taken on a challenge that they wish to work on and devise a plan to solve the challenge. They share their projects to date and get feedback from “critical friends”.

Some of the topics:

  • Collaboration & Emotional Intelligence
  • Poetry and Improv Play Together!
  • Empty Bowls- Nourished Hearts!
  • Increasing Art Instruction at the Elementary Level
  • Authentic Pre-Assessment
  • Dance, Sculpture, Our Ocean
  • Self-Care in Education
  • Quality Elementary Music for ME
  • Math and Music : The Leonardo Effect
  • Theater Today, Building the Foundation
  • Valley K-12 Art Curriculum

In addition to sharing their Logic Models other educators are invited to take on the role of “critical friend” that we define this way: “critical” – expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art. “Friend” – a person who gives assistance. Both are done in a direct and gentle helpful way. Feedback from the day includes: We want the teacher leaders to create the best work possible so please be honest in your feedback. Thanks so much for your participation!

FEEDBACK

MALI education leaders and invited critical friends often say that the day is their favorite one of the year. A few comments from the participants are included below.

  • I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to hear and see what educators are doing across the state.
  • I LOVE hearing about what people are doing.
  • For Theater Today I certainly struggled with what I wanted to present and what I wanted for feedback. I found just putting it all out there and having a supporting critical friend room was wonderful and filled with growth. For Poetry and Improv this work keeps showing its beautiful placement.
  • It was good to see how committed these presenters are to their work as teaching artists. I was also impressed by how articulately they talked about their work and how it serves their students.

The day ended with an opportunity to do theater improv lead by MALI Teaching Artist Leader Nicole Cardano. The group created a “Dragon” which you can see in the video below.

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My Helsinki – Part 3

November 21, 2018

The days were full

This is one of a series of blog posts about the trip that Lindsay Pinchbeck and I took at the beginning of November 2018. We were invited as Ambassadors to attend the HundrED Summit in Helsinki. We were inspired by the amazing educators who shared their innovations in education.

Each day was live streamed and fortunately archived and made available for free to the world. Along with the events being available so are the 100 innovations that were selected this year. The innovations are available on the HundrED website and this short video below provides an overview of HundrED that explains their mission.

We Seek and Share Inspiring Innovations in K12 Education – HundrED

HundrED’s manifesto – 

The purpose of education is to help every child flourish, no matter what happens in life.

In a fast changing world focusing on traditional academic skills will remain important, but that is not enough. To thrive as global citizens, children must be equipped with a breadth of skills.

To learn more about the content of the summit please go to the HundrED website and click at the top of the page on each of the dates – 7.11 – 8.11 – 9.11 to see the live streamed presentations. These will provide you with a clear picture of what took place.

More blog posts will follow with details of the learning opportunity that took place in early November.

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