Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

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ECET2 Conference

August 11, 2017

Teacher leaders from across the state

Yesterday and today educators from across the state are convening on Colby College campus for the summer ECET2 conference. What does ECET stand for? I’m glad you were wondering. Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching in Maine. This is the third summer that the convening has taken place. The sessions are provided by teachers and by all reports all outstanding. I am reminded of the great work going on in classrooms across Maine and how fortunate learners are. Since most of my contact is with visual and performing arts teachers, it is great to be with teachers of all subjects and grade levels. And, you betcha, I am taking time to talk about arts education and the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Leadership is woven throughout the conference. It is great to be here with one of MALI’s new Teacher Leaders and the Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year from SeDoMoCha Elementary School, Kaitlin Young.

Yesterday started with a “Cultivating the Calling” session presented by Matt Drewette-Card from AOS #94. Followed by speed dating where participants had the chance to meet with 4 different people representing educational organizations. It was great fun to share! We headed to colleague circles over lunch where we got to the dreams and concerns in small groups. After lunch we had the opportunity to select from the following breakout sessions.

  • Teach to Lead – watch for an opportunity coming in the near future to attend an event in Maine
  • Time for Change: A 3-Step Process to Becoming a Better Teacher-Leader
  • Safe Environments and Honest Conversations
  • Unlocking Never-Before-Seen Doors for Kids
  • Professional Development BY the teachers and FOR the teachers
  • Creating Opportunities for All Students
  • Today’s Literacy Community: Reaching Beyond Classroom Walls

Today we will hear two more “Cultivating the Calling” provided by Tracie Travers and Brittany Ray. I’m really looking forward to them and the line up of sessions promises to be just as interesting and filled with learning as yesterday’s. If you are interested in learning more please CLICK HERE to see not only the sessions and resources but to read about ECET2 and the organizations that support and are partner.

Congratulations to the planning committee for a great job in planning the learning opportunity!

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Through the Intern’s Eyes

August 9, 2017

MALI: Enriching Arts Education in Maine

Hello there! My name’s Alex and this summer I’m working as an intern for the Maine Arts Commission. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the state-run cultural agency, what they stand for, the projects they support, and the events that they sponsor.

A typical week for me usually involves photographing public art, writing blog posts, compiling monthly arts events, and working on some graphic design. But last week, I took a break from my standard routine and joined nearly 70 arts educators at Thomas College where the Arts Commission hosted the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI).

Being the non-Maine native that I am, at first I had absolutely no idea what the institute was about. All I knew was that Thomas College’s quiet summer campus was all of a sudden bustling with crowds of energetic art teachers. Armed with my camera and my Nalgene water bottle, I set out to figure out what exactly was going on.

Luckily, I had the chance to sit down with Catherine Ring, one of the founders of MALI. She explained to me that the institute’s mission is to enrich arts education in Maine by enriching the skills of teachers themselves. In the 7 years since its creation, MALI’s professional development training has created an army of veteran “Teacher Leaders” who have shared their creative knowledge with over 1500 educators around Maine. At MALI, Teacher Leaders turn their experiences into lessons, sharing their creative methods with other arts educators through workshops, presentations, and webinars.

Catherine also said that a large part of being a Teacher Leader is acting as a liaison with their respective school districts, functioning as a representative voice for art teachers and students in their region.

It’s during these three action-packed days that the MALI summer institute aims to enhance arts educators’ skills, which in turn leads to empowered students who enjoy stronger ownership over their creative learning processes.

And what’s even more exciting is that by the end of the three days, each teaching artist and teacher leader will create and outline an individual action plan for the upcoming school year. The project could be anything from leading a workshop for an entire school’s faculty, to using grant money to create a new gallery space for a school community.It was inspiring to see the level of care the teachers have for bettering themselves and their lesson plans for their students. There’s so much that goes into prepping for the school year, and these arts teachers are dedicated, passionate, and itching to inspire.

During the institute, I crept into classrooms filled with teachers taking part in workshops, attending lectures, and sharing ideas for the sake of creative collaboration. Leaders spoke about assessments of creativity, the importance of problem-solving, and the values of media in the classroom, amongst many other topics. There was laughter, there were snacks, and there was something in the air that made Thomas College’s Admissions building come to life.

What I observed over the three days is that MALI works to better student’s education by strengthening the roots of creativity and learning. MALI’s intentions are so admirable that the feeling of personal and community enrichment was palpable. As much as MALI is a teaching space, it also functions as a meaningful point of community for visual and performing arts teachers and teaching artists who may feel isolated in less populated school districts. Just sitting in on the events for a few minutes offered me a glimpse into the importance of arts education on every level, from leader to teacher, teacher to teacher, teacher to student. I have no doubts that MALI has made a significant impact on arts education in Maine, and I’m sure the students feel that as well.

 

Alexandra Moreno is an intern at the Maine Arts Commission, a rising senior at Bowdoin College, and a happy human. She enjoys writing, collaging, and fun.

 

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MALI Reflections

August 8, 2017

What’s it really all about

As I take a few minutes to reflect on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute that was held last week at Thomas College for three days I can’t help but think about what MALI is really all about. If I had to select one word it would be COMMUNITY. As many of you know there are about 1200 visual and performing arts educators in the state and I really don’t know how many teaching artists there are throughout Maine. Both were well represented last week. Bottom line, each of the participants were teachers, striving to be better at teaching and the desire to connect with others who care deeply about arts education.

Wow, I am so humbled by their commitment and proud of what they accomplished in three days!

Reasons for MALIs success

  • Teachers teaching teachers is a critical component
  • MALI is a community that provides ongoing support. Teachers learn that they have peers throughout the state experiencing the same or similar situations that they do day to day. They no longer feel like islands.
  • This summer’s institute had three strands; one for Teaching Artist Leaders, one for returning TLs and one for new TLs. The strands are customized for the unique group and individual needs. The strands came together for cross pollination and collaborations are formed.
  • All of the ideas are based on research and what is in the best interest of teacher development.
  • Phase 7 New Teacher Leaders

    A Design Team guides the work of MALI and plan every detail of the summer institute. They are totally committed to contributing above and beyond.

  • The MALI community grows each year with some teacher leaders returning year after year.
  • Through their work TLs find their voice and are invigorated to return to their school districts. Many are recognized in their new leadership role and are invited to the table at the local level. They serve on district leadership committees, lead the school and district professional development work for all subjects and grade level teachers, and are honored for their leadership.
  • The institute schedule is different each year to adapt to the changing needs but the foundation is built on What is good teaching? What is good learning? What is good assessment?
  • Teaching Artist Leaders Phase 6 and 7

    In 2015 Teacher Leaders created a set of Belief Statements on that include the topics that are vital to Maine arts education today: Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity and 21st Century Skills, Educator Effectiveness, Effective Teaching and Learning, Proficiency Based Learning and Student Centered Learning, and Teacher Leadership.

  • Teachers are connected and become Critical Friends to help support each other’s teaching.
  • MALI models teaching tools

So, what makes involvement in the MALI community so special?

Looking closely at Tim Christensen’s pottery are Jenni Driscoll, Jean Phillips, Tim, and Charlie Johnson

Participants comments

  • “MALI has helped me grow tremendously as a professional and my students grow tremendously as learners.” ~ Charlie Johnson, Visual Art Phase 1
  • “It’s leadership through the arts and as artist/teachers we have so much to offer.” ~ Cindi Kugell, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI has made me feel like I have a voice in my school, my community and in my state. ~ Jen Etter, Music Phase 3 Teacher Leader
  • “It is a lifeline for arts educators and education. ~ Jane Snider, Visual Art Phase 2 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows us to share our artistic strengths and perspectives in a forum which will directly impact the educational experiences of children across the state of Maine. ~ Brigid Rankowski, Phase 6 Teaching Artist Leader
  • “I feel so validated in my beliefs in the arts being so important to the “WHOLE CHILD”. This week has allowed my confidence to soar in my building!” Amy Nucci, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • Brian Evans-Jones, Teaching Artist Leader conducts poetry mini-lesson

    “MALI has helped me grow more confident both personally and professionally, especially as a leader. ~ Mandi Mitchell, Visual Art Phase 5 Teacher Leader

  • “It makes me brave. By stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things and improve my practice. MALI is my safety net. ~ Dorrie Tripp, Music Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows me to connect with exceptional arts educators from across the state; share resources and knowledge and improve my teaching!” ~ Pam Chernesky, Visual Art Phase 6
  • “I am thrilled to be part of the MALI team and so energized for my year of learning ahead.” ~ Kris Bisson, Music Phase 7
  • “Because of my role as a MALI Teacher Leader I got the opportunity to be chosen as one of three teachers to lead the professional development work in my district. It takes you places.” ~ Holly Leighton, Visual Art Phase 5
  • “Through the MALI Summer Session I discovered that both my art and my teaching are really directed at the same goal (engagement/interaction) and that who I am is as important to teaching & learning as what I know”. ~Tom Luther, Teaching Artist, Music Phase 7 Teaching Artist Leader

Next steps

Some of the MALI Teacher Leaders (TL) and Teaching Artists Leaders (TAL) will be sharing their learning in a workshop format at the local or regional level. Others will be continuously sharing in a social media mode. The Phase 7 summer institute was really about customizing the learning for each educator. I will keep you posted as they wrap up their plans for the school year I will share the information here on the blog and also on the Maine Arts Assessment site and through the communications that are delivered by the Maine Arts Commission.

Please let me know (argy.nestor@maine.gov) if you have any questions and are interested in applying to be involved as a Teacher Leader or Teaching Artist Leader for Phase 8.

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 3

August 5, 2017

The learning continues

Our theatre folks, teaching artists leaders Dana Legawiec, Nicole Cardano, and teacher leader Jean Phillips

On the third day of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) summer institute ideas fell into place and the teacher leaders had multiple opportunities to come together to share their ideas and follow up plans. Traditionally the third day is stressful but also the most exciting since everything comes together.

The day started with the opportunity to learn about each other. We grouped and regrouped – how many years have you taught, what discipline, etc.? And, moving around the room doing so, mixed up the groups continuously and was a lot of fun!

We continued the day with an opportunity for new and returning teacher leaders to act as “critical friends”. In MALI the critical friend role is a leader who assists and supports another leader. This is done in a constructive way to help the teacher move forward with their ideas. Critical friends often continue the supportive beyond the summer institute.

Lindsay Pinchbeck, Design Team member, Kris Bisson, music teacher leader and Lynda Leonas, visual art teacher leader

Teacher leaders generated a list of topics/questions that were of interest. They selected a topic to discuss in small groups. The format is similar to an un-conference or Edcamp. Some went away with more questions and ideas that were new to them.

The rush was on to complete plans that describe actions for the next year. The day ended with participants sharing their plans in a Gallery Walk. Plans were filled with comments written on stickie notes to help each teacher leader continue working on their individual plans.

As we ended the day exhausted participants went away filled with the energy and ideas that everyone freely shared. We look forward to seeing the final plans in a couple of weeks!

WABI TV 5 visited during the day and featured the institute on the evening news.

The dancer stands alone, John Morris!

Critical friends: Samantha Armstrong and Hope Lord – visual art teachers

Critical friends – Jen Nash, music teacher leader and Laura Manchester, visual art teacher leader

 

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 1

August 2, 2017

Off and running

The first day of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) was filled with energy, ideas, and participants jumping in with both feet. Lindsay Pinchbeck provided the opening on growth mindset. One of the pre-readings was Carol Dweck’s Mindset, a highly recommended read. Participants looked at their own learning and how they respond to different subjects. It provided a place to start working on teaching, learning and assessment.

Almost 70 educators fit into three strands of visual and performing arts educators, teaching artists, new teacher leaders, and returning teacher leaders. The threes strands schedules differed slightly as the learning was customized to their needs. The highlights for the day included standards and assessment, communication, networking, visual storytelling, drumming, creativity and much more.

Lindsay Pinchbeck on Growth Mindset

Participants had a choice for the last session of the day to visit the Colby College Art Museum, work on their individual follow-up plans, or to make drums out of 55 gallon cans.

The evening ended around the fire pit with drumming facilitated Kate Smith and a storytelling session. To say the least: “a good time was had by all!” I am sure you tell that by the photos.

 

 

 

Ryan Leighton from the Maine Arts Commission

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Bags Are Packed and Ready to Go!

August 1, 2017

MALI Summer Institute

The Maine Arts Leadership Institute (MALI) gets underway today at Thomas College in Waterville. Almost 80 educators will come together to learn and share in a collaborative environment. PK-12 Teacher Leaders, Teaching Artists, and Teaching Artist Leaders will have the opportunity to build on their knowledge and consider how they will share the information during the next year. This is the 7th year that the initiative has offered summer learning and the schedule is chock full of rich sessions being delivered by teacher leaders as well as other educators who have much to offer.

The focus on teacher choices and teacher-centered learning will foster opportunities to consider how we do our important work of educating young people in visual and performing arts. The sessions include: standards and assessment, communication, networking, visual storytelling, drumming, creativity and much more.

As Karen MacDonald said recently as she prepares for the ECET2 conference coming up next week at Colby: “My basement is starting to look like a conference staging area”. I couldn’t agree with you more Karen! My bags are packed and I’m ready to go!

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