Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

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Express-a-Book

July 2, 2019

Not your traditional book club

Express-a-Book uses the Arts, to create a learner centered, collaborative environment to share ideas. Participants experience the Arts and the format highlights the accessibility and power of the creative process. When we bring people together in a collaborative and creative environment we see learners, of all ages, engage at a high level. The Express-a-Book process supports this notion.

In 2017 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Design Team members Falmouth High School music teacher Jake Sturtevant and Sweetland School founder and director Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor who was the Director of Arts Education at the time created Express-a-Book – an innovative and creative approach to a traditional book club.

They presented the idea, after creating a protocol and experiencing it themselves, to members of MALI. Other teacher leaders stepped up, formed groups and experienced the process themselves. The results were amazing!

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity and excuse to jump in the sandbox and find ways to play with, highlight, reflect, and communicate my learning in a unique way.”

~Jake Sturtevant

HISTORY
Lindsay, Jake, and Argy planned and tried the process and presented it to the MALI participants. Lindsay wanted to read about creativity in teaching and learning so she read the article A call to action: The challenges of creative teaching and learning by R. Keith Sawyer.
Jake was curious about the power of boredom. He listened to In defense of boredom on WNYC, Radio, Manoush Zomorodi’s Podcast Note to Self, and read the book Bored and Brilliant. Argy wanted to focus on leadership so she listened to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

Once they completed their review they responded by creating artworks. Lindsay made a painting and wrote a poem, Jake created a remix mp3, and Argy made a black and white illustration. They shared and responded to each image/sounds by giving feedback and asking questions. This provided the opportunity to learn about each of their topics in a collaborative environment.

What has been learned by using Express-a-Book?

  • Share ideas and resources through an active process
  • Use the arts to make information accessible and engaging for learners
  • Learn together as a community
  • Allow for individuals who do not often engage in art making processes to experience the potential of the arts to enhance learning 
  • Offer a low cost, simple, scalable and refreshing approach to a ‘book club’ 
  • The process has practical applications for a variety of classrooms and settings. Express-a-Book can be applied across disciplines or in professional learning communities, it can take place face to face or electronically, within or across schools, districts, across a region/state/country/ or even the world.
  • Individuals must be willing to stretch and be vulnerable
  • Example of teachers teaching teachers

If you’re interested in seeing the protocol please email Argy at meartsed@gmail.com.

Express-a-Book has been used successfully at conferences and gatherings in Maine and beyond in a variety of ways. The format has been shared in workshops, videos, short articles and highlighted in Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners by Jeffrey Beaudry and Anita Stewart McCafferty.

 

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Research

June 28, 2019

Music and Brain

A large-scale study that took place over a long period of time shows the connections that music lessons have on improving children’s cognitive skills and academic performance. 

Dr. Artur Jaschke from VU University of Amsterdam teamed with Dr. Henkjan Honing and Dr. Erik Sherder to initiate a “long-term study on the possible effects of music education on cognitive skills that may underlie academic achievement.”

This is the first study of its type in the Netherlands. The study included 147 students in primary schools over 2 1/2 years. Their research found that “structured music lessons significantly enhance children’s cognitive abilities – particularly around inhibition, planning and verbal intelligence and therefore their academic achievement”.

If you’d like to learn more please go to the Music Education Works Blog

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Summer Reading

June 18, 2019

Recommended books 

Ahhh, summertime and a better chance of reading. I’m sure some of you have selected your summer reading material and others are considering what to read. Whatever you decide on I do hope that not only do you find the books inspirational and filled with new learning but, that you find a place to read that is comfortable and allows you to squeeze every morsel of enjoyment out of each read. My suggestions include a variety.

If you’re looking for something on teaching and learning Jeff Beaudry and Anita Stewart McCafferty, professors at USM, have a new book called Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners. The Foreword is provided by Rick Stiggins, from Corwin Press, published in 2018. It is based on their expertise and experiences in Maine schools and what they’ve observed. It includes many examples straight from the classroom, provided by Maine educators.

The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, Dave Burgess Consulting, 2015, is another practical book. George was a teacher, principal and now an educational consultant. He believes in the power of teacher leadership and empowering and supporting teachers so they can be better at teaching. He is ‘spot on’ about the importance of innovation in education.

The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz, Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale, 2009, is an inspiring story about how Jacqueline left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and find powerful new ways of tackling it. She wanted to make a difference in the world and through education, empowerment and forming relationships her journey led her across the globe and back again several times. The book starts with her how Jacqueline had donated a beloved blue sweater to Goodwill. Eleven years later she saw a young child wearing her sweater in Rwanda. It became clear to her that we are all connected – in our actions and inactions. It is a wonderful story that I just couldn’t put down.

dare to lead by Brené Brown, Penguin Random House, 2018. Brené’s approach to living is refreshingly honest. She looks at her years of research on leadership and interacting with leaders and organizes it in this book. She emphasizes how important it is to be vulnerable and brave over comfort and the easy pathway. If you’re a leader who is looking for assistance in moving forward or in challenging your mindset, this book could be helpful.

Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World by Scott Harrison, Crown Publishing Group, 2018. Yes, this story is about Harrison’s focus on bringing clean water to people who don’t have access to it but it is so much more than that. It is about pulling yourself up by your boot straps, unconditional love, believing in people and yourself, never giving up, looking in the mirror and reaching out to others, and making the world a better place. It is a very inspirational book and I couldn’t put this one dow. It would be a great read for the beach (or pool, or deck, or almost any place comfy).

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? by Alan Alda, published by Random House, 2017. This is a book about communication BUT the best part is it’s about how Alda’s goal is better communication through his  experiences with acting, improv, science, and storytelling. The skills he offers are from his years hosting Scientific American Frontiers. Definitely many plugs for the value of the Arts.

I hope you’ll share what you’re reading this summer so others can be inspired!

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Summer Teacher Workshop

June 16, 2019

Wabanaki in Maine

This workshop for middle and high school teachers will explore contemporary and historical issues of importance to the Wabanaki people and non-Native Mainers. The workshop includes a screening of DAWNLAND, as well as a visit to Maine Historical Society’s exhibit HOLDING UP THE SKY.

For most of the 20th century, government agents systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. Now, for the first time, they are telling their stories. DAWNLAND is a documentary film about cultural survival and stolen children: inside the first truth and reconciliation commission for Native Americans in U.S. history.

Participants will receive a discount on the purchase of the film, learn to use the film’s companion online learning resources, and receive orientation in primary and secondary source analysis, gaining valuable insights into interactive teaching and discussion techniques that can be applied in the classroom.

Presenters include Dr. Mishy Lesser, Upstander Project’s Learning Director and author of the Dawnland Teacher’s Guide and Adam Mazo, Director of the Upstander Project and Co-director and Producer of Dawnland. This FREE workshop will be held at Maine Historical Society on Thursday, June 27, 9am-3pm. Advanced registration is required.

Location: Maine Historical Society
Cost: FREE
REGISTRATION REQUIRED: To register or FMI call 207-774-1822 x214 or email education@mainehistory.org or contact Kathleen Neumann at kneumann@mainehistory.org

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Middle School – Music and Theater

June 12, 2019

10 year study

We periodically read reports and research about the benefits of arts education. We, as visual and/or performing arts educators don’t need a report to tell us what we already know. The impact of an excellent arts education with an effective arts educator guiding student learning is amazingly beneficial to learners, Pk-grade 12.

Just in case you’d like to read a report, here is a recent one. This was compiled while tracking the progress during a ten-year period of over 30,000 middle school students in Florida. Researchers from George Mason University looked at music and theatre.

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Visual Arts Matter

March 22, 2019

Just released

Education leaders, policymakers and practitioners can support student achievement and build a strong foundation for lifelong success by ensuring access to visual arts education. This new resource, created in partnership with the National Art Education Association and grounded in research found in ArtsEdSearch, explores how visual arts support student success by cultivating skills for learning, boosting academic achievement and enhancing the educational experience of traditionally underserved students.

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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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