Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

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Role of Joyful Music

September 18, 2020

Report from Wolf Brown

Dennie Palmer Wolf is a friend of Maine Arts Education having been the consultant in our first state wide census that was a project of the Maine Alliance for Arts Education. The Maine Department of Education and the Maine Arts Commission collaborated on the project in 2007.

In July 2020 Wolf Brown released a report for the Bernard van leer Foundation called Making a Joyful Noise: The Potential Role of Music Making in the Well-Being of Young Families. I encourage you to download the report (no matter what grade level you teach) and use segments of it to support your music programs. It is timely with the pandemic dictating parents to take a more active role in their child’s education. We know it is critical that the school and home teaching and learning be filled with balance. Not to mention the enormous benefits to the development of young children and how to support learners on the ‘human’ side through all of this.

The report highlights several areas and provides a substantial overview of why music is important to our youngest learners. It is broken down by periods of development; Pre and Perinatal Period, Early Infancy: 2-5 Months, Later Infancy: 6-12 Months, Interdependence and Autonomy: 1-3 Years, and Expanded Learning: 4-5 Years. Researchers looked closely at programs across the country and around the world. Schools with pre-school programs would find this report useful. Many of our students have younger brothers and sisters so sharing the report through school and district newsletters would help build future elementary programs.

Wolf Brown include techniques and activities for adults to guide young children in their development and joy of making music, what an emphasis on music provides young children and families, and how music impacts their well being and social emotional learning.

Interestingly enough the opening report statement on “why music matters” is comprehensive and supports why music matters for every individual and family in the world.

Find the report at THIS LINK

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Spoken Word

September 7, 2020

Brandon Leake – America’s Got Talent

I’ve been thinking, listening, reading, having conversations and researching on how to address racial justice in my teaching and learning. I think the world works in magical ways when ‘stuff’ happens that I’m not looking for. And sometimes ‘different stuff’ intersects which, in this case, has led to this blog post.

First I want to say that my favorite podcast at the moment is Cult of Pedagogy started by a middle school Language Arts teacher Jennifer Gonzalez. Jennifer has brought together an experienced group of educators who help make the Cult of Pedagogy. If you’re looking for a podcast that will push on your thinking and curious where you might find ideas that are sometimes raw and grounded in reality combined with thoughtful educational research, then I suggest that you check out Cult of Pedagogy. Many of the episodes are Jennifer’s interviews with teachers, learning experts, parents, and other people who make things happen in education. There are a handful on the social justice topic. If you’d rather read than listen, each new episode comes out also in an email, on Sunday’s. You can learn about all that she has to offer and sign up for her weekly emails on the START HERE PAGE. An example of the podcast resources that Jennifer provides is episode #147 Why White Students Need Multicultural and Social Justice Education  from June 7th an interview with Sheldon Eakins who founded the Leading Equity Center, an online resource for educators.

I was first introduced to poetry by my 7th grade language arts teacher Mrs. Leeds. Each week on Friday we would learn about a poem, write it down in our poetry notebook, and over the next week memorize it and each student in my class would stand and recite it. I can dig into my memory today and recite Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and In Flanders Fields by John McCrae and probably a few others. Every so often I rediscover my poetry notebook and think about how nervous I was standing up in my front my class. I don’t recall actually learning how to recite poetry. We’ve come a long way in this area; now we have poetry slams, hip hop, jazz poetry, beat poetry, spoken word, and Poetry Out Loud (POL). POL is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. The Maine Arts Commission administers the recitation program.

I’ve been curious for some time about how ‘poetry’ has, for the most part, been taught in English or language arts class. Why poetry is considered an art form yet in schools we don’t include it when we reference visual and performing arts. In our standards documents it’s not clearly defined as part of the arts. When I try putting poetry in context I explain it like this: in schools poetry is behind the English teaching door and in the real world it is part of the performance arena.

I wanted to better understand this separation so I did a little sleuthing on the internet and, of course, I start with the Greeks. From the Ancient Greek word ποιεω (pronounced poieo) which means ‘I create’. Definition: an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. In most poetry, it is the connotations and the “baggage” that words carry (the weight of words) that are most important. Poetry.org.

And further on about ‘spoken word’. Spoken word is poetry, and more recently spoken word poetic performance art that is word-based. It is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play such as intonation and voice inflection. It is a “catchall” term that includes any kind of poetry recited aloud… Unlike written poetry, it has less to do with physical, on the page aesthetics and more to do with phonaesthetics, or the aesthetics of sound. Wikipedia

A focus on words, sounds, presentations and performances using poetry has become more prevalent in our society since about the 1980’s but certainly it is embedded and has been for years in many cultures and their traditions. The connection between poetry as a performance and music is closely aligned.

In fact, in Ancient Greece, the spoken word was the most trusted repository for the best of their thought, and inducements would be offered to men (such as the rhapsodes) who set themselves the task of developing minds capable of retaining and voices capable of communicating the treasures of their culture.

I think poetry’s biggest potential is to light kids up and engage them in learning about themselves and the world. If only Mrs. Leeds had someone guide her in the pedagogy of teaching poetry. A good reason to promote integrated curriculum.

Here’s where the intersection of learning takes place for me. On my phone last week a video from America’s Got Talent popped up. A powerful performance by Spoken Word Artist Brandon Leake began to help me formulate curriculum for racial justice. You can LEARN more about Brandon and the organization he established Called to Move. I suggest using Brandon’s performance with your students.

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Call for MALI Teacher Leaders

May 29, 2020

Deadline – June 1

Interested in taking on a leadership role in education – the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) might be the right match for you. Click on the images below to make them larger! Don’t hesitate, apply today. Deadline: June 1!

 

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Call for MALI Teacher Leaders

May 21, 2020

You’re invited!

Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Teacher/

Teaching Artist Leader SEARCH: MALI – Phase 20-21

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MONDAY, JUNE 1Join us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative invites YOU, with other selected Maine teachers and teaching artists, to be part of a year-long exploration in leading your school communities and the profession in effective teaching and learning in the arts.  If you are selected, you will be expected to attend the 2020 Summer Institute, taking place virtually June 15, July 24, and in-person August 5, pending state policy.   

This year’s Institute will explore Leading with Resilience; Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in our Teaching, Ourselves, and Our Communities; and Arts Advocacy.  

If you are selected, there is no cost to attend the Institute; however the expectation is that you integrate your learnings in your classroom, your school community, and share with other educators in your region of Maine and beyond.  Full participants will receive documentation of up to 35 contact hours.   

If interested, please complete the online application form, linked here and below, by June 1.

Questions? Contact Martha Piscuskas, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission, Martha.Piscuskas@maine.gov  207-287-2750

Year-long Expectations for Teaching Artist/Teacher leaders (TA/TAL):

  • Attend New Teacher/TA introduction cohort zoom on Monday June 15
  • Complete pre-reading/viewing and participate in online discussion (on google classroom) 
  • Attend and participate in 2 virtual discussion meetings on Wednesdays – June 24 & July 15 – (w/mixed cohorts and breakout rooms)
  • Attend August 5, Wednesday in-person day in Waterville (tbd) if possible
  • Commit to two reflection sessions as a MALI TA/TAL one with cohort, one with “thought partner”
  • Develop a personalized Growth Plan for the coming year, and practice/learn ways to share it with others
  • Engage in Fall “thought partner” one-on-one check in 
  • Attend winter retreat – tentatively February 28, 2021.  Will include update on personal goal and/or action plan 
  • Author a guest blog post on the Maine Arts Ed daily blog

JOIN US!  Become a Teacher Leader and Change Lives 

APPLY TODAY!

Questions on the Application:

Name/contact information

Administrator Name/contact information (if classroom teacher)

Paragraph of Interest — Selected individuals will be expected to be active leaders in helping to develop and support excellence in teaching and learning in Maine. A full commitment to the Institute timeline is expected as seen in the online information sheet.  Please attach a brief overview of your interest and current/past experience (if any) in Leadership. Include your experience collaborating with other arts educators and experiences relevant to the initiative.  (Please no more than ~ 500 words, about 1 page.) 

Resume/CV —  If you are a Teaching Artist, please also include websites or documentation of your teaching work.  

Letter of Reference – CLASSROOM TEACHERS: This should be from your administrator.  TEACHING ARTISTS: This should be from a school or community  organization with whom you have worked.   Please attach a Letter of Recommendation in which the person includes comments and/or examples reflecting your leadership potential and your ability to work collaboratively.  Selected individuals will be responsible for sharing their newly developed expertise and related classroom experiences with other arts educators.

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative 

Background Information

MALI MISSION

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES 

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts 
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators 
  • Founded in 2011
  • 108 teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders have attended summer institutes on assessment, leadership, technology, creativity, proficiency-based standards-based and student-centered teaching and learning
  • Teacher leaders have presented workshops at three statewide arts education conferences, with over 600 educators attending
  • Teacher leaders facilitated regional workshops across Maine and 15 mega-regional sites across Maine
  • Maine Arts Ed Blog — 78 teachers profiled in Another Arts Teacher’s Story series 
  • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for
    Teacher Education
  • Nine arts education assessment webinars for Maine educators facilitated by Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring – archived
  • Video stories of seven teacher leaders that demonstrate a standards-based arts education classroom located on Maine ARTSEducation YouTube channel
  • Teacher Leader Resource Team development of items for resource bank
  • Maine Arts Assessment Resources website
  • Partners have included MDOE, USM, MAEA, MMEA, University of Maine Performing Arts, and New England Institute for Teacher Education, Bates College

For More Information

APPLY TODAY TO BECOME A MALI TEACHER LEADER

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Assessment in the COVID-19 Environment

April 24, 2020

Reflecting

I’m sure many of you are at the point of reflecting and questioning what you’re doing in the ‘schooling away from school’ environment that we’ve all been thrown into. Recently during a conversation with a colleague he shared how frustrated he was with how few students were actually engaging and fulfilling the assignments. “When we took away the grading of student work they lost their sense of purpose.” I keep reflecting on the conversation. I wonder about how many high school students do the work (when we’re in the school building) only or primarily for the grade? This wondering has lead me to many questions. For one, didn’t we go to Proficiency Based Education to ensure that students fulfill the learning requirements? So we could actually know that students had learned and more importantly so students could articulate what they were learning? This was the part that shifted education from what teachers teach being the most important part of the equation to what students learn.

I understand why many schools have gone to no grades during the pandemic – I’m not questioning or debating if that is right or wrong. Let’s face it teaching ‘online’ isn’t new and students are held responsible to document and fulfill their school work. I do think that as this continues it is important for teachers at the local level to have the conversation about how to assess student work. Let’s remember that assessment has two purposes – one to determine if students are learning AND for teachers to determine if their teaching is effective.

The critical question is how to assess in our ‘schooling away from school’? Not so the grade can raise the students GPA but to determine if students are learning and teachers are teaching.

Andrew Miller, Director of Personalized Learning at the Singapore American School has authored an article for Edutopia called Formative Assessment in Distance Learning. I’m hoping you’ll find it as informative as I have and perhaps you’ll take something from it that you can put into practice during the rest of this school year or in the future. If nothing else please share it with your colleagues so it can plants seeds for a staff conversation.

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Shooting Star

January 7, 2020

AftA post

This is reprinted from the ARTS Blog, November 12, 2019, Americans for the Arts written by Narric Rome.

Yesterday, an Education Commission of the States staff member with the memorable name of Claus von Zastrow published a blog reporting the findings of an arteducation question included in the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Math. It’s a substantial discovery—akin to when new stars are detected in a constellation, or a new species of insect is identified. His blog post and the accompanying data tables are a must-read. My blog here is about the context that must be considered in his discovery.

Since 2001, the “arts,” comprising the disciplines of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, have been named as one of ten Core Academic Subjects (No Child Left Behind Act) and currently are one of the 18 subjects listed in the definition of a Well-Rounded Education (Every Student Succeeds Act). In theory, this should mean that the U.S. Department of Education and its research arm, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), should provide ongoing and detailed data into how arts education is resourced in the country—right?

No. Longtime Department of Education watchers know that since 1995, there have been just two kinds of arts education research by the federal government. A few federal research “access” reports (1995, 2002, 2012) asked principals and teachers in just 1,800 schools about who is receiving, or being offered, arts education in their schools. Relatedly, there have been three NAEPs in the Arts (1997, 2008, 2016) which measure knowledge and skills in the subject, but is severely limited in its scope. How and why is it limited? That’s a story for another time, but not one of these tests over 25 years has ever captured arts education data on a state-by-state basis.

As Claus mentions, the federal agency tasked with administering the “Nation’s Report Card” (the National Assessment Governing Board or NAGB) decided to terminate one of these two federal studies this past July, which immediately alarmed arts education advocates and education staff in the U.S. Senate who were frustrated by this unexpected development. It appears that federal arts education research has been cut by 50%.

So when eagle-eyed Claus spotted in the Math NAEP released in October 2019, among the 40 multi-part questions asked of the eighth grade test takers, that Question #21 was about art education—he must have been floored. As I am.

This question, put to the 147,000 students that were a part of the 2019 Math NAEP sample, must be the single largest arts education data point in the history of federal education research.

Now, the question only refers to one discipline, (visual) art education—I’m sure my friends at the National Art Education Association and the Arts Education Partnership will be excitedly digesting this data for quite some time—so it’s in no way capturing the full arts education picture. But here are three simple highlights I’ve spotted from this single question, with thanks again to Claus for assembling the data.

For the first time ever in history, there is a state by state breakdown of participation in art education.

In the graphic below, the darker the state, the greater the participation in art education. Vermont has the highest at 68%; some states, like Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and Alaska, didn’t get enough students in the sample to count; and Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana provided the least art education, between 16% to 18% of eighth graders.

As conventional wisdom holds, students from wealthier families have greater participation in art classes.

In Indiana, 40% of students eligible for the National Free & Reduced Lunch program (an indicator of household income) were in an art education course, compared to 50% of (wealthier) students not eligible for the lunch program. There’s a similar 10 point gap in Rhode Island, an 11 point gap in New York, a 12 point gap in Pennsylvania, and a whopping 21 point difference in Connecticut! On the other hand, Iowa, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Wisconsin by this measure present very little wealth disparities in who receives art education in their states.

Art education can be provided in any location—city, suburb, town, or rural community.

Arkansas is among a handful of states that provides significantly more art education in its rural areas, surpassing city, suburb, and town categories. The largest state, California, demonstrates equal particpation in art education among these location categories. This set of data, comparing provision of art education in varying population densities, is also the first time federal data of this kind has ever been shared nationally.

Like a singular and brief shooting star, the “von Zastrow discovery” leaves us with so many more questions, some about the data and some about the federal research efforts.

  • Who put this question into the Math NAEP?
  • Was anyone at NAGB going to tell the arts education field this question was there?
  • Are any federal researchers reviewing this data—and will they include questions like this in future studies for the other arts disciplines?
  • Is the arts education field expected to survive on data breadcrumbs that some enlightened soul at the National Center for Education Statistics stuck into a NAEP survey?

Arts education advocates, and Congress, have begun to respond to the proposed demise of the Arts NAEP, and innovations and advances in collecting arts education access and participation data may result from this effort. In fact, significant progress continues to be made in several states that have tapped into their state longitudinal data systems for annual state-level data on arts education—see California, New Jersey, Ohio, and Arizona. But if the U.S. Department of Education’s purpose is anything, it’s to report on education access on a national level—not just passively leave this task to states and nonprofits to cobble it together.

So, while we can celebrate this beautiful shooting star of a data point tucked away in the Math NAEP, we need more. We need the arts to be treated as a full constellation in the sky.

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The Art of Education

December 9, 2019

Photo booth in the classroom

Informative blog post put out by The Art of Education. Seven Reasons You Need a Photo Booth in the Art Room. A Lightbox is one and a studio photo setup is another. The ARTICLE expands on these two topics providing you with useful information.

The Art of Ed University provides resources in a variety of ways. Check out the WEBSITE to learn more.

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Harvard Study on Music

December 4, 2019

Songs across societies

Scientists at Harvard published a study on music as a cultural product, which examines what features of song tend to be shared across societies.

We sometimes talk about cultures and communities in terms of the music that represent them. I have been moved to tears more than once while listening to a song while visiting another country. One time while visiting a Japanese elementary school I looked down the row of American guests in an outdoor setting and there wasn’t a dry eye in the group.

The Harvard scientists set out to address big questions: Is music a cultural universal? If that’s a given, which musical qualities overlap across disparate societies? If it isn’t, why does it seem so ubiquitous? But they needed a data set of unprecedented breadth and depth. Over a five-year period, the team hunted down hundreds of recordings in libraries and private collections of scientists half a world away.

“We are so used to being able to find any piece of music that we like on the internet,” said Mehr, who is now a principal investigator at Harvard’s Music Lab. “But there are thousands and thousands of recordings buried in archives.

The entire article is at THIS LINK.

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Brain Power and Music

November 9, 2019

Learning 

“If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them.” ~ Luciano Pavarotti

Teaching Artists Allison and Hunt Smith

Studies, research, papers, surveys, and much more all focused on the developing brain – there’s so many that support the ideas around the importance and impact that music education can make. Now more ever there is research that links the benefits of music as medicine and music therapy is always highlighting using music as a treatment that impacts mental health issues.

I especially like what this article includes – read for yourself. Available at THIS LINK. I suggest adding this to your advocacy resources to pull out at a moments notice to share with school leaders, colleagues, and community members.

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Bye Bye Birdie

November 7, 2019

Medomak Valley High School

 

 

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