Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

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Arts Education Network

October 11, 2017

Opportunity to connect

Heather Martin from Arts are Elementary in Brunswick

On Friday, October 6, representing organizations, institutions, and schools almost 40 people gathered at the Farnsworth Art Museum for the Maine Arts Commission Arts Education Network.

PURPOSE

The purpose was to meet and learn from each other by sharing information and resources, exchanging ideas about education programs, and collaborative thinking.

Hannah Cordes, Portland Stage Education Manager listens while Julianne Shea, Education Administrator introduces herself

It was a great opportunity to NETWORK!

The first part of the agenda included the opportunity to hear about the statewide arts education census that was conducted during the 2015-16 school year. Julie Richard, the Maine Arts Commission executive director shared highlights.

Julie Richard, Executive Director at the Maine Arts Commission reviews what we learned through the state wide census in Arts Education conducted during the 2015-16 school year

Andrea Curtis shared information about the Farnsworth education programs. Teaching artist Alexis Iammarino provided the background information on the murals she has created with students that are located throughout Rockland.

All participants introduced themselves and answered What drives you? Why do you do what you do?

Chrissy Fowler from Belfast Flying Shoes and Joshua McCarey listen while Jessie Davis the Executive Director of the Strand introduces herself

The second part of the day, the participants were in four groups to discuss the following audience questions and vision questions.

AUDIENCE 

  •      With whom do you currently collaborate?
  •      With whom might you like to collaborate?
  •      Who are your programs currently reaching?
  •      Which demographic would you like to engage more?

 VISION

  •      If there were no constraints on your resources (i.e. time,   staffing, funding), what would you do?

ridget Matros from Waterfall Arts listens while the Arts Education Exchange participants share information about their work in arts education

Small groups shared with the entire group. Participants were invited to visit the Midcoast Music Academy, the Strand Theater, CMCA, the Farnsworth, or the murals they had learned about earlier in the day.

Notes were taken in each group which will be collated and shared with the participants and the 20 others who were not able to join us. If you are part of an art organization, institute, or school and have an arts education arm and are interested in connecting please email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Ian Bannon from Figures of Speech and Celebration Barn documenting participants comments

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What the Research Says

October 9, 2017

Howard Gardner and Ellen Winner on Arts Education

After 50 years of arts-learning research with Project Zero, Howard Gardner and Ellen Winner have a pile of data that they’ve learned from and the learning continues. In the Education Week article The Arts Have Much More to Teach Us written by Gardner and Winner provide a summary of the work. In the 90s Lois Hetland worked with Winner to look at the data on students with high and low exposure to the arts and their math and reading achievement. Many of you are familiar with and use Lois Hetland’s Habits of Mind framework published in Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education.

Education Week has put together a collection of articles and research on arts education on topics that you’ve been hearing and reading about and in many cases considering including in the development of curriculum.  They claim that arts education is “a discipline in transition”. When I take the long view of my career in arts education I believe that we’ve always been in transition. At some level ‘shifting’ is the nature of our discipline. Depending on the school, district, and the attitude towards the arts (based on the experiences of those in decision making positions), that is what determines the view of and commitment to arts education. Having said that the following are worth the read and can help influence your thinking when it comes to teaching, creating curriculum, advocating, and a list of other arts education related topics and ideas. And, the bottom line is the arts have a rightful place in our schools and it is our responsibility as educators to see to it that they are ESSENTIAL for all learners. A PreK-grade 12 education without excellent arts education instruction is not acceptable!

The Arts Need to Be a Central Part of Schooling

Oct. 2, 2017

The research in favor of arts learning is stacking up, writes Johns Hopkins University’s Mariale Hardiman.

There’s Something Missing From STEM Learning

Oct. 2, 2017

Including arts in science and math instruction promotes student creativity and job preparation, writes STEAM specialist Susan Riley.

Arts Integration Is a Sucker’s Game

Oct. 2, 2017

Turning “STEM” into “STEAM” won’t stop arts from getting squeezed out of the curriculum, cautions researcher Jay P. Greene.

How to Assess Arts Education—And Why You Should

Oct. 2, 2017

Arts instruction and understanding the creative process can help prepare students for 21st-century challenges, write Emily Gasoi and Sonya Robbins Hoffmann.

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Who Are They? Portland Stage – Part 2

October 3, 2017

Directors Lab

Portland Stage, located in Portland, Maine, offers vital theater arts education to learners ages 4-18 through our In-Theater and In-School programming. All classes and workshops are taught by professionally trained Teaching Artists and focus on literacy, cultural awareness, collaborative play, and creative thinking. Our teaching philosophy highlights process over product, deepening students’ ability to analyze, synthesize, and think critically while making connections to the thoughts and ideas behind the written word. This is one of a series of 6 blog posts outlining who we are and what we do, brought to you by Hannah Cordes, Education Manager, and Julianne Shea, Education Administrator. These posts will appear September 27 through November 1, 2017, on Wednesday’s.

Performance of Macbeth with Education Artists Megan Tripaldi, Hannah Daly, Erica Murphy, & Christopher Holt Photo by Aaron Flacke

One of our exciting In-School programs is called Directors Lab. Directors Lab engages middle and high school students with Shakespeare through performance, workshops, and active text-work. This year, we will be performing a 45 minute version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar followed by a talkback with the actors and exciting hands-on workshops in classrooms. Directors Lab puts Shakespeare’s language into the hands and mouths of the students, empowering them to be the artists, directors, and ensemble with the power to interpret the text and produce meaning.

On a personal note, this is my absolute favorite program to teach and engage with. As the director of the touring production, I get the privilege to be in the room with our fantastic actors as we explore the text and characters of Shakespeare’s plays. We put on the production with only four actors, so a large part of the rehearsal process is problem-solving, brainstorming, and playful experimentation. How do we show which character you are playing in any given moment? How do we fill in the gaps that a 45-minute adaptation poses us with? How do we bring this story alive in an engaging way? Rehearsal is an action-packed week of collaboration, laughter, tears, and joy that makes bringing it to schools all the more exciting and valuable.

The final and most important part of the equation is the students! It is remarkable to watch students bring Shakespeare’s language alive using their own experiences and emotions as the backdrop for approaching the text. I rediscover Shakespeare’s plays each time I step into a classroom, as the students introduce new ideas and layers to these stories.

Students make for the best audiences because they have less social restrictions as spectators. They organically respond to what is occurring on stage, which makes for a transformative 45 minutes. During a performance of Romeo and Juliet, the woman playing Juliet asked the nurse “Shall I speak ill of him that is my husband?” and the crowd of students erupted with an “OHHHHH!”. The students’ response was because they knew that this was a huge moment for Juliet’s character and an important reveal. Clearly, they were following the story and invested in the characters’ journeys. The energy in the cafeteria, gym, theater, or wherever else we perform is electric and like nothing else I have ever experienced.

Directors Lab Workshop Photo by Aaron Flacke

One of the first activities that we do in the workshops is called “text layups” (an activity created by the education team at Shakespeare & Company) where each student performs a single line of text. Another student stands behind the performer and reads the line from a piece of paper. That way, the actor is not reading and trying to comprehend or “get it right”. Their job is simply to listen to the line, repeat it, and bring the text alive, whether through an emotion, a gesture, a tone of voice, or a combination of all of the above.  At a school visit last season, one student got up and completely froze. He had wanted to try to say the line out loud but once he was faced with the moment, he couldn’t bring himself to speak. I went up to him and asked him to say the line just to me so that he would have an experience of speaking the words without worrying about an “audience”. He looked me right in the eye and spoke the line of text with emotional clarity and power and I was incredibly moved by his performance. He continued to participate throughout the workshop, playing a witch in our exploration of the “double, double” text and making brave acting choices throughout. At the end of each workshop, every student reinforces one thing from the workshop and many students reinforced the boy for his bravery. He was beaming by the time he left the room. After all the students were gone, the teacher came up to me and told me that student not only never speaks in class, but he also had never made eye contact with a fellow classmate or a teacher before. This is just one of many moments we have experienced in this program that sheds some light on the extraordinary power of theater and Shakespeare.

I could talk about this program for pages, so instead I will end with some quotes from teachers that I believe sum up the magic of this work.

“The workshop brought out the chance for some kids to really shine. Those students who struggle sitting in a chair all day had the most fun, I think. The activities moved along at a good pace and were valuable to the students, giving many a chance to take risks, not something middle school students do. Now a couple want to be actors!” – Jane Lombard, 8th grade teacher at Lincoln Middle School

“Thank you for coming to King and creating a wonderful play for the seventh graders of our school to see. The experience was very fun and helped us learn more about Shakespeare, without making it too complicated to understand. I admire that you were able to do multiple characters in just one play, it must have been very difficult to do.” – Student at King Middle School

“The students loved the post-performance workshops. They were a wonderful way to capitalize on the performance and appreciate Shakespeare’s craft in fun new ways…In short, [the students] got thoroughly engaged and involved in your wonderful post-performance program. I am already working on obtaining the necessary funding to have you back next year–no matter what play it is. That’s how highly all the 11th grade teachers thought of your efforts.” – Rich Westley, English teacher at Scarborough High School.

Interested in learning more about this program? Email education@portlandstage.org or call 207-774-1043 ext. 104.

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Who Are They? Portland Stage – Part 1

September 27, 2017

Introducing

Portland Stage, located in Portland, Maine, offers vital theater arts education to learners ages 4-18 through our In-Theater and In-School programming. All classes and workshops are taught by professionally trained Teaching Artists and focus on literacy, cultural awareness, collaborative play, and creative thinking. Our teaching philosophy highlights process over product, deepening students’ ability to analyze, synthesize, and think critically while making connections to the thoughts and ideas behind the written word. This is one of a series of 6 blog posts outlining who we are and what we do, brought to you by Hannah Cordes, Education Manager, and Julianne Shea, Education Administrator. These posts will appear September 27 through November 1, 2017, on Wednesday’s.

Hannah Cordes Education Manager & Julianne Shea Education Administrator Photo by Aaron Flacke

Portland Stage Education is a literacy-based program dedicated to empowering imaginative storytelling, playful collaboration, effective communication, and boundless creativity.  From In-Theater to In-School programming, our work is always student-driven and geared towards inspiring students to bring literature and characters alive in new and exciting ways. We offer programming for ages 4-18 throughout the state of Maine.

Education has always been a part of Portland Stage’s mission, but 2010 marks an important moment in our program’s history. Susie Konkel had the vision to create a space and program for young people in Maine to connect them to Portland Stage and, thanks to her generous support, we were able to realize that vision. In 2010, we opened our Theater for Kids space and expanded our education programming to further serve Maine youth through theatrical training, exploration, and creation. Then, in 2012, an anonymous donor established Culture Club-Portland, a consortium with the goal of providing free arts experiences to every child in Portland Public Schools each academic year. Culture Club-Portland includes Portland Stage, the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Ovations, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Out of this innovative program, Portland Stage’s In-School programming was born. We now proudly work with all of the Portland Public Schools and continue to expand our In School programming throughout the state of Maine.

Our In-Theater programs include the Play Me a Story dramatic reading series for ages 4-10, Vacation and Summer Camps, After School Classes, and Training Intensives and Workshops. This year, we are thrilled to be establishing a Shakespeare Teen Company that will put on a production of Macbeth this spring.

Our In-School programs include the PLAY program for elementary school students, Directors Lab touring Shakespeare productions, Student Matinees of our mainstage season, and workshops with students and teachers in their classrooms. Cynthia Loring, Principal at Presumpscot Elementary in Portland, shared that “We have seen the impact of this program in our students. Teachers report that they see a new confidence in students and they are ‘more willing to take chances to perform in front of a group. It’s more natural to them.’ The skills our students learn from these visiting artists translate to the work they do in their classrooms. One teacher noted, ‘I have seen a difference in my student’s fluency and inflection when reading aloud–’”. We are extremely grateful to the teachers and administrators who have partnered with us in the past and look forward to continuing to build relationships with more schools as our program continues to grow.

Interested in learning more about this program? Email education@portlandstage.org or call 207-774-1043 ext. 104 .

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Who Are They? Wintergreen Arts Center – Part 6

September 17, 2017

Under the Willow Tree, a Creative Preschool

This blog post is one of a 6-part series about the Wintergreen Arts Center in Presque Isle.  Wintergreen provides creative experiences that empower the young and young-at-heart to imagine, invent, and innovate. With quality arts education programming for children of all ages, family-friendly signature events, and adult programs, Wintergreen works with several community partners to deliver inspiring opportunities to help individuals bloom and Aroostook County thrive. Dottie Hutchins is Wintergreen’s executive director. You can learn more at www.wintergreenarts.org

SNOW Sensory Table

On September 6, 2016, Wintergreen launched its creative preschool, Under the Willow Tree. The preschool was born from a very real need in the community—quality programming for preschool aged children. Our roster filled, even overflowed, and we currently have waiting lists for multiple years out. The need for creative choices in early childhood development is great and parent feedback keeps our program moving in the right direction.

Under the Willow Tree is an educational program for children ages three to five years old. It is open to an ideal class size of 14 students and meets Monday through Thursday mornings. The preschool implements a child-centered approach using small-group and hands-on activities to provide students with a diverse learning environment. The program teachers give instruction and guidance to children in ways that foster imagination, creativity, and critical thinking. The creative preschool program uses a variety of teaching tools and resources that engage all the senses and give students the opportunity to learn at their own pace.

Officer Kris and his Junior Wintergreen Officers

Presque Isle Police Officer Kris Beck was the first to visit Under the Willow Tree.

One item on the curriculum engages the students with individual community helpers. From police officers to firefighters, librarians and architects, the children fully embraced the idea of learning more about people who help our community.

“Inviting people like Officer Beck into the classroom is important for early career education and exploration,” said Mrs. Jillian Harris, Wintergreen preschool teacher. “It also introduces children to people who help to make our communities safe and successful.”

Officer Beck talked with the children about his job to protect and serve the community. He also allowed them to sit inside his patrol vehicle and ask questions about his uniform and the equipment he carries to perform his duties throughout the day.

In preparation for Officer Beck’s visit, the children worked all week making their own uniforms out of paper grocery sacks. They painted their uniforms blue and also made badges, hats, and stop signs to carry. The entire class was excited to meet Officer Beck and show off their uniforms.

2017_04_26_Mia Brewer visits PreschoolCommunity helpers who visit with Wintergreen’s preschool students are not always adults. Last April, 10-year-old autism self-advocate Mia Brewer visited Under the Willow Tree where she read a story, played with, and talked to the children.

Mia has autism and she also has a sister with autism whose needs and challenges are very different than her own.

“Mia doesn’t want to be or wish to be different, she likes being Mia,” said Lisa Brewer, Mia’s mother and Wintergreen preschool teacher. “We think our students agree that Mia is perfect just the way she is.”

In June 2017, Wintergreen celebrated their very first graduating class of creative preschoolers from Under the Willow Tree.  These children will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

On September 5, 2017, Co-Teachers Lisa Brewer and Katie Greenlaw welcomed a brand new class and look forward to another year of creative learning and exploration. The relationships and memories these children are making will last a lifetime.

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National Arts in Education Week

September 15, 2017

Celebration continues

Americans for the Arts has been celebrating National Arts in Education Week across the nation. I’ve appreciated the information that they’ve provided all week and I hope you have as well. A great big THANK YOU to Jeff Poulin, Arts Ed Program Manager at the Americans for the Arts, for providing this information. Included below are links and information to help you recognize the importance of arts education.

This week, Americans for the Arts is running a blog salon featuring youth voices on the topic of #BecauseOfArtsEd. You may consider sharing what is posted in the coming days – here are the ones from yesterday:

The following professional development opportunities remain for the week; you may consider sharing with your networks:

  • Friday, September 15: Arts Education for Native American Youth. Register for the webinar #ArtsEdChat

Jeff’ s favorite social media posts shared yesterday 

Please check out the on ArtsMeet national arts event calendar and share events with friends and colleagues in your region (or other regions, too!)

Thank you for being a leader in the field of arts education and for joining the celebration of National Arts in Education Week.

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Who Are They? Wintergreen Arts Center – Part 4

September 15, 2017

Thinking outside the Center, taking art to the people

This blog post is one of a 6-part series about the Wintergreen Arts Center in Presque Isle.  Wintergreen provides creative experiences that empower the young and young-at-heart to imagine, invent, and innovate. With quality arts education programming for children of all ages, family-friendly signature events, and adult programs, Wintergreen works with several community partners to deliver inspiring opportunities to help individuals bloom and Aroostook County thrive. Dottie Hutchins is Wintergreen’s executive director. You can learn more at www.wintergreenarts.org

ART with HeartDuring the summer of 2017, the Wintergreen Arts Center taught art classes at five locations in Presque Isle. Classes were held at the Presque Isle Housing Authority on Birch Street, the new Adult Daycare Center on Davis Street, Presque Isle Rehab and  Nursing Center on Academy Street, Leisure Village Retirement Center on Dewberry Drive, and of course, the Wintergreen Arts Center on State Street.

“We’re thinking outside the Center,” said Dottie Hutchins, Wintergreen’s executive director. “And, as part of our plan, we taught art classes in neighborhoods and senior care facilities throughout Presque Isle last summer. This is a big step in Wintergreen’s goal to take art directly to people who may not otherwise be able to get to our Center.”

It is also the result of community partnerships Wintergreen has been building with several organizations in the Star City. Partnerships created with the sole purpose of bringing neighborhoods and opportunities together.

PI Nursing Home

Wintergreen is also reaching out to enrich the lives of local senior citizens through art as well.

“The Aroostook Medical Center first invited us to participate in a partnership-building meeting at the Presque Isle Housing Authority about a year ago,” said Hutchins. “And the results have been quite amazing.  Probably a dozen organizations are now working together to bring a variety of quality programs to the Birch Street Neighborhood.”

Wintergreen Art Teacher Shaye McHatten taught ART-with-heart and photography at the Presque Isle Housing Authority. The goal of the ART-with-heart program was to create connections through art by incorporating teenage volunteers as mentors to work with the children on a wide range of art projects.

“Shaye taught arts and crafts at the Agency on Aging’s new Adult Daycare Center, and the Presque Isle Rehab and Nursing Center in July,” said Hutchins. “And, in August, we led a family history / genealogy group at Leisure Village.”

Pet PortraitsWintergreen also offered classes at its 149 State Street location. In July, Wintergreen Art Teacher Kara Addington taught Pet Portraits, a community arts project to help homeless animals find forever homes.  Students painted portraits of animals living in local shelters to be displayed at area businesses in hopes of inspiring people to adopt a pet.

In August, Shaye McHatten also taught photography at the Center.

“We feel our summer programming was a huge success at all locations,” said Hutchins.  “The feedback from surveys confirmed that we are on the right track to successfully bring art directly to people throughout our community; especially to those who may be challenged with transportation or other barriers. Our goal is to expand this outreach on a year-around basis.”

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