Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


The Addams Family Musical

October 29, 2017

Messalonskee High School Players

‘Buh buh da do *snap* *snap*’… The MHS Players bring that classic tune from The Addams Family to the stage on Nov. 17, 18, and 19. The dark humor of this dysfunctional family reminds us that love conquers all. Wednesday trades her pigtails for an engagement ring and hilarity ensues when her boyfriend’s Ohioan family meet the dark and sinister members of the Addams clan. Storms, ghostly ancestors, rhymes, the color yellow, and love?! It’s all there for the older fans of the 1960s t.v. show to reminisce over while introducing younger members of the audience to the darkly comedic family. The performance by the Messalonskee High School Players is under the guidance of the new director, Shelby Thibodeau, herself an alumnus of Players. In addition, the Players are pleased to welcome as the new musical director, Mike Peterson, a long time music teacher in the district.  The actors are currently honing their singing and dancing while the crew hand craft the ghostly costumes of the living and the dead and build the Addams Family mansion on stage at the Messalonskee High School Performing Arts Center.  All are welcome on Nov. 17 and 18 at 7:00 pm and on Nov. 19 at 2:00 in the afternoon. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, and $10 for adults.










Vocabulary Walls

October 14, 2017

the  art of education

All kinds of great ideas are shared daily on the art of education blog. This one, posted recently written by Amanda Heyn, has some tips on using a vocabulary wall in the art room to address the needs of the varying grade levels. Even though it is for an art room it certainly would work in a music room. Read on to pick up the tips.


Maine’s High School Diploma

October 8, 2017

Chapter 134

After careful review of all oral and written comments received by the Maine DOE regarding proposed rule Chapter 134, Regulations for Awarding a High School Diploma, the Maine DOE has made the decision to withdraw the current proposed rule and restart the rulemaking process after a brief pause for conceptual conversations. The conceptual conversations will provide an opportunity to explore areas needing greater clarity in the current proposed rule Chapter 134. The Maine DOE remains committed to the proficiency-based diploma law (20-A MRS 4722-A) and remains committed to drafting a proposed rule that supports the implementation of a diploma based on evidence of proficiency.

The Department intends to start a new rulemaking process for proposed rule Chapter 134 once the following steps have been taken:

  1. During the month of October, Maine DOE’s Proficiency-based Education (PBE) Specialist will reach out to professional organizations to invite representatives from each of their stakeholder groups (superintendents, principals, curriculum leaders, teachers, parents, and school board members) to engage in small (approximately 15 participants), role-alike, conceptual discussions regarding equitable access to a high school diploma and student readiness for entering career and college opportunities after high school. A randomly selected high school from each superintendent region will be contacted to engage in small (approximately 15 participants) conceptual conversations with students. These conceptual discussions will be facilitated by the Maine DOE PBE Specialist and guided by the following discussion prompts. (The Commissioner and other Maine DOE members may join the conversations as their schedules allow.):a.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: The knowledge, required skills, and qualifications required for entrance into post-secondary opportunities in industry, trade, business, and higher education vary.What do you see is needed to prepare students for their post-secondary next step?

    b.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: The transcript and diploma are inseparable companion documents that together articulate a student’s readiness for the postsecondary next step she or he has chosen.

    What do you see is needed to clearly articulate a student’s readiness for the postsecondary next step she or he has chosen?

    c.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: The high school transcript must clearly communicate the student’s proficiency across the grade span progressions (preschool-grade 2; grades 3-5; grades 6-8; grades 9-12) thus providing a clear, accurate communication of what the student has achieved and what the diploma based on proficiency represents for each student.

    What do you see is needed to clearly articulate what a student has learned?

    d.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: Every student needs a personal learning plan and a small team whose primary goal is to understand the student’s aspirations, strengths, challenges, contexts of his or her life. The team works collaboratively with the student and others to provide the student access to learning experiences that support her or him so that she or he may learn as close to full potential as humanly possible. The focus on the team is always on the student developing competencies that will support her or his aspirations and development of efficacy towards these aspirations as well as the student’s ability to reach the highest grade span proficiency level possible while eligible to attend our public schools.

    What do you see is needed to increase the probability that a student will graduate ready for his or her postsecondary next step?

    e.) To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement and why: Statewide agreement regarding what proficiency means or looks like in each grade span progressions (preschool-grade 2; grades 3-5; grades 6-8; grades 9-12) is necessary to support student opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency.

    What do you see is needed to support opportunity to learn and demonstrate proficiency across the state?

    f.) Would you be willing to share a final thought as a result today’s conversation

  2. Taking into consideration the insights gained from the upcoming conceptual discussions and the September public comments, the Maine DOE staff will write a new proposed rule Chapter 134 and begin again the Maine Administrative Procedures Act (A.P.A.) routine technical rule process pursuant to 5 MRS §8052 (public notice of filing, public hearing, open public comment period).The Maine DOE is working diligently to honor the integrity and vision for the high school diploma and transcript articulated in Maine education statute 20-A MRS §4722-A as well as the routine technical rulemaking pursuant to section §4722-A subsection 7. Maine DOE believes public input is a critically important.

It is clear from the oral and written comments submitted on proposed rule Chapter 134 that there is commitment in Maine to provide opportunity for all students to learn as much as they can the entire time the students are eligible to attend our public schools. It is also clear that the diploma has great social meaning and currency in our society. Clearly evident in the comments is that equity sits at the heart of the debate regarding what constitutes sufficient evidence for proficiency. We have provided links below to both the oral and written comments received by the September 8thdeadline.

Recorded public hearing and the written comments received by September 8, 2017 for proposed rule Chapter 134 submitted by September 8, 2017.

For more information on proposed rule Chapter 134 and the diploma based on proficiency, contact Maine Department of Education Proficiency-Based Education Specialist, Diana Doiron at


POL Registration is Open

September 21, 2017

Poetry Out Loud for high school students

The Maine Arts Commission is pleased to announce that school registration for the 2017-2018 Poetry Out Loud program is now open. Schools can find online all information about the program and register quickly and easily. The registration deadline is November 6, 2017. Immediately following registration, each school’s identified contact teacher will be sent program materials and teacher toolkits, which include the newly revised Poetry Out Loud 2017-2018 Teacher’s Guide, for all participating teachers/staff members.


Poetry Out Loud is organized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation; it is administered at the state level by the Maine Arts Commission. Begun in high schools nationwide in 2006, this dynamic program encourages our nation’s youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. Students have the opportunity to choose from among 900+ poems in the official Poetry Out Loud anthology and then bring their selected poems to life. The program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence and learn about their literary heritage. In addition to providing a meaningful educational experience of poetry in written and spoken form, over $100,000 in awards is given to successful students and schools at the state and national level, including $20,000 awarded to the National Champion.

Poetry Out Loud offers high school teachers an easy-to-use, standards-based program to help students discover a range of poets from Emily Dickinson to Richard Blanco to Gwendolyn Brooks. Participating teachers receive free materials including a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, and access to audio-visual materials on the art of recitation.

We are thrilled that over 9,500 students and 205 teachers from 42 high schools across Maine participated in Poetry Out Loud in 2016-2017. We anticipate that this school year will be just as exciting and we encourage all teachers to consider giving their students throughout your school the opportunity to shine in this nationwide celebration of poetry!

Gabrielle Cooper, 2017 Maine State Poetry Out Loud Champ, Gardiner Area High School

You can view a brief video of Maine’s 2017 Top 10 Poetry Out Loud finalists discussing what poetry and performance art means to them. Highlights from the 2017 regional and state finals are also included.

Available to view and share is the promotional national videos entitled “Get involved in POL!” and “Why Poetry Out Loud?” Additionally, we recommend that you share a short article from The Atlantic entitled “Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important” (April 2014) with students, teaching colleagues, administrators and parents. It is our hope that these resources may help you publicize Poetry Out Loud in your school and support your school’s participation in the program this year.

Please note that Poetry Out Loud can take place in your school anytime between now and January 8, 2018, as the program does not require full class periods and can be completed in just two to three weeks; however, teachers are encouraged to consider making Poetry Out Loud a larger part of their school’s curriculum. Specific lesson plans as well as an explanation of the alignment with both the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Standards and Common Core State Standards are available.


September – November 2017 School Registration (ongoing)
November 6, 2017 Last day to register for Poetry Out Loud
January 8, 2018 Last day for school-wide competitions
January 16, 2018 Last day for Regional Finals Registration
January 22, 2018

January 25, 2018

Last day for Regional Workshop Registration

Northern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m.)

(Hampden Academy)

January 30, 2018 Snow date for Northern Regional Workshop
February 5, 2018 Southern Regional Workshop (4-6 p.m.)

(Portland Public Library)

February 6, 2018 Snow date for Southern Regional Workshop
February 12, 2018 Northern Maine Regional Finals

(Performing Arts Center, Hampden Academy)

February 13, 2018 Snow date for Northern Maine Regional Finals
February 28, 2018 Southern Maine Regional Finals

(venue to be announced)

March 2, 2018 Snow date for Southern Maine Regional Finals
March 12, 2018 Maine State Finals (Waterville Opera House)
March 13, 2018 Snow date for Maine State Finals
April 23-25, 2018 Poetry Out Loud National Finals (Washington, DC)


Maine State Finals POL participants

If we can provide any assistance with registration or program planning for your school’s Poetry Out Loud program, please contact Argy Nestor at



Maine State Shutdown

July 1, 2017

The State of Maine does not have an approved budget for FY18. Consequently, Maine state government is shutdown as of July 1 and the Maine Arts Commission offices will be closed indefinitely. During this time period no new posts will be published on the Maine Arts Education blog. I will be out of the office and unable to respond to calls or emails. Information regarding the shutdown will be posted on as it becomes available. I apologize for this inconvenience.



Bonny Eagle High School

May 19, 2017

Doing STEAM work

Margaret A. (Peg)  Maxwell has been teaching art for many years at Bonny Eagle High School which is part of MSAD #6 and located in Standish, Maine.

Whenever I see Peg she is engaged in deep learning and has stories to tell about what her students are doing as well. At the end of March I bumped into Peg at LL Beans for the awards ceremony to recognize students whose art work had been selected as part of the 22nd Federal Junior Duck Conservation and Design Program. Of course Peg would involve her students in the opportunity since the program is a dynamic art- and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school.

Peg sees a connection between art and science and any opportunity to develop lessons on the learning connections, she takes advantage of. Peg says it best: “I do not intend to teach science or offer any credit for science courses in my department. My intention is to interest students in the sciences, encourage them to tap into their creative and scientific selves….and to encourage them to invent and make connections for their future learning and become leaders in education, arts, engineering and design.”

Peg and I chatted about a radio talk show discussing STEAM education in the Boy Scouts program. I did a little research and found THIS LINK on the topic. I am aware of the work in our 4H programs. You can read about a 4H curriculum connection of sewing to science at THIS LINK.

At the spring Maine Art Education Association conference Peg provided a session on the Art and Science connection. The description: Teachers will learn the process of science integration into the curriculum using the resources in their buildings. The process of collaboration will be discussed and the proper avenues to pursue in order to facilitate a successful experience for the students. Hands on workshop using journal making as their container of ideas for the units. Weather, botany, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, chemistry and other units of sciences will be reviewed as possible integration topics. A brief discussion about the importance of integration with sciences as a motivator will be part of the workshop.

If you have any questions please contact Peg. She can be reached and is always willing to share at

“Remember the importance of the eye and that black hole called the ‘pupil’ and how it allows us to see and learn…perhaps it is our own black hole of energy that manifests into the synapses (meaning to join) of our brain.” 


Learning by Making and Doing

March 27, 2017

MLTI Student Conference

The MLTI Student Conference Committee is still in need of a few more proposals for the 14th Annual MLTI Student Conference, to be held on Thursday May 25, 2017 at UMaine.

This year’s emphasis is on music and sound, allowing the MLTI Student Conference to continue its focus on “Learning by Making and Doing.”

Attending participants will learn how they can use their MLTI devices to create in ways that make learning happen — and tell the stories of their accomplishments. With music and sound as a focus (focus, not a limit!), the MLTI Student Conference planning team would like to consider workshops around music, spoken word recording, coding, video production, art, writing and publishing your collection of short stories, or one of any other endless possibilities!

The MLTI Student Conference supports all MLTI Devices regardless of platform (HP or Apple). Each platform provides for a variety of environments that can be used for making and doing.

You can learn more about the Conference on our website at

Submit a proposal online at

For simplicity and management, sessions may be designed for just one or two of the MLTI platforms, but “platform agnostic” sessions are encouraged.

We are looking for both adult presenters as well as student/teacher team presentations!

Spread the word – if you know of someone doing fantastic work involving technology with making, doing, or storytelling please encourage them to submit a proposal!

If you have any questions please contact Juanita at

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