Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category



April 19, 2021


Reach out and ask a question, collect the comments and post them in the teachers room and if you want to be really brave post them in the hallway. Your students will know that you care about each other and them.

What am I talking about? Well, this is it, Spring vacation for Maine students and teachers is this week. Hopefully it’s a chance to rest and work on filling your cup. We know if our cups are not full it’s difficult to help support others and be our best in the classroom. Everyone knows it’s been a tough year, some admit that their energy has been zapped and yet others are able to see the silver linings.

So, what can we do to help support our colleagues and our school community for the rest of the school year? And still take care of ourselves? Here’s one suggestion – reach out to your colleagues and ask them to name one positive thing about the school year. Perhaps it is a silver lining, an unintentional consequence or something that someone said or did that surprises the heck out of you. Write the comments on paper hearts and hang them in the teachers room or hallway or each day read one during morning announcements or put them on the school kiosk or put it on the schools website or social media page. It is sure to lift spirits and simply let people know how much they are cared for and it will send a clear message to your students.

Comments I’ve heard that fit

At the Maine Art Ed Association virtual spring conference a couple of weeks ago Rangeley Lakes Regional School Art Teacher Sonja Johnson said: “The Art classroom is a place of awakening this year”.  This puts a different twist on the year and when I think about it the comment is filled with truth!

Last week I received an email from Edward Little Music Teacher Bill Buzza that included: “Today was the first day of bringing our two hybrid cohorts back into our building for 5 days a week. The energy was exciting and refreshing as the students got to interact with each other again – kind of like the first day of school of a new year.  And they were so thrilled to be hearing the sound of the full band again!” 

The way I see it the pandemic continues to offer us gifts! Not seeing them, try looking in a different direction like up into the trees to the sky and clouds. Take a moment to consider the gifts. What are yours? Please share at the bottom of this blog post or email me at Thanks!

Cedar Island, Liberty, Maine


Maine Farmland Trust

March 8, 2021

Opportunity for children

Young artists age 18 and under are invited to submit farm-inspired artwork for an upcoming virtual gallery exhibit.

The Maine Farmland Trust welcomes submissions for a children’s art exhibit to be held virtually this spring through the MFT Gallery. Looking for children’s artistic creations that address or are inspired by any of the following questions:

  • Do you have any farm or farm stands near you?
  • What do they look like, and what do they produce?
  • What animals do you like on the farm?
  • What is your favorite food from the farm?
  • What do you like, or what would you like, to do on a visit to the farm? 

Learn and submit artwork HERE. DEADLINE: MARCH 28, 2021

Possible subject or media matter ideas: Vegetables; animals on the farm; fiber (sheep, llamas or alpacas, rabbits); barns or other farm buildings; fields, crops, gardens; helpers on the farm; tractors or other equipment and tools.

Submission guidelines:

The artwork can be any media, 2D or 3D. We are accepting up to 5 submissions per artist. Since the show will be virtual, all submissions should be high quality photos of the original artwork.

Tips for taking a high quality photo with your camera or phone: use a high resolution setting on your device; hold the device steady or use a tripod or brace so the image is clear, not blurry; place the work (one at a time for multiple submissions) in good, even, natural lighting; make sure the edges of the image are square to the edges of the work so there is no distortion; crop the image to clear any distracting background; save as a .jpg file.

Please send an email, subject Farms for ME, with up to 5 high resolution jpg images attached, labeled with Artist First Name_Age_Title of the work_medium_dimensions_price.

In the email please include parent’s full name, email address, and phone number, name of the artist, age, medium, title of the work, dimensions of the work, and price if the work is for sale (or NFS if not).

If you have questions please contact Karen at


On Hiatus

January 4, 2021

The Maine Arts Education Blog is on hiatus!


Happpppy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

I know this Thanksgiving will be like no others. If you’ll be with family and/or friends that aren’t in your ‘bubble’ please be sure and practice safe distancing, wear a mask and if you’re inside try and leave some windows open. No matter what I hope the sun shines on you and that you can consider what you are grateful for, even in this challenging world-wide pandemic! I hope you take a moment and write down or make art that reflects what your gratefulness!

I’m grateful for the health care workers who are putting their lives on the line each and everyday to do the right thing.

I’m grateful for our elected officials who are making the most difficult decisions determining what to put in place to keep us all safe.

I’m so very grateful for my family and friends who continue to reach out to each other to lift spirits with a kind word and helpful hand.

Most importantly, I’m grateful for the educators who are teaching during this most difficult and challenging time. I know that you’re working around the clock doing the right thing for each learner and the best that you can for your community! Thank you for making a difference in so many students’ lives and in so many communities. 

Thanksgiving is different this year and my appreciation goes deeper than ever for all of the teachers across this globe going above and beyond and remembering that WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING IS ENOUGH AND WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER! Be sure and reach out with stories to share and asking for assistance!

My warmest wishes for a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Chelsea Beck for NPR


November 11, 2020

In the year 2000 I met Joani Share who was an art teacher at Arcadia High School in Phoenix, Arizona. We were selected for the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund to learn about the education system on a three week trip. There were many other educators but it was the Art that initially connected us. We learned together on that memorable trip and have continued to stay connected visiting each other in Maine, Arizona and now California where Joani has retired. Joani continues to teach workshops for young and old (including her grandchildren) along with being an amazing painter. She is active in community and social justice topics raising awareness through her own art and collectively with the voices of other artists.

Like many other artists she’s using her creativity and knowledge to consider other ways to make an impact. Three years ago forming “stARTover” to collect art materials and supplies for artists who had lost so much in the wildfires that spread quickly through Napa and Sonoma in Northern California. Recently she emailed about ARTicipate.

From the website:

ARTicipate for Humanity is an evolving resource directory to help connect people, ideas, and projects by using art to foster the humanitarian spirit. ARTicipate is not limited by geography or timelines. 
You can ARTicipate by supporting the growing resource list, as well as by recommending an art organization or artist to join ARTicipate. 

Joani Share with a van fall of art supplies collected for artists who had suffered loss from the wildfires in California

Blog post from the ARTicipate site

Recently I attended one of my art groups through a Zoom session, and everyone was working independently on their own projects. As artists, we are used to working alone in our studios, but during this time of COVID, our need to connect with other creative thinkers seems more important than ever. As we worked and shared our projects during the Zoom session, I was fascinated to see what was being created. Various people in the group were making art to help organizations that contribute to the greater good, as a means of using art to help others. I saw blankets made for infants and toddlers, blue hats to stop bullying, and sewn art panels designed as a remembrance for people who lost their lives due to violence. Seeing my friends working passionately through their art to help others got me thinking.

Three years ago, I formed “stARTover” to collect art materials and supplies for artists who had lost so much in the wildfires that spread quickly through Napa and Sonoma in Northern California. I contacted a number of friends, and local art organizations to gather supplies, and store them until arrangements could be made for a huge pick up. We urged fellow artists to donate, new or gently used art materials so that the artist recipients would be able to make artwork with proper equipment and supplies, not just the dregs of someone else’s studio. It was important to help the artists who lost everything to feel supported, and to lift their emotional spirit, when so much of their lives had literally gone up in flames. We spread the word, and over an 8-week period so many art supplies were gathered that I needed to rent a U-Haul truck to make deliveries. I contacted art organizations in both Napa and Sonoma who knew the hard hit individuals and offered to house the donated supplies, categorize them and help distribute everything to those artists in the greatest need. 

Through “stARTover” we were able to help those artists get back to work and make art a part of the recovery and healing process. “stARTover” was local, and had a limited timeframe, it was literally meant to help artists to begin creating as soon as possible. The outpouring of generosity from the area showed how quickly a community could come together. If we can build an art community on a small scale, what can we do if we go bigger?

After the Zoom session with my art friends, I decided to reactive ARTicipate as a way to connect artists, individuals and organizations to make a difference and as a way to form an artful community that is not limited by time or specific geographic areas. I hope that ARTicipate can become a resource and bridge to make the connections needed to bring artists and organizations together. I see ARTicipate as a living resource directory that can grow and connect people through art. Like “stARTover,” I sincerely hope that the art community will come together to connect people, ideas and projects by using art to foster the humanitarian spirit.

If you’re interested in participating or having your students get involved in ARTicipate please check out the website at and/or contact Joani Share at You can apply to be part of the site on the website under Contact.


Spirit of Music Education Award

June 7, 2020

Quarantine Karaoke

The Spirit of Music Education Award was presented (virtually) to Joseph Meyers who lives in Brewer by the Maine Music Educators Association. Feeling a bit depressed 6 weeks ago, Joseph, who had been a music major at UMaine went to his cellar to play and sing music. Out of that experience the facebook group Quarantine-Karaoke which now has 700,000+ members! 

CBS News out of Boston had a piece on the topic. WHDH out of Boston had a piece on the topic.

Vicky Cherry, MMEA executive committee and advocacy chair recently met with Joe. She describes Joe as “kind, well spoken who has seen the amazing difference this facebook group has made for so many people during this time.” Joe manages 65 volunteers who assist him to monitor the facebook group of over 700 K. He shared some incredible stories with Vicky of the letters he receives daily from people thanking him, life changing stories. Check out Quarantine Karaoke.

Joe is a graduate of UMaine School of Music Program, he is not an educator. He works in the business field. What a great story – so happy that MMEA has recognized Joe for this movement underway; providing opportunities who really need music in their lives, now more than ever.


MALI 2020

May 30, 2020

Summer Institute

MALI 2020 Summer Institute: Quarantine Edition is happening! Yes it will look different. Still FREE! Even amidst constant change the MALI Program Design Team is developing a very dynamic and timely series of virtual Professional Development offerings this summer.

The featured speaker is a leader in the field of Leadership and Resilience, Larry McCullough of the Pinetree Institute in Eliot, who will be speaking about cutting edge research on the balance between adverse and positive childhood experiences, and a framework for VPA classroom strategies to meet that balance.    In additional to a Leadership trainer, Larry has been a professional dancer, dance instructor, and classroom educator with a Masters in Arts Education.
This year’s Institute will explore
  • Leading with Resilience;
  • Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in our Teaching, Ourselves, and Our Communities;
  • Arts Advocacy.  
Deadline for Applications: June 1 – direct link:
Application for new participants.
About Larry McCullough
Dr. Larry McCullough is Founder and Executive Director of Pinetree Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Eliot, Maine, established in 2012 to promote the well-being of individuals, families and communities. with particular focus on addressing issues related to ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and the buffering effect of Positive Experiences in approaches to trauma-informed care.  Pinetree Institute offers workshops at its learning center at Pinetree Farm in Eliot and a wide variety of community-based programs in the Seacoast NH / Southern Maine region. 
In addition to his work with Pinetree Institute, Larry has over 30 years experience working with major corporations, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations in the areas of leadership development, change management, and strategic planning.  Since 2011 Larry has served as lead designer and a lead facilitator for the highly acclaimed Experienced Leadership Program at Ford Motors which combines elements of building personal resilience with strategic people leadership.  Another recent key project included a major transformational leadership program for U.S. Veterans Affairs, the largest health care system in the U.S. including over 72,000 managers and supervisors which incorporated aspects of emotional intelligence, personal resilience and organizational culture transformation. 
Larry’s earliest studies were in education and in performing arts during which he received a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from UMass Amherst and taught elementary school.  During and immediately after his teaching work, Larry worked professionally in the performing arts, studying and performing in New York and co-founding a small modern dance theater company in Toronto, Ontario. In this capacity Larry performed original dance theater works in the U.S., Canada and Europe.  During this time he also ran creative arts programs for children and taught dance in several Canadian Universities. Following his dance career Larry returned to UMass Amherst completing a Master’s Degree in Arts Education followed by a Doctorate in Applied Behavioral Sciences.  Prior to his engagement in corporate training, Larry taught Human Development and Early Childhood Education at the University of New Hampshire and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and worked with community agencies in Norfolk to create professional development programs for human services professionals.

In Today’s News

May 28, 2020

Very special “Taps”

Friends and family stood outside Allen Graffam’s Topsham home Monday to play one last Taps for the longtime band director at Mt. Ararat High School, who died of cancer Saturday. He taught for 35 years at the school before retiring in 2018.

Read the full article and hear Taps played by Allen’s friends, colleagues and students outside his home HERE and my tribute on the blog HEREI found the signs on Allen’s homes heartwarming. Allen’s was a life well lived, gone too soon and well loved.


Music Teachers Going Above and Beyond in RSU#35

May 6, 2020

Putting student needs first 

The following four teachers are going above and beyond teaching and reaching their learners in the RSU#35 school district. I am grateful for the work that David, Kate, Bryan and Kris are doing in music education, ‘schooling away from school’. All very humble, missing their students, below are some of their stories including ideas and resources. Thank you all for sharing!

David Graichen

DAVID GRAICHEN teaches Instrumental Music at Marshwood High School in South Berwick

Before school went digital my band students were working on pieces in small ensembles. We were doing this as a “Music in Our Schools Month” project and we were close to completion. I decided that despite articles warning of the difficulty we would try to make separate recordings and edit them together. I want to give my students a sense of working in an ensemble even when we cannot be together. There are many youtube videos showing you how to use programs by adobe, apple, a cappella, and others to complete this task. Each student got a metronome track for their piece and recorded their part and submitted it through google classroom. Thanks to the support of our RSU#35 Superintendent Mr. Caverly and Brian Carroll (our driver) we loaded the district trailer and delivered everything from a piccolo to a 4.3 octave marimba to students at their homes so they could play again.  With the help of a parent, student, and my student teacher Christopher Ciaglo we are working to edit the recordings together and hope to able to post them at the beginning of May. Normalcy and recognizing the connection music has for my students is very important.
David created THIS VIDEO so students would be reminded of school and to communicate how much he misses them.

David and Brian moving the marimba in to the student’s home.

Kate Smith

KATE SMITH teaches at Central School in South Berwick

I teach 389 PreK through third-grade students and I miss every single one. If there is anything I’ve learned from this pandemic, it is that there is no one, easy way to stay connected with students. I needed offline, synchronous and asynchronous opportunities in order to reach as many kids as possible. In addition to sending home Bingo cards with musical activities, I also record and upload videos on my website and send singing telegrams/musical messages to the teachers to forward to their students. Sometimes these musical messages are sung, other times I  dance (like when I taped glowsticks to myself and danced in the dark to “I’ve Got to Move It”), or lip sync with puppets. During vacation, the Physical Education teacher and I hosted a virtual dance party that had 75 families and 12 staff. Starting this week, we will co-teach 30-minute zoom classes with themes like Minute to Win It, Playground Games and Handclaps, and Beat in My Feet.
Kate created THIS SINGING TELEGRAM for her five first grade classes and this very fun lip sync singing telegram below.

BRYAN KILLOUGH (aka Mr. K) teaches Pre-K through 3 at Eliot Elementary School

Bryan has a YouTube channel where he posts amazing teaching videos that he has created for his students. Videos called PATIENCE which teaches the importance of patience, The Beat Song which teaches the concept of Tempo, JS Bach since Eliot Elementary School’s musician of the month of May is JS Bach, and one of my favorites is May is the Month of Maying which is about, you guessed it May – embedded below.
KRIS BISSON teaches music at Marshwood Middle School
This has been a very unique experience for all, but learning prevails. My hope is that my students know how much I care about their learning and their well-being and that we are all in this together. Classroom walls or other walls, we are still connected and creating.

Kris Bisson

Below are some of the learning platforms that she has found successful.

  • FLIPGRID : With Chorus and Guitar/Ukulele Class being performance-based work, I have been using this with great success!
  • Students create videos of themselves (I’ve been doing both “public” and “private” for every assignment) and I can grade and comment (Typed is my preference, or you can video respond). Students can see each other and respond to videos – always positive, and a large part of our Chorus Family Support.
  • PADLET : a chance for students to share personal reflections/responses and for others to share conversation with them. Precise, helps keep thoughts focused.
  • ZOOM and MEET : of course, such a great resource!!!!!!!!!
  • HANGOUTS : for students to ask a question quickly and briefly. So handy. Sometimes starts the need to ZOOM / MEET.
  • GOOGLE CLASSROOM : My organizational tool for sharing all classroom needs, responsibilities, videos, pdfs, you name it!
  • LOOM : I can video and share my picture and voice while sharing my screen to teach the lesson. SO user-friendly, and students are accustomed to the teacher teaching the lesson before completing it for themselves. LOVE this!

On Hiatus

February 11, 2020

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