Archive for the ‘VPA’ Category

h1

A Bit of Helsinki

November 13, 2018

HundrED

I traveled to Helsinki, Finland last week for the HundrED Summit. An amazing group of  gathering of inspirational educators from around the world participated exchanging ideas, sharing work, and learning from each other. And, learn did I do! Below are a few photos with more information and details to come – just as soon as my jet lag is behind me and I catch up on my sleep! You can start by going to the HundrED site and see the live streamed recordings from all three days.

Visit to a music class on Tuesday

Lindsay Pinchbeck and I were selected as Ambassadors for HundrED

Finland Minister of Education Sanni Grahn-Laasonen

Young people were present and their voices were loud and clear!

There were amazing presentations with thoughtful ideas including this one by Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell

 

 

h1

Journey

November 6, 2018

Learning, learning, learning

Baltimore – I was fortunate to travel to Baltimore last week where I participated in the State Arts Agency annual professional development institute (PDI). It was an outstanding learning opportunity in both the formal sessions and informal conversations to connect with my colleagues who do similar work across the country. They all care deeply about arts education. The purpose of this year’s PDI was to continue to explore issues related to diversity, equity, access and inclusion in arts education by focusing on the intersection of different types of structural inequity and individual and community trauma, and the ways in which arts learning can promote individual and community resilience and improve equitable educational outcomes.

Our guiding question: How can state arts agency (SAA) arts education managers address trauma and individual and community resilience through arts learning? 

It guided us well and we’ve returned to our individual states with knowledge that will impact our roles at each state art agency across the US.

Helsinki, Finland –  I’m in Helsinki this week attending the hundrED Innovation Summit. Lindsay Pinchbeck, founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts, and I were invited to attend the HundrED summit in Finland after recently being selected as Ambassadors for the program. We are excited about the learning opportunity.

You can attend virtually – the event is being streamed online. If you can participate please REGISTER!

It is Education Week in Finland so I have the opportunity to spend time in schools. I’m looking forward to learning more about their education program and specifically arts education. Fact: I learned recently that Finland has more heavy metal bands per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Finland is celebrating their hundred year birthday and the summit brings together educators from around the world to learn from each other. I’m looking forward to meeting the innovators; among them Pasi Sahlberg.

What is HundrED?

HundrED.org is a not-for-profit organization that discovers inspiring innovations in K12 education. HundrED’s goal is to help improve education and inspire a grassroots movement through encouraging pedagogically sound, ambitious innovations to spread across the world.

The purpose of education is to help every child flourish, no matter what happens in life. In a fast-changing world, education must adapt to keep up. The world is full of inspiring innovations, but they can struggle to spread beyond their immediate environments. That’s why HundrED discovers, researches and shares impactful and scalable K12 innovations with the world, for free.

I hope you will have a chance to look at the HundrED website and check out their resources. Of course, I will be sharing my learning on the blog.

Education Week

Helsinki Education Week is an annual, week-long festival with a dual purpose: to make visible all of the exemplary work done in the capital’s schools, while also learning lessons from the rest of the world by collaborating with international education specialists visiting the city. The Helsinki Education Week’s lead organizer is the City of Helsinki and its Education Department and its official partners are HundrED and Helsingin Sanomat.

Embracing Education in All Schools 

h1

Retired Arts Educators

November 5, 2018

Gone but not forgotten

Retired music educator Paul Greenstone assisting in a summer music program in Lake Region Summer Band Program for students entering Gr. 5 through high school. Shirts designed by Paul’s son, Andrew Greenstone. Photo by music educator Jenni Null who is recently retired and teaching one day a week.

As we know the field of education is changing right before our eyes – sometimes with us at the table and some days we wake up and wonder how we got where we are. Some of this has to do with a generation of educators retiring. The numbers are on the increase and the list of openings at this time of year is larger than normal, according to communications. The statewide census that the Maine Arts Commission conducted provided us with all kinds of information including the number of school districts who have non-certified educators. We also know that in some arts disciplines, the number of undergraduate students in our field is smaller this year. Both of these are concerns.

I keep thinking about the number of retired teachers who still have so much to offer. I’m hearing about several who are teaching one or two days a week in schools that have a need for a part-time arts educator. I’m also aware of educators who are volunteering in their communities and/or schools to help support the education of young people. If you’re one of these educators, THANK YOU you for stepping up and continuing to use your teaching skills!

Doesn’t matter what age you are or how long you’ve been teaching, I suggest that you consider who is available to assist you and consider the many retired arts educators when you hear of opportunities. Both the Maine Music Educators Association and the Maine Art Education Association knows who has retired in the past few years plus I have blogged about the retirees for the last five years. Don’t hesitate to reach out – these are ways to advocate and gain support for yourself and your program. We know that young people are the ones who will benefit!

h1

Maine Arts Awards

October 30, 2018

First ever presented

One of the highlights of the Maine International Conference on the Arts held in September at USM was the presentation of the Maine Arts Awards by Arts EngageME. This is the first time these awards have been presented in Maine. Arts EngageME is an advocacy and support organization for the Maine Arts Commission. It is modeled on the support organizations for many of Maine’s other state cultural agencies, with a directive to increase the Commission’s capacity to advocate and to hold an endowment in support of Maine’s cultural sector.

Emily Isaacson | Artist of the Year presented her award with Severin Beliveau, Larry Rubenstein, and Julie Richard

MAINE ARTS AWARDEES

  • Emily Isaacson – Artist of the Year
  • 240 Strings – Arts Education Association
  • Rangeley Friends of the Arts – Rural Arts
  • Schoodic Arts for All – Community Organization
  • Alan & Lorna Crichton – Philanthropy
  • Bill Raiten – Lifetime Achievement

VIDEO ABOUT EACH AWARDEE

These videos were created by Maine Arts Commission Marketing & Communications Director, Ryan Leighton and they are MARVELOUS!

Bill Raiten with Ryan Leighton

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

240 STRINGS

RURAL ARTS

COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION

PHILANTHROPY

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

h1

A Visit to Ashley’s

October 23, 2018

Last week of summer vacation

During the last two days I have posted two stories about Ashley Bryan. The first on the collaboration of Ovations Offstage, Portland Museum of Art and Theater Ensemble of Color to bring to life Beautiful Blackbird. Yesterday I had the opportunity to see the last performance of Beautiful Blackbird at Hannaford Hall on the USM campus. Yesterday’s blog post was about the requiem that Aaron Robinson wrote to celebrate Ashley’s life. It is an amazing story and a wonderful tribute to an amazing man.

Traveling to Islesford 

I was fortunate to travel to Ashley’s home on Islesford in late August. I was lead there by my former student Aaron Robinson. Yes, the same one who wrote the requiem. We were communicating after I read the article in the Maine Sunday Telegram about Aaron’s and Ashley’s collaboration. I had so many questions and Aaron finally said: “Why don’t you go to the island and visit Ashley? If you don’t you will regret it.” So, once I figured out how to make that happen I asked music teacher Kate Smith if she wanted to go along for the boat ride and visit to the island. She was as excited as me (perhaps more)!

We left in the early morning on the drive to Southwest Harbor, hopped on the ferry and arrived in the late morning on the island. Someone kindly gave us directions to Ashley’s: “Go up the hill, make a right, walk to the intersection of the two roads by the grey home with the white fence and turn left. At the next intersection turn right, go down aways and look for a sign low to the ground that says: The Storyteller Pavilion.”  We were greeted at the door by Ashley’s niece, Bari. She suggested that we look around while Ashley finished his lunch. Mouths open, eyes wide we took in the beautiful art, amazing toys, brilliant colors everywhere and the collections of many years. Ashley is 95 and over the years he has collected amazing artifacts from his travels and of course, he has created a fair amount of art as well – which is everywhere.

Ashley’s home

We were in awe in his studio where he carefully creates his stained glass with the use of papier mache and sea glass. His life like marionettes made from treasures collected along the rocky shore were hanging in groups as if visiting one another. We spent some time in the pavilion where we could see his completed stained glass, his early paintings done at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and several puppets.

We returned to visit with Ashley and shared a cup of tea, banana and molasses bread. We asked questions and listened intently. His perspective so unique and interesting. It was such a pleasure to hear what he had to say. His wit sharp, clarity of words/messages, and smile lit up the room.

We asked how to respectfully teach music and art from other cultures when we are such foreigners to them. He emphatically said: “don’t not teach it for that reason”. He and Bari told a story about a visiting chorus in another country. At the end a woman approached them with tears in her eyes and thanked them for singing in their language and said that no one had visited and sang in the native language.

Kate Smith brings it home
When asked  if he had a special message we could take back to the teachers and students of Maine, Ashley said something along these lines:
“Embrace each day with joy, wonder, discovery and rediscovery.”
I happened to be rereading the book “Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE and other Special Areas” at the time. As I pondered Ashley’s message and the beautiful conversations we had, I wondered how I could bring it back to my school and students in a way that would be impactful for all of us. It lead to a “rediscovery” of our school mission statement which ends with “together we learn”. I pondered, “What does ‘together we learn’ mean?” I began to see it as an anthem, a battle cry of sorts. I put the mission statement to music, making sure to give it a sense of joy. Instead of ending with “together we learn” we begin with it. At each Friday assembly I read a list of skills, knowledge or routines students have learned that week and as each one is called out the students sing “Together We learn” on sol-mi syllables. I have called out anything from ” colors” to “place value” to “cafeteria rules”. It is a fun way to celebrate what others are learning. The kids LOVE it. We then roll right into a roll call in which they stand as grade levels to sing our mission statement: “Challenge, success and love of learning for everyone, every day.” This transformation has added a richness to our purpose as students and teachers and drawn us together as a community of learners.

Both Kate and I were so grateful to have journeyed to the island to meet Ashley. It was a magical amazing day that will be forever in our memories!

h1

Hendrix and da Vinci

October 9, 2018

Personalized learning

During my recent conversations with educators it is clear that schools and classrooms continue to be in a variety of places on the topic of meeting the needs of students. Some are struggling with how to move forward while others have a plan in place and are willing to make every attempt to continue the momentum. Some are collaborating within schools/districts/regions and others are struggling alone. One thing is clear, progress is being made in the educational environments where visual and performing arts teachers have ‘a place at the table’. These teachers are confident and in many areas leading, their voice is being heard. No one has all the answers but questions are raised, conversations are ongoing and students are engaged and at the center of their learning.

In an Education Week article from October 3, educator Mary M. McConnaha shares her experience teaching in a middle school where the teaching and learning environment focuses on the needs of the each student. I hope that after reading the opening of the article below that you will take the time to read the entire article What Jimi Hendrix and Leonardo da Vinci Can Teach Us About Personalized LearningThe work of education can be messy but we owe it to EVERY student to approach it with a growth mindset so we can provide a learning environment where all learners, not only survive, but thrive.

American rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix performs at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival in California. —Bruce Fleming/AP

In Mary’s words: The 6th graders I taught during my first student-teaching assignment got me hooked on the musical “Hamilton.” The hit Broadway show, if you somehow haven’t heard, uses rap, hip hop, jazz, and show tunes to tell the story of how the American Founding Father’s life shaped the course of our nation—but it also teaches a lesson about education.

As a young man in the Caribbean struggling to make ends meet, Hamilton taught himself fiscal policy, history, political theory, art, and culture. Not only did he read voraciously, he also put his reading into practice, counseling ship captains on trading and moving cargo, according to the biography by Ron Chernow on which the musical is based. His early learning provided the foundation for his many achievements, including creating the first national bank of the United States.

The list of self-taught experts goes far beyond the Founding Fathers. Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Frida Kahlo, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, Frederick Douglass, and Booker T. Washington were all at least partially self-taught in their areas of mastery.

 

h1

MICA Day 2 Highlight

October 6, 2018

Video Recap

%d bloggers like this: