Archive for the ‘YAHOO’ Category

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Through the Intern’s Eyes

August 9, 2017

MALI: Enriching Arts Education in Maine

Hello there! My name’s Alex and this summer I’m working as an intern for the Maine Arts Commission. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the state-run cultural agency, what they stand for, the projects they support, and the events that they sponsor.

A typical week for me usually involves photographing public art, writing blog posts, compiling monthly arts events, and working on some graphic design. But last week, I took a break from my standard routine and joined nearly 70 arts educators at Thomas College where the Arts Commission hosted the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI).

Being the non-Maine native that I am, at first I had absolutely no idea what the institute was about. All I knew was that Thomas College’s quiet summer campus was all of a sudden bustling with crowds of energetic art teachers. Armed with my camera and my Nalgene water bottle, I set out to figure out what exactly was going on.

Luckily, I had the chance to sit down with Catherine Ring, one of the founders of MALI. She explained to me that the institute’s mission is to enrich arts education in Maine by enriching the skills of teachers themselves. In the 7 years since its creation, MALI’s professional development training has created an army of veteran “Teacher Leaders” who have shared their creative knowledge with over 1500 educators around Maine. At MALI, Teacher Leaders turn their experiences into lessons, sharing their creative methods with other arts educators through workshops, presentations, and webinars.

Catherine also said that a large part of being a Teacher Leader is acting as a liaison with their respective school districts, functioning as a representative voice for art teachers and students in their region.

It’s during these three action-packed days that the MALI summer institute aims to enhance arts educators’ skills, which in turn leads to empowered students who enjoy stronger ownership over their creative learning processes.

And what’s even more exciting is that by the end of the three days, each teaching artist and teacher leader will create and outline an individual action plan for the upcoming school year. The project could be anything from leading a workshop for an entire school’s faculty, to using grant money to create a new gallery space for a school community.It was inspiring to see the level of care the teachers have for bettering themselves and their lesson plans for their students. There’s so much that goes into prepping for the school year, and these arts teachers are dedicated, passionate, and itching to inspire.

During the institute, I crept into classrooms filled with teachers taking part in workshops, attending lectures, and sharing ideas for the sake of creative collaboration. Leaders spoke about assessments of creativity, the importance of problem-solving, and the values of media in the classroom, amongst many other topics. There was laughter, there were snacks, and there was something in the air that made Thomas College’s Admissions building come to life.

What I observed over the three days is that MALI works to better student’s education by strengthening the roots of creativity and learning. MALI’s intentions are so admirable that the feeling of personal and community enrichment was palpable. As much as MALI is a teaching space, it also functions as a meaningful point of community for visual and performing arts teachers and teaching artists who may feel isolated in less populated school districts. Just sitting in on the events for a few minutes offered me a glimpse into the importance of arts education on every level, from leader to teacher, teacher to teacher, teacher to student. I have no doubts that MALI has made a significant impact on arts education in Maine, and I’m sure the students feel that as well.

 

Alexandra Moreno is an intern at the Maine Arts Commission, a rising senior at Bowdoin College, and a happy human. She enjoys writing, collaging, and fun.

 

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MALI Reflections

August 8, 2017

What’s it really all about

As I take a few minutes to reflect on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute that was held last week at Thomas College for three days I can’t help but think about what MALI is really all about. If I had to select one word it would be COMMUNITY. As many of you know there are about 1200 visual and performing arts educators in the state and I really don’t know how many teaching artists there are throughout Maine. Both were well represented last week. Bottom line, each of the participants were teachers, striving to be better at teaching and the desire to connect with others who care deeply about arts education.

Wow, I am so humbled by their commitment and proud of what they accomplished in three days!

Reasons for MALIs success

  • Teachers teaching teachers is a critical component
  • MALI is a community that provides ongoing support. Teachers learn that they have peers throughout the state experiencing the same or similar situations that they do day to day. They no longer feel like islands.
  • This summer’s institute had three strands; one for Teaching Artist Leaders, one for returning TLs and one for new TLs. The strands are customized for the unique group and individual needs. The strands came together for cross pollination and collaborations are formed.
  • All of the ideas are based on research and what is in the best interest of teacher development.
  • Phase 7 New Teacher Leaders

    A Design Team guides the work of MALI and plan every detail of the summer institute. They are totally committed to contributing above and beyond.

  • The MALI community grows each year with some teacher leaders returning year after year.
  • Through their work TLs find their voice and are invigorated to return to their school districts. Many are recognized in their new leadership role and are invited to the table at the local level. They serve on district leadership committees, lead the school and district professional development work for all subjects and grade level teachers, and are honored for their leadership.
  • The institute schedule is different each year to adapt to the changing needs but the foundation is built on What is good teaching? What is good learning? What is good assessment?
  • Teaching Artist Leaders Phase 6 and 7

    In 2015 Teacher Leaders created a set of Belief Statements on that include the topics that are vital to Maine arts education today: Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity and 21st Century Skills, Educator Effectiveness, Effective Teaching and Learning, Proficiency Based Learning and Student Centered Learning, and Teacher Leadership.

  • Teachers are connected and become Critical Friends to help support each other’s teaching.
  • MALI models teaching tools

So, what makes involvement in the MALI community so special?

Looking closely at Tim Christensen’s pottery are Jenni Driscoll, Jean Phillips, Tim, and Charlie Johnson

Participants comments

  • “MALI has helped me grow tremendously as a professional and my students grow tremendously as learners.” ~ Charlie Johnson, Visual Art Phase 1
  • “It’s leadership through the arts and as artist/teachers we have so much to offer.” ~ Cindi Kugell, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI has made me feel like I have a voice in my school, my community and in my state. ~ Jen Etter, Music Phase 3 Teacher Leader
  • “It is a lifeline for arts educators and education. ~ Jane Snider, Visual Art Phase 2 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows us to share our artistic strengths and perspectives in a forum which will directly impact the educational experiences of children across the state of Maine. ~ Brigid Rankowski, Phase 6 Teaching Artist Leader
  • “I feel so validated in my beliefs in the arts being so important to the “WHOLE CHILD”. This week has allowed my confidence to soar in my building!” Amy Nucci, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • Brian Evans-Jones, Teaching Artist Leader conducts poetry mini-lesson

    “MALI has helped me grow more confident both personally and professionally, especially as a leader. ~ Mandi Mitchell, Visual Art Phase 5 Teacher Leader

  • “It makes me brave. By stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things and improve my practice. MALI is my safety net. ~ Dorrie Tripp, Music Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows me to connect with exceptional arts educators from across the state; share resources and knowledge and improve my teaching!” ~ Pam Chernesky, Visual Art Phase 6
  • “I am thrilled to be part of the MALI team and so energized for my year of learning ahead.” ~ Kris Bisson, Music Phase 7
  • “Because of my role as a MALI Teacher Leader I got the opportunity to be chosen as one of three teachers to lead the professional development work in my district. It takes you places.” ~ Holly Leighton, Visual Art Phase 5
  • “Through the MALI Summer Session I discovered that both my art and my teaching are really directed at the same goal (engagement/interaction) and that who I am is as important to teaching & learning as what I know”. ~Tom Luther, Teaching Artist, Music Phase 7 Teaching Artist Leader

Next steps

Some of the MALI Teacher Leaders (TL) and Teaching Artists Leaders (TAL) will be sharing their learning in a workshop format at the local or regional level. Others will be continuously sharing in a social media mode. The Phase 7 summer institute was really about customizing the learning for each educator. I will keep you posted as they wrap up their plans for the school year I will share the information here on the blog and also on the Maine Arts Assessment site and through the communications that are delivered by the Maine Arts Commission.

Please let me know (argy.nestor@maine.gov) if you have any questions and are interested in applying to be involved as a Teacher Leader or Teaching Artist Leader for Phase 8.

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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Bags Are Packed and Ready to Go!

August 1, 2017

MALI Summer Institute

The Maine Arts Leadership Institute (MALI) gets underway today at Thomas College in Waterville. Almost 80 educators will come together to learn and share in a collaborative environment. PK-12 Teacher Leaders, Teaching Artists, and Teaching Artist Leaders will have the opportunity to build on their knowledge and consider how they will share the information during the next year. This is the 7th year that the initiative has offered summer learning and the schedule is chock full of rich sessions being delivered by teacher leaders as well as other educators who have much to offer.

The focus on teacher choices and teacher-centered learning will foster opportunities to consider how we do our important work of educating young people in visual and performing arts. The sessions include: standards and assessment, communication, networking, visual storytelling, drumming, creativity and much more.

As Karen MacDonald said recently as she prepares for the ECET2 conference coming up next week at Colby: “My basement is starting to look like a conference staging area”. I couldn’t agree with you more Karen! My bags are packed and I’m ready to go!

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“Coffee in the Dark”

June 28, 2017

Album release, July 22

On Sunday while listening to public radio they played “Coffee in the Dark” by Maine musician, Rob Duquette. I remembered visiting the artist, while he was presenting a music program on “kindness” at a Maine elementary school. (For blog post from December 2015, CLICK HERE). I followed up with an email to Rob congratulating him on the song and the upcoming release of his album.

I’ve been aware that Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders Jake Sturtevant and Rob’s wife, Andrea Wollstadt join in Rob’s endeavors as well. I saw Andrea on Monday and she confirmed that she and Jake are both on the record. Below is the press release on the upcoming album. Pretty exciting for everyone involved! FMI on the album, CLICK HERE.

Some local musicians spend their entire careers as sidemen, backing up and sitting in as needed for band leaders and assorted singers. Saco resident Rob Duquette has made his career since the mid-1990s as a well respected and in-demand sideman, most notably as a member of Jonathan Edwards’  touring band. He has also regularly played with other notables like Jack Sonni (Dire Straits) and the legendary composer David Amram over the last 15 years.  He gained national attention as part of the jazz-folk-pop group “Cactus Highway” in the early 2000s, who the Boston Herald called “a duo of true sophistication,” and the Village Voice called, “amazing”.

But it wasn’t until the release of duquette’s first album “This Time” in 2014 that he finally stepped out of the shadows. With the release of duquette’s new 2017 album “Trust the Night”, he further comes into his own as both a writer and bandleader, forging an indie-folk, singer-songwriter sound while mixing in touches of his extensive jazz and world music background, “Trust The Night” showcases Duquette’s many musical talents in a way that he has not revealed before.

The new album features the multi-instrumentalist Duquette as well as a stellar backing band anchored by John Kumnick (Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie) on bass and Duquette’s high school bandmate Nick Luca (Iron and Wine, Sheryl Crow) on guitar and synths. Jonathan Edwards plays harmonica on several songs, and sings on “Coffee in the Dark”, a tale about a strong woman who leaves her privileged upbringing to forge her own way as a fish monger. Rob elaborates on one the new songs saying “the album features original stories of the human condition, taken from my daily observations…..most notably on ‘Perfect Stranger’ a song about the author’s teenage experience of sitting next to a random person on a plane trip, and discovering the kindness of strangers.”

Interestingly, Rob’s day job is bringing his original children’s music to schools, festivals and libraries across the northeast, spreading lessons of love and kindness. With this new album release, he hopes to turn the attention to leading his own four piece band and headlining club and theater gigs throughout New England.

“Trust The Night” will have an official CD release event on July 22 at One Longfellow Square in Portland Maine featuring the full band and special guests. It will be available exclusively at Bull Moose stores throughout Maine beginning on June 4.

“Rob is an amazing multi-instrumentalist, on percussion, guitar, vocals and whatever else he can fit in the van!”

-Jonathan Edwards

“Rob Duquette really knocked me out!”

-Legendary drummer Joe Porcaro

For fans of: Dawes, David Gray, Jackson Browne

For more info contact: Cornmeal Artist Management, Charlie Gaylord, 23 Canterbury Circle, Kennebunk ME 04043  – 207-967-3996 office – 207-294-1575 cell

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PD All Around

June 27, 2017

Look Up!

There’s all kinds of professional development happening this summer in Maine on arts education. I’ve thought a great deal of PD over the years as a teacher who attended hundreds of learning opportunities and as a provider of PD. I found THIS ARTICLE recently that talks about what teachers wish to get out of PD. I believe that most importantly educators seeking quality arts education professional development need to be reminded to look up! I’m exploring what that means for me personally and professionally.

Participants at Hannaford Hall on the USM, Portland campus listen intently.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit two wonderful learning opportunities underway. One was held at the USM, Portland campus, sponsored by the Maine Department of Education. Jeff Poulin, arts education manager from the Americans for the Arts kicked off the day with a lively presentation on the history of federal mandates including today’s work on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). With his mom and sister in the audience Jeff provided a clear picture and included his own story of how he started and continues in the arts and the value of advocacy on many levels. He included a photo of himself at a very young age as a tap dancer and he delighted those in attendance with a tap dance at the conclusion of his presentation.

Participants broke into three groups: music, visual arts, and theatre/dance to continue work around assessment. The questions discussed included: Why do you assess? What do you assess? What is powerful about those thing that you access? I suggest that you take a minute and answer these questions. They could prompt a conversation with a colleague. Participants from all over Maine will continue their work tomorrow.

Laurie Downy and Molly Brown go over the details before sending participants on their way to select an artwork to respond to at the Portland Art Museum.

I spent part of the afternoon at the Portland Museum of Art with Side X Side. They had seven workshops happening simultaneously in different locations in the city with Portland teachers.   Laurie Downy and Molly Brown were facilitating a lesson. They sent the teachers out into the museum to observe and document something that they found interesting. Asking them to journal and selecting from multiple techniques from drawing to writing to journaling to mapping. Most inspiring was this quote by Shaun McNift from Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go. “People find that there most inspired creations come when they are “present” and responsive to what emerges naturally from the process. Creation requires attention and complete focus. But most of all it demands that we take the plunge into new territory without knowing what will appear.”

If you choose to engage in professional development this summer, whether independently or with a group, I do hope that you it ignites your creativity!

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Happy Retirement!

June 22, 2017

Maine is fortunate to have such marvelous educators!

We know that what a teacher offers can have an enormous impact on student development day to day AND over their lifetime. As educators retire at the close of another school year, 2016-17, I know that you will join me in THANKING them for their years of service and dedication to students across the state. I certainly appreciate the commitment from the following educators and I wish each of you a healthy retirement and many, many years of laughter and love!

  • LINDA BABB, RSU#25, Bucksport, visual art, 47 years
  • SUE BOISVERT, Scarborough, music
  • JIM BROWN, China Middle School, music. 16+ years
  • MARY DEVENNEY, Erskine Academy, visual art, 18 wonderful years
  • DEBBIE DiGREGORIO, C.K. Burns School, Saco, visual art, 32 years
  • WES FRANKLIN, Greely High School, visual art, 35 years
  • PAUL GREENSTONE, Lake Region High School + other schools over the years, music, 40+ years of teaching
  • SUSAN HANSON, Blue Point and Eight Corners School, grades K-2, visual art, 31 years
  • KENNETH JONES, North Haven Community School, grades K-12, visual art, dance, theater, 24 years
  • MARGIE LANDIS, Mt. Ararat High School, music, 30 years
  • BETH LIBBY, Wentworth School, grades 3-5, visual art, 36 years
  • ROBERT HELSTROM, Hodgdon, music
  • CHERYL McGOWAN, Skowhegan Area Middle School, music, 36 very full years
  • BETTY MCINTYRE, Windham High School, music, 32 years
  • PAUL SCHNELL, George E. Jack and Edna Libby Schools in Standish (SAD/RSU 6), incredible music teacher, 40 years
  • JOYCE St. PIERRE, Sanford Schools, elementary visual art, 40 years
  • SARAH STUART, Mattanawcook Junior High School, Lincoln, visual art, 40 years
  • PAM TURCOTTE, Winthrop Grade School, visual art, 37 years
  • Wes Franklin, Visual Art, Greely High School, 35 years
Together these teachers have taught for over 500 years! WOWZER! If you or someone you know is not on the list and retiring please email me and I’d be glad to add them to the list. Thanks!
In and email from Joyce St. Pierre
Art in a room, from a box going floor to floor and room to room, on a cart and in a beautiful art room….all my experiences.
Taught from 6 to 12 classes a day, in 4 to 7 buildings a week, in 22 schools located by lakes, in mountains, towns and cities!
Students ranged from pre-K to K – 6, HS, college, adult ed, and an alternative school.
It’s been fun, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging, expected and unexpected…all over and more…
I’ve worked with some of the best people in the world!
Wouldn’t have changed a thing.
In an email from Kenneth Jones
I have been the k-12 Visual Art teacher from 1998 to 2010 and since then I’ve taught Visual Art k-4 and 9-12. During the entire time I was also the k-12 Physical Education teacher from 1993-2017. Inside of the P.E. job I’ve leaned heavily on my BFA in Dance and Theater. I choreographed all of the John Wulp productions on North Haven (including “Islands”) and produced a Circus Arts presentation every other year for the past twelve years that is full of dance. Every three years I’ve led an “Empty Bowls” fund raiser- focused on a different food bank in Maine or in the world.
Janis (my wife and the k-12 French teacher at NHCS) are off to Durres, Albania where she has accepted a job teaching 2-8 French and TEFL English on the high school level at the Albanian College- Durres. I’ve been promised that they will find a way to keep me busy. I’m taking my bike so I will, very happily, peddle Albania .
Thank you for all of your support over the years. I have benefited tremendously from the conferences I have attended over the years. They serve such an important role for any teachers in isolated positions. I remember your journey to North Haven when North Haven was recognized for Excellence in the Arts. As I recall, it was a bit of a sloppy day on the water!
It has been quite a run on the island but we are both excited for this next adventure.
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