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You Get to Be That

November 11, 2018

Teachers

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Arts Focused Field Trips

November 10, 2018

A close look in Atlanta

The Brown Center Chalkboard published an article written by Jay P. Greene, a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas, that included the research on what students are gaining from arts experiences during field trips. Up until recently there has been little evidence on the impact of out-of-school field trips has on students.

The study was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and was focused on Atlanta, specifically on field trips to the Woodruff Arts Center, located there. The center houses the High Art Museum, Alliance Theater, and the Atlanta Symphony. The study looks closely at trips taken by grade 4 and 5 students to these venues. The students will continue to be tracked over time.

You can read the entire article at THIS LINK

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Dance for Joy

November 9, 2018

What fun

Amber Pendleton, grade 6, Prescott Memorial School, Washington

This collage was created by Amber Pendleton who was in 5th grade at the time when Teaching Artist Chrissy Fowler provided a dance residency at Prescott Memorial School in Washington. She was working with art teacher Anthony Lufkin and a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader (MAL) in a Gifted and Talented art class. This was Amber’s response to the fabulous opportunity. The residency took place with funding from the Maine Arts Commission Dance Education fund. This fund was established by a MALI dance teacher at Thornton Academy, Emma Arenstam Campbell. If you’re interested in bringing dance education to your school please watch for the information coming soon on this blog for the 2019-20 school year. The dance performance that has provided the funding for this grant will take place at Thornton Academy on Friday, November 16, 6:30 p.m. Only dance educators on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster are eligible for the funding. Please consider reaching out to one of them and begin planning for next year. This funding has been in place for three years and hundreds of students in grades Pre-K through 12 throughout Maine have benefited from the opportunities it has afforded. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Maranacook Middle School

November 8, 2018

The Labor Mural

Best known as the Labor Mural, artwork created by Judy Taylor, now hangs in the entrance to the Maine State Museum in Augusta. Dan Holman, a team leader for the Acadia Team at Maranacook Middle School applied for the Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride funds for a trip to the State Museum. After reviewing the application I was curious about the trip and the details of the lesson/unit.

Dan worked with Joanna Torow the Chief Educator at the Maine State Museum to design a field trip that would coincide with the studies back at school. They took a deep dive look at the meaning behind each of the murals panels.

BACKGROUND

The museum has been working with outside contractors to create a digital kiosk that will allow visitors to have a more in-depth interpretive experience in regards to the mural using additional museum objects, photographs, documents, and oral history. They are interviewing the artist, Judy Taylor, and will include a video of her talking about her process and goals for creating the work.  Through this work, the curator and the museum’s educators have made more connections to the artwork and the exhibits on display, it is these insights they hope to share with the students visiting.

IN PREPARATION

To prepare of the trip, the students read short essays (200 words or less) they have written about each panel. They were excited to hear their personal thoughts on the panel, as an artwork with a very specific goal and as a historic document.

Museum Curator of Historical Collections, Angela Goebel-Bain and Joanna lead a discussion with the students (based on discussion and emails with Dan Holman) in front of the Maine Labor Murals. They talked about the subjects as well as the choices the artist made in what she included in each panel, what she left out, how she choose to depict the subject, tools, and people, and how she deliberately used the foreground and background to extend the storytelling.

BACK AT SCHOOL

Dan plans to have the students work on an journal activity in response to the mural after the discussion at the mural. The students will also be took part in two 30 minute gallery programs focused on either Ice Harvesting, Granite Quarrying, Logging & Lumbering, and a guided tour of the Made in Maine exhibit (19th century work and life in Maine with a focus on textile productions and waterpower).

The mural provides first hand knowledge from an artists’ perspective of so much history – granite quarrying, textile industry, child labor, and wood industry all included images in the mural. It provides the opportunity for the educators – museum and school – to reinforce student learning.

If you’d like to learn more about the museum programs please contact Joanna Torow. If you’d like to learn more about the unit that is underway please contact Dan Holman. Thank you to both for providing information for this blog post and the opportunity to be at the museum during the presentation.

The Maine Arts Commission Ticket to Ride program provides funding to defray the cost of travel for Maine schools wishing to visit Maine arts based venues and events as part of a well-rounded curriculum. The goals of the trip should support student learning and be aligned with the Maine Learning Results Visual and/or Performing Arts standards. Any PK-12 school in Maine with a documented free and reduced lunch student population between 30 and 49 percent is eligible to receive support of up to $300 each school year. Any PK-12 school in Maine with a documented free and reduced lunch student population of 50 percent or greater is eligible to receive support of up to $500 each school year. Applications are accepted throughout the year and funding will be made available approximately one month after they are submitted. Schools may apply more than once a year as long as they are applying to attend a different event, bringing a different student population or have not expended their eligible amount. 

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Images Lead to Questions

November 7, 2018

What are those things?

Photo by Argy Nestor

I was so fascinated with a container that had left over food in it recently that I took a photo of it. I’ve included it on the right. And, asked myself how I would explain what it is. While at the MAMLE (Maine Association for Middle Level Education) conference recently a speaker said that children at age 5 ask an average of 150 questions per day and middle school students only 3. I wondered, how can humans learn if they ask so few questions? And, how do we as educators provide learning opportunities that leads to more questions that leads to more learning – so, we can all become life-long learners? I know what some of you are thinking, not everyone learns by asking questions. Perhaps not, BUT if there aren’t questions that lead to learning, there certainly needs to be curiosity. And, how do we keep that curiosity alive as our students grow and go from one grade to the next successfully? How do we support learners to reach their potential?

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

The next day after exploring these ideas came a post dated December 2013 and titled: The good, the bad, and the ugly of humans’ impact on the Earth, in 13 aerial photos. It was written by Evan Porter about a man named Ben Grant who was looking at satellite images of the Earth. Turns out Ben was doing a search and Google popped up images of Earth. That would be Earth, Texas. What Grant saw and fascinated him was a strange pattern that turned out to be irrigation fields.

He was seeing the world through a different lens than what he was used to and it turned his learning upside down and gave his “looking” a different meaning. This led him to viewing other satellite images and a really different perspective. Some of the images were created by human beings and some were impacted by human beings and others were in their natural state. He made this into a project that leads people to asking questions and learning.

You can check out several more images and read the entire article in THIS PIECE from Unworthy.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

 

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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 

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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!

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