Posts Tagged ‘arts education’

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Edutopia

November 14, 2018

Maine art educator

Carol Shutt retired in June after 27 wonderful years as the K-8 art teacher at Mount Desert Elementary School in Northeast Harbor. Congratulations to Carol for her article that was recently published in Edutopia called Making an Event out of ArtThe piece is about the annual Arts Week (20 years) and suggestions on how to plan for one.

You can read an interview with Carol posted last February on this blog.

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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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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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Kate Smith

October 17, 2018

Receiving her Carol Trimble Award

If you missed yesterday’s blog post I hope you’ll go back and read about Kate Smith and her recent honor receiving the Carol Trimble Award for her work with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. Below are some photos taken by Lindsay Pinchbeck at the very moment Kate was surprised! And a photo of Kate back at Central School with some of her third grade students and her certificate. On the screen behind is a photo of the Lanternfest that Kate works on with her community.

Kate with one of her third grade classes with her Carol Trimble award.

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New Experiences – Raegan’s Story

October 15, 2018

“Winging It” by Raegan Russell

Raegan Russell is a visual art educator at Berwick Academy who was on sabbatical last year. I hope her story inspires you (and perhaps your students) to think about challenging yourself in a new and different way. This is her story…  

This post was written by Raegan Russell for the Berwick Today Magazine, Summer 2018 issue

“View from my window this morning. I’m off to my service site and have butterflies in my stomach. In addition to teaching the young women some printmaking, I’ll be learning their crafts, taking care of babies, pigs, and frogs, gardening, repairing buildings, and whatever else they ask…”

So began the first days of my sabbatical, for which I traveled in Southeast Asia for service, exploration, and art-making. Early on, I joked to my students and colleagues that I was taking a gap year, a semester abroad, or some version of the Eat, Pray, Love journey. For two months, I lived out of a backpack, stayed in hostels or homestays, and sought out local restaurants, cheap digs, and real communities. I traveled to Thailand, where I worked with women and children in crisis outside of Chiang Mai, then on to the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and later explored the bustling cities and stunning beauty of both the landscape and the people of Vietnam. The trip was an adventure for me, and even though I consider myself a well-seasoned traveler, I knew that it would throw me out of my comfort zone and challenge me.

“Highlights from this weekend’s trek to Ba Panden village in the hills north of Chiang Mai. Eva and I hiked 9km up to the village of the Lahu people. I swam in a cool waterfall, rode a raft down river, hiked through bamboo forests and rubber trees, and was kept up all night by a pack of crowing roosters…”

Throughout my trip, I had my sketchbook by my side. I drew the ancient Bodhi trees in Chiang Mai, the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the motorbikes of Hanoi. As I was drawing Ta Prohm, a beautiful temple nearly overtaken by lush trees and moss, a tourist questioned me about why I didn’t just take a picture of it. I answered truthfully that “this is how I notice and experience things. I will remember the heat, the smells, the beauty, and even the discomfort of sitting here on this hard rock when I look back at this drawing.” The sketchbook drawings from my trip became the springboard for the work that I have taken on since I have been home and in my studio in South Berwick. As an educator who has always balanced teaching with studio practice, this sabbatical has given me the rare gift of time to develop new work. The subject matter of my new paintings has pulled closer to home, and the vibe of the work is exploratory and a truthful expression of how I experience the world.

“Yesterday, I made my way to Wat U Mong, where I found the oldest (?) Bodhi tree in Chiang Mai. It took some getting to, but I was able to paint for several hours directly from the tree. This was an experience I will not forget.”

Nearly two days after I took off from JFK on a cold evening in January that made me rethink my choice to travel light (with only a light down jacket that could roll up into the size of a softball), I landed in Thailand. I had specifically sought out a service opportunity that focused on women’s empowerment, and found the perfect project in the northern hills near Chiang Mai.

After a three-day orientation on Thai language and culture, I began my service project at the Wildflower Home, a shelter for single women and their children directed by two intrepid and compassionate women, sisters Anurak and Siripon. My mornings were spent minding the children in the daycare and teaching the mothers printmaking and artists’ books in the afternoons. The artists’ books were a hit, as many of the mothers transformed them into baby books and journals, quickly discovering that they could sell them with the many other handcrafts and goods they make.

All of this work was accomplished without a shared language between us; I learned a little Thai and they learned a little English. We became friends and laughed together while working. They welcomed me into their lives in ways that I never expected. Dao, a mother who headed the kitchen duties, taught me how to make Khao Soi, the region’s sublime dish of coconut milk, chili, and curry noodles over the wood fire stove in the home’s kitchen. The older children knew me as the art-auntie and would join in on our printmaking projects. As I left work every day, Fa, a young mother who has a beautiful daughter SaiSai, would shout to me: “Good-bye! See you tomorrow!” as I rode from the home on the back of Dao’s motorbike to catch the bus back to Chiang Mai.

“Sketchbook Sunday: a collection of sketchbook pages from over the last few months. My sketchbook has been a place for reflection, taking time to understand the world around me, and for gathering resources for work ahead. My sketchbook has always been by my side. It’s feeling kind of precious these days.”

I am lucky to have been able to maintain an art practice beside my work as a teacher. It has taken effort on my part, but it has been made possible with Berwick’s support and professional development opportunities; 20 years of conferences, workshops, and studio sessions have not only recharged me, they have broadened my perspective and provided me with a rich community of artists and art educators as friends and supporters.

My sabbatical has given me the opportunity to push pause in an extended fashion and appreciate the things that are important. I am grateful for this gift, and the adventure is far from over. I am excited to be planning a trip to Thailand over March Break 2019, where I will take students to engage in service projects like mine in Chiang Mai.

Closer to home, I was awarded a fellowship to paint on Monhegan Island in July. I dusted off the red backpack and packed up my paints to head to another place I had never been, where I let new experiences wash over me like the waves that wash over the dark grey rocks at the water’s edge.

Watch for a future blog post describing Raegan’s fellowship opportunity on Monhegan Island. 

www.raeganrussell.com/

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Janie’s School on Dot Day

October 8, 2018

What did you do?

Janie Snider is an elementary visual art educator at Hancock Grammar School where she teaches students in grades 6-8.

I’m guessing that some or many of you and your students celebrated Dot Day in some way. Janie celebrated in a big way that impacted the entire school community. Student learning connected to analogous colors and also to kindness and being positive. Every student and staff member painted a dot, about 270 of them. Afterwards they were displayed in the school’s lobby for all to see and appreciate.

Janie is a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and this is her 25th year teaching. Janie has one of nine videos on standards-based education. This school-wide project is a great example of how Janie leads in her school. She said: “The Dot is such a great book and the dot is such a building block to so many great art works!” Peter H. Reynolds is an actor and illustrator and has done a great job connecting his book to a variety of curriculum and resources. Check them out at The Dot site.

If you did something at your school for “Dot Day” please send me an email so your idea can be shared with others on this blog. Thanks!

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Video – Day 1 MICA

September 30, 2018

Overview of the Pre-Conference

If you missed the Maine International Conference on the Arts this year check out this video that provides an overview of Day 1! Mark your calendars for the next Biennial conference being held in the Augusta area in conjunction with the Bicentennial of Maine – 2020!

PRE MICA CONFERENCES VIDEO – DAY 1

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