Posts Tagged ‘arts education’

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In Today’s News

March 17, 2019

40 Maine high school’s competed

READ about it in today’s Portland Press Herald – Maine high school jazz fest red hot and cool!

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Maine EdTA

March 3, 2019

Theatre Professional Development Day

On April 24 at UMaine, Orono, the Department of Theatre will host the third annual professional development conference. The cost is $25 per person, which includes lunch in the UMaine Cafeteria.
 
This year’s workshops will focus on technical issues for high school directors and teachers, with a high-level group of professionals presenting workshops.
  • “Costuming for High Schools”, presented by Shirlee Idzakovich, a professional costumer working in NYC.
  • “From Script to Opening Curtain”, set design for high schools, presented by Brave Williams, Husson University
  • “Lighting Design for High Schools”, presented by Quentin Stockwell, Port Lighting, Portsmouth NH
Information is available on the Maine EdTA website.  
Registration is now open.
 
Please contact Rick Osann, rosann@bonnyeagle.org, for more information.
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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Anthony Lufkin

February 26, 2019

Art Educator

This is one of six blog posts in 2019 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 8 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 96 Teacher Leaders and 11 Teaching Artist Leaders. CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. Thank you Anthony for sharing your story!

Anthony Lufkin

Anthony Lufkin currently teaches art in RSU #40, at three small schools, including Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, and Union Elementary School. In addition, Anthony teaches a weekly class at Rivers Alternative Middle School which is on the same premises as Union Elementary. This is Anthony’s 12thyear teaching; 4 years at Sedomocha Elementary in Dover-Foxcroft, 4 years at Appleton Village School in Appleton, and the rest in his current position. Presently, he has about 300 students that he sees once a week for about 40 minutes.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

I like to create, whether for aesthetics or function, it is a gratifying experience for me to use my hands, to think visually, and experiment with ideas. The collaboration of ideas that comes with teaching and learning is as exciting for me as the creation process. Teaching art in my opinion, is visually capturing what already exists in students. It is harnessing the innate characteristics of art that drive creativity, expression, innovation, investigation, and the ability to develop fine motor skills.  It is a powerful tool, and a great opportunity. It is being immersed in the subject, refining skills, pushing creative boundaries, sharing ideas, and celebrating successes. While the logistics of the educational field may have its difficulties, I find the interaction with students, the development of ideas, and the growth in understanding and skill development in both students and myself, very rewarding.

One other thing I appreciate most about art education, is that I can help students respond to ideas through artistic mediums by developing their skills, knowledge, and understanding of the materials and therefore begin to understand the potential for communication. When students are able to make connections, transfer and apply their learning outside of the art room, it is both a fulfilling and motivating experience. Knowing what I am teaching them has application and seeing them utilizing it not only justifies what I do, but inspires me to develop more thought provoking, interconnected, and inspiring teaching practices

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Three important components to a successful VPA program in my opinion, are resources, flexibility, and support.

Having access to quality resources will help define how students perceive art. This does not necessarily mean having the cake made for you, but having the materials and tools to make it.  There is a distinct difference in feeling if you are working in a shared space versus having a designated studio space. The same applies to materials. We don’t need to give oil paints to kindergarteners, but we need to use materials the same way we project high expectations on students if we expect them to value the experience.

One of the nice things about teaching art is that it is more expansive than linear, allowing for more flexibility in curriculum than most subjects. It does not mean just doing whatever, but rather having the ability to experiment, to find new ways to connect with students, and to try new methods and materials. Making progressive and relevant changes is important in education and requires at least some experimentation to implement. This flexibility also allows room for educators to connect more with their students interests, making the information relevant and creating applicable associations for students. I firmly believe there is still a linear progression to art education, however, there are many pathways to getting there. Having the ability to customize it to a specific audience, will create a more relatable and impactful experience.

Similar to resources, perception of the art program is important to student engagement. Having the support of administration, colleagues, parents and community members, not only makes our job easier, it also creates a positive assumption in students that there is value in what we do. When parents and teachers are engaged with what is happening, students naturally develop a stronger sense of importance. What a community values can easily be seen in its children. If we are to have a successful VPA program, we need to build and foster support.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I have found informal assessment to be an invaluable tool in developing student growth both in skills, and conceptual understanding. Being able to respond to students throughout the process allows me to interject when students are struggling, and to provide support to help them understand the components of techniques and expression of ideas. With the limited amount of time I have with students, I have found verbal formative assessments to be the most beneficial and productive to students’ growth. I also include some critiquing components such as visual thinking skills when looking artwork to help students analyze and create meaning. Helping them create meaning is as important as helping them create.

MALI Critical Friend Day, November 2018

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

I joined MALI this year after talking to several other VPA educators that recommended it. I was aware of its existence but not really sure about its application. Becoming involved with MALI has been motivational, providing a platform for creating improvements. Through the collaborative exercises, the processes of feedback, and the access to resources, it has helped me begin a pathway to creating improvement I would have otherwise thought incapable of happening. There is always room for improvement. Using MALI as a platform has already helped foster more impact on making some of those improvements a reality. There is a lot of work to do within my logic model, but I feel confident through this process that I will be able to influence the necessary stakeholders to move in a positive direction.

What are you most proud of in your career?

As I continue in the teaching profession, there are a few things that really motivate me, and keep invested in my work. Visual culture is such a huge and underrated component of society so creating awareness has always been a driving factor for me. To create awareness, I have sought to create opportunities for students to see how art is integrated throughout life experiences and give them the tools to actively participate in communication through visual literacy. I am proud of the integrated, collaborative, and extracurricular opportunities I have been able to provide students.

As students develop, there is a gradual shift from the creativity and skill development of traditional art mediums to a more social awareness that tends to start a gradual decline in participation and eventually interest in art. I know most students enjoy creating, but it becomes a balance of time, a self-conscious view of abilities and self, and drive towards financial stability that stifles their continued growth.  Creating opportunities that make connections for students, has helped to keep them engaged, and helped them see the relevance and possibilities that art can have on their lifestyle and career. Not everyone will make a career out of art, but everyone can and should appreciate it for what is, as a reflection of humanity.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Currently, one of my biggest obstacles is the logistics of my position. Being an itinerant teacher, and only seeing students once a week makes it very difficult to create any continuity. Just working in separate spaces, toting materials between schools, working in a gymnasium for the majority of my classes are a few of the difficulties of the position.

Another difficult component to teaching art in my position are the natural interruptions that cause missed classes. There have been times that I have not seen students over the course of a month due to snow days, field trips, sick days, etc. It is very hard to maintain sequential learning without continuity and to teach transferable concepts, when students don’t have enough time and access to the material.

And, of course time.

Anthony at the Gala celebrating the Maine Teacher of the Year educators. Anthony is the 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

Something I have spent a lot of time on is the development of curriculum and lesson plans that are both relevant and engaging. The more times I teach something, the more connections I can make, and the more clearly I see the effectiveness. My “curriculum” is as it should be, is in constant flux.  There are some tried and true lessons I do not change much, but most are adapted regularly and I am constantly on the lookout for better ways to build skills and convey concepts. I am sure it looks like any other art class to most, but there are many details and research I have put into my process.  Understanding developmental levels, how to have high but reasonable standards, how to structure building blocks of learning both over the course of a year and over several years, are all important aspects that may not be noticed but I believe make a huge difference in how effective and art education can be.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Teaching is a social service. It is not a lucrative job and success is not based on a financial scale. It is though, one of the most rewarding occupations one can have. You are given the opportunity to influence the future more than anyone else. It is a powerful and humbling experience.

There is the saying that there are two types of people, those that work to live, and those that live to work. There should be a balance though, being self-aware and allowing time to step back, is crucial to the longevity of a successful teaching career. It is also important to work in a field you enjoy. However, to truly appreciate something, you need to be able to see it from other perspectives as well so it is important to take a step back every once in a while. There is the quote by Marc Anthony, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. True to some degree, though I would argue that all success requires hard work. Being able to see the big picture and being passionate about it, gives a sense of accomplishment and gratitude to the work that is being done. I like the quote by Dr. J a little better: “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them”.

Some other advice, be passionate. If you’re not excited about it, neither will your students. Even if it’s not your favorite thing to teach, teach it with enthusiasm. Being passionate is projected and will create interest.

Finally, have a plan, and a back-up plan, and maybe even plan C. There can be many difficulties to teaching whether it is specific students, administration, parents, access to materials or resources, etc. If you are not prepared for these, they can derail you. If you are though, you can take them in stride, and not let them cripple your perspective on teaching. You’ll also look good doing it.

MALI Summer Institute, August 2018, USM

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I feel like the most fiscally responsible thing to do with such a large amount of money would be to invest it. Using the interest, I would think I would be able to create a system of sustainable growth contributing to the enhancements of the art programs and facilities in my district and community first, then possibly expand to other areas of the state.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

I do and would regret opportunities I was not able to take advantage of. We only have one life to live so I think it is important to make the most of it. However, if we are always trying to take advantage of opportunities, it is easy to get burnt out and lose focus on what matters. It is important to see and appreciate the little things that make life so great. One of the benefits of having a job directly focused in art, is that it encourages me to take time to look closely at things, to identify and appreciate the subtleties that make life so interesting.

So, my regrets don’t mean I am disappointed with the direction my life has and will go. The events in my life have shaped who I am. The path I have taken has sculpted the way I think, interact, and of course teach. Therefore, it is the destiny I have put forth. Plus, I teach art for a living. I think that’s hard to beat.

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MALI Teaching Artist Leader Story: Shawna Barnes

February 5, 2019

Teaching Artist – Sculptor

This is one of six blog posts in 2019 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 8 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 96 Teacher Leaders and 11 Teaching Artist Leaders. CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. Thank you Shawna for sharing your story!

Shawna N.M. Barnes is a Ceramic Sculptor who has been focused on teaching for three years. Her favorite group to teach is the one full of people who “don’t think they can” because of a disability. Or never gave art a try because of their disabilities. “Problem solving and finding ways to show them they can create and engage in creativity… is amazing.”

What do you like best about being a teaching artist?

I love all the people I have met as a teaching artist. Doors that have been opened, and opportunities presented. It has provided me the ability to share my passions with others who appreciate it.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

First, allowing for differential interpretations of a topic. Essentially acknowledging that the world is full of gray. And when it comes to art, the spectrum of how art and its concepts are perceived, truly is a spectrum.

Second, the ability to acknowledge that art is a bridge between worlds. Whether that be yours and mine, real and fantasy, or past and future. It allows for difficult conversations to be had, often bridging a divide caused by a lack of understanding. Teaching this concept to our students is vital.

Third, the ability to appreciate content, subject matter and skills needed to complete a work of art without having to like the art itself. The ability to see it with an objective eye.

Have you found assessment to be helpful in your classes, workshops and residencies, and if so, how?

Thus far, assessments have helped guide the evolution of my classes and workshops. By evaluating what is working, what is not; what different ages and abilities respond to; I have been able to fine tune the classes so that the highest number of people fund value and enjoyment from the class.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

The benefits have been innumerable! It has been the push I needed to create the resource center in my website. I have been given the opportunity to grow my speaking career by giving presentations at conferences. It has sparked collaborations between several members for brand music, for upcoming tutorials, and similar applications. It has introduced me to a group of peers that have become my support network. It has given me the confidence in my own set business that my intuition is right and I am on the right path.

What are you most proud of as an artist and/or a teaching artist?

I am most proud of breaking barriers and showing others where barriers exist. As a disabled artist, I often chose to just not participate in events and workshops because it was easier. I’m taking my challenges and helping create solutions that benefit not just me… but hopefully generations of disabled learners and artists so that they can have access to creative outlets.

What gets in the way of doing a better job as a teaching artist?

My health, admittedly. It can cause me to be unreliable and miss deadlines. Another factor is physical accessibility to facilities that may want to host me for workshops or seminars

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

Simply being an artist is hard work and requires determination every day to put the work in. I work through a variety of disabilities just to be able to create; myasthenia gravis,  cervical dystonia,  hypermobility joint syndrome, seizures, chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy and PTSD are the heavy hitters.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teaching artist or is just starting out?

You will stumble as you find your footing but don’t let that detour you from continuing to put the work in to build the foundation of your career. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There’s plenty of room for everyone at the top, do not entertain a scarcity mindset. 

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

Build my handicap accessible studio. Give a few grants to local artists and arts organizations looking to make their space accessible by adding ramps or stairlifts to their infrastructure. And spend a few weeks in Paris, soaking up all the amazingness that is the Louvre.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

None.

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Celebrating Teachers

February 3, 2019

Proud of arts educators

Today is the last day nominations are being accepted for the 2019 County Teachers of the Year and the 2020 Maine State Teacher of the Year.

Information is located on the Maine Teacher of the Year Website.

The Maine State Teacher of the Year process of selecting and recognizing educators is very extensive. The process starts in January with nominations and during the following several months essays are written and submitted, interviews take place, presentations occur and video tapes created. Many are nominated of which each county has a teacher named. After 9 months the process takes it down to 3 finalists and in the end one teacher is selected. Each year in November a gala celebration happens where all of the county teachers of the year are recognized along with the next years State Teacher of the Year.

Anthony Lufkin

The 2019 gala took place the week before Thanksgiving. It was to see Kaitlin Young, music educator, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year emcee the evenings program. It was a chance to celebrate Kaitlin’s amazing journey and what she has contributed to education. She has been a wonderful representative of all Maine teachers and especially Visual and Performing Arts Educators. In addition, three more arts educators were celebrated. I’m so proud of their work.

  • Christine Del Rossi, Sagadahoc County, Visual Arts grades 9-12 Mt. Ararat High School
  • Anthony Lufkin, Knox Counnty, Visual Arts grades PreK-8 Union Elementary School, Prescott School (Washington), Friendship Village School, Middle School Alternative Education
  • David Coffey, Waldo County, Music grades 6-12 Belfast Area High School

Christine Del Rossi

 

 

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2019 MALI Mega Conference

January 30, 2019

Friday, March 15

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) will provide a Mega-regional conference at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Maine on Friday, March 15, 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. All educators, PK-higher education are invited to participate in this professional development opportunity in arts education. Workshop facilitators are Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders from all eight phases of MALI. These educators are providing dynamic work that they’ve been engaged with themselves, some for many years.

Below are the descriptions for the workshops being offered. You will have the opportunity to register for three of these workshops.

  Register for the 2018 Mega-Regional Workshop

Date and Location

Friday, March 15, 2019, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, South Paris

Schedule

  • 8:30 a.m. Registration begins
  • 9:00 a.m. Opening
  • 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Breakout Session I
  • 10:30 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. Break
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Session II
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch, participants on their own
  • 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Artist Showcase
  • 1:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Breakout Session III
  • 3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Closing

Contact hours

5.5 contact hours will be provided to those participating in the full day of the MALI Mega-regional conference at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

REGISTRATION

What does “arts accessibility” mean? Presented by Shawna Barnes

PreK-12 All content

Description

Shawna will share the five key definitions of arts accessibility and what they may look like in the classroom/studio. Participants will learn how to break through these barriers to access, with a few creative solutions.

Sandbox Composing Presented by Joe Cough

Grade 6-Adult Music

Joe will demonstrate how easy it can be to compose music. With participation from the group, we will create a new piece of music with numbers (and talk about other ways to write music too). Risk taking and mistakes will be the driving force of this workshop.

Arts and Community Outreach: “The Stories We’ve Been Told – Preserving the Histories of our Elders” Presented by Kris Bisson

Middle School Chorus, applicable to multi-disciplines and all levels

Reaching beyond the walls of the classroom to explore learning provides many valuable opportunities for both the students and those they collaborate with. Kris will share her students’ current project, monthly visits to a retirement home where the students interview residents to capture their stories, games, pastimes, and events that shaped their lives. Students take these stories and create a multi-movement choral composition to be performed in our Spring 2019 concert.

Students will experience cross-curricular collaboration that moves the arts to the heart of curriculum. Interconnected learning provides students of all learning styles an opportunity to demonstrate and share understanding and knowledge learning using the creative process.

We will compose in the workshop and share ideas that can be used directly in your area of study.

The Possibilities of Full Choice Presented by Shalimar Poulin Chassé

Grade 6-12 Visual Art

A story of a developing full choice approach to art making, hard copy and link-based resources (including student project proposal form, course expectation student guide, self direction management aid, rubrics, do’s and don’t’s, examples of student works, and access to slide presentation) to assist the wild-spirited, brave, and trusting (or crazy) to dive in feet first or the perhaps wiser ginny-pig with an appetite for a savory taste. All wild-spirits and ginny-pigs welcome!

Music & Math Presented by Lindsay Pinchbeck & Tom Luther

Grades 1-12 Music

Lindsay and Tom will share their experiences teaching music and math as a single domain. Using simple, open ended tasks, they will show how to help students make connections between these two normally specialized subjects, and how other “rabbit holes” can be discovered along the way.

Adding Choice to Art History Presented by Cindi Kugell

Middle/High School Visual Art (ele welcome)

Choice-Based Art classrooms are working studios where students learn through authentic art making. Control shifts from teacher to learner as students explore ideas and interests in art media of their choice. This concept supports multiple modes of learning to meet the diverse needs of our students. We’ll chat about how to add choice to a studio art history course (without offering centers) and through the hands-on creation of artist trading cards.

Zines Presented by Samantha Armstrong

Elementary Visual Art

Informational Zines or mini magazines are a great way to bring writing into the art room. In this workshop we will look at combining informational writing with drawing techniques and tools to create unique zines. We will look at student examples, strategies and tools for teaching an arts/literacy integrated unit and have time to create a zine. Once complete zines are easy to photocopy and are always fun to share with classmates and the school community.

Theater as a Life Skill Presented by Nicole Cardano

PreK-12 All content

Play lets us shake off anything unwanted and connect with those that we are with.  Foundational practices of improvisational theater: Listening, Eye Contact, Respect, Support, YesAnd as well as Embracing Mistakes will be discussed and exercised.  Sharing observations and experiences as a student, teacher and general human.

Students Reflective Response & the Digital Process-Folio Presented by Melanie Crowe

Grade 6-High School Visual Art – applicable to all beyond art room

The use of reflective practice allows students the opportunities to gauge their understanding along the process of creating. As students regularly document their experiences throughout process of art making it provides opportunities for discussion and conversation between student & self, student & peers, and student & teacher. These conversations provide checkpoints for reflective practice and growth.

Pre-Assessment: Misconceptions & Building Stronger Student Achievement Presented by Iva Damon

PreK-12 All content

Let’s dive into the misconceptions surrounding pre-assessment and look at easy ways to implement strategies into the classroom that work for both teacher and student.

Practical Self-Care for Teachers – Beyond Bubble Baths and Barre Class Presented by Elise Row

PreK-12 All content

This workshop was born out of necessity. Elise will share her personal experience of confronting the topic of self-care as an elementary visual arts teacher. This ever evolving workshop will provide teachers, artists, and busy people in general tools, resources, insight, and reminders to support their growth and practice of self-care.

Photos from the 2018 MALI Mega at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

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Watershed Workshops

January 23, 2019

Ceramic workshops for educators

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts located in Newcastle, ME is excited to offer two workshops for k-12 ceramic art educators in 2019. Both opportunities have grant support for teachers to participate at a significant discount. Follow the links below to info on the workshops.
Funding to support participation in either workshop is available for any Maine k-12 art educator who teaches ceramics at an accredited school. Space is limited in both workshops, so sign up soon to reserve your spot. There are three scholarship spots for the May workshop and fifteen scholarship spots for teachers in the July workshop.
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