Posts Tagged ‘blog’


Madawaska Middle/High School

January 27, 2016

Music students create blog

The following blog post was written by Elizabeth Theriault who is a GT Music student at Madawaska Middle/High School and is one of the Gifted and Talented students at the high school. Elizabeth plans to study journalism.

Elizabeth Theriault

Elizabeth Theriault

We are the advocates, we are the voices, we are the supporters. We are the Gifted and Talented Music students of Madawaska Middle/High School.

Our blog represents all of which we want to accomplish, being students of the arts. It is focused, but not limited to promoting music and music education in our school and community. Madawaska Middle/High School has seen a serious decline in their arts programs, leaving those who are interested and/ or talented in those areas with no outlet to explore and learn. Therefore, it is our goal to try to promote the arts, including music, to build back the support it once had. It is a big job, but taking small steps, like making a blog to promote the arts of students, can add up over time.

The students behind this blog are the students that will be the voice for all painters, musicians, photographers, artists and more that want to be heard. We plan on using those voices to stir up as much support as we can. To show that the arts are important, the arts do matter, and the arts will play an important role in students lives.

Currently, our blog has numerous articles written by students themselves all about their own personal experiences with music. These articles illustrate how much music means to all of us, and we hope it inspires others so it means something to them as well.

So, our blog may be small, but we have dreams for it to grow into something that will make a difference in our lives as students today, and for many more students to come.

If you want to help us make that difference, come check out our blog at and spread the word on the importance of music and the arts in education.

This group of students work with Madawaska Middle/High School music educator and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Josh Bosse.


Why Did YOU Become a Teacher?

November 22, 2013

Teacher in a Strange Land

This is being re-posted from the blog called Teacher in a Strange Land that is written by Nancy Flanagan who spent 30 years in a K-12 music classroom in Hartland, Mich, she was named Michigan Teacher of the Year in 1993 and is National Board-certified. This is not the first blog post that I have re-posted from her site. I was especially drawn to the title of the post Why Did You Become a Teacher? and incredibly moved by the words of Anthony Mullen, the National Teacher of the Year in 2009 who returned to his classroom at the end of 09. You can get to the original blog post by clicking here. I hope it gives you a chance to pause and ask yourself why you teach.

Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 1.30.38 PMI’m pleased to share a guest column by Anthony Mullen, National Teacher of the Year 2009, whom I’m honored to call a friend.

In the spring of 2009 I was invited to the White House by the president of the United States to receive my nation’s highest teaching honor. President Obama would greet me in the Oval Office and later hold a formal press conference in the Rose Garden, officially naming me the National Teacher of the Year in front of an assembly of fellow state teachers of the year, family and friends, and a busy group of national and international journalists holding pens, cameras and microphones. This professional accolade is designed to be the pinnacle of all teacher awards, and it provided me more than my fair share of fame for over one year.

The National Teacher of the Year is an ambassadorial role in which the recipient advocates for students and the teaching profession by speaking at over 150 engagements in every state and a few foreign nations. The task can be grueling because all these speaking engagements are jammed into a one year time period, but planes, trains and automobiles helped me travel over 200,000 miles to reach every podium.

But a podium and spotlights could not replace where I truly belonged, in my classroom mentoring and teaching teenagers afflicted with acute emotional and learning disabilities. Stripped of all the accolades I received while performing my duty as National Teacher of the Year, I am now seen for who I am, a classroom teacher.

Why did I become a teacher? It’s a good question and one not easily answered unless clichés are randomly thrown about cocktail hour. Teaching is an honorable profession. Teachers make a difference in the lives of children. I love children. All or some of these reasons can apply to most teachers, but they are superficial and do not answer a very complex and personal question.

Many professions are honorable and help make a difference in the lives of children. And with the exception of a few forest dwellers in Grimm fairy tales, most people love children. I became a teacher because mostly lousy teachers taught me, and I wanted to work with teenagers who mirrored my life and might benefit from an adult who once walked in their leaden footsteps.

Too many young people have a Rosebud moment when childhood ends abruptly and their life is forever changed. A home becomes a house, and love and tenderness are replaced with sorrow, pain and regret. My Rosebud moment occurred when I was a nine-year-old boy and came home to find my mother lying dead on the kitchen floor. The doctors said her brain bled and she died painlessly. Her name was Sarah and she was born in Scotland, and, coincidentally, her parents died when she was nine years old. So she was raised in a bleak orphanage and later came to America to start a family and to seek salvation from her Rosebud moment.

The Scots are a stoic people who mourn in silence and pretend the dead never lived. I grew up never seeing a picture of my mother or learning about her brief life. I went to school and listened to teachers remind students to “have their mothers sign their homework” or ask for “a mother to volunteer for such and such a committee” or to bring in some baked goods for a cake sale. I wanted to remind my teachers that I had no mother and I did not know how to bake a cake. What did I learn? Empathy. I teach because I feel empathy for children and teenagers who lost the greatest of all love too young.

My father tried his best to raise two boys but failed miserably. He quickly remarried and sent my brother and me to live far away in upstate New York with a stepmother who was still angry that a house had fallen on her sister. My stepmother was physically and emotionally abusive, and she would not cook dinner for my brother and me unless we acquiesced to all her insufferable demands. So I learned how to cook TV dinners and enjoyed the small brownie treat tucked squarely at the end of the foil dish. What did I learn? Self-reliance. I teach because I want troubled teenagers to learn how to overcome adversity.

My father divorced my stepmother after two years of marriage and the sight of two bruised young boys.  I returned to my old NYC neighborhood and friends, and lived with my grandmother in a one-room apartment. My brother and I slept on a couch, feet to face, and yes, teenage boys’ feet smell. Life was taking a turn for the better and then my grandmother died in her sleep. I tried to wake her but she was cold and staring blankly at the ceiling. I was 16 years old and had to say goodbye to a woman who never learned how to read or write but had the wisdom of a sage. What did I learn? Life is unpredictable.

I teach because I want my students to know that life is about change, some good and some bad, but always changing. After my grandmother died I lived with my father, and once again my life was changing for the better. I had many friends, shared a bedroom with my brother, and had a part-time job after school. I was saving for a used car because I was growing restless and needed to see the world outside my neighborhood. I felt an urge to fly but settled for four rubber wheels. And once again change intervened and my father became sick. He died when I was 20. What did I learn? Perseverance. I teach because I want to instill perseverance in my students.

I worked in a paint factory and later the New York City Police Department. I rose through the ranks and became an inspector. I was awarded some of the police department’s highest medals and inducted into the NYPD Honor Legion. But such accolades mean little when every day I witnessed scores of young people handcuffed and taken to jail because they did not understand the value of empathy for others, perseverance in the face of adversity, or self-reliance. These young people did not understand that origin is not destiny and consequently exchanged a future for a six by eight prison cell.

One day a young teenage girl stood on top of a fire escape and threatened to jump. The six-story fall would have killed her, and some onlookers were encouraging her to jump. I crawled through a small window and stood near her on the fire escape. I told her that she was young and beautiful and had many people who loved her. I fed her clichés she was not willing to swallow. And then she jumped.

I’m not quite sure what happened next but I leapt at her and managed to grab her left arm. Her weight started to pull me over the fire escape and I was losing my grip. And then I saw her eyes and she looked at me. She was frightened and did not want to die. I prayed for strength because I did not want to be the last person she saw as she fell to her death, and I did not want to see the look in her eyes as she slipped from my grip. I managed to pull her up and over the fire escape railing and we both sat down huffing and puffing. What did I learn? Redemption. Distraught teenagers need a second chance to redeem themselves. They are apprentice adults who need someone to catch them before they fall from grace.

I was relieved when my tenure as National Teacher of the Year ended because I heard a school bell ring and I was able to answer it. I returned to my classroom and to those who most needed me in their dysfunctional lives. I cannot answer the question why I teach without telling the story of my life because my story is written on the pages of the lives of too many children. My story is the story of the students whom I teach and mentor. And that is why I remain a classroom teacher.

I now teach full-time at an alternative high school and part-time at a local college. I write for various education publications, voicing my opinion from the perspective of a classroom teacher. My commentaries are often contrary to the opinions of politicians, policy makers, and pundits, but they have their agenda and I have mine. I have not joined the legion of sycophants who feed at the trough of billionaires who are trying to radically reform education, or publishing corporations that view Common Core as godsend for sales, rather than a means to improve student learning.

I will continue to address these big and very relevant issues through my writing. We need to hear the voices of teachers. Teachers who understand why they’re teaching.


Art – The 1st Language

July 3, 2013

Check out Deb’s blog for advocacy

Westbrook High School art teacher Deb Bickford uses a blog as an instructional tool, a resource site, and a communication hub. Her students like knowing that the information is easily accessible in school and at home. Deb catalogs all kinds of information on the blog so she can refer to it easily.

Recently Deb added information about the National Core Arts Standards which she is using to help others keep up with the information that is coming our way. On June 30 a draft of the PK-8 National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) were released for feedback until July 15. Deb sent the blog link with the NCAS information to her administrators to inform them and invite them to provide feedback.

Check out Deb’s blog by clicking here. If you have questions please email Deb by clicking here. Thank you Deb for sharing this information!


The End of the School Year

June 13, 2013

How to prepare

Thanks to Charlie Johnson, MAAI teacher leader and MDI High School art teacher for sending me this blog post from Tales from the Traveling Art Teacher blog posted on May 22, 2013. The blogger is Heidi O’Hanley who has some wonderful ideas on her blog. This one might be very useful to those of you who are organized and starting to think about the end of the school year and the classroom/management tasks it involves. Heidi presented a session at the National Art Education conference in Fort Worth, Texas in March called Art on a Cart Research. Yes, you guessed it, Heidi teaches from a cart in three schools. Check out Heidi’s blog and find the post called How Do you Prepare for the End of the School Year? at


Video Blog

April 12, 2011

Very cool resource!

I am on the Getty list-serv for art educators and often there is interesting information and resources. Posted not to long ago was information from Harold Olejarz who is a Google Certified Teacher and teaches at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Harold started a blog called Art Education Videos and is located at This was a class project he started with his students in February 2011. Students create “how to” videos that are suitable to use in K-12 education with labels that make it easy to search. If anyone wishes to add videos to the blog please contact Harold at

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