Posts Tagged ‘Bonny Eagle High School’

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Bonny Eagle High School

May 19, 2017

Doing STEAM work

Margaret A. (Peg)  Maxwell has been teaching art for many years at Bonny Eagle High School which is part of MSAD #6 and located in Standish, Maine.

Whenever I see Peg she is engaged in deep learning and has stories to tell about what her students are doing as well. At the end of March I bumped into Peg at LL Beans for the awards ceremony to recognize students whose art work had been selected as part of the 22nd Federal Junior Duck Conservation and Design Program. Of course Peg would involve her students in the opportunity since the program is a dynamic art- and science-based curriculum that teaches wetland and waterfowl conservation to students in kindergarten through high school.

Peg sees a connection between art and science and any opportunity to develop lessons on the learning connections, she takes advantage of. Peg says it best: “I do not intend to teach science or offer any credit for science courses in my department. My intention is to interest students in the sciences, encourage them to tap into their creative and scientific selves….and to encourage them to invent and make connections for their future learning and become leaders in education, arts, engineering and design.”

Peg and I chatted about a radio talk show discussing STEAM education in the Boy Scouts program. I did a little research and found THIS LINK on the topic. I am aware of the work in our 4H programs. You can read about a 4H curriculum connection of sewing to science at THIS LINK.

At the spring Maine Art Education Association conference Peg provided a session on the Art and Science connection. The description: Teachers will learn the process of science integration into the curriculum using the resources in their buildings. The process of collaboration will be discussed and the proper avenues to pursue in order to facilitate a successful experience for the students. Hands on workshop using journal making as their container of ideas for the units. Weather, botany, anatomy and physiology, astronomy, chemistry and other units of sciences will be reviewed as possible integration topics. A brief discussion about the importance of integration with sciences as a motivator will be part of the workshop.

If you have any questions please contact Peg. She can be reached and is always willing to share at mmaxwell@bonnyeagle.org.

“Remember the importance of the eye and that black hole called the ‘pupil’ and how it allows us to see and learn…perhaps it is our own black hole of energy that manifests into the synapses (meaning to join) of our brain.” 

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Another Arts Teachers’ Story: Jake Sturtevant

May 1, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series will contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

Jake Sturtevant has been teaching High School Instrumental Music at Bonny Eagle High School (SAD6) in Standish Maine. He has taught there for 3 years, and before that he was at Washington Academy in East Machias for 3 years. He currently teaches Band, Guitar, Music Appreciation, Improvisation, and Songwriting. He also runs the after school Pep Band, Jazz Band, and Jazz Combo.

Jake has been a Teacher Leader in the first phase of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

2. What do you like best about being a music educator?

Seeing students acquire a passion and understanding of why we as humans need the arts in our lives. I also like the fact that I can go in on any given day and I could be randomly invited to play a game of hacky sack or Ninja, and that’s OK!

3. Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. Bb Major  = Comfort
  2. G Minor = Connections
  3. Ab, C, D, Eb, E, G, Bb= Creation

4. What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

If my assessments reflect the expectations they would have in a real-world music environment then I feel I have helped them prepare adequately.
I have a variety of assessments including performance assessments, self-assessments, concert reflections, essays, theory worksheets, and composition and improvisation activities. All of these assessments are there to make sure I can give specific feedback, and students can illustrate they can respond to that feedback and focus on what they need to do to develop on a particular skill or concept. This specific feedback and goal-setting is so much more helpful and productive then randomly assigning a symbol (letter or number).

5. What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Squash Pizza = Connections to interesting people
Building Airplanes in the Air = Doing it all on the fly with the help of some co-workers
E=mc2 makes a Bomb = Concepts to practice
Wicket Wystri Warrick = Just because I am a geek.

6. What are you most proud of in your career?

That when I feel like I finally get to the surface I remember to grab a snorkel as quick as I can.

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

Pride and laziness. Did I just say that?

8. Apple or PC?

Depends on the task. Apple most of the time though. Red delicious is my favorite!

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

Working as a music educator in a public school with a degree in Music Composition.

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

I see in a man…  no a woman…. oh, I just can’t tell, but he or she seems to be on a quest of some sort, a journey…….  no, they are playing a board game with lots of pieces that are hard to figure out which one goes where. They might think they got it figured out, and they say  “Alright, I’ll give it a try”, and then a tiny green thing says, “No! Do, or Do not, there is no try.”  So when the X-wing doesn’t come out of the swamp they get all discouraged, and think their life is over, but they don’t realize that sometimes it takes more then strength to prevail.
Now I see a broom…. no a witch…. A witch on a broom, laughing with that sinister type laugh as she tries to zap you with her very fake lightning bolts that come from her fingers, and she says “I’ll get you my pretty… and your little dog too!” And she tries to stifle you by giving you more mandates and paperwork, and by the way you have to be on the Emerald City committee too. And you grumble and complain, and think your life is over and you will be in prison for the rest of your life with all these green men who sing “Yo, he, ho” all day long. But then you realize that all it takes is a bucket of water, and a few friends, and life isn’t so bad after all. All that worrying and complaining didn’t really do you much good did it? Remember: it’s really about the friends you’ve made, and search for new buckets of water.

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

I would travel with my family to a place where people are truly happy and thankful for anything they are given because they may have very close to nothing. And then I would spend a year with them getting to know them and hear their stories, laugh, cry, and play. Then I would give each of them or an organization that would help them the money. And of course we would create together in the process.

Thank you Jake for taking the time to tell your story in such a creative way!

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Another Arts Teachers’ Story: MaryEllen Schaper

April 24, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

Representative David Webster, MaryEllen, Maine Alliance Chair Elizabeth Watson

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series will contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

MaryEllen Schaper teaches dance, physical education, adapted physical education and dance. She co-directs the Bonny Eagle Middle School Drama Club, and directs and choreographs the spring musicals for Bonny Eagle High School in SAD/RSU 6. She is responsible for about 260 students in class, and about 100 more for both drama clubs. MaryEllen is in her 36th year of teaching.

MaryEllen was on the team who developed the first set of Maine Learning Results in 1997 and she served again on the writing team for the Visual and Performing Arts 2007 Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction. MaryEllen was recognized by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education this year for her many years of commitment to arts education as the recipient of the 2012 Bill Bonyun Artist/Educator Award.

What do you like best being an arts educator?

I like moving all day. I love teaching others how to use their bodies as the medium for creative expression. Sometimes as they’re working I see a “moment” that I will never see again, and I feel so honored!

Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. Skilled and knowledgeable teachers who understand and can interface the creative process, child development, and the corresponding pedagogy.
  2. Excitement about your art form and excitement about your students and their work is vital, as well as respect for the students to push them to their full potential.
  3. Community interest and support certainly help!

What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

Primarily that my students are part of the assessment creation and implementation. I provide them with essential questions, and they decide how to answer them. We develop a rubric for good, better, and best work. The students rate themselves on their work habits and their products with justification, knowing that if I don’t agree (which is very seldom…they’re remarkably accurate!), I win. 🙂  Until the final day they can edit their work so that they turn in their best. If they want to put in the extra time to continue to refine their work (which doesn’t happen often, but it does happen), they can until the end of the quarter. This gives me more time with individual students as the students are doing  the “heavy lifting”, not me.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Having a cohort of people to work with who are interested  in improving learning in the arts through better assessment practices. Sharing best practices and the learning that goes along with that is so valuable. It’s wonderful knowing that I have a group ready and willing to improve as an arts educator.

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I have been able to introduce students to dance and theatre, and see them “run with it” not only as students, but often into adulthood.

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

I wish I still could teach with the freedom I could 30 years ago. Kids really were the center then, and I was more able to take the time to mine their skills and creativity in a way that isn’t possible in the same manner now. Today everything is so scrutinized for unimportant things before it can even leave the launch pad, that it’s much more difficult to take the calculated creative risks that I once felt empowered and supported to take.

Apple or PC?

Apple

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

Teaching dance to as many students K-college as I have, and making sure that dance education is always invited to the table at the local and state levels for as many years as I have has always been an ongoing accomplishment through hard work and determination. Dance isn’t valued on the same plane as other art forms. It’s cultural worth has declined precipitously in the last few generations. It presumes certain things about the dancer’s body image or sexuality that makes many uncomfortable. And no one seems to “understand” modern and post modern dance! There’s no “luck” or “circumstance” against those odds. It takes stubborn passion and the willingness to often quite literally go it alone so that my students have the opportunity to learn the joy of using their bodies as the tool to make art, and grow from that experience.

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

Be passionate about what you do and those you’re doing it for. Be willing to fight for that passion. There will be politics, budgets, ignorance, and sometimes isolation in your work, but focus on your purpose. Take your work with your students seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously. Have a sense of humor. Make sure your life has balance. Did I mention a sense of humor?

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

$500,000 before or after taxes? (Sorry I’m writing this on Tax Day!). A half million dollars would be good seed money for an endowment to keep the arts in my school district for a long time (there are currently proposed cuts), or for an arts scholarship. It could also feed or house a lot of people, or help a lot of animals. I could help out my family. It would also make my retirement much more comfortable than it looks now. I would like to think that it would be one of the more altruistic things I’ve mentioned.

Thank you MaryEllen for taking the time to tell your story (and for always using your sense of humor in your work and play)!

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