Posts Tagged ‘Leaps of Imagination’

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Vinalhaven 2nd and 3rd Graders

October 30, 2017

LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is an in-school art program for students in underserved communities. Our team of eight mentor artists interweaves art, literacy, science and mapping to create month-long projects with environmental sustainability and social justice as overarching themes.

Recognizing that art is a vehicle for teaching thinking, our projects support class curricula and empower children to participate in local and global issues. We work with children in their classrooms for two hours each morning twice each week. Envisioning programs that cut across disciplines, artists dovetail literature, environmental exploration, and artwork with student interests.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION’s MISSION is to ignite the imagination and inspire new ways of thinking so that young people can realize that their ideas have purpose and that they have the courage to act on them.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION was a Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant recipient this year.

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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Letter to Editor

January 24, 2017

Communicating about the Arts

Nancy Harris Frohlich is a retired educator who moved to Maine and settled in the mid-coast. She started LEAPS of IMAGINATION to provide more art making opportunities for elementary students. The LEAPS philosophy: We believe that all children are imaginative thinkers, and that if we give them the opportunity to use their imaginations in school by making art, they will thrive.

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-6-23-12-amLEAPS of IMAGINATION brings local Maine mentor artists together with elementary school students and teachers in a collaborative school-day classroom program. Mentor artists interweave in-depth art making experiences with carefully chosen social justice and literature themes linked to the class curriculum. Our project empowers children to believe in their own capacity to create and to make change in both their local community and the larger world.

I receive emails with these type of questions: “How do I convince people that more funding is needed for art supplies?” and “I want to start an elementary chorus, how do I go about that?” and do I communicate to my administration that we need to increase time for small group lessons?” and “Field trips have been cut from the budget, how can I get my students to an art museum?”

In the fall Nancy wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper during arts week. It’s a great example of advocating to educate. This needs to take place at many levels; school-base with administration and teachers of other content and grade levels, district-wide, community/regionally, and beyond. I’ve always believed that our first responsibility is to teach students, and in addition, adults. Since adults are almost always the ones who make the decisions they need to be informed about why the arts are essential.

As you prepare budgets for next year what will you communicate about the needs for a comprehensive arts education? With Youth Art Month and Music in Our Schools Month just around the corner, how will you use the opportunity to communicate and educate your community? I urge you to begin planning your action steps.

Below is Nancy’s letter to the editor. Even though she uses the word “art”, it certainly can apply to music, dance, theater and media arts. Nancy can be reached at nancy@nancyharrisfrohlich.com. A great big thanks to Nancy for the work she continues to do!

Art Makes Kids Smart

Another academic year has begun, and every year invites new opportunities for teaching and learning. As educators, our work is about designing a more powerful and relevant curriculum in a world in which sea change is the norm. Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind and Drive, reminds us that, “The future no longer belongs to people who can reason with computer-like logic, speed, and precision. It belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind.”  We can teach our children to learn differently. Through art.

Art is a vehicle through which children learn to connect their ideas, to be persistent when problems arise, and to work collaboratively with their peers – all skills critical for the future.  Art teaches children to use their imaginations, to bring an idea to fruition, and to believe in themselves – not just in the studio but in the classroom, where kids can apply the skills they learn in art to all academic domains.

Art has a long-standing tradition in schools, and it’s time we start changing the way we think about it, because we now know that art changes minds.

  • Here’s what art can do for children today:
    Art can build thinking mindsets. Art teaches kids to find connections, make inferences, analyze, and pull their ideas together into a new and inventive whole.
  • Art cultivates student passions, motivating them to think big.
    Art immerses kids in real-world challenges.  When kids are focused on critical issues in today’s world, art gives them an avenue through which to articulate their perspectives.
  • Art teaches children to collaborate. Shared projects and shared thinking open up opportunities for critical skills like negotiation and consensus building.
  • Art invites presentations, critique, and feedback. When kids bring their work to an audience they learn to articulate their ideas and listen to what others have to say about them.
  • Art develops risk taking behaviors in a safe and creative context. If children are going to play a positive role in their world, they have to know what it feels like to bounce back from mistakes and disappointment and to take the risk to think big for everyone’s future.
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Arts Learning Grant in Action

February 3, 2016

Leaps of Imagination

The Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning Grants application period is underway with a deadline of March 24. Information about the grants is located at http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Grants/artslearning#.

Last years funding is providing quality arts education opportunities for learners across the state. Recently Nancy Harris Frohlich, founder of the Leaps of Imagination program which received Arts Learning funding last year shared a bi-weekly publication called The St. George DRAGON. It includes a piece written by a 6th grader at the St. George School. Jackson Fitch has a brother in grade 3 who participated in the Leaps of Imagination program. In Jackson’s own words…

IMG_4735     Mrs. Miller’s 3rd grade class has been working on a learning expedition with Leaps of Imagination and they wanted to tell you about it. Leaps of Imagination is a group of local artists who make and teach art to kids in area schools. The artists involved were: Nancy Harris Frohlich, the founder of Leaps of Imagination, Sarah Rogers, Alexis Iammarino, Sandy Weisman and Susan Beebe.

The mission statement was: “To ignite the imaginative spirit and insprie new ways of thinking so that young people can relize that their ideas have purpose and   that they have the courage to act on them.”

The artists came to the Jackson Memorial Library twice a week for several weeks to work with our 3rd grade. They helped the students make two different types of prings with ink. Students learned how to make collagraphs (a very creative and experimental form of printmaking which includes cardboard, yarn, fabric, leaves, tape, etc.) and to do ghost printing (where an image appears repeatedly on the page).

IMG_5604     They also learned how to make a story without words, only art. The students were encouraged to draw in sketchbooks they were given. They worked in small groups on a “big idea” to make an art scene, which was very exciting. I asked 3rd-grader Josh if the project inspired him and he replied, “It inspired me to do better art.” From this experience my brother, Finlay, got into drawing creative “species” of fish. I think, as every 3rd grader said, “This was a great experience and was immensely fun.” I believe I’m speaking for the whole 3rd grade as they say, “Thank you, Leaps of Imagination!”

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