Posts Tagged ‘MAC’

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MALI Summer Institute

August 7, 2018

Work is just beginning

Even though another Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Summer Institute (MAL) is history (number 8), the work for the MALI Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders is just beginning.

I am so impressed with the topics that participants have taken on – each year the work is more comprehensive! I will include information about the research the leaders have underway in a future blog post.

The work is challenging and participants make a commitment to stretch themselves as they build on their knowledge and expertise as educators in the arts. MALI’s educators are committed to providing quality arts education for every Maine learner.

Often I am asked so what’s MALI all about and how can it impact me as a teacher? Below you will find some of the initial feedback received at the conclusion of the institute. The comments reflect the thoughtfulness of the participants and will provide a glimpse of the power of participating in MALI as a “leader”.

  • This institute may have changed my entire outlook. I feel like I have value and can help others through my work.
  • The energy was great.
  • Thank you for bringing us all together! The constant stimulating conversations are exhilarating! (joyfully exhausting). I LOVED the storytelling element.
  • Powerful presentations great stories
  • Gained a tremendous amount of insight into other teacher’s schools, jobs and lives. Always amazing experiences with MALI.
  • Thank you for the community connection of the Museum of Art and Ashley. Very inspiring.
  • Lots of great info. Introduced to new concepts. Networking and connections.
  • Amazing sharing! Inspired beyond belief by my peers.
  • Once again, I’m leaving excited about this year.
  • Leadership and creativity hit the spot for me personally. As always you can’t beat the connections made and renewed at MALI. I think I have benefitted a lot from a few key conversations.
  • OMG! I needed a 4thday now! Can you believe it? Great re-boot to my goals as an educator. Focused organization to start the year!
  • It was great! I have much to ponder over the coming months.
  • Lots of great information and inspiration. I liked the small workshops best.
  • I feel motivated and empowered by being around so many like-minded people. The positive energy that is found in this room is amazing.
  • This might be my favorite yet! I feel so fulfilled but not overwhelmed! So re-energized! Thank you and so much love for this organization!
  • I find it fascinating that as we add years on to our MALI gatherings our topics and ideas for our projects and presentations get bigger, better, deeper, more thoughtful, more global. I am so lucky to be part of this organization. Your hard pre-game work was truly appreciated!
  • Love the peeps – Love the sharing – especially the personal journeys. Leadership and artistic.
  • My overall reflection brings me to WOW! I have thoroughly been challenged, inquisitive, curious, exhausted, reignited, and REWARDED. Being surrounded by greatness has, again, been humbling.
  • This was an awesome opportunity to converse with people with similar professions and a wealth of experience to reflect on.
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MALI Summer Institute Day 1

July 31, 2018

Storytelling at its finest

Today marked the first day of the phase 8 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Summer Institute and what an amazing day it was! Almost 40 educators are attending the three day professional development, exchanging ideas, collaborating, and building on their knowledge.

Participants comments

  • “Learning to lead the story to my “why” versus the “what” was a huge revelation today – and we’re only on day 1!” ~Shawna
  • “Love the social aspect of MALI and seeing old friends and making new ones.” ~Catherine Ring
  • “Exciting and inspiring safe space to share ideas with people who get it.” ~Dorie
  • “Such a beautiful and supportive group.” ~Nicole
  • “Always wonderful to have the “tribe” back together!” ~Pam
  • “Hair on fire.” ~Tom

The institute theme is “storytelling” which is integrated throughout the institute. The day started with the MALI story and ended with a story from Dorie Tripp who shared information about the drums created by the students of Dorie and art teacher Hope Lord. Making music together was amazing!

Throughout the day there were sessions on assessment, the Logic Model design, Express-a-Book (MALIs version of a book club), and making stories.

Tomorrow will be another day filled with new learning. If you have questions please be sure and email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

 

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Maine International Conference on the Arts

July 30, 2018

September 27 and 28

The Maine International Conference on the Arts (MICA) is taking place at USM, Portland campus on September 27 and 28, 2018. Learn about the details and registration by CLICKING HERE. Early bird discount is available until July 31. Watch the video below and see familiar arts education colleagues and their students from the last MICA that was held in Lewiston.

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Visual Thinking Strategies

July 27, 2018

Waterfall Arts

Every so often I meet educators who are not familiar with Visual Thinking Strategies or VTS as it is commonly called. Waterfall Arts, a community arts center in Belfast, provides a program using VTS. As part of their outreach efforts of the Youth and Family Outreach (YFO) program at Waterfall Arts, program coordinator Bridget Matros offers Visual Thinking Strategies training to teachers in area schools. These strategies are activity used in the YFO after school programs and are also utilized in field trips to Waterfall Arts. Teaching Artist Bridget Matros has put together the information below (taken from the VTS site). Thank you Bridget! She is also on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist rosterWaterfall Arts programs are comprehensive and they provide multiple programs for learners of all ages.

Many teachers in Maine, visual arts and others, use VTS in their classrooms. Several years ago we provided an all day workshop on the topic. Once reading this blog post, if you’re interested in learning more please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

What is VTS?

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a method initiated by teacher-facilitated discussions of art images and documented to have a cascading positive effect on both teachers and students. It is perhaps the simplest way in which teachers and schools can provide students with key behaviors sought by Common Core Standards: thinking skills that become habitual and transfer from lesson to lesson, oral and written language literacy, visual literacy, and collaborative interactions among peers.

VTS provides a way to jumpstart a process of learning to think deeply applicable in most subjects from poetry to math, science and social studies. Art is the essential first discussion topic because it enables students to use existing visual and cognitive skills to develop confidence and experience, learning to use what they already know to figure out what they don’t; they are then prepared to explore other complex subject matter alone and with peers.

How does it work?

In VTS discussions teachers support student growth by facilitating discussions of carefully selected works of visual art.

          Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions:

  • What’s going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find?3 Facilitation Techniques:
  • Paraphrase comments neutrally
  • Point at the area being discussed
  • Linking and framing student commentsStudents are asked to:
  • Look carefully at works of art
  • Talk about what they observe
  • Back up their ideas with evidence
  • Listen to and consider the views of others
  • Discuss multiple possible interpretations
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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

July 25, 2018

Leonard Middle School – Old Town

Leonard Middle School art teacher and MALI teacher leader Adele painting student

Adele Drake became a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative during phase 7 (2017). The work she has underway is a great example of approaching curriculum and assessment to meet the needs students in a very authentic way. She addresses their needs of today. Adele’s ongoing collaborative work is helping to prepare them for the future, all the while empowering them for the challenges of their world. Not to mention this is REALLY REALLY COOOOOOL! Read on…

In September 2012, the Leonard Middle School in Old Town art teacher Adele Drake and school counselor, Tracey O’Connell began the Leonard Middle School garden. Adele and Tracey shared a vision that small organic gardens were the optimal way of providing high quality produce to their local community and that this collaborative effort would create a nurturing environment where students would thrive. In the process students would be empowered by creating a space, the garden: a functional work of art which produced food.

Their first consultant for the project was Kate Garland from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. She agreed to meet and share her considerable expertise. She counseled them to get a soil test and helped them select a suitable location for the garden. The university has been a great resource in many ways. Kate has presented to the school’s garden club and art classes many times. They have had many volunteers from the master gardeners program and visited the university green houses.

After getting approval from the superintendent, they started digging. They soon found that digging was not an option due to debris and clay deposits in the soil. Faced with these challenges, they opted for raised beds. That first fall, they started with one 3’ X 3’ raised bed, a 50 pound bag of compost and several bulbs of garlic which they planted. Their dream of having a school garden had begun. That spring their first crop of garlic emerged from the earth.

COA volunteer Teagan and Susan preparing materials.

Adele wrote her first grant which was a service learning grant to construct an earthloom which would be the centerpiece of our garden. As the Leonard Middle School art teacher Adele has found the garden has provided a way of integrating the arts with the study of other disciplines. They have had so much support for this endeavor that they have built a garden shed, a greenhouse, several raised beds and fencing. Students designed the garden layout, help to create a gardenloom, made mosaic tile stepping stones and have most recently designed functional sculptures which collect water and beautify the garden at the same time. In a community where food insecurity is a reality the garden as a focal point for the curriculum makes sense.

Talk about trust!

This year they worked with Susan Camp to grow gourds into self-portraits. This project was funded by the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant. Susan’s work is a natural fit to the already established goals of Adele Drake’s arts curriculum. The lesson concept: Harvesting Identity / you are what you eat was the focus throughout the process. Susan invited the to be co creators; they made plaster casts from their faces, made molds, and used these molds to grow gourds. The gourds are flourishing in the garden and after harvested in the fall will be used as wall hangings and made into bowls to be used at the culminating event which is a community feast.

Adele reflects: Large-scale food producers shape crops, such as watermelons, in order to make packing and shipping more efficient. Our project subverts this practice, shaping gourds to create portraits that are individual and reflect both the character of the subject and the growing fruit.

I see how engaged these students have been in the process and I know that I am getting them to think differently about food, art and the future.

I hope that students will be involved in growing food for their communities and that they will understand the importance of food and art in bringing communities together.

Trusting enough to take a selfie together – even if he can’t see.

I have learned a lot about formative assessment and the need to collect evidence which is triangulated from different modalities. I plan to evaluate students on their use of media and techniques and on their ability to analyze the process of using these materials and techniques.I will collect this evidence through observations, student reflection and teacher feedback.I will creating opportunities to analyze the process and the product with rubrics. Students will also reflect on where the process takes them through a critical response process which will help them grow as artists.

College of the Atlantic student volunteer in the program, Teagan reflects: Waiting!

I was amazed at how both students and teachers worked together and communicated throughout the process of making casts. I felt that everyone was looking out for each other. I believe that this sense of collaboration is needed for engaging in broader dialogues within food systems. I see this project as a way for people to take action creating new relationships with food and community.

Leonard Middle School Principal David Crandall reflects: Gardens grow communities, not just of plants, but of students. Students that are engaged in the school garden are focused on growing plants and also growing themselves. Being a part of fostering life and working with peers to maintain a productive garden is a motivation that encourages attendance and engagement at our school.

Our Garden Club has an active role in managing our school garden and they continue to work toward more and better resources to support their work. Under the guidance and leadership of Tracey O’Connell and Adele Drake, the students have sprouted into successful young gardeners that grow vegetables, flowers, relationships and communities. The group dreams big and we can’t wait to see what blossoms next!

I’m sure there will be a great celebration when students see their own faces on the gourds this summer. This is a unit that the students will always remember!

Imagine what you might do with funding from the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant?! Grant application deadline will be in March 2019 for the 2019-1920 school year. Watch this blog and the Maine Arts Commission site for more information.

Waiting!

Waiting patiently for the paris-craft layer to dry before taking them off.

Example of the gourd about to grown into the mould.

Example of the gourds in the garden once they’ve come out of the mold.

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317 and Casco Bay

July 20, 2018

Songwriting Intensive

The Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant funded a collaborative with 317 Main in Yarmouth and Casco Bay High School in Portland during this past school year. The program provided an intensive and inspiring week for students who made incredible music together. For some of the students involved it was their first opportunity to collaborate on writing and performing new songs. The impact was incredible and will go on for years.

This short video provides a glimpse into the work that students and instructors did.

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MALI Phase 8 Educators

July 17, 2018

Congratulations

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), now in year 8, announces three new teacher leaders and three new teaching artist leaders. These incredible educators bring the total number of MALI leaders to 107.  CONGRATULATIONS to the following educators.

Teaching Artist Leaders

  • Kerry Constantino – Dance
  • Joe Cough – Music
  • Shawna Barnes – Visual Art

 PK-12 Teacher Leaders

  • Shalimar Chasse – Visual Art, grades 7-12, Wiscasset Middle High Schools
  • Anthony Lufkin – Visual Art, grades K-8, Friendship Village, Prescott Memorial, Union Elementary, and Rivers Alternative Middle Schools (RSU#40)
  • Catherine Newell – Music

Each of these leaders brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to MALI. We’re excited about their involvement. During the next year you’ll have a chance to learn more about the phase 8 MALI work and about each of the new leaders on this blog.

Learn more about MALI at THIS LINK and access resources at THIS LINK.

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