Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts education’

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Young Artist’s in Quarantine

June 30, 2020

Student’s share their stories

This is part of a series highlighting the stories of young artists in quarantine. The period of free time that many people are experiencing has led to a sense of freedom in creating– when not held back by the standards expected by society and in much of art education (or needing to prove talent/fill resumes) it’s incredible what can be done. Alone in your room with just a paintbrush or guitar has led many students to find a new independence in art when they have the ability to create just for themselves. We’re hoping that by telling these stories, a change will occur in the way we approach arts education, to focus on the growth of the individual, even after quarantine comes to an end. Thank you Robyn Walker-Spencer, 2020 graduate, Camden Hills Regional High School, for launching this series of young artists in quarantine.

Kate Kemper just graduated from Camden Hills Regional High School. Below is her pandemic story.

I have always been an artist, I think. I have a grandparent on each side of my family who were extremely gifted in the arts, and my parents always say the “artist gene” skipped a generation. Over my life, I’ve expanded my mediums. I work in many forms of fine art; I am a painter, singer, poet, ceramist, and beginning mural artist.

What really sparked my love of art and helped me develop good foundations was my education at Ashwood Waldorf School. As a part of the core curriculum, I painted wet-on-wet in painting class and made a crayon drawing for every academic lesson over eight years.

In my senior year of high school, I took an advanced art portfolio class which pushed my artistic abilities even further. I learned about putting meaning into art and the different ways to make a statement about the world through the lens of creation. I now feel empowered to express my voice through a piece and do art much more frequently.

Separate, 2020, 14” x 17,” Mixed Media

There are a few common ways to make a statement about the world. Protesting, voting, speaking out, and art. You cannot have a successful social movement without art to move people. It can unite by interpreting a message into a visual format that makes it easier to understand. The repetition of an idea through many artworks grows a movement and can make real change in the mind of the audience.

But ultimately, art is what you want it to be. For me, among many others, it is a reaction.

I paint absent-minded abstractions when I need to relax, I express my frustrations when I’m angry, and I admire beauty when I’m joyful. I use it as a tool, a way to process emotion. This has come in especially handy during recent months. Amidst a global pandemic, one can expect many emotions. I went through a whirlwind of life events simultaneously, good and bad, so it is no surprise that I made a lot of art. The most defining piece of this era was one called “separate.” It was a paper cut representation of the idea of social distancing. It will join the large body of work that I am sure will arise worldwide in reaction to this pandemic.

Fruit Salad part 1, 2020, 24”x 24,” acrylic on canvas

Two Shrooms, 2020, 8” x 5,” ink pen on paper

Flank Study, 2019, India ink on paper

Blind, 2019, 6”x 12,” pen and paper

Sea Tea, 2019, 6” x 6” x 4,” ceramic and ceramic glaze

Skull and Books, 2019, 18” x 24,” conté on paper

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Amazing Educators

June 20, 2020

YOU did it!

CONGRATULATIONS EDUCATORS

…for taking on most likely the biggest challenge in your teaching career and for getting the JOB DONE! As you close the door on another school year I wish you a relaxing summer. As you take time for yourself and reflect on the last months please know I am grateful for the commitment you make to your learners and to ARTS education!

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More Virtual Shows and Performances

June 18, 2020

Art, Music, K-Higher Education

CARRIE RICKER SCHOOL

Thanks to Art teacher Jen Williams for sharing her schools Virtual Art Show from Carrie Ricker School (RSU4) in Litchfield. It’s an 11 minute video on youtube showcasing the grades 3-5 student artwork – that is amazing. Two of the music tracks were created in music class with teacher Wade Johnston. View below.

AUBURN SCHOOLS VIRTUAL ART EXHIBITS

A great big thanks to Art teacher and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader Lynda Leonas for providing links to two wonderful Virtual Student Shows from where she teaches in Auburn!

RAYMOND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Music teacher Patricia Gordan shared her COVID story on the blog recently. The Raymond Elementary School chorus has been working since January on five songs for the spring concert. Since being away from school she has been working on one of the songs virtually: “Send Down the Rain” by Joyce Eilers. The song has been put together beautifully! SEND DOWN THE RAIN

Davia Hersey

HAMPDEN ACADEMY VIRTUAL ART GALLERY

A section of the gallery features Paper Bag Portraits with this information: Let’s face it this quarantine has presented us with an opportunity to be creative. While looking for regular household items to use for art making, I found that a brown paper bag is a great size/ shape for a portrait study. It also has the effect of working on a piece of toned brown paper which is a nice place to start for a portrait. An exhibit with a plethora of ideas with thanks to Art teacher and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader Melanie Crowe!

 

CAMDEN HILLS REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

Guiding Light” – Text and Music by Matt LaBerge. Camden Hills Regional High School Chamber Singers and Alumni Virtual Choir. Director Music teacher Kim Murphy.

OAK HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL ART GALLERY

7th and 8th grade student artwork from Oak Hill Middle School is part of a virtual art show located at THIS LINK. Thank you to art teacher Gail Rodrigue-duBois for providing this opportunity.

USM JURIED STUDENT EXHIBIT

This special on-line exhibition was open to all USM students submitting work in any media. The juried show introduces students to a professional exhibition where they learn to prepare art for a professional setting, obtain feedback from art professionals, and have their work exposed to a wide range of viewers. Due to Coronavirus, the focus this year was on students learning how to photograph their art at home as well as uploading files – good skills to acquire for many future art opportunIties. GORHAM AND PORTLAND EXHIBIT

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Thesis exhibits by Senior Seminar students Delaney Fone, Marissa Joly, Regan H. Mars, and Demel Ruff are now showcased online until August 15, 2020. The engagement of the public through the art, and the public presentation of students’ work are core components to the successful completion of the Art 401 Senior Seminar course, a senior capstone requirement course for the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art students, and a professional practice elective option for those obtaining their Bachelor of Arts studio degrees. SHOWCASE.

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Happy Retirement!

June 17, 2020

Maine is fortunate to have such marvelous arts educators!

We know that what a teacher offers can have an enormous impact on student development day to day AND over their lifetime. As educators retire at the close of another school year, 2019-2020, I invite you to join me in THANKING them for their years of service and dedication to students across the state.

May your road ahead be filled with many years of good health, love and happiness! Yahooooooo! I’m sure you’ll never forget your last spring of teaching through the COVID pandemic.

The following visual and performing educators have contributed a combined 263+ years to teaching visual and/or performing arts education!

  • CAROL BAKER ROUX, Sanford Jr. High 7/8 Band, 40 years
  • SALLY BEAN, MSAD 58, Mt Abram High School, Visual Arts, ? years
  • BECKY CHRISTIE, Mast Landing School, Freeport, 34 years
  • IVER LOFLING, Skowhegan High School, Visual Arts, ? years
  • MAX MARQUIS, River View Community School, S. Gardiner, MSAD 11, Visual Arts, 32 years
  • HEATHER MACLEOD, Brewer Community School and Brewer High School, General and Choral Music, 30 years
  • CHRISTINE NILES, Colby College, Theater Department, Visual Arts, ? years
  • NANCY ROWE, Camden Hills High School, Instrumental Music, 40 years
  • LUCY GRACE SARGEANT, Sanford High School, Visual Arts, 48 years
  • SUSAN CYR, Dike-Newell and Phippsburg Elementary Schools, Music, 39 years

If you  know of a teacher who is not on this list please be sure and email me at meartsed@gmail.com with the information and I’d be glad to add them. Thanks!

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Summer Learning Opportunities

June 10, 2020

For young students

Opportunities for the summer are filling my inbox each day. Below are a few to share with your students who might be asking.

DANCE

  • Creative Dance Virtual classes for 4-10 year olds start Tuesday, June 30. Thirty minute classes are being provided each week for six weeks by the amazing dance educator Elly Lovin. Each week Elly will start with a different theme and make dances around that theme. Elly also offers Dance at Home Kits with dance props and ideas for using them. She will ship them directly to your home. LEARN MORE – Elly Lovin at www.ellylovin.com/dancing-in-place

THEATER

  • Virtual camps, blended outside & at home camps, and half day outside camps. Options for rising K-12. Financial aid available for these programs. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!
    FREE RESOURCES include: Facebook live-streaming of Play Me a Story Dramatic Readings, Tutorial Videos, Games to Play at Home, Follow-Along Videos, and other Interactive Activities. These resources are designed to get your bodies and creativity moving, all from the comfort of your own home! 

    Each resource is accompanied by an age recommendation for ease of access, but you know your students & kids best.

    Contact Portland Stage Education Administrator Julianne Shea if you have any questions.
  • Check out the online summer camps from Unwritten Roads! Learn filmmaking from home! Engaging acting and filmmaking camps available for two separate weeks. July 20th – July 24th for  Grades 1 -4 and July 27th- July 31st for Grade 5 and Up! Visit unwritten roads.com or find them on facebook or instagram @ unwritten roads! Please be sure and reach out with any questions. Included is a link:  link from our website with our summer offerings.

MUSIC

  • Fiddle Camp will take place online this summer. I included the information on it – you can find at the bottom of this blog post.
  • Midcoast Music Academy, Rockland
    • Lessons will be offered in packages of one to eight lessons.
    • Once you purchase the number of lessons you want, you can add yourself to your instructor’s calendar on www.mymusicstaff.com. (If you are a new student, you will be sent the login information.) We are also happy to help with this!
    • You can schedule your lessons for any available time on the calendar, with 48 hours’ notice. You can also reschedule a lesson (with 24 hours’ notice) if your plans change.
    • Lessons can be purchased online at www.midcoastmusicacademy.com/summer-2020 or by contacting our Operations Manager Maddy at (207)701-7410 or info@midcoastmusicacademy.com.

    Lesson packages can be purchased in the following amounts:
    Single Lessons (normal cost)
    60 mins = $64
    45 mins = $48
    30 mins = $32

    Packages:
    4 Lessons (10% Discount)
    60 mins = $230.40
    45 mins = $172.80
    30 mins = $115.20

    6 Lessons (15% discount)
    60 mins = $326.40
    45 mins = $244.80
    30 min = $163.20

    8 Lessons (20% discount)
    60 mins = $409.60
    45 mins = $307.20
    30 mins = $204.80

    TUITION ASSISTANCE NOTE: If you are receiving or would like to apply for tuition assistance, these discounts would not apply. In that case, please contact Operations Manager Maddy Silletti to purchase summer lessons.

VISUAL ART

  • Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockland

Zoom ArtCamp – for ages 8-13

In order to keep our community safe, we will be offering two summer camps through zoom. Working closely with a teaching artist, campers will turn creative ideas into tangible original artwork right at home. Each week campers will be provided with an art kit filled with materials and tool needed for artmaking, which can be picked up the previous week. In addition, campers and families will be encouraged to visit the CMCA during the week (w/free admission) to take a closer look at our galleries.
For more information contact Mia Bogyo, Education Coordinator at mbogyo@cmcanow.org

CLICK HERE TO LEARN  MORE!

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

  • Youth art classes with Erin McGee 
    • Ages 6-14 – Eight Lesson Self-study ECourse for Youth Art

Artist, Erin McGee Ferrell, offers Art Classes from her Painting Studio.

Fun Art History as EMcGee becomes Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe and others. CLICK HERE

  • Summer Online Art Lessons (June-August 2020) Ages 6-14

Virtually Join EMcGee as she paints around Maine, Kentucky, and New Hampshire.

Students around the world step outside into yards, onto porches, or by windows as the interactive class learns drawing and painting techniques.

With students participating from around the world, it will be fun to compare differences in buildings and nature.

  • Oil Painting Online for Teens. Landscape and Architecture (June-August 2020)Erin McGee Ferrell leads teens in an interactive online oil painting class.Classes will be streamed from woods, beaches, and cities.With students participating from around the world, it will be fun to compare differences in buildings and nature.CLICK HERE.  https://www.facebook.com/EMcGeeArtLessons/

 

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Positive Outcomes

June 5, 2020

What are your thoughts and experiences?

I Invited past Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leaders and Leadership Team members to answer 4 questions – both personal and professional. Each day this week another set of answers is being posted. Today’s blog post includes answers to number 3. Please don’t hesitate to share your answers to the 4 questions. To the teachers who responded (so far. THANK YOU for your honesty and sharing your new reality. One word that came up for me as I read your responses was BRAVERY! I am grateful that you’re being brave for the learners across the state!

  1. Name one thing that has been an ‘ah-ha’ moment for you during ‘teaching away from school’? One success.
  2. What have you learned that you didn’t know before the school shut down?
  3. What are you doing to bring yourself joy/to take care of yourself?
  4. When this is all over – what do you imagine might be a positive that comes from the pandemic?

Kris Bisson says it best – YOU ALL ROCK!

The last three days blog posts have been filled with inspiration from the voices of Maine visual and performing arts educators. Today’s post is filled with HOPE. And, as we continue to deal with the biggest challenges of our lives I hope that you won’t forget the struggles that have the possibility of morphing into positives for our communities and the world. It will take all of us to continue working together and supporting one another. Thank you all for the amazing work you’re doing and for being such an inspiration to me and those who you touch in your worlds! Know that I’d love to hear your stories – please don’t hesitate to contact me at meartsed@gmail.com.

IMAGINE THE IMPACT 

  • That we will have made changes to focus on what really matters in our lives. This action will lead us to create teaching and learning environments that focus on relevance, action and compassion. ~ LINDSAY PINCHBECK
  • What scares me is that many educators, parents and administrators are saying “can’t wait to get back to normal”. All I can think about is the amazing things that we have learned to do in the past few months, how easy it is to collaborate, why push all that back into the “box” and “go back to normal”. CHARLIE JOHNSON
  • Normal wasn’t doing it for everyone. I like to think that we will be a much more compassionate group of educators, who, “Take time to smell the roses” with our students and not always operate at such a frenetic pace. I also think that snow days will never be the same again. We now know we can teach remotely on those wintry days! ~JENNI NULL
  • I hope with all my heart this will start a positive shift in education. I think teachers, empowered by the networking, shared experiences and tremendous PD opportunities, will demand change and in fact, be willing change agents. ~KATE SMITH
  • I hope families will continue to spend time together and walk together, slow down from the rush of life many of us were living in. I hope that all who are able will continue to work from home at least one day a week – this would cut the emissions by 20%.  ~SUE BARRE
  • My hope is that as a system we will have a better grasp of what students really need. I think many have seen first hand the joy that the arts bring while staying home with their families. I would love it if that carried over into schools and we begin to see more of a focus on social-emotional health and less on mandated testing. ~JEN ETTER
  • I hope there will be a greater appreciation for all the hard working first responders, grocery clerks, truck drivers and delivery workers. I hope that there will be greater respect and appreciation for teachers. Overall, I hope that the world views the arts as a cultural necessity to inspire, express, and support each other through stressful times. ~HOPE LORD
  • I really hope for a large scale “shaking of the etch -a-sketch” as I always say. We need to teach students how to learn, harness their natural curiosities and allow them to lead the way. Throw away our expectations of how and when things should be learned. I would also like to see a more cross curricular and holistic project based approach to learning. ~SHANNON WESTPHAL
  • I feel the obvious positive will be the appreciation for what teachers do on a daily basis. The bigger positive I am hopeful for is a change in society on people being kinder to each other and the planet, seeing the positive effects of humans being out and about less. ~JEFFREY ORTH
  • Families will eat dinner together, take walks together, sing together (I’ve seen some fabulous family sing a longs!) My wish is that they remember it all when this is over and don’t stop those things that are so important! ~LINDA MCVETY
  • Hopefully families will remember what it’s like to be a family and rely less on the screen and more on each other. Times spent outside together will be recognized as sacred and hopefully families will keep going outside together after this is all over. That’s my fervent wish.
    Personally, the positive for me is all the exercise and a little bit of weight loss. I’ve also enjoyed making the teaching videos for my kids. Whenever I run into parents or kids on the trails, they always mention how much they enjoy the videos. ~ALLIE RIMKUNAS
  • Our 7th grade students do not currently have art. Due to COVID 19, our 6th grade Gifted and Talented ART students will be missing a new field trip to the high school for ‘firing’ day. Our district has approved our elementary trip to be moved to the fall and to include the students leaving us for the middle school next year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it inspired the school to create art field experiences for all 7th grade students? …recreate the 7th grade art classes as once existed? ~LYNDA LEONAS
  • When this is over I hope the clean, clear, fresh air so many, especially in cities, are experiencing right now will open their eyes to the beauty of it and have a positive impact on our environment and world for now on.  ~HOLLY LEIGHTON
  • I think one of the positives may be that we have a renewed appreciation for the community-building aspect of the arts. Right now it’s such a void that cannot be filled by technology. Yes, there are virtual ensembles that are beautiful, but they aren’t live. I’ve watched some phenomenal performances online, but for me, nothing matches the aesthetic power of being in the moment and sharing that moment with those around you.
    I think a positive outcome could be that we continue to make use of technological  resources we’ve discovered during this time of exclusively remote learning to change our thinking to how we can customize students’ experiences more. ~BILL BUZZA
  • There are many positives to this situation, but for me the biggest impact has been the ability to slow down without judgement.  I know this will be something I consider upon ‘reentry’ to my dance program. ~EMMA CAMPBELL
  • I hope we never have to use another snow day!  I hope there will be a better appreciation for teachers. ~JANE KIRTON
  • The increased connectivity and support between home and school, and between educators, has been the most apparent to me. It’s human nature to come together as communities during times of need. Even during these times where physical distancing is required, I have felt an increased sense of support and togetherness. This is a positive that’s come from COVID-19, and I hope it sticks around when we get “back to normal”. ~DORIE TRIPP
  • First of all, we have been “taught”, by being thrown into this situation, how to use a variety of resources that will help support our student’s learning. Whether through the use of online platforms, or simply the research of new ideas and possibilities, we have seen that many things are possible. I know I have learned a lot about different programs that I am excited about using in (and out of) the classroom. I think that this will also pave the way for utilizing “remote” learning in other situations as well such as snow days, or other interruptions to our daily schedules helping to support consistent development. It may also be an excellent resource for keeping students connected over extended breaks and bridge the gap of relapse we often see.While we have been separated, we have been able to connect with each other. In difficult times, people rise to the challenges. It brings communities together to fight and survive. It helps us to set aside differences to focus on what is most important. So, while I know this has been difficult, I think like many difficult situations in history, it will strengthen our communities.  ~ANTHONY LUFKIN
  • The one positive I can imagine is renewed appreciation for my real teaching experience, the one in the classroom, face to face, having those moments of greatness and inspiration and activity and noise and sass- from the students as well as me! ~DANETTE KERRIGAN
  • Many people will have adapted skills for distance learning and connecting with others anytime/anywhere. Distance learning is not only about using technology. It is about the human experience and reminding us of our desire for connectivity and the security that we are all in this together. ~LEAH OLSON
  • I have a saying that I have used with my students for a very long time…..”Yes you can, yes you will”.  After this is over I am hopeful they will know the truth in this and it will become. their mantra. ~DIANNE FENLASON
  • My fellow educators will be far more digitally savvy and will continue to utilize a blended learning approach since they now are beginning to understand the value of asynchronous learning. The Arts educators in my District have historically been excluded from targeted professional learning. Now we are actively developing courses and resources for them to continue their learning. The students will understand more about creation versus consumption. Their ability to explore resources and use their creativity with found objects in the Arts has already been exhibited. ~BARB VINAL
  • Professionally speaking I feel much better at technology. Personally I look at this time as a gift with my children. As a mom of teenagers I know they will be “leaving the nest” fairly soon and I truly cherish this time with them. ~ANDREA WOLLSTADT
  • A huge positive to carry over once this is done is the community that we have all done well to foster. Regardless of where we are geographically, people are willing to use any means of technology to help. That drive and ability to foster and support community is my hope of what carries into the after. It has been incredibly meaningful and heartfelt how we as a people honestly are striving to find the good in those around us.  ~IVA DAMON
  • I think we ALL – communities, parents, students, teachers – will all have a greater and deeper appreciation for school and all it entails. It’s been amazing to hear from everyone I talk to that EVERYONE misses it. We tend to spend a lot of time looking at the negative of our schools and jobs and not enough time just enjoying all that is wonderful about it all. I hope there is a lot we stop taking for granted. ~ROB WESTERBERG
  • My hope is that we do not lose the lessons we are learning about the interconnectedness of schools, teachers, and communities. I have reached out to the parents of my students in ways that weren’t really expected before we switched to remote learning. This will hopefully continue to be a priority once we figure out our ‘new normal’. ~LISA INGRAHAM
  • I think that teachers, families and students will be a little more appreciative of one another, and how much we need and rely on one another as we move forward. ~ CARMEL COLLINS
  • I’ve tried to provide very detailed lesson plans for students and families. Initially,  I still received LOTS of questions, “I don’t get its”, etc. That has lessened a bit. I think that sometimes we “overteach” and spoon-feed a lot of information. They are now forced to figure that out for themselves, and probably approach the assignments more creatively.  In any event,  those who are still engaged in their learning seem more resilient and creative. ~SUE BEAULIER
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Bringing Joy

June 4, 2020

What are your thoughts and experiences?

I Invited past Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leaders and Leadership Team members to answer 4 questions – both personal and professional. Each day this week another set of answers is being posted. Today’s blog post includes answers to number 3. Please don’t hesitate to share your answers to the 4 questions. To the teachers who responded (so far) – THANK YOU for your honesty and sharing your new reality. One word that came up for me as I read your responses was BRAVERY! I am grateful that you’re being brave for the learners across the state!

  1. Name one thing that has been an ‘ah-ha’ moment for you during ‘teaching away from school’? One success.
  2. What have you learned that you didn’t know before the school shut down?
  3. What are you doing to bring yourself joy/to take care of yourself?
  4. When this is all over – what do you imagine might be a positive that comes from the pandemic?

TAKING CARE

  • Drawing, painting, photographing with other people in mind, and writing hand written letters almost every day to my students and families. Walking in the woods with my dog, watching baby chicks grow and spending time in the garden. ~LINDSAY PINCHBECK
  • I get outside, I get up and move/exercise, I make art and I spend more time with my family. CHARLIE JOHNSON
  • I run everyday and have set workout routines. I am also in an excelerated graduate program for ESL certification, which requires extensive reading and writing. I am loving the courses and am super excited to be making this transition. ~CARMEL COLLINS
  • I’ve made art for myself, and cleaned the basement! ~SUE BEAULIER
  • Long walks, reading, listening to music, Zooming with my group of girlfriends every Tuesday night, and curling up at the day’s end with my furry friend. ~JENNI NULL
  • I read, run, walk, learn to identify bird calls, video conference with distant family, and reach out to friends I haven’t talked to in a long time. I’m learning to give myself grace. ~KATE SMITH
  • Walking – I walk every morning by myself and again mid-day with a family member or friend – I average 7-8 miles a day…it keeps me sane!  ~SUE BARRE
  • This took me a few weeks to figure out… I can’t be everything and do everything. It would be easy to work 16 hours a day in order to get better at remote teaching however that’s not fair to me or my family. The needs of family HAVE to come first— no matter what! In order to help with this I have made sure that when the school day “ends” (3:00) it REALLY ends and the screen goes off! ~JEN ETTER
  • During this stressful time, I am finding joy in some simple activities at home. I am baking bread, sewing masks, finishing some home improvement projects, preparing the garden for planting, playing cards and boardgames, reading, and going for walks. I look forward to kayaking and paddle boarding as the weather warms up. ~HOPE LORD
  • Running, taking my children to the ocean to explore and keeping tabs on the geese by our house who are nesting on some baby geese eggs.  ~SHANNON WESTPHALL
  • I have used this time to get back into the studio and create work. I am striving for at least an hour in the morning and then any other time I can carve out later in the day. ~JEFFREY ORTH
  • I’m taking more walks and getting my life organized. ~LINDA MCVETY
  • WALKING every day. Fortunately, a lovely set of trails just opened up last fall across the field from our house. I have walked the 2.5 miles of trails every single day since March 17th. They are wider than a car and I can walk with a sister or two and still stay distant. I’ve been photographing the frog and salamander eggs in the vernal pools to see what changes are happening. I’ve also been dedicated to drawing every day in a sketchbook. It is not bringing the joy I expected, but seems more like a chore. I’ve got to change how I do it to bring back the joy, but I don’t know what will help. ~ALLIE RIMKUNAS
  • I have been running, hiking or walking every day and that has been helpful to dispel the feeling of isolation. ~GLORIA HEWETT
  • Exercise generally gets removed from my weekly routine during the school year!  A K-6 art room is a fast moving place and my mind equates that daily rush with enough physical activity!  This time period has allowed me to re-set that thinking as I have been working without students in the physical space. Yoga online (Yoga with Adrienne) has allowed me to stretch without hurrying and tone muscles that get “short” attention during the 40 minute rushes within the art room day. One Saturday a month a group of family and friend artists gather for Art Club in my cellar. During this time, Virtual Art Club has been created for EVERY Saturday!  We check in twice a day through Zoom! Due to COVID19, I found that coworkers from other areas of education have been relying upon the arts to balance mindfulness; and, they have joined the art club! ~LYNDA LEONAS
  • I am doing the things I never seemed to have the time to do. I am painting and drawing with a passion, jumping into abstraction not caring about what others would say or how it comes out, painting for fun and as a form of therapy through these hard times. I have also been doing outdoor projects that I have been putting off for years which is my exercise. ~HOLLY LEIGHTON
  • I enjoy working outdoors in the garden, so my wife and I have spent much time in the yard trying to coax spring along. I have to constantly remind myself that my flowers and peas have their own timeline that I have to be patient for. I’m also working on getting caught up on reading Steve Berry novels. And I’ve started to challenge my physical flexibility by starting yoga. So far it’s been relaxing and worth many laughs.  ~BILL BUZZA
  • I love walking in the woods by my house, spending time with my daughter, and reading for fun! Being outside is for sure the biggest thing I do to improve my mindset. ~EMMA CAMPBELL
  • I have been working on our grounds (both camp and home) with my husband. Being outside as often as I can energizes me. ~JANE KIRTON
  • I am actually scheduling times, throughout the day, to take breaks. I create events in iCal to remind me to exercise, go outside, play with my son, etc. As silly as that sounds, I’ve found that it’s easy to sit down in front of my computer and get swept away by emails, zoom meetings, and other professional responsibilities. Scheduling these opportunities to step away has really helped my physical and mental health throughout this process. ~DORIE TRIPP
  • I live in a very rural area and enjoy being outdoors so I have spent much of my time taking in the fresh air. We are usually very busy people, during the week with busy schedules, and often out on adventures on the weekends. This “opportunity” has given us a lot of much needed home time, being together, working on “back burner” projects, and enjoying the space we call home. Researching ideas, creating “virtual” learning opportunities, and just experimenting with ideas has been inspiring. I have finally set up my “at home” studio, something I have been planning since I built my garage 4 years ago. I have had the time to create examples that are detailed, creating a bar of excellence for my capable students. In reality, I have been creating more art than I had been able to do working at school. I miss teaching in person very much, however this has been an opportunity for me to experience student processes and create art that is reinvigorating for me and more effective for students. ~ANTHONY LUFKIN
  • Honestly, I haven’t done the best at self-care because I have felt a need to respond immediately to every communication, training opportunity or video meeting immediately.  If Maine golf courses were open I would be caring for myself much better😉  I have been to our camp a few times to keep an eye on the water level and seeing the returning loons has been awesome. ~DIANNE FENLASON
  • I stick to a routine every day. I continue to dress for work (on the top!) including jewelry. I ride my stationary bike between meetings. I eat lunch with my educator husband as often as possible and I sit outside in the sun when I take a break. ~BARB VINAL
  • I have been doing a LOT of walking, taking a couple breaks each day to get outside. Of course also making art! Recently I tried rug hooking. It has been fun and I am working on making my first pillow. ~SAMANTHA ARMSTRONG
  • I love being outside. The school closure has allowed me to spend more time hiking, biking, nature walking, gardening, playing basketball with my kids, having epic bonfires, and some days simply sitting with the sun on my face. ~ANDREA WOLLSTADT
  • Self-care is so vital right now. I am doing a lot of walking and making sure to be outside as much as the Maine weather is allowing me to be. If you were in the neighborhood, it is now a routine to see me pushing my daughter in her stroller first thing in the morning and then again for her nap in the afternoon. Setting a routine and trying to hold myself accountable has helped. I am teaching online while also juggling my own two small children so those quiet walks have become my time to take a break from technology and enjoy the outdoors! ~IVA DAMON
  • Going for runs when the weather cooperates, zoom meetings with family and friends.~ROB WESTERBERG
  • I love my home. I am thankful to have a happy place in which to weather this storm. ~LISA INGRAHAM
  • I have worked hard to stay healthy, increased my exercise routines, started a garden, read a novel, realized that the time I can give myself makes the time I give to students that much more energized. ~DANETTE KERRIGAN
  • I’m reading a variety of ceramic books! There is so much to learn about in ceramics. I have a space in my home to create so vacation week was really fun working with clay. Exercise is also happening every day.  I take walks outside and appreciate the beauty here in Maine. ~LEAH OLSON
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Ah-ha Moments

June 2, 2020

What are your thoughts and experiences?

I Invited past Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leaders and Leadership Team members to answer 4 questions – both personal and professional. Today’s and the next three blog days posts will include the responses. Please don’t hesitate to share your answers to the 4 questions. Today’s post includes answers to the first question. To the teachers who responded (so far)- THANK YOU for your honesty and sharing your new reality. One word that came up for me as I read your responses was BRAVERY! I am grateful that you’re being brave for the learners across the state!

  1. Name one thing that has been an ‘ah-ha’ moment for you during ‘teaching away from school’? One success.
  2. What have you learned that you didn’t know before the school shut down?
  3. What are you doing to bring yourself joy/to take care of yourself?
  4. When this is all over – what do you imagine might be a positive that comes from the pandemic?

AH-HA MOMENTS

  • I am heartened to find that both kids and parents seem to see art class as an important part of their education. I’ve seen great response in student work, parent questions, teacher consideration, when it comes to the projects that I’ve provided remotely. I’ve heard from parents who do not show up for P/T Conferences (ever). The Administrative Assistant at our school expressed that her 2nd grade daughter would not work on her art homework with her. The second grader said, “Mom,  I need Mrs. Beaulier! You don’t even know who Pablo Tabasco is!!!”  We had a private ZOOM in response to that. ~SUE BEAULIER
  • Connecting with the families in our school in new and authentic ways. A deeper understanding for the work we are all doing on both sides has strengthened the teaching and learning opportunities. Building relationships has happened through purpose and we have had more time and direct application for us to do this work. ~LINDSAY PINCHBECK
  • The “ah-hah” moment is realizing the content needs to be about something that ties itself to students, something that gives them ownership, not just a set of criteria to follow. ~CHARLIE JOHNSON
  • Students have been paying more attention to their assignments than what I anticipated. They are really getting on board! ~CARMEL COLLINS
  • I sent a hand-written card to every homeroom student in my Advisory the first day of vacation so they knew I was thinking of them. I wanted them to take a much-needed break from their devices and the card allowed that friendly reminder to occur. ~KRIS BISSON
  • Realizing that the content of what I am teaching is not as important as the connection with students. At school we are so curriculum-driven and as a music teacher, I’m always preparing for that next concert looming ahead. Now, thanks to remote learning, I realize that my students look forward to simply hearing from me…receiving my silly frog video taken along my daily walk, sharing my boomwhacker videos of pop tunes, or asking one of them about a new puppy. It’s all about sharing and realizing that we are all in this together, young and old... ~JENNI NULL
  • I would say the greatest success was the immediate networking between music teachers from across Maine and beyond. What could have been tremendously overwhelming alone became easier through sharing resources and experiences.  Teachers built trust through shared vulnerabilities. Everyone was building the plane while flying it. I was incredibly proud of my profession and the way we rose together to meet the needs of our students, all of our students. ~KATE SMITH
  • Having a parent reach out after “sitting in” on a class to thank all teachers for what we do – in her words – “These past few weeks have definitely opened my eyes to all that you guys have to do. So thank you for that. Teachers are definitely under appreciated and do more than parents know. You guys are my rock stars!” ~SUE BARRE
  • These are not my words but totally ring true! This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon! Our superintendent said this to us on day 1 of distance learning but it took me about 2 weeks to realize what that really meant. For probably the first time in my teaching career I needed to REALLY lower my expectations for what students would accomplish in terms of content and replace that with what I felt was best for them both socially and emotionally. Many kids are really struggling right now and they need relationships with their teachers more than anything. Finding a way to connect and reach as many students as possible is tricky but it needs to be at the center of everything we do in order to try to protect the well-being of our kids. ~JEN ETTER
  • The importance of creativity in teaching all subjects remotely. As teachers we are recreating our curriculum, so that we can deliver instruction remotely. We have had to think creatively to problem solve what means, technology, and resources do we have to teach our students. Many students lack art materials at home, some still have no internet access available to them. However, we are creative teachers and we find ways to connect to our students and inspire them to create art during this stressful time. ~HOPE LORD
  • I have posted a quote by Commissioner Makin above my work station: “Children’s brains are wired for learning.  Learning happens everywhere and doesn’t always require a specific plan of measurable outcome.” This ideology helps me stay focused on the goal of inspiring an art curriculum that is engaging, inspires curiosity and is rooted in the real world. I am so inspired by my children (daughters, ages 3 & 4)and their curiosities and imaginations. I try to harness that sense of wonder to inspire my curriculum. We have to let go of all of the things we are usually required to control; behavior management, rule following, accountability for learning and finishing assignments. For some that is extremely hard to move on from, but if you can you are free to create something really special for children. ~SHANNON WESTPHAL
  • As an observer, I am amazed already at the sheer numbers of resources teachers have put together and are willing to share. Never before have I seen so many businesses reach out to help – from Zoom to media outlets, online courses, apps, state and federal government, non profits and others. We are a world that connects and doesn’t wait for someone to tell us how or when. ~CATHERINE RING
  • The one ah-ha has been the reaffirmation of the importance of the arts to allow people to express their feelings, their joys, their anxieties. My students have used their art as a way to cope with the ‘stay at home order’ and it shows that the Arts goe beyond just an assignment or some standard.  ~JEFFREY ORTH
  • That students want that music connection. ~LINDA MCVETY
  • I joined a few classrooms on zoom and was surprised to see a keyboard sitting behind one of my most difficult students. It was a total surprise and really made me think about my preconceptions of our students. Now I have a new tool to connect with this kiddo-Music! ~ALLIE RIMKUNAS
  • One positive was calling a home without internet to check on an advisee. I talked to a mom for a long time. She was stressed and worried and yet doing an amazing job helping to teach her 5 children. My phone call cheered her up and helped her to realize just how well she was doing in an emergency situation. I will now call and talk to this mother each week because I have a connection with her that I might not have established except through the desire to maintain connection with students and their families. I’ve certainly learned the value of parent teacher relationships. I will never again make an assumption about a parent without truly interacting with a parent in an authentic way. ~GLORIA HEWETT
  • The Joy of Art as Positive Outreach – Adding our art show to the world of tech!!!! Parents (even some that classroom teachers had not had contact with) are responding and replying to the positive outreach from the arts department. We have been working together to gather permission to add students’ work and names online for the new VIRTUAL ART SHOW at two schools! ~LYNDA LEONAS
  • I have always taught by talking to my students face to face, building relationships, giving support and conferencing over their art projects. So now I reluctantly had to learn to use technology to do my job and I was very apprehensive. I have found (ah-ha) it can be effective and even though I  am just learning I can do it and am enjoying it with my students. ~HOLLY LEIGHTON
  • I have been very pleased to see some of my students take ownership of their own learning and embrace this opportunity to direct their own educational experience. For these students, I’ve truly felt like a guide / coach by providing them resources and materials to further fuel their own internal motivation as they choose the areas and skills to explore and develop. In my situation as a band director, I’ve told the students they need to change their mind set from “being a member of the band” to “having the opportunity to develop their own musical ability and interests”. ~BILL BUZZA
  • I have tried to keep my students in a positive mindset by adopting different assignments — I am not trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, we are not in our normal space so I am adjusting my expectations accordingly, which has worked well for me. We are doing things like video choreography, online movement classes, and Zoom interviews with dance professionals. I am actively trying NOT to do the same things I would do if we were meeting in person, I think that creates a sense of disappointment in the kids and for us, this is working well. ~EMMA CAMPBELL
  • Lesson #1 – online never sleeps. ~JEFF BEAUDRY
  • As a music educator, teaching remotely has made me realize, you can’t teach chorus with success unless you are in the same room as your students. When we make corrections, we need to make them as they happen not at a later time. We also desperately need to feel each other in the same room to make the music beautiful. A success would be the new ways I have learned how to use a variety of technology tools that I would most likely never have done. ~JANE KIRTON
  • LESS IS MORE. Initially, I had the idea that I needed to recreate school for students to access at home. After a week or two of juggling my “work from home” responsibilities with my new “homeschool Mom” responsibilities, I got a glimpse into what some schools are really asking of their families. It’s been very overwhelming at times, and so I have been able to change MY expectations and activities to help ease the burden for my students and their families. I have found success in collaborating with my colleagues to create meaningful and creative activities for my students to enjoy at home. ~DORIE TRIPP
  • When schools closed their doors and we were asked to create remote learning opportunities I was intrigued by the possibilities albeit stressed and a little confused by how it would work. I have to say one thing that I have been impressed with, is the capabilities of technology platforms.  I don’t think there is any substitution for the in-person instruction that our educational systems are built on, however technology is constantly improving to give better alternatives when that is not available, like right now. Having done my master’s program completely online, as well as working in several different school systems on different platforms, and using several different types of online programming certainly prepared me for attempting to teach remotely.  At this point in our current situation, I am not getting a lot of participation, however, I feel that I am using due diligence to provide students with many opportunities to develop their understanding and ability to communicate visually.  While we can’t teach in a traditional manner, we can still teach. Where there is a will, there is a way.  It is amazing to see what can be done that would otherwise have been said to be impossible. ~ANTHONY LUFKIN
  • I can still be surprised by my students- in particular those who were historically not as active as I would have hoped and are really doing amazing things in these challenging circumstances. I find myself hollering YES when opening e-mails. This insight will be so helpful in supporting those students in the future.~DANETTE KERRIGAN
  • It was when a student said during a Zoom meeting that she is experimenting even more with art materials.  She said, “You see this?” while pointing up, “It’s a butterfly mobile that I made with dental floss, sticks and colored paper.”  She shared it with the class with no fear at all. Students are sharing stories and ideas about making art I would have never known about otherwise. They are opening my eyes about what is possible right at home. ~LEAH OLSON
  • I made a rap (my least favorite genre of music ironically) video for my students and staff the day before our online learning started in order to encourage everyone and I know it lifted the spirits of all who viewed it.  The “ah ha” was that if we can put aside our uncomfortableness for others, the reward is priceless (I have attached the link below for you)  I will be sending out another one this Sunday providing them some encouragement for the last 7 weeks) ~DIANNE FENLASON
  • It has been so amazing to see that FINALLY Arts educators are getting included in technology training. I have had the privilege of being part of VPLTs (Virtual PLTs) with Arts educators and providing training for hundreds of educators in my District. ~BARB VINAL
  • As an elementary specialist is that it is challenging to make connections with students remotely. Recently I started joining zooms that the classroom teachers or case managers have. This has been a nice way to make a connection with the kids. As far as getting activities out to them we have been doing this through the packets that are sent home and through a facebook page that I set up. ~SAMANTHA ARMSTRONG
  • I have really been able to dig my teeth into some of the technology that I never seem to have time to really explore. I feel much more confident using various applications. I am also extremely lucky to have two musical children who are willing to help me. We’ve been able to put out material that I think is appropriate and user friendly for my students and their families. ~ANDREA WOLLSTADT
  • The personal relationships between teacher-teacher, teacher-student, and teacher-parent are the most important aspects of effective teaching. Regardless of the content I am trying to still teach my students, it’s the relationships and reaching out to others that really matters the most right now. In this new world of teaching virtually, often just a personal email, a phone call, or hosting a Zoom Meeting just to check in matters far more in the grand scheme of things than whether an assignment was handed in on time. ~IVA DAMON
  • Technology and online resources are pretty amazing if you have the time to dive into it and actually figure out how to best utilize it all for your own situation. This is SO happening for me right now, and it will positively impact me and my work for years to come. ~ROB WESTERBERG
  • I was struck by how much I miss making art with my students. This is something that I just took for granted in the whirlwind of the school day. ~ LISA INGRAHAM
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Virtual Exhibits and Performances

June 1, 2020

Sanford, South Berwick, Camden Hills, Fiddle Camp

Schools and arts education programs throughout the state are finding ways to share student work virtually this spring. Last week I shared Sebago Elementary School Virtual Arts Festival. Below are some of the virtual exhibits and performances and a virtual opportunity to learn during the summer. If you have a link to share, please send them to me at meartsed@gmail.com. You and your students have amazing accomplishments that others would like to learn about!

SANFORD

Six years ago I posted about the first Sanford Fallen Soldiers Project honoring WWII veterans. The project has continued over the years and because of COVID this year it had to take place virtually. The TV production lab at the high school/vocational center. Thanks to Sarah Schnell, who runs the station, WSSR-TV, who made the VIRTUAL CEREMONY possible. Thank you to music teacher Carol Baker-Roux who is retiring this year, for sending it for the blog.

 

CENTRAL SCHOOL, South Berwick

Central School celebrated their third graders with a Variety Show. The students could essentially share anything they wanted. Over 60 second and third-grade students and teachers were on the zoom call watching their videos. Kate Smith said: “It was absolutely precious to see the performers’ faces as they watched the reactions of their classmates”. You can watch the 22 performances in these GOOGLE SLIDES. Thank you Kate Smith for sharing!

CAMDEN HILLS REGIONAL HIGH SCHOOL

Work by Svea Delevett. (Photo courtesy Camden Hills Regional High School)

On Thursday, June 4 all three art disciplines – music, art and drama will be represented at the Virtual Fine Arts Night for Camden Hills Regional High School. The link will be available at 5 p.m. on Thursday when the event goes live.

The visual arts department will be providing a virtual gallery tour of this year’s outstanding student artwork. The online showcase includes 2D work in drawing, painting, photography, visual journaling, printmaking, and 3D work from Big Art, Metals, and Clay classes.

The theatre department will be showcasing the work of actors and “techies” in curricular theater classes. The work of students in extra-curricular courses will also be presented including a Zoom performance of Arsenic and Old Lace.

Students in vocal music have been working on Virtual Fine Arts night songs, by learning and performing songs in their homes. Those songs have been shared with classmates on local platforms where students listened to each other’s performances and gave comments.

Students in instrumental music have been working on several “virtual” videos in which students have worked individually with a “guide track” to be presented as one ensemble. The Concert and Jazz Bands will also be joined by selections presented by the CHRHS Brass Ensemble.

MAINE FIDDLE CAMP

Virtual Maine Fiddle Camp will be held June 19-21, and your V-MFC team has been hard at work. The weekend is REALLY coming together. I’ve been told that it’s going to be TEN times the program of any other virtual fiddle camp at, well let’s just say a REALLY reasonable price! REGISTRATION IS OPEN!!!

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Call for MALI Teacher Leaders

May 29, 2020

Deadline – June 1

Interested in taking on a leadership role in education – the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) might be the right match for you. Click on the images below to make them larger! Don’t hesitate, apply today. Deadline: June 1!

 

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