Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts education’

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Danielle Sullivan

May 22, 2018

Music Educator

This is the one of several blog posts in 2018 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 7 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 93 Teacher Leaders and 8 Teaching Artist Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories. Thank you Danielle for sharing your story!

Danielle Sullivan teaches music, band and chorus at Etna-Dixmont School. This is her second year at the school and her 8th year teaching. Danielle teaches general music PreK-6th Grade, 4th grade band, 5-6 grade band, 7-8 grade band, 5-6 grade chorus, 7-8 grade chorus and jazz band.  There are about 230 students in the school.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

I love seeing students do something they thought was impossible.  At the beginning of the year they believe that there is no way they’ll be able to play/sing this song and by the end of the year (quarter, semester…) they’re able to. It’s wonderful to watch.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  1. Administrative and community support are huge. Without support you’re always fighting for what’s right.
  2. Teachers who care
  3. Students who want to learn

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom? 

I love hearing students play and sing alone. The student and I learn so much about their ability when they play alone. Quiet and shy students who either need more support or other opportunities can be lost in a large group if they never sing/play alone.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

I love all the new people I have met and the ideas we share.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of teaching young students to love music. If you can get them young then you have them for life. Being able to teach young children to love music is of the utmost importance to me.

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

All the other duties that aren’t teaching; paperwork, curriculum work, meetings, emails. Doing all these other things makes it harder for me to find time to do research new lesson ideas and work with colleagues.

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

Having older students who consider themselves ‘musicians’.  All of the students that come through the music room door are musicians. When they are young (as is the case at my school) they don’t have a choice; everyone has music class.  But as they get older (middle school and high school) they are no longer required to take music, band and chorus are optional. Having a strong music program with a lot of older students may seem like luck, but if you get students to consider themselves musicians then they will seek out music when it’s no longer obligatory.

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

Don’t be a workaholic! It doesn’t benefit you or the students!

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

For school, I would buy enough instruments so that any student who wanted to play and couldn’t afford it could use a school instrument.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

Not learning the banjo earlier in life.

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Call for MALI Teaching Artist Leaders

May 16, 2018

Application available – Deadline Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative, Year 8

Visual and Performing Arts Teaching Artist Leader Application

Teaching Artist Leaders, MALI Summer Institute, August 2017

Join us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Arts Commission invites you to be a part of    the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Now in its eighth year, MALI offers a unique opportunity to learn and network with teaching artists and PK through grade 12 visual and performing arts educators from across the state. MALI is looking for teaching artists interested in leading and in taking a close look at effective teaching and learning in the arts. This is an opportunity for you to participate in professional development and networking, as well as to have a voice in the direction of arts education in the state of Maine.

APPLICATION

Deadline: Wednesday, June 13, 2018

If you are selected, you will be required to attend our summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018. We will provide sessions to help you develop your ideas and support your work. We will then ask that you take what you’ve learned and share it with other teaching artists, educators and community members in your region and beyond.

Selected Teacher Artist Leader responsibilities for the 2018-19 school year include:

  • Full participation in the 3-day summer institute, July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018
  • Communicate in a timely fashion by email and in a MALI phase 8 google site
  • Be prepared for summer institute by completing pre-readings and responding to prompts with the MALI community
  • Critical Friends Day – follow-up to the summer institute, fall 2018
  • Participate in 2 meetings electronically with teaching artist leaders during 2018-19 school year
  • Contribute your teaching artist leader story for the Maine Arts Education blog
  • Attend a retreat to reflect on the phase 8 MALI work and plan next steps, winter 2019

Application requirements

  •    Current resume
  •    Letter of support
  •    Paragraph of interest

MALI BACKGROUND

Teaching Artist Leaders, MALI summer institute, August 2017

Since 2011 the initiative has been building capacity by training arts educators on the “what” and “how” of teaching and learning in the arts so they can provide the leadership in Maine through professional development opportunities. Teaching artists have been included in MALI for the past four years, and the goal of training Teaching Artist Leaders is now in its third year. As the initiative enters Phase 8, MALI has grown to include 101 leaders.

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers and teaching artists to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators

APPLICATION

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Maine Educator Magazine

April 25, 2018

Kaitlin Young

The 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Young was highlighted in an article for the Maine Educator Magazine. Kaitlin teaches music at SeDoMoCha School in Dover-Foxcroft. In addition to the article, Kaitlin is also on the cover of the February edition. Kaitlin is a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and her full MALI story will appear later on this blog later on this spring.

Quotes from the article which you can access HERE.

“Arts education is essential for all students. The arts help you to participate in a larger community and we are fortunate to be able to provide these culturally enriching activities within our school.”

“We are in Dover- Foxcroft—Being Teacher of the Year isn’t about me, but perhaps my ability to be an ambassador for others. I feel honored to be part of this community and to tell others about it gives me great pride,” said Young.”

“It’s totally normal for me to one be silly and to crawl on the oor,” said Kaitlin Young with a smile. Young is the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year and teaches music at SeDeMoCha Elementary and Middle School.”

 

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MALI Teaching Artist Leader Story: Nicole Cardano

April 24, 2018

Teaching Artist – Theatre

This is one of several blog posts in 2018 that include stories of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 7 Teacher Leaders and Teaching Artist Leaders. This series includes a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about each leader. CLICK HERE  for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE  for more information on the 93 Teacher Leaders and 8 Teaching Artist Leaders.  CLICK HERE  for Arts education resources. CLICK HERE  for the MALI Resource Bank. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past teacher leader stories.  Thank you Nicole for sharing your story!

Nicole Cardano has been teaching Drama and Improvisational Theater in the schools for eight years.  She teaches students in grades K-12 and adults. The majority of Nicole’s work has been with 5-8th graders. She has seen the most growth with this age group. Through Nicole’s studies and practice of improvisational theater she have connected to the foundational philosophies of Listening, Support, Eye Contact and Respect. The games that she teaches and her directorial mindset work from these foundations. Nicole believes in the process being more valuable than the product. Learning and developing these skills fosters a stronger community, a place of open listening and supportive fun.

What do you like best about being a teaching artist?

The thing I like best about being a teaching artist is expanding the awareness and experiences of connection through the practice of theater. As a teaching artist you are visiting many different environments and working with a large variety of people. My learning experience is constantly expanding. I have the opportunity of teaching theater as a tool for people to enhance social communication as well as deepen content connection.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

Providing a variety of opportunities for the students to connect. Recognizing that our strengths and challenges are different for each person. Being patient with yourself and the process. Every experience is new.

Have you found assessment to be helpful in your classes, workshops and residencies, and if so, how?

At this stage I find assessment to be most helpful in further communicating the validity of the practice. Articulating the progress that you saw within a class or with a particular student heightens the understanding of the importance of your work. I welcome recommendations on learning more formats of assessments that others have had success with.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?

Joining this supportive, creative and inspiring community has been an honor. The knowledge that we share with each other is endless due to so many different areas of expertise and experiences. I enjoy each and every conversation, and always wish I had more time with each person. I want to take everyone’s class!

What are you most proud of as an artist and/or a teaching artist?

I enjoy observing unexpected moments of pride. Such as experiencing success and true engagement from students that the teachers may not have thought would gravitate towards this work. Theater is a tool to learn with. That concept has been difficult to translate. I find that there can be a misconception that I am trying to work with the “theater kids”.  The theater kids are wonderful but that is not what fuels me to find opportunities for bringing the practice of theater into the school day. People want to play, students want to play, and at the right time teachers want to play too. We learn a great deal from each other in the act of play. In one of my first years as a Teaching Artist I went out of my way to recruit students that were not identified as being a part of any particular extracurricular interest, students that would easily have been predicted to become ‘At Risk’. Out of this selection there was one student that I quickly recognized needed to play extravagant characters. The feedback I received from a professional who had known that student for nine years was that they did not know that they could do this. Demonstrating longevity with supporting these students is something that I aspire to.

What gets in the way of doing a better job as a teaching artist?

Nicole at the Maine Arts Leadership Summer Institute

Having a set program where I am able to work with the students over their schooling years would be ideal. My work is designed to give the students Freedom through the practice and environment of Respect. This philosophy goes a long way for students that may often struggle in school, or struggle with believing in their own education.

School did not come easy to me. Teachers liked my personality, but many times did not know where to place me as a student. I had test anxiety, was a slow reader and easily lost my interest in a standard classroom setting. I could connect with people. Theater has been a life skill. This has been a way for me to study people and culture. Improvisation has allowed me to directly connect. I often think and process information with the tools of theater and improv. Relaxing a student, and providing play with the foundational rules of improv allows for a safe place to learn and interact.

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

Expanding the work. Reaching new schools, classrooms and age groups. The majority of my work is truly for all ages. I have learned to zone in on the philosophies and foundations of practice that speak to all, while also finding exercises that more directly fit certain ages and environments.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming a teaching artist or is just starting out?

Start with one project and observe/assess that. What did you most enjoy? What was challenging? What would you do differently? Where would you like to see this work continue? Then find a home for a second project based on this information, and repeat.

Be aware of what your needs are. I recognized that as an individual artist that I needed more recognition for my work and a business format. I have since launched a non-profit entitled “Theater Today”. I continue to work at this. The mission for my non-profit is:  “Theater Today facilitates, educates, and leads the mindset of drama, improvisational theater and play as a developmental tool.  We are social education and emotional growth through the medium of play, practiced in any format and with any organization.”

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

MALI Summer Institute – Teaching Artist actor, theater maker Dana Legawiec, Nicole, Wiscasset High School Theater teacher Jean Phillips

The truth is I would distinctly support my non-profit. Creating programming that was not as limited by funding, time constraints of finding funding, and provided more consistent support. I would be intentional on what would create longevity for Theater Today, and the goals that we aspire to reach. Allowing plans to be big, while continuing to be clearly thought out. Creating the opportunity for the practice of theater to become a normal part of learning. Give talks on the importance of play. How human connection through play can promote a more positive human existence for all.

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

Wow, how fast time has gone by. I am now 94. I am proud of the differences I have been able to make.  That theater is recognized, appreciated and utilized as a tool for learning and improving communication. I am filled with joy that I have been able to travel the world and meet so many amazing people. I laugh at the moments of confusion I had as a younger person. Embrace today and now. Life is outstanding! Enjoy it, and consciously share your love of it!

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Arts Education Policies

April 20, 2018

Arts Ed Partnership resource

Twenty-nine states in our country define the arts as a core or academic subject. You can learn what Maine and other states have in place for policies that impact arts education on the Arts Ed Partnership site at ArtScan.

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MALI Mega Oxford Hills

April 13, 2018

Fabulous learning opportunity

Over 70 PK-12 arts educators and Teaching Artists traveled to Oxford Hills High School in late March to attend the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative conference. The workshops varied greatly and participants had the opportunity to attend three during the day.

Thank you to the Oxford Hills visual and performing arts staff and administrators for providing the space for the conference. One week before the conference we learned that their workshop day turned into a teaching and learning day due to the many snow days. We are grateful that they were still able to make it happen.

Kris Bisson, Kate Smith, Brian Evans-Jones

A huge THANK YOU to visual arts teachers Cindi Kugell and Samantha Armstrong for all of their attention to detail.

Thank you to the following who offered workshops:

  • Cindi Kugell – Bookmaking 101: summative assessment never looked so good!
  • Lindsay Pinchbeck – The Arts and Emotional Intelligence
  • Dorie Tripp – Flexible Grouping Strategies for the General Music Classroom
  • Catherine Anderson – Tableaus of Courage: How to Help Students Engage with Complex Content through Theater
  • Samantha Armstrong – Stars and Stairs
  • Phil Hammett – Creativity
  • Tom Luther – Improvisation Crusader: Improvisation as an Essential Musical Skill
  • Nancy Harris Frohlich – Inspiring Environmental Stewardship Through Visual Arts
  • Lori Spruce and Tim Christensen – Integrating Curriculum: Making it Happen at the High School Level
  • Mandi Mitchell – Looking in the Mirror: The Importance of Student Self-Reflection
  • Brian Evans-Jones and Kris Bisson – Bridging Adolescence: A River Runs Through Us – Composing our Story
  • Jenni Null and Linda McVety – All Aboard for Arts Travel, Full STEAM Ahead!
  • Bronwyn Sale – Teaching Aesthetics and Criticism: Approaches to Standard D
  • Andrew Harris – Creativity and Taking Back the Classroom

Amanda Huotari

In the middle of the day we had the fabulous opportunity to work with and learn from Teaching Artist Amanda Houteri from Celebration Barn Theater.

Participants during Amanda’s session

In June there will be an opportunity for teaching artists. PK-12 arts teachers and teaching artists will have an opportunity to apply to be a leader. Watch the blog and weekly email to learn more.

Dr. Katie Rybakova and Thomas College pre-service teachers

Jan Gill and Jenni Null

Kris Bisson and Brian Evans-Jones presenting

Tom Luther presenting

Mandi Mitchell

Samantha Armstrong and Linda McVety

Teaching artists Tim Christensen, Tom Luther, and Brian Evans-Jones

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

April 12, 2018

Portland Stage

Portland Stage received a Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning Grant for the 2017-18 school year. Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Lincoln Middle School in Portland where teaching artists from Portland Stage were on site working with grade 8 students. When I walked in I remembered instantly of how much I love teaching middle school. I’m so fortunate to have had this opportunity to see Portland Stage and middle schoolers ‘in action’.

Students shouted out at one another in their best Shakespeare voices: “I do not like your faults.” They attempted to beat their partner with words, to manipulate and convince them. The only rules in one of the word games: 1) be safe 2) gotta win as they learned about understanding Shakespeare. I was impressed with the engagement of the students and wowed by the teaching artists techniques. What a great way to learn about persuasive language.

Portland Stage Teaching Artists: Khalil LeSaldo, Hannah Cordes, Chris Holt, Ella Mock

Portland Stage provides excellent and age appropriate learning opportunities for these young adolescents. Thanks for your good work Hannah Cordes, Portland Stage Education Manager and the other teaching artists working at the school (and in the theatre): Chris Holt, Ella Mock, Khalil LeSaldo, and Megan Tripaldi.

The following information was provided by Hannah Cordes.

Describe the work you’ve been doing with Lincoln Middle School students. 

Every year, we bring the Directors Lab Shakespeare School Tour program to the 7thand 8th grade students at Lincoln Middle School. Students watch a shortened adaptation of a Shakespeare play performed by professional actors and then are invited to explore the story and language of the play themselves in interactive workshops in their classrooms. In these workshops, students practice effective communication, creative collaboration, rhetoric, and critical analysis. Directors Lab puts Shakespeare’s language into the hands and mouths of the students, empowering them to be the artists, directors, and ensemble with the power to interpret the text and produce meaning. We also work with the 6th grade students at Lincoln Middle school through our winter show. This year, 6th grade students came to Portland Stage to see our mainstage production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry. Prior to the performance, we did pre-show workshops in their classrooms with a focus on the play’s story arc and character development, particularly exploring the theme of how an individual can impact an entire community. We find that these workshops enhance student ownership over the language and story of the play. Additionally, many Lincoln students also participate in our In-Theater programming, through camps, after school classes, and other programming.

What language do you hope impacts these students and what language do you want them to walk away with? 

Chris Holt, teaching artist

I hope that our work helps students realize how brilliant they are at understanding and bringing Shakespearean language (and any complicated or dense language, for that matter) alive. The workshops are designed to empower students to feel a connection to the language by using their bodies, voices, and ideas to explore the text.

In terms of specific language, I would love for each student to come away knowing at least one line of text from Julius Caesar. In her feedback, Language Arts teacher Antona Bailey remarked that students were quoting the lines from the play that we used in contrapuntal arguments on the bus! So I would call that a success!

What do you want the learners to remember in the near and/or far future?

The goal of our programming is to enhance literacy and to empower students to be brave with their creativity, so that is always my number one hope of any given program. More simply than that, I hope that Portland Public School students look back on their Portland Stage experiences from K-12th grade and feel connected to art in a meaningful way. I hope that our programming inspires them to seek out theatre and other art forms, as both audience members and artists themselves. I hope that the access to art provided by Portland Stage programming will help shape future generations into people who appreciate and value artistic expression as a means of understanding and investigating the world.

What are the greatest benefits of the work with Lincoln Middle School students/staff?

Hannah Cordes

What I love most about our work with Lincoln Middle School students/staff is that we are able to continue to build relationships and build upon the work that we do both with teachers and students. We interact with students all three years of their Middle School experience, with the intent to build upon the work we have done the previous year. In 6thgrade, we focus on the elements of storytelling (characters, theme, plot, etc.) and how to bring that alive using your voice, body, and imagination. In 7th grade, we engage students with Shakespeare (often their first experience of Shakespeare’s work) through the lens of creative collaboration, exploring how to tell stories as an ensemble. Then in 8th grade, we explore Shakespeare again, this time with a focus on rhetoric and critical analysis, investigating how to make an argument, how theatre engages with its audience, and how the audience/actor interpretation impacts the content of a play. With teachers, I am grateful for the relationships we have created with Lincoln teachers. This allows us to find more and more ways in which Portland Stage can continue to support classroom teachers and how we can make our work even more impactful to teachers and students alike.

STUDENT FEEDBACK

  • “This was the best day ever”!
  • “It was so cool being Brutus, I might seriously be an actor one day”.

TEACHER FEEDBACK 

  • “We used a lot of the resource guide. The comic and synopsis were essential. The historical facts gave good background knowledge and helped kids have an in-road for the plot of the play.”
  • “The actors are so talented and committed. They are clearly present in the work and it’s so fun to see them experimenting to convey the meaning of the text, and connecting with the audience. I loved that the staging was including the audience and surprising them—reinventing how they think “the theater” should be. Their reactions to the drumming, to “Citizen 3,” were just awesome.”
  • “The multiple modalities that are included—the resource packet, the performance, the Directors Lab become a kind of perfect storm for a memorable experience. I think Shakespeare can be seen as an elitist text and this program brings equity, and equal access, to it.
    The fact that all of my students, because of this experience in a public school, will be able some day to be saying, “Oh, well, yeah,
    Julius Caesar, that was all about power and betrayal.” That is really empowering. They might shatter a stereotype of their culture or economic background because they can summarize or allude to Shakespeare. So many of them already see the relevance now, and my hope is that all of them can reach back to this experience and use it, build on it, surprise or delight someone with their knowledge about it. Also, the teaching actors are seemingly endless fonts of energy for this work. It was lovely to see them being energized by students”.

NOTE: In the fall I posted a series of blog posts on Portland Stage. You can access the series by typing in Portland Stage in the “search archives” box located on the right side of the blog.

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