Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts education’

h1

I Love This

August 18, 2017

Making a difference

I just love it when a teacher (especially a young one) shares an arts education story. Here’s one from Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Elise Bothel. Be sure and click on the image so you can get a close look at the response. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity for you to pause!

“Came across this response from a second grader at the end of this past school year. I love this. This student was not interested in art at all at the beginning of the year and I was in constant contact with family due to behavior issues. At the end of the year he enthusiastically circled all materials as his favorite and ended with this perfect response to my question about being an artist.”

Please share your stories so others can learn from your experiences.

h1

Pausing

August 14, 2017

Ideas and images – writing, drawing, photographing

We are all filled with thoughts and ideas. Each of us has some type of record keeping, documenting, remembering of the ideas and thoughts. Some formally through journals, photos, shoeboxes. perhaps on blogs. Some informally in our memories, getting together with friends or family to reminisce. And multiple other ways!

Photo by Sai Mokhtari/Gothamist

Some people use an electronic devise, some use a pencil or pen and paper. The act of writing or note taking was discussed on Freakonomics on Saturday (public radio show). Research on which is more impactful on remembering – computer use or actual writing. Another segment on Saturday included “I, Pencil” an essay written by Leonard Read in 1958. The story started out with a visit to a shop in NYC owned by a young woman who moved from Ohio to open the store, CW Pencil, because she LOVES pencils. If you like pencils the website alone is a delight to the eyes. I can only imagine that the store is a wonderful place to visit. You can see some photos of the store at THIS LINK. Anyone been there? If so, Leave a Comment below so others can learn about your visit or email me and I can include an update on the Maine Arts Ed blog here. And, if you’re interested in blogs (or pencils) the owner of CW Pencil, Caroline Weaver, has a blog on the website at THIS LINK. The shop is located at 100a Forsyth Street in Manhattan. I’ve added it to my “places to go” list.

This morning I received a quote in an email from my colleague and friend Lindsay Pinchbeck. I’ve blogged about Lindsay’s work; she is the founder and director of Sweet Tree Arts Center and Sweetland School in Hope and we traveled to Malawi in July 2016 to provide professional development for Malawian teachers on arts integration. Sweetland is an arts integrated school inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. The quote Lindsay shared is from Lucy Caulkins on Writing: “I take a moment – an image, a memory, a phrase, an idea – and I hold it in my hands and declare it a treasure.”

This blog post is really about how our experiences come together to inspire and move us to living life a bit differently. The idea of taking a moment each day to hold something in our hands coupled with what I heard on public radio and what I experienced yesterday, brings it all together for me and reminds me to PAUSE.

Here is my moment from yesterday after a few hours spent with a dear friend walking on the beach in a not so far away place with the water, the rocks, the birds, laughter, and stories.

Today Kal and I took a leisurely walk along the beach filled with rocks of difference sizes and shapes. I was struck by how angular many were. Several were split by glaciers and some by the cold and ice of winters past. The split ones still standing in formation, their negative spaces as important as the rock pieces. Each rock, water and wind worn – a variety of types – their smoothness invited me to touch them. One had sea weed attached to the top and it reminded me of screaming hair. Within 3 inches around it – perfect eyes, nose and mouth. 

Clicked this picture to remember. It first spoke to me without the eyes, nose and mouth. LOVE the beach – especially when it is remote (yet not far) and provides me a moment to insert myself into the natural world. 

h1

MALI Reflections

August 8, 2017

What’s it really all about

As I take a few minutes to reflect on the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Summer Institute that was held last week at Thomas College for three days I can’t help but think about what MALI is really all about. If I had to select one word it would be COMMUNITY. As many of you know there are about 1200 visual and performing arts educators in the state and I really don’t know how many teaching artists there are throughout Maine. Both were well represented last week. Bottom line, each of the participants were teachers, striving to be better at teaching and the desire to connect with others who care deeply about arts education.

Wow, I am so humbled by their commitment and proud of what they accomplished in three days!

Reasons for MALIs success

  • Teachers teaching teachers is a critical component
  • MALI is a community that provides ongoing support. Teachers learn that they have peers throughout the state experiencing the same or similar situations that they do day to day. They no longer feel like islands.
  • This summer’s institute had three strands; one for Teaching Artist Leaders, one for returning TLs and one for new TLs. The strands are customized for the unique group and individual needs. The strands came together for cross pollination and collaborations are formed.
  • All of the ideas are based on research and what is in the best interest of teacher development.
  • Phase 7 New Teacher Leaders

    A Design Team guides the work of MALI and plan every detail of the summer institute. They are totally committed to contributing above and beyond.

  • The MALI community grows each year with some teacher leaders returning year after year.
  • Through their work TLs find their voice and are invigorated to return to their school districts. Many are recognized in their new leadership role and are invited to the table at the local level. They serve on district leadership committees, lead the school and district professional development work for all subjects and grade level teachers, and are honored for their leadership.
  • The institute schedule is different each year to adapt to the changing needs but the foundation is built on What is good teaching? What is good learning? What is good assessment?
  • Teaching Artist Leaders Phase 6 and 7

    In 2015 Teacher Leaders created a set of Belief Statements on that include the topics that are vital to Maine arts education today: Arts Integration, Advocacy, Assessment Literacy, Creativity and 21st Century Skills, Educator Effectiveness, Effective Teaching and Learning, Proficiency Based Learning and Student Centered Learning, and Teacher Leadership.

  • Teachers are connected and become Critical Friends to help support each other’s teaching.
  • MALI models teaching tools

So, what makes involvement in the MALI community so special?

Looking closely at Tim Christensen’s pottery are Jenni Driscoll, Jean Phillips, Tim, and Charlie Johnson

Participants comments

  • “MALI has helped me grow tremendously as a professional and my students grow tremendously as learners.” ~ Charlie Johnson, Visual Art Phase 1
  • “It’s leadership through the arts and as artist/teachers we have so much to offer.” ~ Cindi Kugell, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI has made me feel like I have a voice in my school, my community and in my state. ~ Jen Etter, Music Phase 3 Teacher Leader
  • “It is a lifeline for arts educators and education. ~ Jane Snider, Visual Art Phase 2 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows us to share our artistic strengths and perspectives in a forum which will directly impact the educational experiences of children across the state of Maine. ~ Brigid Rankowski, Phase 6 Teaching Artist Leader
  • “I feel so validated in my beliefs in the arts being so important to the “WHOLE CHILD”. This week has allowed my confidence to soar in my building!” Amy Nucci, Visual Art Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • Brian Evans-Jones, Teaching Artist Leader conducts poetry mini-lesson

    “MALI has helped me grow more confident both personally and professionally, especially as a leader. ~ Mandi Mitchell, Visual Art Phase 5 Teacher Leader

  • “It makes me brave. By stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things and improve my practice. MALI is my safety net. ~ Dorrie Tripp, Music Phase 7 Teacher Leader
  • “MALI allows me to connect with exceptional arts educators from across the state; share resources and knowledge and improve my teaching!” ~ Pam Chernesky, Visual Art Phase 6
  • “I am thrilled to be part of the MALI team and so energized for my year of learning ahead.” ~ Kris Bisson, Music Phase 7
  • “Because of my role as a MALI Teacher Leader I got the opportunity to be chosen as one of three teachers to lead the professional development work in my district. It takes you places.” ~ Holly Leighton, Visual Art Phase 5
  • “Through the MALI Summer Session I discovered that both my art and my teaching are really directed at the same goal (engagement/interaction) and that who I am is as important to teaching & learning as what I know”. ~Tom Luther, Teaching Artist, Music Phase 7 Teaching Artist Leader

Next steps

Some of the MALI Teacher Leaders (TL) and Teaching Artists Leaders (TAL) will be sharing their learning in a workshop format at the local or regional level. Others will be continuously sharing in a social media mode. The Phase 7 summer institute was really about customizing the learning for each educator. I will keep you posted as they wrap up their plans for the school year I will share the information here on the blog and also on the Maine Arts Assessment site and through the communications that are delivered by the Maine Arts Commission.

Please let me know (argy.nestor@maine.gov) if you have any questions and are interested in applying to be involved as a Teacher Leader or Teaching Artist Leader for Phase 8.

h1

MALI Summer Institute: Day 3

August 5, 2017

The learning continues

Our theatre folks, teaching artists leaders Dana Legawiec, Nicole Cardano, and teacher leader Jean Phillips

On the third day of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) summer institute ideas fell into place and the teacher leaders had multiple opportunities to come together to share their ideas and follow up plans. Traditionally the third day is stressful but also the most exciting since everything comes together.

The day started with the opportunity to learn about each other. We grouped and regrouped – how many years have you taught, what discipline, etc.? And, moving around the room doing so, mixed up the groups continuously and was a lot of fun!

We continued the day with an opportunity for new and returning teacher leaders to act as “critical friends”. In MALI the critical friend role is a leader who assists and supports another leader. This is done in a constructive way to help the teacher move forward with their ideas. Critical friends often continue the supportive beyond the summer institute.

Lindsay Pinchbeck, Design Team member, Kris Bisson, music teacher leader and Lynda Leonas, visual art teacher leader

Teacher leaders generated a list of topics/questions that were of interest. They selected a topic to discuss in small groups. The format is similar to an un-conference or Edcamp. Some went away with more questions and ideas that were new to them.

The rush was on to complete plans that describe actions for the next year. The day ended with participants sharing their plans in a Gallery Walk. Plans were filled with comments written on stickie notes to help each teacher leader continue working on their individual plans.

As we ended the day exhausted participants went away filled with the energy and ideas that everyone freely shared. We look forward to seeing the final plans in a couple of weeks!

WABI TV 5 visited during the day and featured the institute on the evening news.

The dancer stands alone, John Morris!

Critical friends: Samantha Armstrong and Hope Lord – visual art teachers

Critical friends – Jen Nash, music teacher leader and Laura Manchester, visual art teacher leader

 

h1

MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

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

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

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

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

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

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

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

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

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

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

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

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

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

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

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

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

h1

Bags Are Packed and Ready to Go!

August 1, 2017

MALI Summer Institute

The Maine Arts Leadership Institute (MALI) gets underway today at Thomas College in Waterville. Almost 80 educators will come together to learn and share in a collaborative environment. PK-12 Teacher Leaders, Teaching Artists, and Teaching Artist Leaders will have the opportunity to build on their knowledge and consider how they will share the information during the next year. This is the 7th year that the initiative has offered summer learning and the schedule is chock full of rich sessions being delivered by teacher leaders as well as other educators who have much to offer.

The focus on teacher choices and teacher-centered learning will foster opportunities to consider how we do our important work of educating young people in visual and performing arts. The sessions include: standards and assessment, communication, networking, visual storytelling, drumming, creativity and much more.

As Karen MacDonald said recently as she prepares for the ECET2 conference coming up next week at Colby: “My basement is starting to look like a conference staging area”. I couldn’t agree with you more Karen! My bags are packed and I’m ready to go!

h1

Happy Retirement!

June 22, 2017

Maine is fortunate to have such marvelous 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, 2016-17, I know that you will join me in THANKING them for their years of service and dedication to students across the state. I certainly appreciate the commitment from the following educators and I wish each of you a healthy retirement and many, many years of laughter and love!

  • LINDA BABB, RSU#25, Bucksport, visual art, 47 years
  • SUE BOISVERT, Scarborough, music
  • JIM BROWN, China Middle School, music. 16+ years
  • MARY DEVENNEY, Erskine Academy, visual art, 18 wonderful years
  • DEBBIE DiGREGORIO, C.K. Burns School, Saco, visual art, 32 years
  • WES FRANKLIN, Greely High School, visual art, 35 years
  • PAUL GREENSTONE, Lake Region High School + other schools over the years, music, 40+ years of teaching
  • SUSAN HANSON, Blue Point and Eight Corners School, grades K-2, visual art, 31 years
  • KENNETH JONES, North Haven Community School, grades K-12, visual art, dance, theater, 24 years
  • MARGIE LANDIS, Mt. Ararat High School, music, 30 years
  • BETH LIBBY, Wentworth School, grades 3-5, visual art, 36 years
  • ROBERT HELSTROM, Hodgdon, music
  • CHERYL McGOWAN, Skowhegan Area Middle School, music, 36 very full years
  • BETTY MCINTYRE, Windham High School, music, 32 years
  • PAUL SCHNELL, George E. Jack and Edna Libby Schools in Standish (SAD/RSU 6), incredible music teacher, 40 years
  • JOYCE St. PIERRE, Sanford Schools, elementary visual art, 40 years
  • SARAH STUART, Mattanawcook Junior High School, Lincoln, visual art, 40 years
  • PAM TURCOTTE, Winthrop Grade School, visual art, 37 years
  • Wes Franklin, Visual Art, Greely High School, 35 years
Together these teachers have taught for over 500 years! WOWZER! If you or someone you know is not on the list and retiring please email me and I’d be glad to add them to the list. Thanks!
In and email from Joyce St. Pierre
Art in a room, from a box going floor to floor and room to room, on a cart and in a beautiful art room….all my experiences.
Taught from 6 to 12 classes a day, in 4 to 7 buildings a week, in 22 schools located by lakes, in mountains, towns and cities!
Students ranged from pre-K to K – 6, HS, college, adult ed, and an alternative school.
It’s been fun, frustrating, exhilarating, challenging, expected and unexpected…all over and more…
I’ve worked with some of the best people in the world!
Wouldn’t have changed a thing.
In an email from Kenneth Jones
I have been the k-12 Visual Art teacher from 1998 to 2010 and since then I’ve taught Visual Art k-4 and 9-12. During the entire time I was also the k-12 Physical Education teacher from 1993-2017. Inside of the P.E. job I’ve leaned heavily on my BFA in Dance and Theater. I choreographed all of the John Wulp productions on North Haven (including “Islands”) and produced a Circus Arts presentation every other year for the past twelve years that is full of dance. Every three years I’ve led an “Empty Bowls” fund raiser- focused on a different food bank in Maine or in the world.
Janis (my wife and the k-12 French teacher at NHCS) are off to Durres, Albania where she has accepted a job teaching 2-8 French and TEFL English on the high school level at the Albanian College- Durres. I’ve been promised that they will find a way to keep me busy. I’m taking my bike so I will, very happily, peddle Albania .
Thank you for all of your support over the years. I have benefited tremendously from the conferences I have attended over the years. They serve such an important role for any teachers in isolated positions. I remember your journey to North Haven when North Haven was recognized for Excellence in the Arts. As I recall, it was a bit of a sloppy day on the water!
It has been quite a run on the island but we are both excited for this next adventure.
%d bloggers like this: