Posts Tagged ‘Maine arts’

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Visual Thinking Strategies

July 27, 2018

Waterfall Arts

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

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

What is VTS?

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

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

How does it work?

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

          Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions:

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

July 25, 2018

Leonard Middle School – Old Town

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

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

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

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

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

COA volunteer Teagan and Susan preparing materials.

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

Talk about trust!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waiting!

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

Example of the gourd about to grown into the mould.

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

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Empty Bowl Supper

January 8, 2018

Ellsworth High School

Please join Ellsworth High School FOR A Empty Bowls Supper!

• WHY? “Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was created by The Imagine Render Group. The basic premise is simple: Potters and other craftspeople, educators and others work with the community to create handcrafted bowls. Guests are invited to a simple meal of soup and bread. In exchange for a cash donation, guests are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world.

The money raised is donated to an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity.”

ALL PROCEEDS will go to EHS Food Pantry! • WHEN? Thursday, January 11 – 5:00 – 7:00

•WHERE? Ellsworth High School Cafeteria date location

1/11/18

CONTACT MRS. OLSON FOR DETAILS OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP SOMEHOW. THANKS! LOLSON@ELLSWORTHSCHOOLS.ORG

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MALI Mega Conference Oxford Hills

January 5, 2018

Registration is open

Registration is open for the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Mega Conference at Oxford Hills High School on Friday, March 23rd, 8:30 a.m. – 3:15 p.m! Participants will select 3 workshops from an offering of 15. Not only will the workshops offer great learning opportunities but we all know how much we learn when visual and performing arts educators come together to learn. The networking is always a critical part of the MALI Mega Conferences.

Schedule

  • 8:30 a.m. Registration begins
  • 9:00 a.m. Opening
  • 9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Breakout Session I
  • 10:30 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. Break
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Breakout Session II
  • 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch, participants on their own
  • 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Artist Showcase with Amanda Houteri, Celebration Barn
  • 1:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Breakout Session III
  • 3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Closing

Contact hours

5.5 contact hours will be provided to those participating in the full day of the MALI Mega-regional conference at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

 

WORKSHOPS

Bookmaking 101: summative assessment never looked so good!

Develop a creative book making project to assess your students’ authentic learning. Perfect for the end of a grading term, this idea can be tailored to suit the needs of you and your students. Impress your administrators with your ability to keep every student fully engaged in the assessment of their own work. Grades 7-12

Cindi Kugell Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Visual Arts

Rhythm & Counting

Rhythm!! Is this one of the elements of music that you spend a lot of time on in rehearsal? How are your kids at sight-reading? Have you ever fallen into the trap of singing the part for your students? Are you clapping rhythms in class and finding that it sounds more like applause? Intended for ensemble directors, this workshop will provide a new approach to many based upon a tried and true method of counting and verbalizing rhythmic patterns. Grades 7-12

Kyle Jordan Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Music

The Arts and Emotional Intelligence

Looking at ideas on emotional intelligence and leadership collected by Daniel Goleman we will identify the core elements of emotional intelligence and compare them with habits and skills practiced in the creative process. Be ready to create, journal and discuss ideas together on creativity, the arts and emotional intelligence. All grade levels and all content

Lindsay Pinchbeck Director of Sweet Tree Arts and founder of Sweetland School

Flexible Grouping Strategies for the General Music Classroom

It is the age of customized education and differentiated instruction. Chances are, your building administrators are looking for observable evidence of this in your teaching practice. Time constraints and scheduling difficulties can make customized learning a challenge to implement in the general music setting. In this workshop, we will discuss the benefits of flexible grouping strategies, and how to use them to your advantage. Grades PK-12 General Music 

Dorie Tripp Manchester and Readfield Elementary Schools, Music K-5

Tableaus of Courage: How to Help Students Engage with Complex Content through Theater

Ovations Offstage Director Catherine Anderson will introduce workshop participants to Ovations Dynamic School-Time Performance Series for 2018-19, and model for teachers how to help students engage with any story, or content (fictional or not) through the use of “tableau”. Tableau is a wordless theater activity for small groups of students that can be adapted for any age group. Participants will leave with a leasson plan with clear learning targets, and assessment criteria. All grade levels

Catherine Anderson Portland Ovations Offstage Director

SESSION II 10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Choose One

Stars and Stairs

Stars and Stairs, Where am I now and Where am I going? How can the use of Stars and Stairs in your classroom help to inform you and your students of their learning progression and actively engage them in the learning process? This will be a round table discussion. Looking at your standards and your curriculum how can you use the Stars and Stairs model in your classroom.  All grade levels and all content

Samantha Armstrong Paris Elementary School and Agnes Gray School, Grade K-6, Visual Arts

Creativity

Everyone seems to agree that we need more creativity in education, but just what is creativity, and how can we possibly teach it? This workshop will answer both those questions (gasp…) With one foot planted in neuroscience, and the other dangling in the depths of the subconscious, we will conduct transformative activities (visual arts based) designed to enhance the “brainsets” that contribute to creative states of mind. Grades 7-12

Phil Hammett Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Visual Arts

Improvisation Crusader: Improvisation as an Essential Musical Skill

Improvisation is commonly viewed as a specialty skill, and one that you either have or don’t. This presentation makes the case for improvisation as an essential skill, a naturally growth-minded learning tool, and an additional resource to address any number of Maine Learning Results, and to engage students and give them more ownership over their musical voice. This will be heavily participatory, exploring simple methods to more advanced, and using multiple musical languages/genres. All grade levels

Tom Luther Midcoast Music Academy, Piano, Digital Music, Music Composition Specialist, Teaching Artist, former Art Educator

Creativity and Taking Back the Classroom

Art can propel the next generation of leaders to make a personal connection to real world issues. In this workshop participants will explore strategies for helping young people forge a deep and personal connection between the environment and themselves. If our students are to have the courage to address the environmental challenges we face today, they must believe in the power of their ideas and know that they can create something tangible from them. Participants will make art that crosses subject matter boundaries and explore ways to design original curriculum that leads to action. Elementary and Middle Levels and Visual Arts

Nancy Harris Frohlich, Founder and Director, LEAPS of IMAGINATION

Integrating Curriculum: Making it Happen at the High School Level

Come join a conversation, share thoughts, and cultivate ideas regarding the challenge of integrated curriculum work at the highschool level. How can finding commonalities between subject areas motivate student learning, provide hands on experience with cross curricular connections, as well as benefit the educator as they become more proficient in the language of other disciplines? High School

Lori Spruce Brewer High School Visual Arts

SESSION III 1:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Choose One

Looking in the Mirror:  The Importance of Student Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is a crucial part in the cycle of learning for both student and teacher.  With regular self-reflection integrated in your classroom, students will become more aware, dig deeper, and take ownership of their learning.  This applies to us as teachers.  We will also discuss the importance of documentation and strategies of reflection upon our own teaching.  Information gathered about student growth, understanding, and feedback on units/lessons will not only be beneficial for the development of a curriculum, but also in providing evidence for teacher evaluations.  All grade levels and all content

Mandi Mitchell Hermon High School Visual Arts

Bridging Adolescence: A River Runs Through Us – Composing our Story

This workshop documents the progression of a year-long chorus project in which 7th and 8th grade students composed lyrics and music for an original performance piece. The project developed a model of integrated arts programming, including extensive literacy integration through working with a guest poet-in-residence for several weeks. The project also tied in hands-on classwork, a field experience, a connection with a wider community project, video diaries, peer critique, and of course music composition and performance skills. The workshop will give participants a hand-on experience of our project, as well as tools to create their own. All grade levels

Brian Evans-Jones Poet and Teaching Artist and Kris Bisson Marshwood Middle School Music and Chorus

All Aboard for Arts Travel, Full STEAM Ahead!

Interested in transforming your school into a STEAM based model? This workshop will include the benefits of STEAM for students, some sample STEAM lessons, and a suggested action plan for incorporating a STEAM approach into your school. Upper Elementary

Jenni Null Songo Locks Elementary Music K-6 and District Fine Arts Coodinator and Linda McVety Songo Locks Elementary Music K-5

 

Teaching Aesthetics and Criticism: Approaches to Standard D

How do we teach aesthetics and criticism in our Visual and Performing Arts classes? How do teachers design learning  experiences for Maine Learning Results standard D? In this interactive workshop teachers will experience methods for teaching aesthetics and criticism in the 7-12 arts classroom.  Sample lessons that teach forms of artistic interpretation to students will be shared as well as methods for critique.  The workshop is geared toward supporting the teaching and assessment of Maine Learning Results standard D. During the second part of the workshop participants will be encouraged to share their own approaches.  Participants will leave with tools that they can immediately use in their classes. Grades 7-12, adaptable for all grade levels

Bronwyn Sale Bates College, former 7-12 Visual Arts teacher

Inspiring Environmental Stewardship Through the Visual Arts

This will be a fun and informative program with practical involvement by all. All participants will have ideas to take back to the classroom and hopefully a reinvigorated perspective on their teaching with a theater focus. All grade levels

Andrew Harris Lecturer and Chair of Theatre, USM Department of Theatre

MORE INFORMATION is located on the Maine Arts Commission website.

REGISTRATION has been set up through Eventbrite.

If you have any questions please email Argy Nestor at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Farnsworth to Unveil Mural

August 31, 2017

During September First Friday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Farnsworth to Unveil Mural – During September First Friday

On Friday, September 1, during the First Friday art walk, there will be a special mural unveiling of a new mural arts project on School Street, on the wall of the Grasshopper Shop in downtown Rockland, which is a partnership between the Farnsworth’s Education Department and mural director Alexis Iammarino. The gathering will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on School Street, between Main and Union Streets, with a public remarks scheduled for 6 p.m. This is the eighth consecutive year that the Farnsworth has participated in First Fridays, thanks to a sponsorship from the First National Bank. During First Fridays, the museum is open free of charge to the public from 5 to 8 p.m.

The mural arts project has been made possible thanks in part to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The purpose of this community project is to engage local youth in creating public art in downtown Rockland. The project has been guided by local community mural artist Alexis Iammarino. She was joined by Canadian-born mural artist Melissa Luk, who has created mural projects on multiple continents, most recently in the west-African nation of Gabon. The mural was also completed with help of local artists and volunteers of all ages, the youngest of which was 7 and the oldest 80 years old. The mural unveiling will celebrate the efforts of all those involved, give the public the opportunity to meet the artists, and toast this new addition to the cultural vibrancy of Rockland’s downtown. Free ice cream will be provided by the Grasshopper Shop.

For more information on this project, please visit the museum website at www.farnsworthmuseum.org or call the museum’s Education Department at 207-596-0949.

Contact: David Troup, ext 128, dtroup@farnsworthmuseum.org

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In Today’s News

April 24, 2017

Aaron Robinson

In the Portland Press Herald yesterday Bob Keyes wrote an article about the work of Aaron Robinson. I am so proud of Aaron and the work he has done over the years. He is a former student of mine. The following is an excerpt from the article which you can read entirely at http://www.pressherald.com/2017/04/23/numb-with-sorrow-a-maine-composer-channels-a-musical-hero.

Maine composer Aaron Robinson was reminded of Bernstein’s words while listening to media reports in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris in the fall of 2015 that killed 130 people and injured 400 more. “One of the people interviewed was quoted as saying, ‘We’ve become numb with sorrow,’ ” Robinson said. “When I heard ‘numb with sorrow,’ I was already creating in my head.”

 

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Belfast Mural

December 17, 2016

Fantastic sea creatures

Children paired with artists create fantastic sea creatures in downtown Belfast, Maine. The mural project was funded by an anonymous donor through the Maine Community Foundation’s Waldo County Fund.

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