Posts Tagged ‘Maine education’

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Insect Lab

March 22, 2022

Learning opportunity for teachers

Below is an invitation from Maine artist Mike Libby! Mike is a graduate of Bangor High School and is an amazing artist who established INSECT LAB. Now, he’s sharing his ideas with teachers. I encourage you to respond to Mike and join him on zoom during one or all of the sessions. What a super opportunity to consider how Insect Lab could be part of a lesson or perhaps your school curriculum.

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Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts

January 27, 2022

What a gift the glacier left

The word watershed (noun) means a time when an important change takes place. Over the years Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, located in Newcastle, Maine has shifted and grown as changes were needed and I’d say most, if not all, were important to the organization. At its inception the focus was on bringing artists together to learn and create. And, for many years Watershed has offered professional development for educators, many of them Maine K-12 visual art teachers.

Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts story started thousands of years ago. There is an abundance of glacial marine clay from the mountains to the sea because at one point Maine was covered by a giant glacier. Watershed is located in Newcastle, a place that has an abundance of clay with a blue-green tinge. Clay can be found throughout our state along banks of rivers and streams and also in fields. Sometimes it takes time to locate; it can be very pure or filled with other components that need to be picked and sifted out. Fortunately, one of the resources that Watershed provides for teachers is a video depicting the exploration to find clay.

This blog post tells the story of Watershed with several topics; history, philosophy, educational opportunities, audience, pandemic – ups and downs, changes underway, and supporting Watershed. Some of the blog content is taken directly from Watershed’s website; some is provided by the founders, teachers who have taken workshops, artist working at the center, and some from staff. A great big thanks to Claire Brassil, Watershed’s Outreach & Communications Director for her assistance with this post.

Original studio space

HISTORY

The history of Watershed begins with the geological gift of clay found along the banks of local rivers in midcoast Maine. For much of the 19th century, the local community relied on vital income from the manufacturing of waterstruck brick (so called because it was made from a wet mixture of clay and water). Waterstruck brick had lasting historical appeal, and in the 1970s an attempt was made to re-establish its manufacture on the site that is now the Watershed campus in Newcastle. While the brick business folded after a year, a group of artists became inspired to make use of the abandoned factory and the tons of local marine clay left at the site.

In 1986, Margaret Griggs, George Mason, Lynn Duryea and Chris Gustin collaborated on a new vision for the brick-making factory—as a place for clay artists to live and work in community. The open layout of the facility encouraged the artists to approach their work with a new vigor and awareness, and the seeds for what would become Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts took hold.

Founders George Mason, Lynn Duryea and Chris Gustin

During Watershed’s early years, small groups of 10-12 artists would spend the summer living and working together on the campus. The first residents formed connections and friendships in a space that provided opportunities to create without hierarchy. Artists developed their personal work and envisioned new possibilities for a creative community. Watershed soon began to attract artists from far corners of the world who sought a creative environment in which to engage and explore. Today, more than 100 artists a year come to Watershed to create and connect with like-minded makers.

I’ve been fortunate to know Ceramic Artist George Mason for many years. In 1987 he created a Percent for Art Project at the new school building where I was teaching in Union. He is an amazing, thoughtful and kind artist. When I asked George what his vision was when he first came together with his colleagues, this was his response:

You know, this all started among friends inviting friends. We sensed a creative opportunity to find out what might unfold by just living and working together with no aesthetic agenda or expectation of result. Even before the name Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts came into being after the first season, this place was already a refuge apart from career; where the magic of relationship and creativity had the space to spark the unexpected.

PHILOSOPHY

Central to Watershed’s philosophy is a belief that the unexpected sparks creativity and that new people, ideas and spaces nurture the evolution of artistic practice. Our dual mission is to provide artists with time and space to explore ideas with clay; and to promote public awareness of the ceramic arts. Through residencies, workshops, public events, talks and exhibitions, Watershed supports the process and work of clay artists from around the country and world.

This video on youtube is very informative.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, YES FOR TEACHERS

Watershed offers educational programs and resources for grades K-12 art teachers and students of all ages. From workshops and classroom-based experiences, to professional development and online tutorials, Watershed works to support ceramic art educators and the next generation of ceramists.

Watershed provides professional development opportunities; workshops, residencies, and resources. Teachers hone their clay education skills, develop curricula, and connect with other educators from around the state. Watershed provides newly created online tutorials, Digging & Processing Wild Clay and Raku Firing, developed by Teaching Artist Malley Weber.

Teaching Artist Malley Weber who created educational videos for Watershed

Upcoming workshops
Mold Making & Slip-Casting, March 3 – 4, 2022
Sgraffito Technique, March 25, 2022

Long time Teaching Artist and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Leader, phase 6, Tim Christensen is teaching the Sgraffito Technique workshop. Tim’s thoughts on Watershed:

“Watershed has been so important to my development as an artist and teacher. We’re incredibly fortunate to have this facility here, in Maine. It serves as a gathering and sharing place for all of the acquired knowledge of the American, and to some extent the international, ceramic scene, at the same time as providing world class studio facilities and learning opportunities. If we think of art as a language, and the different techniques and styles available to us as our vocabulary,  working through Watershed allows me to say an entire range of things that I would be otherwise unable to express through my artwork. Having Watershed available to me in Maine means I have the opportunity to say anything I can conceive with clay.”

Winthrop Middle School Art Teacher Lisa Gilman commented after the workshop she attended:

“Watershed nourishes the whole artist. They provide space and time for an artist to grow. They support the artist’s mind, body and soul. Watershed is a rare gem in today’s world. Not once all week did I miss technology or really even think of it. I was able to truly connect and grow as an artist and engage in deep thoughtful art making. Pure magic!” 

Vinalhaven’s K-12 art teacher, Heather White, comment:

“I’ve participated in countless professional development opportunities over the years, and my time spent at Watershed ranks at the very top of the list. The instructor and everyone on the Watershed staff was knowledgeable and encouraging, I got a lot accomplished in a short time, I’m going back to my classroom with new and fresh ideas, everyone I met was fun and friendly, and the food was amazing! Hopefully every art teacher in the state has an opportunity to go at some point!”

Teaching Artist Malley Weber demonstrates to a session with art teachers

AUDIENCE

Watershed’s audience is wide and varied. From artists who have different focus to teachers looking for learning opportunities to communities members who appreciate and wish immerse themselves and support ceramic programming. Some of listed below.

  • Artists who can work independently in a clay studio and come from Maine, around the country, or abroad take part in our residency program. We aim to foster community and connection among practicing artists at all stages of their careers, from students and recent graduates to established professionals looking for an opportunity to connect with other ceramists. Scholarships are available for all populations. For example in 2017 The Zenobia Fund was established for BIPOC artists, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)
  • Artists with some experience in clay who are looking to further their skills and knowledge. Guest artist and kiln firing workshops are available.  
  • Maine K-12 educators and students. The teacher education program prioritizes skill-building and technique-sharing in clay for Maine’s art educators. Teachers know their students best and can tailor what they learn at Watershed to suit their particular needs and interests. The teacher sessions also provide an opportunity for art educators who usually work solo to connect and collaborate. 

Watershed offers some programs for student groups as well. Art classes come to campus to learn about Raku firing. 

  • Ceramic art lovers & appreciators. While the bulk of our programs prioritize hands-on learning for artists, Watershed offers opportunities for the public to learn more about and appreciate ceramic work via exhibitions, artist talks, special events, and Salad Days, our annual fundraiser and celebration of ceramic work. 

PANDEMIC – UPS and DOWNS

In person Watershed programming was on hold during the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the timeline for the building of the new studio (see more under ‘changes underway’ below) was pushed forward and completed more quickly since the campus was quiet.

New ways for artists to create and connect became a priority and the following are some of the programs developed:

  • Online gatherings for artists around topics that mattered to them. For example a partnership was formed with The Color Network and Ayumi Hori to facilitate online conversations for artists who focused on racial equity, economic parity, and creativity during Covid-19.
  • Kiln firing opportunities for Maine artists during the summer were available since because they’re usually in constant use by artists-in-residence.
  • An outdoor sculpture exhibition called “Outstanding in the Field” (details under “past exhibitions”) supported clay artists and offered the public an opportunity to safely view work outdoors.  
  • A series of video tutorials for K-12 teachers and students (and others), created by teaching artist Malley Weber, on digging wild clay, processing wild clay, and raku firing.

CHANGES UNDERWAY and NEXT STEPS

During the last 20 years or so Watershed has been able to maintain and upgrade some of the facilities on the property. They built and fully insulated artist cabins, built a kiln shed, and updated Thompson Hall to name a few changes.

Phase 1, 2015-17: Included project planning, a feasibility student and conceptual facility designs. From this first phase action has taken place and so many wonderful and much needed changes have occurred.

Phase 2, 2018-19: A beautiful historic building, the Joan Pearson Watkins House is located about a quarter mile down the road from the main campus. Watershed purchased the house and the accompanying 20 acres, which abut the land that leads to the studio. It was renovated and restored and holds Watershed’s Barkan Gallery, which offers year-round exhibition, lecture, and event space. Watershed’s administrative offices and retail shop are also located in the house.

Phase 3, 2020: Studio Annex provides climatized, flexible space for adjunct programming and material and equipment storage.

Phase 4, 2021-21: Windgate Studio is a 7,500 square foot studio, weatherized and ADA-compliant, supporting an expanded residency and workshop season. Features include a state-of-the-art filtration and ventilation system, spacious glaze area, custom spray booth, plaster room, and a single-level floor plan offering a seamless transition between studio and kilns. 

  • Supports artists working on commissions or large scale projects.
  • Brings (inter)nationally-known guest artists to lead workshops.
  • Provides opportunities for student groups to make and fire work.
  • Enables Watershed to collaborate with partner organizations.
  • Offers space for artists to create and connect throughout the year.
  • Tap into limitless potential!
Recently opened Windgate Studio

Phase 5: Campus Commons design and construction2022-2023. The Commons will replace the existing Thompson Hall. The plan includes comfortable dining facilities, a commercial kitchen, and weatherized housing for staff.

SUPPORTING WATERSHED

After reading about Watershed you might be wondering how they’ve been able to accomplish so much. Like anything successful they’ve had a vision, commitment from amazing staff and supportive board of directors and advisors. And, they’ve had donors (small and large contributions) who have contributed generously to the mission and success of Watershed. Their Capital Campaign called ‘Watershed NOW’ is creating spaces that inspire bold artistic practice and community. LEARN MORE.

There are opportunities to support Watershed with donations to the scholarship fund, the capital campaign, and the annual fund. Occasionally, Watershed seeks volunteers for specific events and projects. 

Watershed is well-known in the national ceramics community but has perhaps less name recognition in Maine. As capacity for year-round programming grows, Watershed plans to offer more ways for Mainers to connect. 

Co-founder Lynn Duryea shared her remembrance and thoughts on Watershed:

It really was Peg’s vision that got Watershed going. She was a long-time seasonal resident of the area and an investor in the brick factory. When it ceased to be financially viable, she really wanted to see artists use the space, did a lot of outreach and research to see how that might happen, contacting clay programs as well as individual artists. She knew George and ultimately convinced him to try the pilot program in 1986.
George invited artists he knew and who had been recommended to him. He invited me because I was working on large-scale planters for a Percent for Art installation that couldn’t be executed in my Congress St. Portland studio. He knew Chris and invited him to come with his students at Swain School of Design early in the fall. 
I was still working at Watershed when Chris came with his students. It was conversations that came out of that week that moved us forward. I don’t recall that we were looking too far down the road – as it were. I don’t know that we were thinking we were laying the groundwork for what would become a major institution in our field. We definitely saw the potential of a group of people coming together to work in what was then a very raw space, just to see what might happen collectively and individually. Watershed has always been about community – people working together on an equal footing regardless of their reputation, status, age, etc.
Watershed in its early years was about as grass roots as you could get: a group of artists and a small board of directors figuring it all out.
And it has worked. The growth has been organic, uneven and amazing, particularly amazing in the last decade. Fran (Rudoff, executive director) has worked wonders – along with a very dedicated staff and board. In no way did we envision the specifics of Watershed’s programming today in the fall of 1986, but we knew something significant could happen. And it has, by putting one collective foot in front of the other for all these years, never giving up on the ideas and potential.”

NEXT STEPS

Hopefully you’ve read to the end of this long blog post. And either learned about a new place in Maine or reminisced about your own experience(s) at Watershed. It’s a beautiful gem where thousands have traveled to, learned, and left with a full heart. When I think about the co-founders (in their 30’s at the time) who were brave enough to take a chance, I am reminded of Vincent van Gogh’s words: “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything…”

I am grateful for the help Watershed’s Outreach & Communication Director, Claire Brassil provided in putting together this blog post. As for the future of Watershed, Claire’s thoughts below:

In the spring, we celebrated the building’s completion and collectively reoriented after such a rapid metamorphosis. The studio can contain any program we dream up. But … how will Watershed’s limitless future take shape? As an organization known for its scrappy rough edges, what will it mean to nurture the best parts of our original identity while making the most of our shiny new vessel? These coming-of-age throes find us wrestling with invigorating yet challenging questions of who we’ve been and who we want to become.

The shape and scope of Watershed’s next chapter will begin to emerge over the coming year. I feel confident that my colleagues, the board, and our greater community share a collective passion for refining and growing this unique place. Watershed is a quantifiable physical space: 54 acres, 7,500 square feet of studio space, 31 dining room chairs, 15 bedrooms, 11 kilns, and one gallery. But in an equally real sense, we are an experience, an idea, and a respite during an era when few places affirm that creative practice and artists matter.”  

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Educate Maine Symposium

March 21, 2021

Opportunity to present

Each December Educate Maine convenes hundreds of educators, business leaders, policymakers, and diverse citizens from across our state’s communities at the annual Education Symposium. This year they celebrate an exciting milestone: 10 years of increasing the educational attainment and career readiness of Maine people.

Educate Maine is looking for presenters and invite you to share your best strategies, innovative ideas, and in-depth knowledge with Maine’s education and business leaders. Raise your voice and contribute to our state’s shared knowledge by becoming a presenter.

Seeking proposals that speak to: 

·    Business and education partnerships that strengthen pathways into Maine’s workforce

·    Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives that have a positive impact on education and workforce outcomes (emphasis on racial and gender equity)

·    Highlighting student leaders and/or student groups who are making a difference in their school communities 

·    Policies in Maine or elsewhere that could help achieve Maine’s statewide education attainment goal

Where will the 2021 Education Symposium be held?
The 10th annual Education Symposium and Leadership Awards Luncheon will be held IN-PERSON at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Maine on Friday, December 10, 2021.
What are the proposal evaluation criteria?
The Educate Maine team selects breakout sessions based on a number of factors. Their priority is to offer symposium attendees a diverse selection of engaging and informative sessions from which to choose. They value breadth, depth, expertise from within and beyond Maine, new ideas, compelling data, high-quality professional development, and topics related to our mission of helping Maine people reach their highest educational potential. Proposals will be evaluated more specifically based on the following criteria: 1. Alignment to one or more of the MaineSpark tracks (see below) 2. Clear and compelling learning objectives for session participants 3. Strategies for participant engagement
What are the key dates for submission?
Call for Proposals Submission Deadline: Friday, May 28, 2021
To learn more about MaineSpark
Educate Maine is a proud member of the MaineSpark coalition. Working together, the coalition’s goal is for 60% of Mainers to hold a credential of value by 2025. The work is organized into five strategic tracks: Strong Foundations – working with children from birth to 6th grade· Future Success – college and career readiness for middle school through college-aged students· Adult Promise – working with adults aged 25 and older· New Opportunities – attraction and retention of new talent for the Maine workforce· Policy – policies that support attainment of the 60% by 2025 goal Visit http://mainespark.me/ to learn more.
Questions?
Contact Educate Maine at info@educatemaine.org or visit our 2021 Symposium webpage for more detailed information.
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Teaching and Learning Outside

November 17, 2020

You in or out or ?

During the last few months we’ve been hearing about moving the classroom outside since it is safer than being inside during the pandemic. Many teachers patched together how to teach online in the spring, the summer studying how to teach online and simultaneously with students in person. Many are holding their breath that the pandemic doesn’t worsen so they are forced to go full time online once again and I see in the news this morning that is happening in some schools across the state of Maine.

In the Maine Sunday Telegram this past weekend an article was included written by Rachel Ohm about what many Maine school districts and teachers are doing to move learning outdoors. The benefit to students learning visual arts outside are numerous. Close observation for drawing, painting, sculpting and actual experiences with a variety of textures are just two examples that make the curriculum more authentic and engage learners at a deeper level.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Katie West teaches an outdoor art class to third graders in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

LYSETH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

The article includes how art teacher Katie West is using an outdoor classroom at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland. As long as her students are safe she plans to continue teaching outside. Her classroom includes a tarp with waterproof cushions and stumps for students to stay appropriately space. I’m sure some of you are wondering about the winter elements and learners being prepared with the clothing to keep them warm. Fortunately the school district is using some of their relief funds to purchase clothing for students; 500 hats and 1,000 pairs of gloves have been distributed to students. Six-hundred pairs of snow pants are expected to arrive after Thanksgiving. An order of fleece will be cut up into blankets and neck warmers. Katie has received a $1,000 grant to start a gear exchange for the students at Lyseth.

MORE PROGRAMS

South Portland Schools have created over 90 outdoor learning spaces across eight schools for outdoor instruction to take place. The grades K-5 students in Freeport have the option for remote learning with the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment. In Alna the the PK-grade 5 Juniper Hill School has been teaching and learning outside since it was established in 2011 with the school’s focus on nature. At Sweetland School in Hope (where I teach) over the summer a gazebo was built so teaching and learning can take place in a location protected from the elements. Along with the gazebo they have a greenhouse complete with a wood stove that is used for another outdoor learning space.

PORTLAND, ME – NOVEMBER 13: Third grader Gianna Meas works on her painting of a tree during an outdoor art class in the woods at Lyseth Elementary School in Portland on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer)

KATE EHRENFELD GARDOQUI

About a year ago Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui wrote an article that was published in Education Week called The Irrefutable Case for Taking Class Outside. She told a story about being at a Teacher of the Year event when someone made this comment to her: “Oh, you do the nature stuff, right? That sounds so fun!” As visual and performing arts educators we can relate to that type of comment, right? Kate works with the Great Schools Partnership and is the cofounder of White Pine Programs, a nature-connection organization in southern Maine. She was a finalist for the 2011 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Needless to say Kate is no slouch when it comes to teaching and learning. She included in her article that teachers who simply don’t know what is taught and learned in outdoor education can’t possibly understand the potential of the curriculum. Her story drives the point home about how we not only have to education children but adults as well.

I heard from Kate yesterday and she said how inspiring the work that Maine schools are doing opening the door to incorporating outdoor learning throughout the school day. She shared information about three schools.

  • Kingfield Elementary, where teacher Selina Green Warren has spearheaded a vibrant gardening program, and principal Johanna Prince has supported many teachers in exploring the possibilities of outdoor learning. LEARN MORE. Selina’s work was started before the pandemic; when teachers at her school started searching for ways to bring learning outside, they realized what an amazing asset Selina’s garden was.
  • Great Works School in South Berwick has also been doing some amazing work on building year-round environments for outdoor learning. Here is an article about LEARN MORE.
  • Kate recently published a blog on the Great Schools Partnership page about some other programs that have been inspiring her. LEARN MORE.

KATE’S WISH

” On the whole, my deepest wish is that one legacy of this pandemic is that more teachers will recognize the incredible value of learning experiences that don’t happen inside classrooms. There’s been so much loss, but I’m hoping that this might be one silver lining.

There’s plenty of resources available for those considering ‘taking your classroom outside’ I certainly agree with Kate and in addition I know that quality education programs in the Arts are not only providing deep meaningful learning but holding the hope in our hearts and minds that we will get through this pandemic and be better people for it!

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Student Artwork Opportunity

January 10, 2020

2020 Inclusion Awards

The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) recently put out a call for submissions for its 2020 Inclusion Awards, which celebrate extraordinary high school students who think deeply about issues of inclusion for people living with developmental disabilities. Open to all Maine high school juniors and seniors, the awards have two components: an Essay Contest and a Visual Arts Contest, which allow students to express these ideas as artwork.

Changing the Way We See by Sophia DeSchiffart, Creative Expression 1st Place Winner 2018

This year, students are asked to write essays or create two-dimensional artworks responding to the following prompt: “What does the full inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities mean to you?”

The experience of participating in these contests has been a rewarding one for both teachers and students. “The contest allowed me to have the ability to express myself while standing up for others and hopefully having an impact within the community on how people interact with someone with developmental disabilities,” writes Madison Landry, a participant in 2019. Linda Garcia, an educator at Hodgdon High School says, “By participating in the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council’s Inclusion Awards, my students become advocates for a special segment of communities across Maine and beyond. Through their participation, my students share stories about inspiring individuals who make our world a more beautiful place.?

The deadline for entries is Monday, February 3, 2020, and educational awards range from $250 to $1,000 for individual entries. Teachers and schools will also have an opportunity to win educational grants to support their commitment to educating their students on the value of inclusion.

The MDDC is a partnership of people with disabilities, their families, and agencies that identifies barriers to community inclusion, self-determination, and independence. MDDC is committed to creating a Maine in which all people are valued and respected because the council believes communities are stronger when everyone is included.

For more information, contest rules and entry guidelines, visit maineddc.org/inclusion, email maineddcom@gmail.com. or call Jessica Gorton at 287.4215.

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MLTI Student Conference

February 6, 2019

Call for Student and Educator Team Proposals

The MLTI Student Conference Committee is issuing the call for student and educator team proposals for the 16th Annual MLTI Student Conference, to be held on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the University of Maine in Orono.

Two important notes:

  1. Proposals are due much earlier this year! This will allow us to have a session list finalized by the time conference registration opens.
  2. Ideally, all proposals will have some form of student leadership incorporated. This could mean students will lead the whole session (with some adult support), students will serve as guides/coaches during the activity portion, or something in between. Students can co-present with teachers or other educators (including from community or business organizations).

Sessions will be one-hour long, must involve some form of creating, making, and doing, and should leave participants excited about what they learned and eager to share their experiences with others.

Here’s the information you need to submit a proposal:

Conference Theme: Create for ME

Possible Topics:  Proposals are not limited to the conference theme, and might include topics such as music, spoken word recording, coding, video production, graphic design, or writing and publishing your collection of short stories.

Device Requirements:  The student conference supports all MLTI devices, regardless of platform and encourages “platform-agnostic” sessions.

A Proposal Submission must include:

  1. The name of your school
  2. The title of your session
  3. List of all presenters ($15 registration cost will be waived for up to two presenters per session)
  4. A description of your session:
    • What skill will participants learn? How will you teach this?
    • What activity will participants engage in – what will they create?
    • What can participants expect to walk away knowing and being able to do?
  5. Materials to share in the conference registration form:
    • Short video advertisement of the session (less than a minute)
    • Short description of the session (less than 200 words)
  6. Student leadership information:
    • How will student leaders be incorporated into the session?
    • How will they be empowered to succeed during preparation and during the day of the conference?
  7. Session requirements:
    • Level of expertise needed to participate fully (beginner, intermediate, expert)
    • The maximum number of participants you can accommodate (room sizes vary from 30-100)
    • Space set up requests (auditorium, tables/chairs, projector, speakers, etc.)
  8. Technology requirements:
    • A list of which platforms can be used in the session: (MacBook, iPad, ProBook, ElitePad, Chromebook, other)
    • Software and materials participants must have to participate (be specific)
  9. The name of the educator to be contacted about this proposal, and their email and phone number

Submit Proposals by 5 pm, Friday, February 22nd, 2019 to this online form or copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://bit.ly/MLTI-student-conference-proposals-2019. It is recommended that you type your answers in a separate document and then copy them into the form, so you can be sure to save your work.

General Timeline:

  • Proposals due: 2/22
  • Proposals selected: 3/1
  • Registration open: 3/13
  • Last day to register: 4/23

Spread the word – if you know of someone doing fantastic work involving technology with making, doing, or storytelling please encourage them to submit a proposal or send an email with suggestions to Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov!

For more information or answers to questions, please visit the MLTI Student Conferencepage or contact Amanda Nguyen, Digital Learning Specialist at Amanda.Nguyen@maine.gov.

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Maine Teacher of the Year

January 18, 2019

Looking to 2020

2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year, Kaitlin Young, Music Educator

Every outstanding teacher knows someone who would make a great representative for education. The person who teaches down the hall or at another grade level or perhaps someone you’ve watched from a distance at district workshops. Whoever it is, do they inspire students, plant seeds for their colleagues, and/or take on leadership roles with a clear voice? Here is your chance to honor them and communicate how important they are to the profession. Consider nominating them for the 2019 County Teacher of the Year. If they are selected they will be considered for the honor of 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year.

NOMINATION

Teachers may be nominated by students, parents, teaching colleagues, principals, superintendents or anyone from the community who wants to honor an outstanding educator. 

Publicly recognizing outstanding teachers encourages students to think about teaching as a career, and provides the community a sense of pride and investment in their teachers who are making a positive impact on student’s lives every day.

To nominate an outstanding teacher as a 2019 County Teacher of the Year CLICK HERE!

Deadline: MONDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2019, 5:00 p.m.

About the Teacher of the Year Program

The Maine Teacher of the Year program starts with your nomination!
To be considered, the teacher must:

  • Hold the appropriate professional certification for their teaching position;
  • Be employed by a Maine public school, including a Career and Technical Education center, public charter school; or be employed by a publicly supported secondary school (a private school that enrolls 60 percent or more publicly funded students, sometimes referred to as “town academies” and
  • Have been teaching for a minimum of 5 years – 3 of which are in Maine.
  • Be actively teaching students at least fifty percent of full-time employment at the time of nomination and during the year of recognition.
  • Not have been a County Teacher of the Year within the past 5 years.  

From those nominees, one exemplary teacher from each of the 16 Maine counties will be selected as a 2019 Maine County Teacher of the Year. From the 16 County Teachers of the Year, 8 semi-finalists are selected. The field is narrowed to 3 state finalists, one of whom will be announced as the 2020 Maine State Teacherof the Year at a surprise school assembly in the fall of 2019.

The Maine Teacher of the Year program is administered by Educate Maine in partnership with the Maine Department of Education. The Maine State Teacher of the Year represents Maine at the national level and becomes eligible for the National Teacher of the Year award.

Please contact Dolly Sullivan at Educate Maine if you have questions or want more information on the process.

Please don’t miss this opportunity to honor and recognize a great Maine Teacher!

DEADLINE: 4 FEBRUARY 2019

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ECET2 Spot On!

August 14, 2018

Gathering at Colby College

The ECET2 – Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers – conference held last week at Colby College was outstanding. ECET2 Maine is an educator community and two-day event and based on the ECET2 national model offering a unique opportunity for teachers from across Maine to connect with other practitioners to gain leadership skills, share innovative classroom practices, and be “celebrated” for their work on behalf of Maine’s students.

Allan Monga speaking with Sydney Chaffee

There were three Cultivating the Calling speeches that provided seeds of inspiration. Hearing educators stories is motivating and validating. One was provided by the 2017 National Teacher of the Year, Sydney Chaffee. She has been moved by her own students stories and by Maine’s Poetry Out Loud champ Allan Monga.

The breakout sessions were terrific, presented by thoughtful educators sharing their ideas and practices. The Colleague Circles provided time to discuss challenges and successes and it was made clear that we share so much across our state in schools/districts.

Colleague Circle presentations during Gallery Walk

Participants could add their “Why I Teach” to a wall and I’ve included some of them in this blog post. You can see that the arts were well represented.

The conference closed out with a Shark Tank where three teams pitched their ideas. Five hundred dollars was given to the most convincing idea which was decided by participants votes on Twitter. And, of course, the door prizes were super!

A great big thank you to the planners – once again they did an outstanding job providing an opportunity that was “spot on” for educators!

There were at least 5 participants who said they will be working on having an ECET2 event in their communities. Watch for the information as it becomes available on their website or Facebook.

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

May 25, 2018

The Telling Room

The Telling Room is a recipient of an Arts Learning grant this year from the Maine Arts Commission. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit their site in Portland not long ago. It was charged with creativity and excitement for learning. While visiting a group of students from the Biddeford Schools Gifted and Talented program were participating in a lesson. I had the opportunity to observe, participate, and speak to the participants. I also had the chance to meet with the staff and they kindly followed up with information that is included in this blog post. Thank you all for your contributions!
Suzanne Tighe, Biddeford teacher, has worked with the Telling Room staff for three years.
IN SUZANNE’S OWN WORDS
Thank you for helping to support the Telling Room. This is my 3rd year bringing students to the Telling Room or having them come to my school. My students always look forward to the visits.  My 5th graders this year did not get to visit with Marjo and they were so disappointed. She has been my contact person for the past three years. She has always made it a point to get to know the students and they feel that connection. One of my boys, a reluctant writer, was so looking forward to working with Marjo this part Monday. He wanted her to be the one to help him develop his writing.
I feel that the greatest benefit for the students is the level of investment they have in their writing after working with them. This interest and excitement about writing is then transferred to their every day writing. The students never know who they will be able to work with; a writer, photographer, a musician, artist or poet. This allows my students to work with adults who have a range of interests. Many of my students play musician interments or are gifted in the visual arts.  The opportunity to work with these artists is a wonderful experience.
For myself, its a great way to see some new ideas or see some old techniques reinvented. This allows me to use these techniques with other students. Its also an opportunity to talk about writing with a colleague and share ideas.

Marjolaine Whittlesey is a Teaching Artist Associate

Marjolaine Whittlesey is a Teaching Artist Associate at the Telling Room and worked with Suzanne’s students at the school and again on the day I visited at the Telling Room.

IN MARJOLAINE’S OWN WORDS
During a field trip to the Telling Room students get to experience the art of writing in a greater context than what they see in the classroom. They get to work alongside adult writers and see the plethora of publishing done by peers their age and other students from around the state. When they walk into our space they often comment on how it feels comfortable and creative, “like my home.”

Our space and our programing serves to create a safe space for each student to explore their own unique voice, which opens them up to their creative selves. Our programs often start with generative work that allows each student to find a way into the writing process. Our activities and warm ups strive to reach various learning types so that any student can feel inspired and successful. Our focus on writing as mostly rewriting is a skill that will serve any student throughout their whole life. We present revision as focused play rather than tedious work. Hopefully that sticks!

My hope is that each student remembers the excitement and pride they felt around writing and sharing. I hope that they can remember specific details about what they wrote or heard in others’ stories. Even if they can’t remember an exact writing exercise, my goal is that each student leaves a TR program being more curious about the world and their experience in it.

Students come to The Telling Room on a Field Trip with their class as a three hour experience. I love to hear when they return to school and continue to work on the pieces they started during the Field Trip and it becomes a bigger part of their classroom experience back at school. We had one student enjoy the writing they did with us in their Field Trip so much that they asked to return to The Telling Room for a Summer Camp — and then they followed that up with a semester-long afterschool program! They discovered that they loved to write and found a space to continue developing that love at The Telling Room.
Nick Schuller is the Program Director at The Telling Room.
IN NICK’S OWN WORDS
Sometimes we hear that “today’s young people” have difficulty receiving feedback or being told “no,” and that constant exposure to screens impedes their natural curiosity. Our work in field trips like this one counteracts those concerns: rather than shutting down because of constructive criticism, our young writers are encouraged to see an opportunity for new creative expression. We hope they’ll see that inviting diverse voices into the feedback process can foster collaboration and ultimately the product will be stronger as a result.

I always hope that we light a spark, and that field trip attendees will go back to school with a new energy for writing. I also hope that all of the students received a confidence boost from knowing that they can engage in the revision process and come out feeling encouraged.

Sarah Schneider is the Development Director at the Telling Room.
IN SARAH’S OWN WORDS
The opportunity to encounter writing in a new way—either through games and activities, other art forms like theater and performance, or simply being in a new space with time to write—can free up students to think in new ways and engage their imagination. Even reluctant writers often begin to open up in a field trip as they learn and practice writing a story they want to tell and that people will be eager to hear.

One of the key things students get to do with us, even on field trips, is share their writing—a whole piece, or even just a word or a sentence—with their peers. Getting a chance to share the story or poem they’ve been working on with an audience is a big part of building confidence. I hope that students remember that they can be bold and take a leap out of their comfort zone—in both writing and sharing their work—to discover things they didn’t know were inside them and to share their stories and voices with all of us.

Celine Kuhn is the Executive Director at the Telling Room.
IN CELINE’S OWN WORDS
I hope that students will remember that we offered them a safe and creative space to write for fun, tell their stories and find their voice. What we do every day is equip kids to succeed in and out of school.
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Maine’s High School Diploma Standards

April 7, 2018

Contribute your opinion

On Monday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m., Cross Building, room 202, State House complex in August there will be public hearings on two bills that impact Maine education.
  • L.D. 1898 An Act To Amend Maine’s High School Diploma Standards and Ensure Maine Students Meet State Standards upon Graduation Presented by Representative Ginzler of Bridgton
  • L.D. 1900 An Act to Repeal Proficiency-based Diplomas
The Education and Cultural Affairs Committee of the Maine Legislature will hear both written and in-person testimony for bills, either for, against or neither for nor against. If you are interested in providing testimony you may do so in the following ways:
  • Send an email to Jayne Deneen at Jayne.Deneen@legislature.maine.gov with L.D. 1898 or L.D. 1900 in the subject line and she will distribute your testimony to the committee members.
  • Snail mail your testimony to
    Jayne Deneen, Committee Clerk
    Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs
    100 State House Station
    Augusta, ME 04333-0100

    She will distribute your communication to members of the committee.

Read each LD at:

Committee information and the link to listen online is located at:

http://legislature.maine.gov/committee/#Committees/EDU

 

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