Posts Tagged ‘MALI summer institute’

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Through the Intern’s Eyes

August 9, 2017

MALI: Enriching Arts Education in Maine

Hello there! My name’s Alex and this summer I’m working as an intern for the Maine Arts Commission. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the state-run cultural agency, what they stand for, the projects they support, and the events that they sponsor.

A typical week for me usually involves photographing public art, writing blog posts, compiling monthly arts events, and working on some graphic design. But last week, I took a break from my standard routine and joined nearly 70 arts educators at Thomas College where the Arts Commission hosted the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI).

Being the non-Maine native that I am, at first I had absolutely no idea what the institute was about. All I knew was that Thomas College’s quiet summer campus was all of a sudden bustling with crowds of energetic art teachers. Armed with my camera and my Nalgene water bottle, I set out to figure out what exactly was going on.

Luckily, I had the chance to sit down with Catherine Ring, one of the founders of MALI. She explained to me that the institute’s mission is to enrich arts education in Maine by enriching the skills of teachers themselves. In the 7 years since its creation, MALI’s professional development training has created an army of veteran “Teacher Leaders” who have shared their creative knowledge with over 1500 educators around Maine. At MALI, Teacher Leaders turn their experiences into lessons, sharing their creative methods with other arts educators through workshops, presentations, and webinars.

Catherine also said that a large part of being a Teacher Leader is acting as a liaison with their respective school districts, functioning as a representative voice for art teachers and students in their region.

It’s during these three action-packed days that the MALI summer institute aims to enhance arts educators’ skills, which in turn leads to empowered students who enjoy stronger ownership over their creative learning processes.

And what’s even more exciting is that by the end of the three days, each teaching artist and teacher leader will create and outline an individual action plan for the upcoming school year. The project could be anything from leading a workshop for an entire school’s faculty, to using grant money to create a new gallery space for a school community.It was inspiring to see the level of care the teachers have for bettering themselves and their lesson plans for their students. There’s so much that goes into prepping for the school year, and these arts teachers are dedicated, passionate, and itching to inspire.

During the institute, I crept into classrooms filled with teachers taking part in workshops, attending lectures, and sharing ideas for the sake of creative collaboration. Leaders spoke about assessments of creativity, the importance of problem-solving, and the values of media in the classroom, amongst many other topics. There was laughter, there were snacks, and there was something in the air that made Thomas College’s Admissions building come to life.

What I observed over the three days is that MALI works to better student’s education by strengthening the roots of creativity and learning. MALI’s intentions are so admirable that the feeling of personal and community enrichment was palpable. As much as MALI is a teaching space, it also functions as a meaningful point of community for visual and performing arts teachers and teaching artists who may feel isolated in less populated school districts. Just sitting in on the events for a few minutes offered me a glimpse into the importance of arts education on every level, from leader to teacher, teacher to teacher, teacher to student. I have no doubts that MALI has made a significant impact on arts education in Maine, and I’m sure the students feel that as well.

 

Alexandra Moreno is an intern at the Maine Arts Commission, a rising senior at Bowdoin College, and a happy human. She enjoys writing, collaging, and fun.

 

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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!

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MALI Critical Feedback

August 11, 2015

A favorite part

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Teacher Leaders working on their posters creating their action plans and logic models for sharing

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) continues to use a Critical Friends model to provide feedback to each other as the work progresses. This years new Teacher Leaders created Action Plans that start with Essential Questions. For example, Why and how should we assess students in instrumental ensembles? The questions vary depending on what each teacher leader is learning and needing in their classroom. The template that is used helps the teachers formulate their ideas so they can present a workshop on the topic for other visual or performing arts teachers during the 2015-16 school year.

Along with the question(s), the template includes the following categories:

  • Rationale
  • Workshop Objective
  • Workshop Description
  • Timeline 1-6 months out
  • Resources Needed
  • Student Impact

You can imagine once the above are fleshed out, a plan develops for the workshop format. This is not to say that the plan is simple. In fact, some teachers really struggle to bring the plan together. It is amazing to watch the progress.

The returning Teacher Leaders used a different format this year – new to MALI as well. Teachers started with a Problem and a Goal.

From there they developed the following:

  • Inputs
  • Activities
  • Outputs
  • Outcomes
  • Student Impact
  • Rationale
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A Logic Model poster with comments on stickies

The MALI team that went to Washington, D.C. for the Teach to Lead Summit in July learned about the Logic Model template and decided hands-down that it was the way to proceed with the returning Teacher Leaders.

On the third day of the summer institute held at USM, Portland on August 3-5 all the Teacher Leaders shared their ideas in small groups with critical friends and received feedback that they could immediately apply and make any of the changes.

The frosting on the cake comes during the afternoon when teachers participated in a gallery walk reviewing the plans of each teacher. It was silent for 90 minutes while each Teacher Leader provides thoughtful feedback on stickies that the teachers use to make further changes. Both groups produced an amazing amount of high quality work during the 3-day institute.

In addition, the Critical Friend assigned to the MALI team while in DC for the Summit joined us electronically to provide feedback to Teacher Leader and music educator from Bonny Eagle High School, Jake Sturtevant. It was great to watch the process in action.

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Jacob Bruno from Corwin, MALIs Critical Friend, providing feedback to Jake Sturtevant

On August 20 the MALI will have a Critical Friends Day to provide feedback for the last time before they take their workshops and plans “on the road”.

Just a reminder that on August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please let me know if you have any questions.

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