Posts Tagged ‘MALI’

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MALI Phase 8 Educators

July 17, 2018

Congratulations

The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), now in year 8, announces three new teacher leaders and three new teaching artist leaders. These incredible educators bring the total number of MALI leaders to 107.  CONGRATULATIONS to the following educators.

Teaching Artist Leaders

  • Kerry Constantino – Dance
  • Joe Cough – Music
  • Shawna Barnes – Visual Art

 PK-12 Teacher Leaders

  • Shalimar Chasse – Visual Art, grades 7-12, Wiscasset Middle High Schools
  • Anthony Lufkin – Visual Art, grades K-8, Friendship Village, Prescott Memorial, Union Elementary, and Rivers Alternative Middle Schools (RSU#40)
  • Catherine Newell – Music

Each of these leaders brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to MALI. We’re excited about their involvement. During the next year you’ll have a chance to learn more about the phase 8 MALI work and about each of the new leaders on this blog.

Learn more about MALI at THIS LINK and access resources at THIS LINK.

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Blues Festival

July 14, 2018

Rockland

If you love the Blues I’m sure you’re aware that the annual North Atlantic Blues Festival is happening this weekend at the public landing in Rockland, July 14 and 15. Amazing performers will be there to delight the audiences and all of Rockland will be providing music and food offerings in the spirit of the festival. Performers include: Kat Riggins, Vanessa Collier, Bobby Rush, Tab Benoit, Lil Ed and the Blue Emperors, Wee Willie Walker and the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter Connection, Lurrie Bell, Ilana Katz Katz, Slam Allen, and Mud Morganfield.

Opening the festival are students from the Midcoast Music Academy. After a week of music camp where they’ve had the chance to broaden their music abilities they’ll open on both days on the main stage.

They were featured on WABI 5 television which will give you an idea of the amazing opportunity that they’ve had this week. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teaching Artist Leader, Tom Luther, is seen in the footage working with students. His bright smile says it all! And, the students say it best! CHECK OUT the LINK.

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Will Stecher

June 19, 2018

Music Educator

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

Will Stecher is a music teacher working with students in grades PreK through grade 4; including beginning band in RSU19 – Newport and Corinna Schools. Will is I finishing up his 4th year in his current position and his 7th year of teaching overall. He is responsible for around 460 students between the two schools, teaching general music and 4th grade band.

What do you like best about being a music educator?
The moments when the kids begin to see and feel why we do this thing called art, when they know the song so well that they aren’t even thinking about who is watching them or whether it’s a cool thing to do. The moments when they realize that making music in any form is fun and they want to do it more. The moment when a kid who has been working hard on a song finally breaks through and plays it just right. When kids come into a performance feeling good and regardless of the how that performance went, they are feeling good about what they have done.
What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?
Literacy of your discipline is extremely important, being able to talk about what you are doing when you perform, or discuss the techniques of playing an instrument or what style you are creating within is a key to arts education. Great instruction is also a key, so that kids have a good foundation in the discipline no matter where they go in their schooling or in life. Passion from the instructors the kids have in the arts is a third key. We wouldn’t be in this line of work if we didn’t love our material and transmuting our love so that kids can make it something they love or like to be a part of, is extremely important too.
How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?Assessment has allowed me to see where students are doing well and where they need assistance. It helps students to see these things too, so that ideally, they can become stewards of their own improvement. As artists, we live a life of assessment. always looking at the way things are becoming or happening right in front of us. Ideally, we are passing that on to our students.
What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the Maine Arts Leadership initiative?
The people I have met and connected/reconnected with in my involvement with MALI have been the biggest benefit. It can make such a difference in the life of a teacher to know that all you have to do is reach out and someone will answer and help in a way that is pertinent and useful. MALI has done that for me.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of the students who continue on in the arts due to the experiences they have in my classroom. Some of these are students who decided long ago they were going to be musical and those kids are great. Just as sweet though, are the kids who haven’t made that decision yet and still participate fully and completely and begin to decide that they want to sing in the middle school chorus or audition for show chorus or keep on playing that instrument because they want to, not because someone is making them.
What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?
Paperwork and time. Paperwork essentially creates a second job for the teacher when the time could very well be spent on improving and creating meaningful instruction. And I always wish that I had time for those kids just starting out with band instruments to really secure fundamentals before they move on.
What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?
I have frequently been told by supervising teachers, administrators and others that I seem to get along with students at all levels, that I know how to relate to them. I feel that this is something that I have not come to just by chance, though circumstances of my life have certainly contributed to it. I think it has come about through experiencing all types of people and learning about all sorts of things, even those that don’t seem to have a connection to our profession.
Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?
Remember to make time for the things that remind you why you teach. Join a band, sing with a group, draw or paint or create or whatever you do. Don’t lose touch with your art because it can help ground you even when you seem to be floating off.
If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?
Professionally, I think the $500,000 would have to go at least partially toward teaching materials and making sure that I and the other teachers in my area had everything wanted or needed to teach the kids I have to the best of my ability. Orff instruments, band instruments, the whole nine yards. SmartMusic for the band kids. A piano lab at the high school. Funding to improve the coming auditorium space in our district
On a personal level, that is a big number and I don’t rightly know what I would do.
Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets? At 94, I don’t imagine I’ll have too many regrets. I think that even though I could have chosen so many other paths in my life, the one I have continually chosen is the one that I was meant to be on.
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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Kattie Sweet

June 12, 2018

Visual Art Educator

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

Kattie Sweet-Shibles has been teaching grades 7-12 (soon to be K-12) at the Upper Kennebec Valley Jr/Sr High School for 11 years. She has taught Career Education, Math, Visual Arts and Theatre classes. She currently has 60 students and her courses include 2D Art, Artists’ and their Lives (Dual Enrollment Class), Freshman Seminar and a Pre Algebra class0.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

Connections-the multiple meanings of the words.

The connections I make with students, current and former. The connection of art to community. Connections I make with other artist and teachers, creating a dialogue on how to bring art and education to all students.

Also the connection, or the ah ha moments students get when they see how the world of art connects to their life or the world around them. My favorite moments are when students say, I know understand part of the world because of something we studied in your classroom.

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

  1. Focus Choice- freedom of students to choose a method to meet the classroom goals.
  2. Real World Experience with the art- via visiting museums, speaking with artist, taking part in an art show.
  3. Passion- Passion for the Arts and education from the students, the instructor, and the community.

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

Yes, because of accountability. I use it to hold my self-accountable to meet the goals of the art room, and I hope my students do the same.

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

Again Connections, with being from Rural Maine, I can feel so isolated and question if I am going in the right direction. I hope to reach out more this year especially since I am moving to a new chapter of teaching younger students.

What are you most proud of in your career?

One thing that jumps out to me is the opportunities I have been able to provide to my students to go beyond our community to see Art in the “real” world. At my time at Valley, I have had two Art Trips to NYC, two other trips to Boston, and various trips to Colby Art Museum or the Portland Museum of Art. Another achievement I am proud of is obtaining my Master’s Degree in Education and therefore being able to offer Dual Enrollment Art Classes for the last three years so our students can receive High School and College Credit for our classroom.

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

Time! Time! and Time! and a bit of money.  I sometimes wish I could clone myself to prep and experiment more with different materials and mediums plus have unlimited supply of art materials, so students can experiment without the fear of wasting money.  I believe so much of learning can come from failure and experimenting.

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

This is a difficult question because it seems as if everything in the artroom comes across as “luck” or circumstances to the outside world who doesn’t see the process of learning and teaching. I asked my students this question and they came up with the idea of how easily I sketch out my ideas, making them look like the students’ final drafts. I can remember the struggle I had learning the rules of drawing and the continuation of working on the skill, so I can sketch well on the fly. Another thing is the ability to be creative.  I think some people believe you are born creative or not. I am not naturally creative, but I understand the process of research, and am always searching for inspiration which leads to creativity when I put my own spin on something I have found.

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

Be brave, take chances, allow yourself to step back. Take care of yourself, “you can not pour from an empty cup.”

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

There is so much. I probably would want to sit on it for a year, to really make a formal plan to get as much out of the money as I could.

Education wise:  Build and Create a space for the Arts in our community would be high on the list. I would love to create more travel opportunities for our students. Plus I would love to connect more with working artist bring them into our community.

Personally wise: I would love to create an artist escape in the Upper Kennebec River Valley Region. Open up my home and barn to create artist studios. Sort of like Old Lyme in CT, or like Vincent van Gogh’s dream for the Yellow House in Provence but of course with less chaos…or should I say a lot less chaos.

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

Gosh at 94, I hope I have no regrets to list. My current regrets, I hope will be understood by a wiser self and connected more with the path I had to take to get were I am. But I do wish a bit that I could cut myself a bit more slack on the little things that go wrong. Plus I hope to look back and remember that I did the best with what I was given at the time, learn and evolve, advocate with care for everyone involved, be a little more flexible but not allow my integrity to falter.

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Dianne Fenlason

June 10, 2018

End of year programs

Dianne Fenlason, Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and grades 6-8 music educator at Spruce Mountain Middle School and at Spruce Mountain High School. Dianne has taught since 1995. Her students recently provided several performances. Included below are two; one is the Rock of Ages 2018 with the band Crash and Burn. They provide a historical look and sound of modern music. The second video is the Vocal Ensemble 2018. Congratulations to both groups for outstanding performances! Thanks to Dianne for sharing the work of her students!

If you’ve got end of year videos, videos of student work or links of student achievements, please share so I can post them for others to learn about. Thanks!

 

 

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MALI Teacher Leader Story: Kaitlin Young

June 5, 2018

Music Educator

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

Kaitlin Young has taught music within the RSU 68 school district in Dover-Foxcroft, Me. for the last eight years. Currently she teaches music to students in prekindergarten through fourth grade at SeDoMoCha Elementary School. She is also the choral director of the SeDoMoCha Singers at SeDoMoCha Middle School. Kaitlin is the 2017 Piscataquis County Teacher of the Year, and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year.

What do you like best about being a music educator?

Music is pretty cool. I love that I have the unique pleasure of providing experiences for my students that are at times indescribable through words. I love to watch their faces when they hear something they have never heard before, or even better hear something they know and love in a new way. Moments when they laugh uncontrollably at a silly song, tear up as they connect to a piece of classical music, or beam with pride when they have created something uniquely their own.

I love that I get to share in these experiences that elicit strong emotional connections through music with my students. I love that I get to bring joy through song and movement, and that in my classroom kids get to be kids. Wonder and awe are essential to the human experience.

I love that music education provides students an outlet to express themselves as well as a way to connect to their community both locally and globally. I love that as an educator, regardless of content, what we do is about fostering relationships. I love that I get to build these relationships over several years and experience all of these moments of joy with my students.  We are engaged in this journey together.

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

First, always keep an open mind.

No matter what role we hold within a Visual and Performing Arts program, (student, teacher, administrator, community member, etc.) it is essential that we continue to be open to possibilities. Whether it be growth and learning, actively sharing and listening to others ideas, thinking creatively about solving a problem, or simply being willing to try something new. Our ability to capitalize on those unexpected teachable moments will help us continue to engage others within our programs and help them to reflect our communities.

Second, build trusting relationships.

Relationships are the foundation of a strong education, and are essential to the human experience. We learn the most from people we trust and respect. The arts innately foster empathy, connections, and community. As a valued colleague once told me, “the arts bring people together.”

Third, be willing to persist and advocate for what you love!

We must set goals with our students and colleagues and actively pursue them even when the going gets tough. Advocacy is sharing what we love on behalf of those we love. And one of the best ways to advocate is empowering our students to find their voices and advocate for their future.

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

Assessments are a tool to help us to know where we are, where we are going, and clarify how we might need to get there. Once I grasped the concept that assessments could be informative and diagnostic (which felt much different from when I was in school!) it changed the way I viewed learning the learning process. I love being able to use consistent language to identify the skills necessary to help my students develop and grow into strong musicians. Assessment provides the opportunity to improve feedback and promote positive conversation surrounding learning goals and growth for both students and teachers!

Utilizing assessments to share what students need to know and be able to do to demonstrate their learning has allowed students to take control. Assessment has also helped us to advocate within our school community as we challenge the belief that music education is just for the talented few.

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

Working with such an inspiring and passionate group of educators brings out the best in everyone! Whether it is the facilitated discussions within professional development sessions, informal conversation surrounding our craft at lunch, or follow up phone calls/zoom meetings with friends I always leave feeling uplifted, supported, and encouraged to challenge myself to grow as a professional.

My growth throughout my teaching career has been supported through various opportunities provided by the work of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (formerly Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) and I continue to look forward to the connections that I will be able to make and the doors that may open through this continued experience.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My kids. It might sound cliche, but my husband and I do not have biological kids (yet…growth mindset!) and I love that I get to share in many special moments with all of them each and every day and over the course of many years!

I take pride in all of the small moments where they accomplish something they didn’t think was possible or when they make a fantastic connection that gives greater purpose and meaning to what they are learning. Over the last year it has brought me great joy to share their thoughts and ideas with others as I have presented at conferences as I advocate on behalf of our profession. I continue to be inspired by their words and I am proud that I get to share their ideas!

Kaitlin at the Hall of Flags in Augusta with the arts teachers honored as the 2018 county teachers of the year. (l to r) Kaitlin, Sagadahoc: Christine Del Rossi, Mt. Ararat High School, Knox: Anthony Lufkin, Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, Union Elementary, and Waldo: David Coffey, Belfast Area High School and Troy Howard Middle School

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

Paperwork, pressure, and misperceptions oh my! While I am a strong advocate for assessment and high quality education I do agree that often times I can get caught up in the administrative aspects of my job. In a time of “evaluation and accountability” there can be intense pressure to justify your worth, or the worth of your program, based on the misperception of what music education is or “should be,” not upon what we know, as professionals, to be best for our students. Music education, and what music classes might look like, continue to evolve. We have, hopefully, moved further away from some of the sit and get or “mouth the words” experiences that others have had. It can be hard to alter or influence the expectations of those who may have had a poor music experience, do not understand, or simply do not value what it is that we do. That can lead to logistical challenges including itinerant or unrealistic schedules, a less than ideal physical work environment (like being on a cart!), or unsupportive administrators and/or communities. However the need to understand and explain (often way more than we would like) the importance of what we are teaching and why we are teaching it sets us up to be some of the most reflective and effective advocates for our students!

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

Take the advice that you give to your students each and every day in your classrooms.  Actively listen. Be reflective and patient. Play nice with others. Dream big, think different, work hard, and be kind.

On a recent trip to Washington, D.C. representing Maine as the 2018 Teacher of the Year Kaitlin takes the opportunity to have a conversation with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

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

I would love to start a scholarship for my students to have the opportunity to travel to explore musical opportunities/experiences beyond our local and state community on a consistent basis. I would also like to take my husband on a road trip across our country, specifically to see all of the National Parks. His affinity and admiration for the beauty that simply exists through nature always inspires me to pause and appreciate the small moments.

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

I wish I would have been more diligent about writing down the small special moments from the classroom during the beginning of my career. Mostly because my memory is not what it used to be, but also because in education it is the small moments that fill up our buckets. That’s what I will look back upon and smile about the most!

Thank you Kaitlin for representing Maine educators as our 2018 Maine State Teacher of the Year. 

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Marshwood Middle School

June 4, 2018

Performing tomorrow

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative participants, teacher leader Kris Bisson and teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones have collaborated on a project that will be premiered tomorrow night, June 5 at Marshwood Middle School.

The premiere performance of “The River Sings its Song”, funded by the Marshwood Education Foundation will take place on Tuesday, June 5, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Marshwood Middle School’s seventy-six member chorus has worked the entire school year to research, discover, and collaborate to create a unique curriculum-based study of our local community through the Great Works River and Bridge in South Berwick, Maine. The students worked with artist-in-residence, Brian Evans-Jones, to create their thoughts and then with their Choral Director, Kristine Bisson, to take their words and compose an original piece of music to be sung by the Grade Seven and Eight Marshwood Middle School Chorus.
The students are donating $200.00 from their annual Middle School Talent Show to the Great Works Bridge Brigade to help support the fundraising efforts of the Brigade to build a timber-frame footbridge where the bridge once was accessible. They will be presenting the check to members of the Brigade this Tuesday evening at the concert.
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