Posts Tagged ‘MALI’

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Lifelong Learning

November 13, 2019

Professional Development

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leaders at the music education conference in September 2019 with Denise Gagne. Front, LtoR Catherine Newell, Dorie Tripp, Back LtoR Kate Smith, Linda McVety, Pamela Kinsey, Denise, Will Stecher

Often educators get so caught up in the day to day challenges of teaching that they forget to take time to reflect on what is actually happening. Taking time for professional development, getting off your island, and seeking colleagues for collaborations is critical to feed your soul and positively impact the art of teaching!

TEACHERS NEED TEACHERS! Reaching out and connecting with someone can make all the difference for you personally and professionally. I believe if you don’t take care of yourself (personally AND professionally) it becomes more difficult to take care of your students.

Now that we’re about 6 weeks into the school year, take a minute and ponder these questions:

  1. How often have you searched for professional development opportunities that really challenged your thinking about teaching? There are opportunities if you search – some in state, some regional and national and there are opportunities on the international level.
  2. When was the last time you asked a colleague to give you feedback on a lesson or unit? It doesn’t matter if you’re new to teaching or if you’re a veteran, asking someone you trust to step into your classroom and give you feedback can provide a totally different perspective to your teaching. I know this is may be difficult for a variety of reasons but if you want to be successful and look back on many years of teaching with a smile please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone that you trust and respect. If you have no other teachers of the same discipline in your school or district, reach out to someone in a nearby district, the professional organization leadership or perhaps a college/university. (By the way, I’d be glad to help out).
  3. Have you ever seen yourself teach? Set up a video camera in your classroom so you can view it later on? Perhaps having someone visit is to much of a stretch at the moment. No problem, borrow a video camera, if you don’t have one, set it up on a tripod and take some footage of yourself that you can view later on in the comfort of your own home.
  4. What research or book on education have you read lately? Who are you following on social media? There are so many outstanding books and writers on education topics. If you need a recommendation on where to get started check out the blog post from June 2019 called Summer Reading. for suggestions. Or go to a professional organizations website and read what they’re suggesting. There are also amazing resources on the web including blogs, podcasts, and audio recordings of information that you can visit over and over. Follow someone on Twitter, Instagram or one of the other social media tools available.
  5. Do you have a curriculum that you’re actively using? Many educators are required to write a curriculum and it gets put on a shelf and not revisited until it’s time to write a new one. Is that you? I’m not suggesting for a moment that you use your curriculum for every lesson/unit but what I do suggest is asking yourself this – can you map your daily lessons to a curriculum? Is it aligned with standards? Do you have assessments in place that support what you’re teaching or your students learning? Can you answer these two questions – What am I teaching? and Why am I teaching it? If you can’t answer, I suggest that you take time and ask yourself: what do I want my students to know at the end of the school year or perhaps in 5 years or when they are adults? Good teaching and learning should drive your work!
  6. What are you doing to take care of yourself? Are you mindful of your mind, body, and spirit? This is probably the most important one and it is the one that has taken me years to integrate into my daily living practices. We are fortunate to teach the arts because many of us went into teaching for two reasons – one is we want to teach and the other is we want to be an artist. So, what is your discipline and what are you doing to focus on that personally? I have made a practice of painting every day I can for a few minutes. If there is time that few minutes turns into an hour. I get lost in my art making. When I have more time I am making mosaics. Talk about getting lost in art making. I have no idea how the day disappears. If you’re a parent I realize taking time to make art on top of being a teacher and a parent there is no time left for art making or you. Please know it took me many years of parenting and teaching to get to this point. My suggestion? Start small – 5 minutes of meditation, yoga, writing and/or reading poetry, playing an instrument, moving in a mindful way or whatever way works for you. PLEASE take care of yourself!

it’s all about being a life-long learning! What are you doing to expand and build on your thinking? And, what you doing to take care of yourself? Please share your ideas at the bottom of this blog post.

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What Does Standards Based Education Look Like?

November 11, 2019

Frequently asked question

Jen Etter

I am often asked: What does standards based education or proficiency based education look like in the visual or performing arts classroom? A handful of years ago the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) took on that question and answered it by creating a series of videos of arts teachers in their classrooms teaching. Over a two year period Debi Lynn Baker and I visited these schools to gather footage that Debi than created into short videos to provide resources

Brian McPherson

Brian McPherson

for the field.

I am grateful to the following MALI leaders who let us in to their classrooms and school world and shared the work they were doing everyday. Lisa Ingraham, Brian McPherson, Andrea Wollstadt, Jane Snider, Jen Etter, Charlie Johnson, and Rob Westerberg. I hope you’ll find them inspirational and thought provoking. All videos are located on the Maine Arts Assessment website.

Andrea Wollstadt

Even though practices change these life-long learners will provide you something to use for food for thought and perhaps inspire you to consider the teaching and learning practices in your classrooms.

Elementary School Visual Art – Lisa Ingraham, Madison Elementary School

Elementary School Visual Art – Brian McPherson, Woodside Elementary School, Topsham

Jane Snider

Jane Snider

Elementary School Music – Andrea Wollstadt, John F. Kennedy Memorial School, Biddeford

Middle School Visual Art – Jane Snider, Hancock Grammar School

Middle School Music – Jen Etter, York Middle School

Andrea Wollstadt

High School Visual Art – Charlie Johnson, Mount Desert Island High School

High School Music – Rob Westerberg, York High School

 

 

Charlie Johnson

Rob Westerberg

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Kids in Charge

November 5, 2019

What does it mean and look like?

One of the questions that comes up over and over is what does student centered learning look like and how do I manage it? Last week flying into my email was a video created by Edutopia. For those of you blog readers who may not know about Edutopia it is the George Lucas Foundation whose mission is dedicated to transforming K-12 education so that all students can acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives. George Lucas the 1991 founder of Edutopia is an innovative and award-winning filmmaker. Edutopia is all about taking a strategic approach to improving K-12 education through two distinct areas of focus: Edutopia and Lucas Education Research.

The video included in the email is called How to Create Student-Centered Lessons and Put Students in Charge of Their Learning. Some of you may be thinking that the task is easier in the non-arts classrooms but I think this video provides enough information that you can gain insight and develop ideas.

In addition to the Edutopia video a handful of years ago the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI – then MAAI – Maine Arts Assessment Initiative) started creating videos to answer: What does this student-centered thing look like in a visual or performing arts education classroom? All of these videos are available on the Maine ARTSEducation youtube channel and I’ve embedded them below to make it easier for you to access them.

Co-founder MAAI, Music educator at York High School, Rob Westerberg, with a very different haircut.

Jane Snider, Hancock School visual art educator, MALI Teacher Leader.

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MAMLE

October 22, 2019

Arts teachers shine

Kris Bisson,Kaitlin Young, Argy Nestor,Catherine Ring

Last Thursday and Friday I attended the Maine Association for Middle Level (MAMLE) Conference at Point Lookout. I have fond memories of returning to the site in Northport – so many amazing learning opportunities for arts educators have taken place there for many years. The MAMLE conference has always been a place where middle level arts educators are welcomed and the conference goers are appreciative of what is offered. This years theme was Filling Our Cups: Teaching in Challenging Times.

Kris Bisson

Kris Bisson, Music Educator at Marshwood Middle School in Berwick and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader presented a session called Integrating your community in the classroom: service learning project models. Kris is the perfect person to present on the topic since she’s had her students engaged in multiple projects in her students community. Her well known Bridging Adolescence: A River Flows Through Us project that she collaborated with teaching artist Brian Evans-Jones on, made a huge impact on her students and community members. I was thrilled when her students shared this project at the State House December 2018 at an arts education celebration.

Kaitlin Young

Kaitlin Young, 2017 Maine Teacher of the Year, Music Educator at Sedomocha Elementary and Middle Schools, and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader provided a key note that had participants engaged. The title was What We Can Do When We Are Brave Together. Kaitlin’s presentation was inspirational and very realistic. It provided thought provoking ideas which participants could take with them and put immediately in place. Thank you Kaitlin for filling up all of our cups!

If you’re a middle level educator consider participating in the conference next year which will be held in Portland. Check the MAMLE site for information.

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RAMS Art Project

July 9, 2019

Great work Anthony Lufkin – 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year

Art Educator and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Anthony Lufkin teaches grades K-6 in MSAD #40 and with students at the Rivers Alternative Middle School. This spring the middle school students took on an amazing project. They focused on social and health issues that impact individuals and communities. Students quickly got into a deep level of learning and the connection with these topics and issues on the brain. The topics were challenging ones and each students selected a topic to research and create a response artistically. Two other teachers worked with the students along with the Farnsworth Art Museum. This is a great example of students engaged in and taking the lead in their learning. Take a look at this video and gain an understanding of an amazing project for middle schoolers.

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Express-a-Book

July 2, 2019

Not your traditional book club

Express-a-Book uses the Arts, to create a learner centered, collaborative environment to share ideas. Participants experience the Arts and the format highlights the accessibility and power of the creative process. When we bring people together in a collaborative and creative environment we see learners, of all ages, engage at a high level. The Express-a-Book process supports this notion.

In 2017 Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Design Team members Falmouth High School music teacher Jake Sturtevant and Sweetland School founder and director Lindsay Pinchbeck and Argy Nestor who was the Director of Arts Education at the time created Express-a-Book – an innovative and creative approach to a traditional book club.

They presented the idea, after creating a protocol and experiencing it themselves, to members of MALI. Other teacher leaders stepped up, formed groups and experienced the process themselves. The results were amazing!

“It was wonderful to have the opportunity and excuse to jump in the sandbox and find ways to play with, highlight, reflect, and communicate my learning in a unique way.”

~Jake Sturtevant

HISTORY
Lindsay, Jake, and Argy planned and tried the process and presented it to the MALI participants. Lindsay wanted to read about creativity in teaching and learning so she read the article A call to action: The challenges of creative teaching and learning by R. Keith Sawyer.
Jake was curious about the power of boredom. He listened to In defense of boredom on WNYC, Radio, Manoush Zomorodi’s Podcast Note to Self, and read the book Bored and Brilliant. Argy wanted to focus on leadership so she listened to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk called How Great Leaders Inspire Action.

Once they completed their review they responded by creating artworks. Lindsay made a painting and wrote a poem, Jake created a remix mp3, and Argy made a black and white illustration. They shared and responded to each image/sounds by giving feedback and asking questions. This provided the opportunity to learn about each of their topics in a collaborative environment.

What has been learned by using Express-a-Book?

  • Share ideas and resources through an active process
  • Use the arts to make information accessible and engaging for learners
  • Learn together as a community
  • Allow for individuals who do not often engage in art making processes to experience the potential of the arts to enhance learning 
  • Offer a low cost, simple, scalable and refreshing approach to a ‘book club’ 
  • The process has practical applications for a variety of classrooms and settings. Express-a-Book can be applied across disciplines or in professional learning communities, it can take place face to face or electronically, within or across schools, districts, across a region/state/country/ or even the world.
  • Individuals must be willing to stretch and be vulnerable
  • Example of teachers teaching teachers

If you’re interested in seeing the protocol please email Argy at meartsed@gmail.com.

Express-a-Book has been used successfully at conferences and gatherings in Maine and beyond in a variety of ways. The format has been shared in workshops, videos, short articles and highlighted in Teaching Strategies That Create Assessment-Literate Learners by Jeffrey Beaudry and Anita Stewart McCafferty.

 

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Argy’s Journey Continues

June 4, 2019

Walking down memory lane

What a joy it has been during the last few weeks to reflect at the 43 years of my educational pathway. I am fortunate to have selected a career that has provided learning experiences that have expanded my thinking and understanding of how individual learners learn and how we are part of a world of learning connections. I have met and worked (and played) with amazing educators from Maine and around the world.

NEXT STEPS

So, where am I headed next? I have many ideas of what I want to do but I’m going to start by building on the natural next steps.

  • I am working towards creating a fund for Maine arts educators and teaching artists to travel and learn. I’ve had amazing opportunities to travel and every one of them has influenced my creative thinking and doing. I want to support educators who have dreams to travel and learn. I know that when a person returns from traveling that it impacts the learning environment which has the potential to plant seeds and open doors for students. I’m working on the idea with big thinkers and funders. Once I work out the details I will ask you to contribute to the fund. If everyone gives a little we can build the fund more quickly.
  • I will be serving as the director of the middle school at Sweetland School, an arts integrated school in Hope. Lindsay Pinchbeck started the Reggio Emilia inspired school five years ago at the Sweet Tree Arts Center. I have served as an advisor to the school and am excited about the possibilities for the students entering middle school. I will support the teaching team and do some arts integrated teaching as well.
  • In 2016 Lindsay and I traveled to Mpamila Village in Malawi to provide teacher workshops on arts integration. Of course, I gained more than I offered and for the last 3 years continued to support the teachers with 8 other educators providing workshops. My work will go on with Go! Malawi, an organization in Maine that was started by a former student. In July 2020 we will guide the Mpamila teachers to create their own workshops to facilitate at a country wide conference.
  • Malawi led to the innovative work of HundrED and I will continue to share innovative work of the organization. I plan to return to Helsinki this fall for the summit and am especially excited about their Youth Ambassador program.

I will continue to blog through the summer on this blog and communicate with the Maine arts education list-serv about the progress of my work. Please communicate with me at meartsed@gmail.com or through the Maine Arts Education blog below.

WHERE I’VE BEEN 

Like anyone in education we know the paychecks aren’t huge but my life has been rich with opportunities. From the ‘ah-ha’ moments of an individual student’s accomplishment to the excitement of a teacher connecting with other educators and everything in between. When I was teaching every day one thing became clear – hanging out in a middle school art classroom was a continuous learning opportunity and I loved it. My students and colleagues taught me and helped grow my skills and passions as a human being. I received so much than I gave. Being part of an interdisciplinary teaching team where visual art was valued by others as much as I valued it was amazing! When I was recognized in 1995 as the Maine Teacher of the Year I realized how fortunate I was to be honored for such humbling work.

When I left my art room after 30 years it wasn’t easy, teaching was what I knew and loved. But the challenge helped me see more clearly that my mission as an educator was taking a turn. My own son said to me: “Mom, your classroom is just going to get a little larger.” And he was ‘spot on’ (as Rob Westerberg says) about that. Once I fully committed to the work at the state I realized that my “teacher lens” was to guide me. I knew what I needed and wanted as a teacher so I honored that and moved forward collaborating with others to make that happen. Visiting hundreds of arts classrooms in schools across the state was an incredible learning opportunity. The visits led to the 1200 member list-serv and daily communication on this blog.

I AM GRATEFUL

Along the way others continued to collaborate and provide support. I am soooo grateful for the many connections, some of which I mention below.

Carol Trimble

Carol Trimble who was the executive director of Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) was supportive from day one when I arrived at DOE. Together we brought back the state wide arts education conference and I helped with the first state wide arts education census and other MAAE projects. Carol was and continues to be an incredible mentor with a clear mind who can articulate ideas like no one I know.

Many of you remember David Patterson who sadly passed away from cancer in July 2014 at the age of 50. His wisdom and encouragement taught me to believe in the power of communication to form the community. He pushed, questioned, taught and encouraged me every step of the way. This blog wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for him.

Anne Kofler was the elementary art teacher who taught ‘downstairs’ while I taught middle school ‘upstairs’. She inspired me to go the extra mile and made me a better person in so many ways. She continued to support me, after I left the classroom, to take on the ‘big challenges’ and ‘lean in’. All the while herself, taking on cancer, which eventually took her away in May 2016. Her love for using her travels to inspire her students continues to impact me.

Catherine, myself, Rob

Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg took a chance when I invited them to travel to NH in the summer of 2010 for the New England Institute on Assessment. I am so grateful that they did – I continue to learn from both of them! Together we created the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) by listening to the needs of the field, reviewing the research, brainstorming and planning. The first MAAI leadership team represented PreK-higher education and helped launch the idea without funding in place. There were tears in my eyes when I heard Jeff Beaudry say “we can sleep on the floor and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if we have to, there’s no turning back now.” And, launch we did with 18 amazing teacher leaders at Maine College of Art for the 4-day summer institute. At the end of the institute the teacher leaders made it clear that we weren’t moving into Phase 2 without a place for them.

Phase I Teacher Leaders

Since that first summer, the initiative has grown into a strong leadership program, influencing and inspiring, and the shift in assessment practices around the state took hold. When we traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Teach to Lead summit in August 2015 MAAI shifted to the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI). Teachers with high expectations for themselves and a passion for learning – teaching other teachers has been the foundation of the success. Educators willing to share their ideas, use research, build on their knowledge, and support the network has worked well for Maine. Title II funds helped to support the summer institutes, critical friend days, mega conferences, winter retreats, stipends for participants, and statewide conferences over the next several years. The partnerships and associations with the Maine visual and performing arts organizations and institutions has been an enormous part – too many to name all of them. Thank you all!

In 2013 i moved to the Maine Arts Commission and the work (and play) of MALI expanded to include teaching artists and community arts organizations. They have provided a broader view of arts education. We’ve all been enriched by their participation in MALI. Linking arms with the greater community of arts and arts education is another way to support learners of all ages in their educational paths. I am especially grateful to the 108 teacher leaders and teaching artist leaders who continue to do amazing work in arts education and as artists!

There are so many more individuals and organizations to thank but this blog post could go on for pages. The people I mentioned are ‘giants’ and every day I stand on their shoulders and fortunately continue to learn from them!

BEYOND MAINE

Throughout the 13 years at the state I’ve had many opportunities to connect with and learn from others outside of Maine. Presentations and workshops at regional and national conferences about MALI, serving in leadership roles with the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education and the State Arts Agency Arts Education Directors, and serving on the educational council of the Americans for the Arts have provided me ongoing chances to learn from others.

Mpamila teachers in Malawi

My work in Malawi has been amazing. I originally emailed a former student about her work with Go! Malawi and asked if she could use my skill set. From there the idea developed into creating arts integration workshops. I am forever grateful to Lindsay Pinchbeck who agreed to travel to Malawi in 2016. The collaboration that we’ve formed has influenced all parts of my life. She has definitely made me a better teacher, artist, and person. Spending 10 days providing arts integration workshops for the teachers in Mpamila Village opened my eyes to so much about the world. For the last 3 years we continue to support the teacher workshops and have had 8 educators use their expertise in Malawi. In addition we’ve sewn hundreds of dresses and pants for the children in Mpamila School. This work has taken place with friends, family, and colleagues from all over Maine and in other states across the country. I am so grateful to the many who continue to contribute by sewing and contributing to purchase the materials needed.

Malawi led to HundrED when our Malawi project was selected and Lindsay and I were named Ambassadors for the program. We traveled to Helsinki, Finland last November for the HundrED summit and met people from all over the world doing AMAZING work. The network is expanding and I encourage all of you to check out their site and consider applying to be an Innovator, deadline June 30.

CONTINUE – STAY IN TOUCH

I hope that our paths will continue to cross since my work in arts education will continue. Please feel free to reach out using my gmail address at meartsed@gmail.com. I will be blogging throughout the summer and perhaps beyond. Your work in arts education is critical to continue to make the world a better place. Thank you!

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