Posts Tagged ‘MaryEllen Schaper’

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Wisdom from Maine Arts Educators

September 4, 2018

From the voices of veteran visual and performing arts educators on starting a new school year

Make it a delicious school year!

Whether you’re just starting to teach or you’ve been add it for 50 years or somewhere in between you might be excited out of your mind to start or having the back to school dreams and asking yourself “how the heck am I going to do this?!” or somewhere in between. I asked veteran teachers “what’s your message for new and veteran teachers starting off the school year?” Here they are – WORDS FROM THE WISE and EXPERIENCED! It’s an amazing, amazing (and amazing) collection. THANKS to everyone who contributed!

Collectively below is the wisdom of 654 + 65 years of teaching. These are not in any particular order!

Kate Smith – 20 years
Central School, South Berwick Music Educator, Grades PreK-3
-The first friends you should make are the secretaries and the custodians.
-Drink plenty of water.
-Advocate for transition time between classes (see above).
-Don’t take yourself too seriously.
-Take the time to know your students.
-Find an Arts mentor. (MALI teacher leaders are great!)
-Build/maintain/reach out to a network of teachers for a sense of community and just-in-time support.
-You are going to mess up and wish you could forget it all. Write it down instead. Some day it’ll make you laugh like crazy.

Jake Sturtevant – 13 years
Falmouth High School Music Educator
If there is one thing I have learned to do over the course of the time I have been teaching it is to breathe. The power of breath is so important, and it takes moments to do. I still have those feelings of being overwhelmed and always reaching for the surface of the water beneath the pile of to-dos and hope-to-dos, but now I just try to pause and take a breathe and allow that feeling to settle and often it moves further from me.

Jen Etter – 11 years
York Middle School Music Educator 
My biggest words of advice starting a new school year and something that I am attempting to be mindful of is to not lose sight of the big picture getting bogged down in the details. Education is ever changing and constantly evolving and that can be frustrating at times. Keep focused on the big picture and what you know to be important and always keep students at the center!
Patricia Gordan – 37 years
RSU#14 Windham Raymond, Music Educator
  1. I do not just teach music to children. I teach children through music.
  2. Whenever I get to the point where I begin to think I know what I’m doing, I gain more wisdom and realize I still don’t know what I’m doing. (Keeps me humble.)
  3. When I have a student who is a behavior challenge I try to get to know them better and build a relationship with them outside of class.
  4. Music is a vehicle for expressing all thoughts and emotions. It can be scary to share the sad and angry songs with students. Will I get negative feedback from parents? “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” is a song about death! Should I use it? Of course we should be tactful and careful, but songs in music class should cover all emotions.
  5. A musician must have the heart of a gypsy and the discipline of a soldier. -Beethoven – Some students will be really good at the heart thing and some will be really good at the discipline thing. Stretch them toward the other skill.
  6. Sometimes I have a hard time with the word, “fun.” Music is fun but it is also hard work. I want the students to have more than “fun.” I want to feed their souls. I want them to feel the natural high that comes from producing a fantastic product that is the result of extreme effort.
  7. Especially for elementary teachers – Listen very, very closely. The “music” is in there somewhere. 😊
Iva Damon – 10 years
Leavitt Area High School, Turner, Visual Art Educator
Going into this year I am really resonating with going “back to basics”. We’re here for the kids as they are at the heart of everything we do. Remembering that at the end of each day, I am able to make connections and help achieve steps in their learning. At the same time, this year I am going to work harder at self-care and making sure to take time for myself.
Holly Leighton – 10 years
Mattanawcook Academy, Lincoln, Visual Art Educator
Teaching is not something you learn and then implement for the next 30 years. It is a constant.

The more I learn the more I realize what I don’t know. It is the “what I don’t know” that drives me to learn more. This is how I grow as a person and educator. It is a continuous cycle that inspires a fresh outlook to each new school year. Take workshops and conference opportunities, no matter how long you have been teaching. After 20 years of teaching I am always come back with something I can use to positively affect student learning and engagement.

Cindi Kugell – 29 years
Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, South Paris, Visual Art Educator
Know your “Why”. When we focus on our reason for teaching, and for me it’s because there is nothing cooler than working with kids, it gives our lives purpose, clarity and focus. Working with kids keeps me young, inspired and energized and the gratification that I get from students excitement centered around the arts fuels my passion. I truly feel that teaching is my purpose.
Hope Lord – 28 years
Maranacook Community Middle School, Winthrop, Visual Art Educator
Each school year is a new opportunity for teachers to inspire students, innovate, take risks, collaborate, and celebrate the arts.
Adele Drake – 15 years
Hampden Academy Visual Art Educator
I believe in always being open to learning and receiving help and support from others.
Jane Snider – 26 years
Hancock Grammar School Art Educator
While working outside all day in my gardens to end my summer season I was thinking about all of my gardens, how much they had grown since early spring. I realized how much my teaching is like my gardening! Many plants are now in need of a rest, much like my students and I are in late Spring! I have nurtured the seedlings, plants and bushes throughout the season. I have carefully and thoughtfully helped them showcase their beauty! They’ll be back next year, bigger and brighter! Tomorrow I return to school to nurture my students and showcase the beauty of their learning through their art! I’ve had my rest and restored my spirit, I’m ready to carefully and thoughtfully begin a new season for my students! What do they need to grow and flourish?
Sue Barre – 25 years
Waterville Senior High School Music Educator 
Every year (on the advice of my first principal) I work to learn something about each of my students that has nothing to do with music. This process keeps me on my toes and it is also fun for my students to share their non music passions. I am often uplifted, sometimes saddened, and every so often astounded, to the response I can get from “share three things you did this summer.” My personal goal this year is to greet my students every day at the door……they deserve my attention, whether they are making music or not.
Carmel Collins – 20+ years
Lake Region High School, Naples, Dance Educator
Education today is like working with a living breathing organism. It is forever in a state of flux; morphing, refining, retracting, reshaping……Practice being flexible, adaptable and innovative, learn to let things go and move on, keep light on your feet and don’t get stuck in the mud!
When a parent or guardian becomes angry or frustrated with you, always remember that to them they are fighting for their child, a child they have loved and nurtured since birth. Most of the time they are not angry with you, rather it is the situation they are frustrated with and they are looking for help. Try to stay focused on the issue and don’t make it personal. Practice this and they will become your friend and loyal advocate.
Melanie Crowe –  16 years
Marshwood Middle School, Eliot, Visual Art Educator 
The anticipation of a new school year brings up so many emotions – a changing of the seasons, realizing summer is coming to an end, wiping sand off of my sandals for another season, and the vegetable garden bearing fewer treasures. Although, the excitement of meeting new students and having a chance to bring in a fresh approach and atmosphere to the classroom is a just as much a welcome adventure today as it was entering my first year 17 years ago. I am honored to share the art studio with my middle school artists, the opportunity to engage, challenge, and expand their minds is such a precious experience. The years go by in a blink of the eye, the students faces change, but the desire to light the flame of love for art grows stronger each year. I look forward to working with my colleagues integrating art in as many avenues as I can, bridging the gaps from one content to another so students can see how their learning is not in isolation but interconnected. When students can see how valued they are in the art studio, they begin to believe how valuable their art making experience is. I wish you all a wonderful school year working with the youth of Maine and beyond!
Lindsay Pinchbeck – 12 years
Sweetland School, Hope, Founder, Director, Teacher 
New Beginnings
An opportunity to start again
Still jitters – every year, conditioned since a child
Now knowing
The mix of wonder, unease and transition
Breathe
Fear not the unknown
Anthony Lufkin – 12 years
Friendship Village School, Prescott Memorial School, Union Elementary School, Rivers Alternative Middle School, RSU 40 
Every year is similar, but never the same. Each summer goes by faster and faster, but despite wish for more R&R, I always look forward to the new school year. Art and teaching are similar to me in that they are both all about making connections. In art we attempt to connect with artists of the past to understand their ideas, or we try to connect people with our own ideas and perspectives through creation. Teaching effectively requires making connections with students in a way that they can relate to, understand, and appreciate what we are teaching. If we lose connection, not only does artwork become insignificant to us, so does the purpose for learning. Each school year is an opportunity to make connections in new ways. Being in relatively the same position for several consecutive years gives me the insight for identifying ideas and processes that will relate to specific students. As I prepare to start my 12th year of teaching art, I am looking forward to “reusing” successful lessons, opportunities, and connections I have been able to make thus far.  However, I am also looking forward to experimenting with new ideas to better convey ideas, and give students new ways to understand, and more importantly connect, to what art has to offer.
Andrea Wollstadt – 20 years
John F. Kennedy Memorial School, Biddeford, Music Educator
Allow yourself to get caught up in the excitement. Students involved in music have a passion for music. Their joy and excitement is infectious. These kids are PUMPED UP about playing in an ensemble or participating in a music class. Whatever worries or anxieties you might have about the upcoming school year, make sure you give yourself a chance to catch some of their enthusiasm.
Lisa Marin – 22 years (and this is her last)
Jonesport-Beals High School & Jonesport Elementary Visual Art Educator     
Words of wisdom for the new teacher: I remember that first year being very excited, nervous and worried about doing a good job for my new students, the school system, and my colleagues. I tried to get as much input as I could from my fellow art teacher friends, who were very gracious and generous with advice and materials. I was told to relax, have fun, and realize that it takes a few years to make the program your own. So, cut yourself some slack and you’ll be great. Oh yes, and make friends with the custodial staff. Their help over the years has been invaluable.
Words of wisdom for the veteran teachers: It may sometimes be hard to keep up the energy and enthusiasm in the face of new and increasing demands on your time that have little to do with quality teaching for students. I’ve tried to combat this by finding ways to shake up my lessons. I’m looking for ways to incorporate materials I’ve been unfamiliar with or slightly intimidated by to blow out the cobwebs! It’s been fun and I often find I am helped in my success by my students. We say we are all in this together!
For the soon to be retiring teachers (like me): Plan ahead for what you’d like to do post retirement. That will make the transition so much easier. This sounds like a no brainer but is often overlooked. As much as you might love your job remember, you do the job, you aren’t the job. A new teacher’s approach can be wonderful. We were once new teachers as well with fresh ideas. Enjoy your new year!
Shalimar Chasse – 25 years
Wiscasset Middle High School Visual Art Educator rk Middle School Music Educator 
I like to start right off with hands on- avoiding the loooooonnnnnnnngggggggg and boring “expectations” talk that mostly sounds like “wha wha wha wha, wha wha, wha wha” to students just waking up after a summer of sleeping in until noon. I refer students to my on-line site and a unit binder that holds class expectation information. I send them home with a parent guide to art class and encourage them to review this with their parents and return with a parent note confirming their time together and comments or questions. I encourage students to ask me any question to help them acclimate to our space and class while we are doing our first day art activity. Students know what is expected, some need reminding or clarification or simply to know they might not get away with something they have tested. They come to art to Do art- so I like to meet their expectations hoping they might return the gesture.I love the newness of a brand new school year- with no mistakes in it. I like to think of the upcoming year and classes as the best we will experience yet.
Allie Rimkunas – 14 years en Etter
Great Falls Elementary School, Gorham, Visual Art Educator 
Love your students. The most difficult ones need the most love. As an art teacher, I rarely know the home situations, or past trauma that these little ones might have or are still dealing with. I try to keep that in mind when I know a difficult student is coming into my room. Every day is a new day and a possibility for new positive interactions.
I have been teaching for 14 years, and every August brings a new batch of school anxiety dreams. Never fails. I figure that if I didn’t get them then I am not doing my job and changing it up enough.
Catherine Ring – 65 years
Isle au Haut Visual ArtEducator 
Share your passion for learning with children. It’s contagious!
Jane Kirton – 20 years
Sanford High School Music Educator 
Be Compassionate . . . Be consistent . . . CommunicateBe compassionate – Music is one of the few subjects that connects the heart and the brain. Showing compassion towards my students and my colleagues is who I am. The world is filled with so much pain, we don’t know what our students are going through at home. I take great pride in the fact that from day one I tell my students that my classroom is their home and we are a family.  No bullying is allowed. If there is a drama free atmosphere in the room, our music will sound better!  Show you care, smile (even though you are a nervous wreck). Don’t forget to be kind to yourself.  Take care of you – exercise, drink plenty of water, yoga, anything to relieve stress.

Be consistent – Consistency, in my eyes, is critical in good parenting. Set your classroom code of cooperation on day one and stand by it! Treat everyone the same. Discipline can be challenging for a new teacher. Discipline allows a successful start for the entire class. I always remind myself I can always ease up a bit as we get into the year but hold firm to your rules. Keep up with the paperwork (yes, there are certain things we need to do as part of the job which doesn’t have anything to do with what we teach – just “get it done,” don’t put it off.)

Communication – I always tell my students that I’m not a mind reader. I encourage them to tell me what’s going on. It is also important to communicate with them and their parents – concert schedule, paperwork, etc. Communicating with your colleagues is also important. I recently read a post where a new teacher was critical of older teachers in their district in the ways they were teaching. Not a great way to start!  We’re all in this together. Reach out and communicate.  Communicate with your administration, janitors, secretaries, etc. Ask if you don’t know!!

Rob Westerberg – 32 years
York High SchoolMusic Educator 
It’s not about the product, it’s about the process. Precious few are going to remember your concert or art exhibit or play or dance recital three years from now. But dozens of years from now every single participant will remember their journey with you to create that product, and whether or not you caused them to flourish academically and blossom personally. If you take care of those two things – on a daily basis – the rest will take care of itself. Academic without personal is tedious. Personal without academic is cheating them. Both combined is spot-on and will leave you at the end of the day feeling like it was all worth while. Because it will have been.
Charlie Johnson – 44 years
Mount Desert Island High School Visual Art Educator 
Get to know your learners; it is through positive connections that a teacher can discover that which is not always overt from an individual. We are all unique and we are all special, and if you endeavor to learn about your students in a positive manner, it goes a long way toward developing a teacher/learner relationship that benefits both parties.
I’m just starting my 45th teaching year, and I’m just as excited about my new students and classes as I was my first year, because I haven’t fallen into “the same old thing” trap and have many new pieces to explore with my students!
Barbie Weed – 14 years
Gray-New Gloucester Middle School Visual Art Educator 
I always find that the best way to begin a new school year is to forge connections with students as soon as possible. Whether students are returnees for new to the school, taking a little time to get to know something about them sets a positive tone for the whole year. I’m excited for the new experiences that students will bring to my classroom.
Jean Phillips – 30+ years
Wiscasset Middle High School English and Drama Educator
Life is an occasion; rise to it.
Lisa Ingraham – 12 years
Madison Elementary School Visual Art Educator 
Plan meticulously, but keep your mind open to teachable moments. Some of the best learning experiences in my art room began with a student question, interest, and/or aha! that changed our direction for that day.
I’m looking forward to a great, creative, messy year!
MaryEllen Schaper – Retired in June with 42 years
Dance Educator 
Take your work seriously; don’t take yourself too seriously. The work is VERY important, but you can be replaced.
For new teachers, yes, you want to develop positive relationships with your students, but they are NOT your friends. If you need friends at work, develop friendships with your colleagues.
My former superintendent, used to say, “we are there to teach ALL children. Parents send us their best. They don’t keep “the good ones” home”.
We never know the baggage a student brings to school, so listen and be kind. Help students learn that that baggage may be a reason, but it shouldn’t be used as an excuse by the student, the teacher, or the parent. There’s a difference.
Applicable Lin Manuel Miranda “Hamilton” quotes:
“Why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room?” You might not be. I have learned A LOT from my students.
“I am not throwing away my shot.”  You have amazing opportunity to influence lives now and beyond anything in your wildest dreams, so go in EVERY DAY and give 100%.
“I am looking for a mind at work”. Teach your students to think outside the box, ask questions, and how to find answers, even if they might not be what you had in mind.
“Talk less. Smile more.”  Breathe. listen. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see and hear.
“I wanna be in the room where it happens”.  You ARE in the room where it happens every day. Savor it. It goes by quicker than you’d think!
Lori Spruce – 10 years
Brewer High School Visual Art Educator 
Contribute to the knowledge and skills that you have not only in your own content area, but also expand out to involve your colleagues content areas as well. By doing so, you help not only yourself,  but also students and teachers can learn and grow in the same way. By getting out of your comfort zone and content area, the relationships that you build are invaluable and help build the confidence needed to model what you learn.
Pam Chernesky – 26 years
Mt. Blue High School, Farmington Visual Art Educator 
Start each school year open and ready to build a new community! Bring your best self and a positive attitude to what you do. Every year there will be new initiatives and demands on your teaching and your time, but the real focus should be meeting your students and sharing the excitement of creating and learning with them. Remember that you have content knowledge, passion, and experiences to share and that your students want to learn from you. Don’t become bogged down by the initiatives, administrative demands, or even the details of lesson plans. Offer challenges and take risks in your classroom! Laugh with your students!  Have fun!
Kris Bisson – 16 wonderful years!
Marshwood Middle School, Director of Choruses 
No matter what type of learners you have in your classroom, every student needs understanding.

When I’m excited about what I’m teaching, my students are excited about what I’m teaching!

Theresa Cerceo – 15 years
Dr. Levesque Elementary School & Wisdom Middle High School, MSAD # 33 Visual Art Educator
Trust your instincts, value your strengths and keep yourself open to learning new things.
Danette Kerrigan – 13 years
Sacopee Valley Middle School Visual Art Educator 
Every year is different, but poses the possibility of new discovery and greatness. Every year is the same – the same bright expectant eyes, sleepy heads, hugs and growth. Starting a new year is never boring, always keeping me on my toes, yet is as exciting as opening a new box of crayons… the possibilities are endless. Fashions change, expectations change, requirements change, students stay the same – still needing reassurance, encouragement, celebration and a champion.
For new and veteran teachers – breathe. Embrace each day and reflect at the end on what went well and be honest about what did not. Remember that everyone has something to offer, even those adults who may try your patience. They too, got up this morning, hoping to do the right thing. Assume good intentions. Always apologize – even to students – especially to students – when you have had a bad day and spoke shortly when you shouldn’t have. Remember that you are making an impact you don’t even know about yet.
Rick Osann – 15 years (retiring this year!)
Bonny Eagle High School Media, Theatre, and Visual Arts Educator 
Be sure to be yourself. Teaching can be really stressful and it’s easy to try to be different to either be the “perfect teacher” or to get your students to “like” you.  The most important thing is to feel comfortable in your own skin.  Students of any age recognize quickly if you’re not being true to your core beliefs. Students will respect you if you just be yourself.
Bill Buzza – 25 years
Edward Little High School Music Educator 

Some words of advice for the beginning of the year:

#1 – Take time to get organized. We get so busy and there are many demands on our time. Using an organizational system that works for you allows you to spend more time teaching.
#2 – (New teachers) Find a mentor and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s much more efficient to learn from others than trying to reinvent the wheel.

#3 – Don’t be afraid to say “No” but keep an approachable demeanor. Many times students try to learn / push a teachers limits. We need to be committed to our response and consistent so students know what to expect.

#4 – Build relations with everyone; students, administrators, parents, colleagues, custodians. There will be a time when those connections will pay great dividends.
What’s your advice to new and returning educators? Please email me yours and I will collect them for a future blog post. How will you include and support new teachers in your school/district? Please introduce them to the Maine Arts Education blog – its easy to subscribe (on the right side, half way down). And, invite them to join the community by joining the arts education list-serv by sending me their email address.
Before we get to the “wise words” from Maine, Nancy Flanagan taught K-12 music for 30 years in Michigan. She blogs for Education Week, the TEACHER section called TEACHER in a Strange Land (you may want to follow her on twitter) and on August 6 she wrote a post called Ten Non-Standard ideas About Going Back to SchoolIt’s worth the read (after you read what Maine arts educators have to say)!
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Happy Retirement!

June 21, 2018

Maine is fortunate to have such marvelous educators!

We know that what a teacher offers can have an enormous impact on student development day to day AND over their lifetime. As educators retire at the close of another school year, 2017-18, I know that you join me in THANKING them for their years of service and dedication to students across the state.

I certainly appreciate your commitment and I wish each of you a healthy retirement and many, many years of laughter and love!

The following have contributed a combined 483+ years to teaching visual or performing arts education!

  • VICKI BOVE, Gorham Middle School, Visual Arts, 40 years
  • FLO ESINGER, SAD l5, Visual Arts, ? years
  • ALLEN GRAFFAM, Mt. Ararat High School, Music, 42 years
  • KATIE HALL, Falmouth Elementary School, Visual Arts, 24 years
  • PHIL HAMMET, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, Visual Arts, 16 years
  • JULIE KLEHN, Waterboro Elementary School, Visual Arts, 31 years
  • STEPHANIE LEONARD, Fairmount School, Bangor, Visual Arts, 25 years
  • ANNE MACEACHERN, Sanford Junior High School, Visual Arts, 40 years
  • JENNI NULL, Songo Locks Elementary School, Music, 40 years
  • SAM MOORE-YOUNG, Carrie Ricker School, Litchfield, Music, 32 years
  • BEVERLY PACHECO, South School, Rockland, Music, 36 years
  • CANDACE PARKER, Lee Academy, Theatre Arts, 22 years
  • MARYELLEN SCHAPER, Bonny Eagle Middle School, Dance and PE, 42 years
  • CAROL SHUTT, Mount Desert Island Elementary School, Visual Arts, 22 years
  • KATHI SUSI, Pittston Consolidated School, Gardiner, Visual Arts, 28 years
  • THEO VAN DEVENTER, Mt. View Middle School, Thorndike, Music, 43 years
  • Flo Eslinger, who is retiring from elementary visual art after serving SAD

A wonderful note from Ann MacEachern on her retirement from Sanford Junior High School after 40 years:

“I’ll miss the chance to interact with kids as they discover talents they didn’t know they had. The outliers, the experimenters and the endearingly quirky denizens of the art room have made most days a joy. 

Retirement will give me a chance to reorder my priorities: more family time (I have 5 grandchildren), my OWN art projects need attention, traveling adventures, live music venues, environmental concerns, sorting years of accumulation to make space for new blessings… the list goes on. 

To ARTS teachers everywhere: Keep pushing for expansion ARTS time in school schedules, physical space in school buildings and fewer students per art teacher. The world needs creative problem solving now more than ever!”

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Those Amazing Presenters!

October 15, 2015

Different format provides info for all

The Biennial Statewide conference provided a unique format with 5X5 presentations – our version of Pecha Kucha. Each of the workshop session leaders presented for 5 minutes using 5-8 slides. These took place during the morning of the Measure of Success conference which gave participants a chance to hear and see and appetizer of 9 different topics.

On top of providing the workshops each of the presenters put together a plethora of resources and they are available to all of you! When you go there you will be totally blown away at the amazing resources they collected which are now living at http://www.maineartsassessment.com/#!measure-of-success-conference/chki. DON’T miss them.

During the afternoon of the conference presenters jumped into the 9 topics by providing hour and 15 minute sessions on the following:

  • Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy with Visual Arts Teachers Theresa Cerceo from Dr. Levesque Elementary, Wisdom Middle/High School and Janie Snider from Hancock Grammar School

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  • Making Maine and ME with Visual Arts Teacher Jennie Driscoll from Brunswick High School

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  • Evaluating Individual Proficiency within the Large Ensemble with Music Teacher Jen Etter from York Middle School
  • Dancing with the Creative Process: How to incorporate standards-based dance and movement activities in classroom learning and assessment with Dancer, Educator, and Teaching Artist John Morris

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  • In the Midst of Madness with Music Teacher Jen Nash from Sabasticook Valley Middle School, Dance Teacher MaryEllen Schaper from Bonny Eagle Middle School, and Associate Professor, Educational Leadership from USM Jeff Beaudry, Ph.D.

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  • Empathy, Kindness and Wonder, Arts Integration at Work with the Director and Founder of Sweet Tree Arts Lindsay Pinchbeck
  • Brains on Fire: How Research on the Brain Can Inform Arts Education with the Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education Catherine Ring
  • From Cool to Tool: Technology Integration with Student Learning in Mind with Music Teacher  Kate Smith from Central School in South Berwick, and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington Teacher Dan Ryder

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  • Proficiency Based Learning: An Advocacy Story Music Teacher Rob Westerberg from York High School 
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A GREAT big thank you to each of the presenters for the 9 sessions. YOU were truly amazing!

Please note: On August 3, 2015, MAAI, the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, announced its new name, MALI, the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. MALI is a program of the Maine Arts Commission. You can read about it at https://meartsed.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/maai-goes-to-mali/. Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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A Word About the Conference Presentations

September 10, 2015

Biennial statewide conference – October 9 – Early-bird registration deadline is today, September 10!

GO DIRECTLY TO REGISTRATION https://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1726177

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Biennial-Statewide-Register

The photo below is from a zoom meeting where some of the workshop presenters for the October 9 statewide biennial arts education conference The Measure of Success were engaged in learning more about how to put together the best format for the morning sessions. We are calling the sessions 5 X 5.

What does that mean?

Nine workshops are being offered during the PM sessions. Each conference participant selects from two of them (they are repeated) to attend when they register. During the AM session each workshop presenter will have 5 minutes and 5-8 images to provide a glimpse of their afternoon session that is scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What if you see/hear something in the AM that you must attend?

You can change your mind and attend a different session in the PM than you registered for before the conference.

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If they look serious it is because they were working to bring you the BEST learning opportunities possible!

THE TOPICS

  • Studio Habits of Mind: Using the “Hidden Curriculum” to Encourage Student Autonomy with Visual Arts Teachers Theresa Cerceo from Dr. Levesque Elementary, Wisdom Middle/High School and Janie Snider from Hancock Grammar School
  • Making Maine and ME with Visual Arts Teacher Jennie Driscoll from Brunswick High School
  • Evaluating Individual Proficiency within the Large Ensemble with Music Teacher Jen Etter from York Middle School
  • Dancing with the Creative Process: How to incorporate standards-based dance and movement activities in classroom learning and assessment with Dancer, Educator, and Teaching Artist John Morris
  • In the Midst of Madness with Music Teacher Jen Nash from Sabasticook Valley Middle School, Dance Teacher MaryEllen Schaper from Bonny Eagle Middle School, and Associate Professor, Educational Leadership from USM Jeff Beaudry, Ph.D.
  • Empathy, Kindness and Wonder, Arts Integration at Work with the Director and Founder of Sweet Tree Arts Lindsay Pinchbeck
  • Brains on Fire: How Research on the Brain Can Inform Arts Education with the Executive Director of the New England Institute for Teacher Education Catherine Ring
  • From Cool to Tool: Technology Integration with Student Learning in Mind with Music Teacher  Kate Smith from Central School in South Berwick, Mountain Valley High School in Rumford Teacher Jeff Bailey, and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington Teacher Dan Ryder
  • Proficiency Based Learning: An Advocacy Story Music Teacher Rob Westerberg from York High School 

    Want to learn more about the sessions? 
    If you wish to reach a description of each workshop, see photos of the presenters, WATCH A ONE MINUTE VIDEO on each session, please go to http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/Biennial-Statewide-Workshop-Descriptions#.

    What else are these workshop presenters providing?

    An amazing collection of resources that will go live on the day of the conference, October 9. You will be blown away by what they’ve put together for conference attendees. You won’t want to miss it just for the resources alone!

    Deadline for the Early-bird registration of $90 is today, September 9!

    The conference is sponsored by the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI), a program of the Maine Arts Commission. To learn more please go to http://mainearts.maine.gov/Pages/Education/MAAI#

    Please note: 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 email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Magic!

December 15, 2014

Memories

Some say that life is about “making memories”. When I think about my childhood, especially during the holidays, what comes rushing into my mind, are the traditions. Little ones, like helping my Dad put the sled and reindeer (seems like they were life-size) on the lawn and the giant star that hung on the front of the house.

After I got married I mentioned that star every year, until one year my husband made one and surprised me for Christmas. When I drive up the hill at the end of the day the star shines brightly on the roof of our home and puts a smile on my face. When I was about 8 years old I wanted to give presents to my siblings and parents, but had no money to buy anything. I saved the toilet paper and paper towel rolls and wrapped them up and had everyone open them at the same time. I still remember the puzzled looks on their faces and the questions of “what are these?” Of course, “da-do-da-doos”! I can still feel my smile when they all put them to their lips and played them in unison. For years afterwards someone always wrapped one to pass on. I could go on and on about the memories that I have from childhood, in and out of school.

These might seem like little insignificant things to others but they were important to me at the time and remain forever etched in my memory. What do you do each year that is important and makes your heart sing? What do you in your classroom that creates memories for your students?

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.22.43 AMAs an adult one of our family traditions is to see the Magic of Christmas each year at the Merrill Auditorium. The Portland Symphony Orchestra, now directed by Robert Moody, is one of those traditions. My husband and I started going when my oldest son (now 27) was a baby. Sadly, my sons aren’t around each year to attend with us but it still continues to be a tradition for us. We attended the performance last evening and it was spectacular. In fact, it was so uniquely different than other years it is one of my favorites. The “collage”, as Robert Moody called the first half of the show, included a diverse group including, Simply Three, a string group that plays traditional tunes in an innovative style. Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, the all women’s percussion and vocal ensemble has been around for 25 years blending the sounds of West Africa, the Middle East, and Brazil with incredible energy. And the FLUKES, Falmouth Library Ukulele EnSemble, played their version of “Mele Kalikimaka” to the delight of the audience. Two dancers from the Maine State Ballet joined the orchestra for “In the Christmas Tree” from The Nutcracker and Ray Cornils was on the returned Kotzschmar organ after a 2-year refurbishing. Soloist Susie Pepper added a memorable touch in her rendition of “Let it Go” from Frozen. The viola section was highlighted and played one of my favorites, Good King Wenceslas. My all time favorite is “Hallelujah” from Messiah which takes me back to my days in the high school choir. And, of course, the audience sing-along with the almost 3000 people in attendance joining together to make music. I am reminded of the power of music with all those voices.

Congratulations to Rick Nickerson who directs the Magic of Christmas chorus. Rick teaches music at Windham High School. MaryEllen Schaper, dance teacher, from Bonny Eagle Middle School is a member who has been singing with the Magic chorus for over 30 years. I am guessing that there are other teachers involved in the orchestra or the chorus. Please email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov so you can be recognized for your contribution to this delightful tradition.

I understand there are tickets still available for next weeks performance of the Magic of Christmas. I recommend going and making some memories of your own!

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Join MaryEllen, Jake, Danette

March 29, 2013

Maine Arts Assessment Initiative

MAAI
Maine Arts Assessment Initiative
Regional Workshop
April 3, 2013
Bonny Eagle Middle School
5:00-7:30
Join local arts educators in Dance, Music and Visual Arts
for a FREE workshop, including potluck dinner and networking opportunities!

Bring some food to share, and learn about what our colleagues are doing in their classrooms. Three workshops will be offered simultaneously in separate rooms that address innovations in assessment and best practices in the classroom.

Workshop #1

MOVIES TOWARDS BETTER ASSESSMENT, Mary Ellen Schaper

What do Netflix and this workshop have in common? Learn to use tools on your MLTI device to create formative and summative assessment that you can watch on demand.  (open to any art form and/or physical education)

Workshop #2

Individual Assessments in an Ensemble, Jake Sturtevant

Participants will learn how to use technology to help with individual assessments, sharing, and keeping track of them over an extended period of time.  The workshop will focus on using Quicktime, networked shared folders, and Bento to categorize files and assessment information. If time permits, participants may also explore web based recording and sharing including SoundCloud (which would require a free registration to use).

Workshop #3

Assessment, A Self Help Program for the Art Teacher,  Danette Kerrigan
A journey to understanding the power of authentic assessment and using technology to manage student product and track student growth.

RSVP:
(OR Please  contact any of the teacher leaders for more information about the event.)
Mary Ellen Schaper: mschaper@bonnyeagle.org
Jake Sturtevant: jsturtevant@bonnyeagle.org
Danette Kerrigan: dkerrigan@sad55.org

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Danette

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Jake

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MaryEllen

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Another Arts Teachers’ Story: MaryEllen Schaper

April 24, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an arts educator

Representative David Webster, MaryEllen, Maine Alliance Chair Elizabeth Watson

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series will contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

MaryEllen Schaper teaches dance, physical education, adapted physical education and dance. She co-directs the Bonny Eagle Middle School Drama Club, and directs and choreographs the spring musicals for Bonny Eagle High School in SAD/RSU 6. She is responsible for about 260 students in class, and about 100 more for both drama clubs. MaryEllen is in her 36th year of teaching.

MaryEllen was on the team who developed the first set of Maine Learning Results in 1997 and she served again on the writing team for the Visual and Performing Arts 2007 Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction. MaryEllen was recognized by the Maine Alliance for Arts Education this year for her many years of commitment to arts education as the recipient of the 2012 Bill Bonyun Artist/Educator Award.

What do you like best being an arts educator?

I like moving all day. I love teaching others how to use their bodies as the medium for creative expression. Sometimes as they’re working I see a “moment” that I will never see again, and I feel so honored!

Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. Skilled and knowledgeable teachers who understand and can interface the creative process, child development, and the corresponding pedagogy.
  2. Excitement about your art form and excitement about your students and their work is vital, as well as respect for the students to push them to their full potential.
  3. Community interest and support certainly help!

What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

Primarily that my students are part of the assessment creation and implementation. I provide them with essential questions, and they decide how to answer them. We develop a rubric for good, better, and best work. The students rate themselves on their work habits and their products with justification, knowing that if I don’t agree (which is very seldom…they’re remarkably accurate!), I win. 🙂  Until the final day they can edit their work so that they turn in their best. If they want to put in the extra time to continue to refine their work (which doesn’t happen often, but it does happen), they can until the end of the quarter. This gives me more time with individual students as the students are doing  the “heavy lifting”, not me.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Having a cohort of people to work with who are interested  in improving learning in the arts through better assessment practices. Sharing best practices and the learning that goes along with that is so valuable. It’s wonderful knowing that I have a group ready and willing to improve as an arts educator.

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I have been able to introduce students to dance and theatre, and see them “run with it” not only as students, but often into adulthood.

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

I wish I still could teach with the freedom I could 30 years ago. Kids really were the center then, and I was more able to take the time to mine their skills and creativity in a way that isn’t possible in the same manner now. Today everything is so scrutinized for unimportant things before it can even leave the launch pad, that it’s much more difficult to take the calculated creative risks that I once felt empowered and supported to take.

Apple or PC?

Apple

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

Teaching dance to as many students K-college as I have, and making sure that dance education is always invited to the table at the local and state levels for as many years as I have has always been an ongoing accomplishment through hard work and determination. Dance isn’t valued on the same plane as other art forms. It’s cultural worth has declined precipitously in the last few generations. It presumes certain things about the dancer’s body image or sexuality that makes many uncomfortable. And no one seems to “understand” modern and post modern dance! There’s no “luck” or “circumstance” against those odds. It takes stubborn passion and the willingness to often quite literally go it alone so that my students have the opportunity to learn the joy of using their bodies as the tool to make art, and grow from that experience.

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

Be passionate about what you do and those you’re doing it for. Be willing to fight for that passion. There will be politics, budgets, ignorance, and sometimes isolation in your work, but focus on your purpose. Take your work with your students seriously, but don’t take yourself seriously. Have a sense of humor. Make sure your life has balance. Did I mention a sense of humor?

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

$500,000 before or after taxes? (Sorry I’m writing this on Tax Day!). A half million dollars would be good seed money for an endowment to keep the arts in my school district for a long time (there are currently proposed cuts), or for an arts scholarship. It could also feed or house a lot of people, or help a lot of animals. I could help out my family. It would also make my retirement much more comfortable than it looks now. I would like to think that it would be one of the more altruistic things I’ve mentioned.

Thank you MaryEllen for taking the time to tell your story (and for always using your sense of humor in your work and play)!

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