Posts Tagged ‘math’


Marshwood Middle School

September 25, 2017

MALI Teacher leader and Teaching Artist Leader collaboration

It’s been a lot of fun planning, and an idea that began as a seed back in snowy February, but Marshwood Middle School Grade Seven and Eight Chorus is embarking on a new curriculum to compose an original work that will be premiered at their June concert with guidance and instruction from two MALI teachers.
Thanks to Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader, Kris Bisson and Teaching Artist Leader, Brian Evans-Jones. Below is the description of this fabulous work!  

Bridging Adolescent Learners – A River Runs Through Us: Composing our Story is a year-long chorus composition unit that will be explored by the Grade Seven and Eight Choruses throughout the 2017-2018 school year. Through weekly classwork, a field experience, and working with a guest poet-in-residence, students will create their own original lyrics, melodies, harmonies, and accompaniment for an original piece to be performed in their June concert.

An important aspect of this project will be the S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) inter-disciplinary explorations students will make throughout the project. Also critical to an authentic learning experience will be the integration of our work with poet, writer, and MALI Artist-TeacherBrian Evans-Jones, a local resident of South Berwick, who will lead the students as Artist-in-Residence in finding their writing, speaking, and singing voice.

An early piece of our project is to bring the entire chorus (seventy students) and Mr. Evans-Jones on a field trip to the bridge on Vine Street in South Berwick, the Great Works Bridge, at Leigh’s Mill Pond and the Great Works River. This trip will take place on SEPTEMBER 19 from 8:15 – 9:50 a.m. Here the students will be able to have a direct experience with the river as well as with the condemned bridge structure in order to create more meaningful and informed writing for their musical composition.

Coincidentally, the existing bridge, closed in 2007 due to deterioration beyond the state of Maine’s repair, is being removed in 2018 and a grassroots effort to construct a footbridge is already successfully raising funds to support the effort through their group, The Great Works Bridge Brigade. The Chorus students will have the opportunity to discuss their work with them and take action to make a difference financially, musically, and ethically in their local community.

Goals of this project include science, mathematic and technological integration; collaborative learning, creative thinking, listening skills, reflective writing, problem solving; exploratory composing techniques, music theory, form and analysis; various recording platforms, and online manuscript technologies.

Students will keep worksheets, reflective journal sheets and videos, and e-journals in Google Classroom to record thoughts, reflections, and developing lyric and melodic ideas.

The opportunity to have an artist-in-residence is a wonderful enhancement to the curriculum being explored. Having an expert help students with their learning is always a beneficial experience for all. Last year was the first time Choral Director and MALI Teacher Leader, Kris Bisson, and her students composed in the choral ensemble and the experience was amazing:

“Through composition in the chorus classroom, students are able to explore their own individual and collective ideas that help them express themselves personally as well as musically. Students elevated and increased their musical knowledge through the composition process and it was such an engaging and advanced learning experience for all. I am very excited to have the students reflect on their sense of place in their community, the history of our rivers and towns, the importance of keeping a bridge to connect our community, and have the opportunity first-hand to directly influence change around them.  At our Spring Concert, June 5, we will be sharing an informance, or interactive performance, where the students will have the opportunity to share their learning and conduct audience participation at our premiere performance.”

A very special recognition of appreciation is extended to the Marshwood Education Foundation for supporting this project.

Updates throughout the year can be found on our website:

Art and Math

July 7, 2013

Two articles/opportunities on learning integratively

Summer enrichment explores math of basket weaving
Some middle-school students in Alaska are learning about the connections between basket-making and math during a two-week camp funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Alaska Native Education Program. Students in the program apply abstract math concepts, such as perimeter, volume, length and width to the designing and weaving of baskets, bridging the gap between art and math. Similar programs have been taught in North Carolina and California. Juneau Empire (Alaska) (6/27)

Summer enrichment explores math of basket weaving
Some middle-school students in Alaska are learning about the connections between basket-making and math during a two-week camp funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Alaska Native Education Program. Students in the program apply abstract math concepts, such as perimeter, volume, length and width to the designing and weaving of baskets, bridging the gap between art and math. Similar programs have been taught in North Carolina and California. Juneau Empire (Alaska) (6/27)


Education Week Webinar

February 13, 2013

Art and the Common Core

This event takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 2 to 3 p.m. ET. As educators work to help students meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and mathematics, many arts education advocates are making the case that the arts can be a valuable partner. For example, some teachers are seizing on works of art as “text” to be the subject of a close reading, much like a novel or essay, as called for in the new English standards. This Education Week webinar will feature two experts to discuss the potential of arts integration with the common core and to provide practical examples of how to put the concept into practice.

Susan M. Riley, expert in arts integration, curriculum innovation and resource development specialist, Anne Arundel County public schools, Md.

Lynne Munson, president and executive director, Common Core

Erik Robelen, assistant editor, Education Week

Registration is required to attend this event. Here is the link to the list of webinars, scroll down on the left to to get the clickable link to register for Art and the Common Core.


Common Core and The Arts

January 3, 2013

More info on ELA and Math

I am seeing more information and resources being made available on the Common Core ELA and Math and the connections with Arts education. I have include two below.

This link is to an article published in November 2012 in Edutopia written by arts integration specialist Susan Riley. This is the first paragraph of the article: These days, integration in any area, be it STEM or the arts, seems to be the buzzword to curriculum designers everywhere. There are so many resources floating around out there with the claim of integrating content areas. Yet, true integration is often difficult to find. Indeed, integration is a rare yet seemingly “magical” approach that has the capacity to turn learning into meaningful practice. Please click here for the entire article. Also at this link you will find other related topic articles.

In December there was a webinar titled “The Common Core State Standards and Its Implications for the Arts” and the archive is now available via the U.S. Department of Education’s website. Click on Arts in Education – Model Development and Dissemination. Click on the word document found at 2012-2013 Arts in Education COP webinars. I have not had a chance to listen to this but do know that Scott Shuler was a participant. Please add a comment at the bottom of this post with your feedback on the webinar.


Connections: Arts and Common Core Standards in ELA and Math

October 4, 2012

Let’s put this in perspective

Recently I have received emails asking about our role as arts educators and the Common Core Standards for ELA and Math. My colleague from Arizona, Lynn Tuttle, was asked to write a blog post for ARTSblog, Sept. 10, 2012. Lynn is not only the Director of Arts Education for the Arizona Department of Education but she is also the President of my national organization called SEADAE (State Education Agency Directors for Arts Education). Her post was so fabulous that we reprinted it on our SEADAE blog. The blog post is called Common Core is Here – Don’t Panic. It provides an overview and how and where the arts connect. Lynn also reminds us of the importance of the each states arts standards. Of course in Maine we have the 2007 document Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction that are our responsibility to teach.

My colleague, Joyce Huser, the Fine Arts Education Consultant from Kansas conducted a webinar last year for SEADAE called The Arts, Common Core, and 21st Century Connections. She collaborated with her ELA and Math colleagues to develop the webinar that is available for you on the Maine Department of Education site.

Also underway are the re-writing the national arts standards. You can keep abreast of that work at the wiki National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. I will be traveling to Washington DC next week to meet with my colleagues from SEADAE and the chairs of each of the National Core Arts Standards writing teams. At this point the new standards are due out during the summer of 2013. I will provide a blog post on my return to share what I have learned.


Fruit Street School Artists

February 5, 2012

Bangor third graders create like the Masters

I must admit that I have always had high expectations of my students and most often they live up to those expectations. A project I recently did with my third grade classes at Fruit Street School has blown my socks off. They far exceeded anything that I thought would be capable of this age group. Not just one class of students but all four of my third grade classes and not just a few students in each room but all students. I give credit of the idea to a fifth grade class from Bangor Christian School which explored this creative lesson last year.

We began by viewing various artworks by numerous Master artists. I collected at least 3 or 4, 8 by 10 reproductions of around 35 artists and we viewed and discussed the styles and techniques of the diverse work comparing similarities and differences. Students were then paired into groups. The partners were asked to select their top 3 or 4 pieces of art work that they would like to paint. For three sessions the students created 18 by 24 size paintings fashioned after their selected reproduction. They worked on the same painting, first they drew the work to scale and then matched the colors and textures that the artist used. Their teamwork was amazing. The third graders were excited to experiment mixing the tempera paints to match the artists colors as well as mimicking the textures the artists portrayed which were a great learning experiences. Students dabbled, smoothed, dotted, and blended using various size paint brushes and swabs.

The excitement the students exhibited was contagious, exclaiming they felt like real artists. The pride they felt contributed to the atmosphere. They were always on task with quiet conversation about what they were doing. They were eager to listen to directions on how to make the “right” colors or the “right” proportions or textures to make their work look like the actual artists work. The works the students created are PHENOMENAL. Their enthusiasm, exhilaration, and pleasure were contagious. They could hardly wait to come back to the art room and I could barely wait until they did. Right now the 25 paintings are hanging in the school’s lobby next to the artists’ reproductions.

In the next steps the students will be researching their artist and their work from books that were purchased through an art fundraiser held last year. The few artist books not available in our library were loaned to us from other school libraries, the Bangor Public Library as well as University libraries. The students will work on their biographies for about three weeks and then will present an artist share and exhibition where one of the two team members will dress like the artist and the other student will become the artwork and they will converse with each other giving the viewer knowledge of both.

To add animation an oval will be cut out of the painting large enough for the student to put his or her face through. The students face will be painted with face paint to become part of the painting. We will collaborate wtih students from Bangor High School art club and University of Maine art students to help with the face painting. Anticipation is building for this event which will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, February 16th where the third grade artists will present their artist share and exhibition to other students at the school and to their parents.

The learning accomplishments are many in this project that supports the importance of the wide platform of art beginning with discussion of various artworks, decision making, and cooperative working. Besides the process of creating and the production of a visual piece of art, mathmatical skills were practiced by reproducing an 8 by 10 image to an 18 by 24 image. The science of color mixing was a constant triumph the students experienced as well as the capability to create various textures with paint. Researching information on the artist and the art work will expand the students’ knowledge of biographical research which is part of their third grade curriculum. The students will need to accurately record information and transcribe it to an interesting oral presentation. Their ability to converse with another student will strengthen their communication skills. I am extremely proud of my third grade students whose capabilities went beyond proficiency.

Thank you to Wendy Libby, Fruit Street, Bangor art teacher, for sharing this post including the pictures of the student artwork.

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