Posts Tagged ‘Pam Ouellette’


Literacy Can Enhance Learning and Assessment in All the Arts

August 14, 2014

A clear message


Pam presenting at USM

Literacy conversations are taking place across the state in all classrooms. This is nothing new, literacy has been the hot topic and essential at all grade levels for a few years. Arts educators utilize, present, and support literacy instruction at varying levels. Some of you embrace it and others wish it would just go away. After all, the Maine Learning Results Visual and Performing Arts Standard A is Disciplinary Literacy.

Lisbon High School art teacher and Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) Teacher Leader, Pam Ouellette, has put literacy in its rightful place in her visual arts classroom. Just this Spring (of 2014) Pam provided the keynote for the Maine Art Education Association conference at Brunswick High School. Two weeks ago Pam provided the morning session presentation for all participants at the Summit on Arts Education, USM, Portland. She has shared her power point with the MAAI and we’ve made it available to you on the new website at!inter–cross-disciplinary/crz6. Checking out the power point will give you a sense of the amazing work that Pam is doing in her classroom. She speaks eloquently about how her students are articulating fully about their artwork while telling the stories and making deeper connections.

Pam’s presentation should be seen by every Curriculum Leader, Literacy Specialist, School leader across the state. It is spot on and there is valuable information for everyone who hears her. If we can obtain a video of Pam presenting we will be sure and post that as well and you’ll be the first (or second) to know.

If you have questions or would like Pam to come to your school and provide her presentation to your staff please contact her.




Cross Discipline Literacy Webinars

December 27, 2013

Critical thinking promoted in the arts classroom

Argument writing promotes critical thinking in all content areas and helps prepare students for college and careers.  If you are interested in learning more about argument writing, there is a recorded webinar that can help you get started. Lisbon High School visual arts teacher, Pam Ouellette, worked on developing a recent webinar with two other teachers: Paula Stevens (science and technology, Stratton) and Heather Manchester (literacy coach/instructional strategist, Poland Regional H.S.).  Several Lisbon High School teachers contributed argument writing assignment examples (Jonathan Carsley, Laurie Howe, Judy Roy, and Jen Fox). Pam is a teacher leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative as well.

CDL Webinar:  Writing Evidenced-Based Arguments -Part I

This Webinar informs about…

  • the difference between persuasive and argumentative writing
  • argument writing in the Common Core
  • the role of argument writing in different disciplines and gives examples of argument assignments in various disciplines
  • strategies to organize evidence to support argument using coding and graphic organizers (Venn diagram and discussion web)
  • strategies to assist in the development of argument writing for your students


There will be a second part to this webinar on February 4th, 3-4pm.


Cross Discipline Literacy Network

October 10, 2013

Online and face to face opportunities

Pam Ouellette (Lisbon High School), Suzanne Goulet (Waterville Sr. High School) and Lisa Gilman (Winthrop Middle School) continue to be a part of presenting collaborative professional development regarding literacy.

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 10.27.21 PMVocabulary Instruction – grades 6-12 (Lisa G.)

Webinar 1: December 9, 3:00 – 4:00pm

Big and Practical Ideas About Academic Vocabulary in the Classroom

Description: How do we motivate students to see new meaning in words? When they learn the word “composition” in art, can they then transfer it to a social studies term when speaking about the composition of a community? What does it mean to write a musical composition, and how does that differ from composing an essay… or how are they the same? This webinar will provide an overview of ideas about how a teacher can go about selecting and assessing student vocabulary through five big ideas: Intentionality, Transparency, Usability, Personalization and Prioritization. The first webinar will highlight ideas on how to make vocabulary instruction intentional and transparent and offer strategies that can be used immediately in your own classrooms. Be ready to share your ideas, too.

Webinar 2: January 13, 4:30 – 5:30pm

More Practical Ideas about Academic Vocabulary in the Classroom

Description: This webinar will review the five big ideas of vocabulary instruction and delve into strategies for making vocabulary instruction usable, personal and a priority. Suggestions for implementation will be presented by three teachers of different subject areas and grade levels. Cross-curricular as well as subject-specific vocabulary strategies, will be explored. The teachers will share their experiences with concrete examples from their own classrooms. Again, be ready to share your ideas and experiences, too.

Screen shot 2013-10-09 at 9.28.56 PM


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Pam Ouellette

May 14, 2013

This is the 31st in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

PamPam Ouellette has been teaching visual arts for 24 years. She is presently the art teacher at Lisbon High School, grades 9-12. Pam has 119 students in her courses which include Art Foundations, Studio Art, Photography, AP 2D, 3D, and Drawing. In addition she is the art club advisor and the advocacy advisor where she meets with student groups each day to read, discuss topics, take practice SAT tests and other similar activities.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

I enjoy connecting with students, introducing them to the excitement and benefits of art. I love watching students develop their skills and visual vocabulary and helping them understand the connections between their lives and visual arts. I enjoy creating lessons that will engage students on a meaningful level as well as challenge them to stretch and explore.

As we are gearing up for our Annual Student Art Show, I have to say that is a great event as an art educator. It’s a lot of work to put together, but the students all get involved to make it a big group effort. It’s so great to walk around and see the final show—all the proud students’ hard work, interesting conversations about art and art experiences, involved parents and community members…  It’s the highlight of each school year.

I’m also happy to be a part of a great profession that is caring and supportive and that values people and sharing ideas. All the art educators I know are dedicated, inspiring, and hard working teachers.

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

An art educator who has…

1.  Enthusiasm for the Arts- because it’s contagious

2.  Strong education and preparation to teach in the art

3.  Understanding and creative ideas about how to connect the arts and students to their community and their lives.  Students need to understand the relevance of the arts to them personally as well as the relevance of the arts to their world and community.

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

I have found assessment can be a very useful teaching tool—to inform my teaching more than a tool for grading. It’s helpful to use informal assessments to gauge student understanding and use that information for teaching and lesson planning.

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

Networking with other arts professionals- sharing ideas, energy, and enthusiasm. Helping the arts be at the forefront of national efforts and progress in education.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My students who carry their visual arts experiences with them into their futures—from students who have gone onto careers in visual arts to those that are simply better human beings because of it. I’ve been able to keep in touch with many former students through social media, and I love keeping up with their careers, adventures, and families. Some have become photographers, graphic designers, art teachers, some have traveled and taught overseas, and some have beautiful families and are raising their children with more creativity and art because of their own experiences.

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

Limited time, energy, and money…  This type of work is never “done.” There’s always more that can be improved. There are also external factors such as scheduling, budgets, and various imposed limitations and requirements that hold back teaching and learning.

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. I don’t feel that anything I’ve achieved has been without hard work. I feel fortunate that I did my student teaching at Mt. Ararat High School where I connected with some amazing art teachers. My experiences, hard work, and connections there helped lead me to my job as an art educator at Lisbon High School. At LHS I had the pleasure of working for over 20 years with Elaine Cyr who was not only my mentor and professional inspiration, but my friend. I feel very lucky to have made the connections with people that I have, but hard work is key to making those connections worthwhile. You have to work hard to make seemingly lucky opportunities fruitful.

Another area of “luck” that can only be achieved through hard work is trying to maintain a healthy family while also teaching. I’m fortunate that my family has been very understanding and supportive throughout my career.

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

I think most educators understand that learning is a never-ending process. I have never regretted learning more, and I would encourage all teachers to continue to grow and learn. In the arts, in particular, I think it’s vital for educators to grow as artists in their own media. We need to BE artists to teach about art and it’s vital processes. We need to be the examples we want for our students. Learn, explore, create, reflect, stretch, and grow.

I would also say that “The teaching of art is more than the teaching of art” (Eisner, 2001, p. 6).  Art is interconnected to all aspects of life and we need to help students realize and benefit from these connections.


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

I would use the money to promote the arts in my school and it’s community. Make sure all students get a quality arts experience through better equipment, supplies, dynamic field trips, scholarships for those wanting to further their arts education and/or pursue arts careers. I’d also like to pay off my sons’ and my own school loans. And I’d really love to travel!!


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

I would hope I’d have no regrets… I’m pretty happy with my life to this point.

Thank you Pam for telling your story!



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