Posts Tagged ‘resources’


Back to School Resources

August 30, 2018

Research, ideas, videos, suggestions from others all wrapped in one

A collection of items that will provide some food for thought for you or your students. There’s information, serious and fun, for all of the arts education disciplines. Have fun and don’t be surprised if you learn some things to use starting off the school year with students and/or staff.

  • Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts is working to incorporate yoga and mindfulness into classrooms to help both students and teachers manage their stress and regulate their emotions. This is happening district wide and they see that it is making a difference (June 7, 2017) Yoga and Mindfulness
  • Amazing website with a blog, podcasts, video, and a store. Subscribe and have access to many learning materials. Cult of Pedagogy
  • Start off the school year by focusing building relationships, making connections with students, and telling your story. Article in Ed Week (August 15, 2018) Build Student Trust by Sharing Stories on the First Day
  • What do Employers Want in a New Hire? Strong speaking skills, but they have a tough time finding candidates who are good at it, according to a survey released Tuesday. Good oral communication skills got the #1 slot among the 15 job skills that executives and hiring managers identified as very important in new hires. (August 28, 2018) READ EDUCATION WEEK ARTICLE.
  • Setting up your classroom for a new year can be fun or stressful. (August 27, 2018) Teachers, How Did You Set Up Your Classroom This Year?
  • Peter DeWitt keeps a blog called: Finding COMMON Ground and he had a superintendent write a post recently called “Kids Need Play and Recess. Their Mental Health May Depend on It”. He talks about the facts on the topic of anxiety, depression and suicide. (August 1, 2018) READ THE POST.
  • Flight of the Bumblebee performed A Capella style by Team Lachey on the television show Clash of the Choirs.  FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLEBEE
  • Musician and conductor André Rieu performing Amazing Grace live in the Amsterdam Arena with His Johann Strauss Orchestra and a contingent of bagpipes. AMAZING GRACE
  • The Spotlight Dance performed by Jackie and Charlie at the summer workshop of ShagAtlanta 2013. DANCING
  • Lead with an Open HeartAre you a teacher leader or taking on a leadership role in your school/district this year? The author starts with “leadership is hard work”. (August 22, 2018)
  • Do.Reflect.Do Better. That’s the motivation for the author of the blog called Project 180, Monte Syrie. He just posted his first day of school blog post BUILDING BETTER: PROJECT 180, DAY 1. Good food for thought!



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!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


  • 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, and Mt. Blue High School in Farmington Teacher Dan Ryder


  • Proficiency Based Learning: An Advocacy Story Music Teacher Rob Westerberg from York High School 

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 Please email Argy Nestor if you have any questions at


Maine Arts Assessment Initiative – NEW Website!

August 12, 2014

Created for you!

The crazy adventure/uncharted territory known as the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) is now 4 years old. During that time, over 1,000 Arts educators have participated in MAAI activities, including workshops, state Conferences, Webinars, courses, and on and on. One of the unforeseen benefits of all this professional development has been the excavation of vast amounts of materials and documents to further our understanding and our work. From rubric construction and advice on implementing standards, to blogs, publications, and web resources, it seems that there’s little out there that hasn’t been unearthed in the process of working as colleagues in this state. Along those lines, it has been a bit of a pipe dream to create a web site that actually stores all of these resources in a user friendly format; “one stop shopping” for all things Arts Assessment. Being unveiled here is the manifestation of that goal,


The website is split into easily searchable topics: Assessment Documents, Helpful Videos, “tons” of Web Links and Advocacy. We also decided to make this site the home page for MAAI, so there is a link there giving the mission, history and present day activities for educators to plug themselves into. Also featured is a “Proficiency Toolkit”, providing a step-by-step process by which Arts educators can move forward in their work to meet local and state requirements, adopting standards work in their own programs/schools/classrooms in ways that make sense to them.

All of us in MAAI are extraordinarily proud of the work that’s going on across the state. But it’s all for naught unless the work continues. Here is a way to access all the amazing resources out there in the world that will help us do so. Take a peek at the website when you get a few minutes, and hop onto the areas that resonate the most with your own professional needs. We welcome feedback and suggestions as this site continues to spring to life, and hope you will utilize it as a favorite “go to” site in the months and years to come.

A GREAT big thank you to Rob Westerberg for his numerous hours of work bringing together all of the information and creating the new website!


LD 1422 Webinar

May 12, 2014

MAAI webinar, May 7

The third of a series of four webinars for the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative was held on Wednesday, May 7, entitled “LD 1422: digging deeper into the new Proficiency expectations for Maine’s schools and Arts classrooms”. In coming up with this particular webinar, facilitators Catherine Ring and Rob Westerberg were reacting to what they both believed has been a lot of misunderstanding and a great lack of clarity around the new law which states that all High Schools will be issuing diplomas, “based on student demonstration of proficiency”. The hour with nearly 20 attendees, including the Maine Department of Education new Visual and Performing Arts Specialist, Mr. Kevin Facer, allowed the opportunity to de-mystify it, and to discuss its ramifications as it pertains to Visual and Performing Arts.

The first part gave an overview of LD 1422, with links to valuable resources at the Maine Department of Education. Catherine and Rob went through the important details pertaining to how it relates to VPA, the Maine Guiding Principles which all students will be required to meet, and a few thoughts around the concept of “multiple pathways” to demonstrate proficiency. An extended conversation was had around proficiency in the arts and what that actually can mean in practice. Information very specific about what that looks like in the classroom, and articulation of the next steps for everyone to get there, regardless of where you are presently.

Finally, there was a give and take conversation around relevant questions and observations from the MAAI Teacher leaders last Summer. Some of these included, “Once established, this will inform curricular and instructional decisions?”, “How do we establish proficiencies while leaving room for creativity?”, “You cannot define proficiency until the “vagueness” is taken out of the standards… is this a road we want to go down?” and “How do we find time to do everything and teach at the same time?” Along the way, webinar attendees asked some very pointed questions as well and shared some great insights.

In debunking myths or misinterpretations, and showing how the Arts can proactively move toward proficiency, the hope is that attendees and those utilizing the archive and meeting plans can get a leg up, perhaps even on the other content areas in our own buildings, and truly be leaders as we move toward this next chapter in Maine education. In this vein, it is strongly encouraged that arts teachers spend some time viewing the archive: the live links alone will make this worth your while, while the conversations will add clarity for what is expected of arts teachers in the months and years to come.

On Wednesday, June 4, we will be holding a related webinar, featuring the ongoing work MAAI has undertaken creating a rich Resource Bank for the Visual and Performing Arts. Please plan on joining Catherine and Rob from 3:30 to 4:30 on that first Wednesday of June. In the meantime, you can access the archive of the May 7 webinar at You can access the professional development meeting plans that accompany the webinar at (available tomorrow). You may utilize with this with your building and district VPA colleagues.



March 2, 2013

Outstanding offerings

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 2.04.43 PM

The website called WeAreTeachers has some interesting offerings. You might want to check it out and then consider subscribing.

Here are some of the recent ones:


Articles, Resources, Ideas, Opportunities

December 14, 2012

Passed my way recently

Below are resources and information that you might find useful.

  • From Education Week an article called A+ Schools Arts and Other ‘Essentials’ written by Erik W. Robelen. In Oklahoma City they are solving math equations during math class. Ten years ago the idea started in a few schools and has grown to 70 today. Read about the A+ Schools network by clicking here.
  • Free professional development resources from Crayola. To learn more click here.
  • What’s Going on in this Picture? The NY Times Education section provides the chance for learning where they include photos and ask what is going on. The same question that we find in the Visual Thinking Strategy program. You can post what you think and read what others think. You can check out the article by clicking here.
  • Opportunity for students to create and for schools to benefit. Check out the vimeo with the information by clicking here.
  • This is fascinating and you will wonder “how did they do that?”. Check out Beautiful Bacteria: How to Make Art From E. Coli written by Claire O’Neill, posted October 23, 2012 by clicking here.
  • Carnegie Hall commissioned WolfBrown to conduct research to explore the potential of music and musicians in making a difference in the lives of young people in the juvenile justice system. “May the Songs I Have Written Speak for Me” is the essay that was written as a result. You can learn more by clicking here.
  • Arts integration has great potential. This blog post located on the Teaching Channel Beyond Engagement: Changing How our Students Express Learning written by Lily Jones, November 6, 2012. Lily was a K/1 teacher and committed to making learning fun for teachers and students. This post is about integration and her awareness comes through in her statement: “I started off thinking of arts integration as an engagement strategy. But I soon realized it was so much more than that. When students learn through the arts, they are able to express their content knowledge in new ways.” Click here for the article.
  • Keith Haring’s interactive coloring book.
  • Read about how the opera is providing professional development for FL teachers in this article written by Stephanie Parra posted October 2, 2012 by clicking here. Music teacher from Miami Central High School said: “I want them to learn the technique of singing without a microphone and using their voice as a complete instrument; that’s what my students need to do.”

Maine Learning Community of Learners Website

September 10, 2012

What is is an online community of practice for Maine educators. The idea for was established after Stephen Bowen, the Commissioner of Education, learned from touring the state in March 2011, of the desire for sharing resources and best practices amongst and between educators.

Thus was born a project designed to leverage limited resources by creating an online collaboration platform that allows groups of educators to share best practices in their areas of specialty, and allows all educators to observe and/or participate.

Currently the Department of Education has rolled out the site with an initial set of practice groups. Arts education has a “Group” called Maine Arts Education Leaders. The intent of the group is to have discussions, share documents, and participate in online activities to collect and share best practices. This is a collaborative space that provides the opportunity for conversations on arts education topics to share ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback to the group members. Along with me (Argy Nestor) the community is made up of the following educators:

  • Jeff Beaudry
  • Bill Buzza
  • Shannon Campbell
  • Cami Carter
  • Suzanne Goulet
  • Charlie Johnson
  • Lisa Marin
  • Jen Nash
  • Leah Olson
  • Jame Perkins
  • Catherine Ring
  • Ben Speed

Each of the practice groups follow the “fishbowl” model: group members can collaborate within their group space, but all interested educators, parents, and community members will be able to view the conversations and resources. The topic we are presently discussing is “proficiency based high school graduation”. I suggest you take a minute and read what these arts educators are saying.

In another space in arts educators are submitting to the “Resources” section. During the summer Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Summer Institute for the initiative’s teacher leaders the first phase teacher leaders started populating this site with sample lessons and units. The teacher leaders are working on a method for “peer review” of the resources submitted which will provide the contributor with feedback. If you are interested in contributing click on “Recommend a Learning Object” at the top of the Resources page.

The teacher leaders who have contributed resources to date are:

  • Shannon Campbell
  • Jennie Driscoll
  • Charlie Johnson
  • Lisa Marin
  • Jen Nash
  • Jeff Orth
  • MaryEllen Schaper
  • Jake Sturtevant
  • Alice Sullivan
  • Shari Tarleton

The resource section of is open to all however you will notice at this time that most of the resources submitted are from arts educators.

%d bloggers like this: