Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Williams’

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MAAI Planning Phase 3

April 15, 2013

Give me your thoughts

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Lisa Marin and Chris Milliken presenting “data” from Chris’ graduate research that he collaborated with Lisa on finding.

The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) has been underway for almost two years. During that time hundreds of Maine arts educators have responded to the invitation to join the journey and participate professional development opportunities throughout Maine. These opportunities have been numerous and provided through various modes and locations.

Opportunities include(d):

  • Webinars were available during phase 1 and are still available through archives located at http://www.maine.gov/education/lres/vpa/assessment.html#webinars. The archives have meeting plans so you can use them at teacher meetings or individually.
  • The state conference on arts assessment was held at USM during October 2011 where over 200 teachers attended.
  • Regional workshops were provided by arts teacher leaders during phase 1 and 2 all over the state.
  • Mega-regional workshops were held during phase 2 at UMF, USM, Easton Schools, and Ellsworth High School with 240 registered for the 4 events.

Underway:

  • Videos are being created in 4 classrooms that will provide a picture of a standards based arts classroom/school. They will be made available at their completion in June.
  • The Depository work is ongoing and located at http://mainelearning.net/resources/. Next week arts educators will be coming together to look at “quality in arts education” to help continue with this work. The Depository will be filled with samples of arts education lessons, units, assessment tools, and other resources.
Teacher Leaders Andria Chase and Sarah Williams take a closer look at workshop info with Leadership team member Jeff Beaudry

Teacher Leaders Andria Chase and Sarah Williams take a closer look at workshop info with Leadership team member Jeff Beaudry

The teacher leaders, your colleagues – 38 of them, have stepped up and taken on responsibilities of expanding their thinking and providing leadership by creating the workshops. They have contributed in so many positive ways and provided feedback to help determine the steps of the MAAI.

The MAAI is truly a grassroots effort with arts educators leading the way. As we come to the close of phase 2 it is time to look ahead and determine the components of phase 3. If you attended a workshop or another gathering we have your specific feedback from the event that has helped inform the work. At this time if you have ideas or feedback that you’d like to share on what you’d like to see included in Maine Arts Assessment Initiative PLEASE email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov and share your thoughts and ideas. The leadership team is meeting on Thursday, April 18 so please don’t delay with your comments!

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Glenburn’s Chorus

April 8, 2013

Star Spangled Banner

mail-1Last Thursday morning I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the legislative session where 44 students out of Glenburn Schools 54 person Chorus performed at the State House. They had been invited and were the guests of Representative Stacey Guerin. This is the 3rd year that the Glenburn Chorus has had this wonderful opportunity. The students enjoyed being able to perform for the opening of the session and always look forward to this trip.  The Chorus is directed by Sarah Williams.

Along with directing the chorus Sarah teaches General Music, grades 5-8 Band at the school. There are 102 students in band and chorus and 141 students in grades 2-4 who meet once a week for 45 minutes. You can read more about Sarah and her program in this blog post called Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Sarah Williams.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Sarah Williams

March 12, 2013

This is the 22nd 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.

SarahWilliamsSarah Williams has been teaching General Music, grades 5-8 Band and Chorus at Glenburn School for 9 years. there are 102 students in band and chorus and 141 students in grades 2-4 who meet once a week for 45 minutes. the 5th grade band students have individual lessons for 3o minutes once a week and a full rehearsal once a week for 45 minutes. Grades 6-8 band is combined, each grade 6 student has group lessons for 30 minutes once a week and full band with grades 7-8 twice a week for 45 minutes. Grade 5 band students have individual lessons for 30 min once a week and then a full rehearsal once a week for 45 minutes. Grades 7-8 have combined individual group lessons together for 30 minutes and then full band with grade 6 twice a week for 45 minutes.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

The variety of materials and being able to work with a large amount of students.  It’s motivating to see the grade span of where the kids start when I first have them to their last year with me and see their growth and progression.  I also enjoy that you get to actually “know” them as people, not just see them for a year.  You get to see them grow from young children to young adults.

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

  1. Content Knowledge
  2. Love and Enthusiasm for what you do
  3. Confident voice to promote your program

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

Assessment has always been an on going focus for me. I am always looking for new, more informative ways to assess my students. I want to find out the most information about what their strengths and weaknesses are using the most efficient assessment tool possible. I think assessment is extremely important because you could teach a lesson that you think all the students understand, they all appear to be participating and engaged in the lesson. When you do the assessment to find out what the individual student may or may not know it can be a very eye opening experience. Especially when you realize that you completely missed the mark.

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

I’ve gained a better understanding of the initiative, it’s goals and focus. I’ve become more knowledgeable about standard based assessment. I’ve also made some connections with other educators that I may not have normally met through this program and also have people I can now bounce ideas off of when I need help.

What are you most proud of in your career?

When I hear that one of my former students has continued on either in High School or even College.  It’s also a great feeling of accomplishment when you speak with a former student or colleague and find out how prepared for the next level of playing the student is, makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and know you’re doing something well.

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

Time. I always wish I could have just five more minutes, and then I would probably still want five more minutes. I feel there is never enough time to get everything you want your students to know or experience about music out to them.

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

Nine years ago I was asked by my first principal to continue the Chorus that the previous teacher had started. Some may say the odds of success were stacked against me but through patience, time, and sometimes luck, the program has grown from 12 kids to 54. This program is a before school activity that parents have to drop their students off for we do not have an early bus. I continue to try to put this into our regular school day to reach more students but haven’t succeeded yet, partially because of the above issue, time. But there is nothing that makes me more proud of this then standing in front of the students before their concert or even rehearsals and seeing the numbers, it makes me smile.

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

Always be a voice for your beliefs in your program and put your students first.  If what you are doing is student centered and will only enhance their learning, then you will always reap the benefits.

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

What would I do with $500,000?  Purchase more school instruments so that those students who can’t afford to participate but want to, don’t have to worry about not being able to afford an instrument. I would also save some money for scholarships to help send students to music camps in the summer time. If any money was left over, I would put it into creating a more music friendly room for my students rehearsals and general music since I currently have to teach in a portable.

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

No regrets, every choice is an experience whether good or bad, right or wrong.  I will look back and smile!

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