Posts Tagged ‘science’

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Careers in Art Series

June 30, 2019

Science, Nature and Drawing

The final workshop in the Careers in Art Series for Kids, Science, Nature & Drawing will be led by Paula Curtis-Everett at The Folk Art Studio at Fiber and Vine, 402 Main Street in Norway on Wednesday, August 14th. This workshop series aims to open pathways for kids to consider the visual arts and making as a worthwhile activity and even imagine a dream that becomes a career one day. 

Workshop Description: Exploring nature with pencil and paper is fun. Imagine finding an apple with a hole in it: Who lives in there and why? How did they get there? Or imagine finding tracks in the snow. Who made the tracks and where were they going? Draw a picture of what you have seen, then try to figure out the story. Today we will look at nature’s story, draw a sketch of what we see, and figure out what is happening. Bring your curiosity, imagination, and wonder. All other supplies will be provided.

Paula Curtis-Everett, Maine Master Naturalist, has always had a love for drawing and a curiosity for what she sees. She loves researching the “why” and “what” of what she finds in nature. Paula is a retired registered nurse who worked as a school nurse as well as a geriatric nurse.

The Western Maine Art Group, The Folk Art Studio, and Fiber & Vine have partnered to bring this workshop series to the Oxford Hills. Through a generous grant from The Norway Savings Bank, Oxford Credit Union, the Rotary Club and an anonymous donor, this final workshop will be offered at a reduced rate of $15. Workshops are currently presented for two age groups: 10 am – noon for children ages 6 – 8 and 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm for children ages 9 and up.  For this workshop, please register by August 7th. Space is limited. Materials and snacks are included. For information and registration, contact fiberandvine.com.

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Vinalhaven 2nd and 3rd Graders

October 30, 2017

LEAPS of IMAGINATION

LEAPS of IMAGINATION is an in-school art program for students in underserved communities. Our team of eight mentor artists interweaves art, literacy, science and mapping to create month-long projects with environmental sustainability and social justice as overarching themes.

Recognizing that art is a vehicle for teaching thinking, our projects support class curricula and empower children to participate in local and global issues. We work with children in their classrooms for two hours each morning twice each week. Envisioning programs that cut across disciplines, artists dovetail literature, environmental exploration, and artwork with student interests.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION’s MISSION is to ignite the imagination and inspire new ways of thinking so that young people can realize that their ideas have purpose and that they have the courage to act on them.

LEAPS of IMAGINATION was a Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant recipient this year.

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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:  https://sites.google.com/a/rsu35.org/mms-chorus-music/
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Creativity and Common Core

March 21, 2014

Professional Development Workshop for Maine Teachers – April 1

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Lesley University’s Creative Arts in Learning Division proposes to offer a professional development workshop for teachers in your district focusing on creatively implementing the Common Core State Standards. The 2-hour workshop will introduce teachers to strategies for designing curriculum and pedagogy that utilize creative processes across the disciplines to implement Common Core State Standards.  Just one example is preparing students to “actively seek the wide, deep, and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts [drawn from all of the arts] that builds knowledge, enlarges experience, and broadens worldviews.”[i]   The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education points out that it is important to select “informational texts and multimedia resources to create coherent curriculum units that link science, social studies [and] the arts.” [ii]   This workshop is offered at no cost to the district.

Design of the Program

The district-wide professional development workshop will be offered for teachers across disciplines and grade levels.  The workshop will focus on creative strategies to support teachers in integrating creative movement, drama, music, poetry, storytelling, and visual arts into teaching and learning activities.  At the conclusion of the workshop, teachers will have the opportunity to imagine creative project-based learning activities that meet Common Core State Standards in their classrooms.

The Creativity and Common Core workshop is designed to address best practices in education that Cambridge’s Superintendent Young identified in his district’s 2011 Innovation Agenda.  These include “engaging students in project-based and experiential learning, interdisciplinary curriculum and instruction … and providing professional support for teachers to provide effective differentiated instruction.”

Workshop Leader

Martha McKenna is University Professor and Director of the Creativity Commons at Lesley University. A senior administrator of the University for 27 years, Dr. McKenna founded the Creativity Commons in 2011 to support innovation in teaching and learning.  The Creativity Commons is committed to active learning, scholarly research, critical inquiry, and diverse forms of artistic practice through the development of close mentoring relationships with students, faculty, and practitioners in the field.


[i] Introduction: Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.  Common Core State Standards Initiative: Preparing America’s Students for College and Career. 2012.  p. 3.

[ii] Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Resources for Implementing The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

in 2012-2013.

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The Science of Learning

April 26, 2012

How much is too much?

Practice makes perfect or does it help to really learn something. For a short period I gave end of unit “tests” to see if students had learned the concepts and skills related to the artwork. This was often very separate from assessing their art work.

In an article written by Annie Murphy-Paul she discusses the idea of practicing and how much it takes to really learn something, overlearn it, learning beyond mastery. Scientists are studying how the brain performs when learning something new and the continuous process of learning. I wonder how this information relates to teaching and learning in the classroom setting considering most arts educators see students for relatively short time each week. And how much impact the student who works individually “practicing”?! You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Thank you to friend and colleague Anne Kofler for sharing this article.

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Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge

February 27, 2012

February 3, 2012 Science

In a special issue, Colin Norman, News Editor of Science, reports on the entries for the 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.

Metabolomic Eye, Bryan W. Jones (Photography - 1st Place)

The challenge has taken place for the past 9 years and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and The purpose is to “promote cutting-edge efforts to visualize scientific data, principles, and ideas—skills that are critical for communication among scientists and between scientists and the general public, especially students.”

Imagine, creating images for communication? Sound familiar? This is taken from

Chapter 132 Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction- Visual Arts B3 Making Meaning, Pre-K-2: Students create art works that communicate ideas and feelings and demonstrate skill in the use of meida, tools, and techniques.

This year there were 212 entries from 33 countries. The finalists were selected and posted and visitors were asked to select their favorite. The “People’s Choice” was selected by the 3200 votes that came in. The winners are posted on an online slide show at http://scim.ag/y41Bht or at www.nsf.gov/news/scivis. You can read the entire article at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6068/525.full.

The National Science Foundation encourages entries and the competition opens May 31, 2012. You can find information on their website (2nd link above).

Thank you to my colleague, Peter Bernard, at the Maine Department of Education, for sharing the link to this information.

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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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