Posts Tagged ‘SLAM’

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Dance Grant Series 2

February 10, 2017

Dance education funding – “Hopes for the Future”

This is the second of three blog posts that will be included, February 9 – 11, describing the dance education residency that took place in December 2016 from a special grant called the “Hopes for the Future” funding. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader and dance educator from Thornton Academy Emma Campbell collaborated and planted a seed and it grew into a dance education opportunity for Maine students. Please note: funding will be available again during 2017. Please watch the blog and the Maine Arts Commission arts education list-serv for information. Thank you to Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud for their contributions to this blog post.

img_4626On a chilly Friday night in early December the Wisdom Middle / High School Arts Faculty hosted the Holiday Night of the Arts. The performance was very well attended with the Wisdom High School cafeteria being filled nearly to capacity. The audience was treated to a variety of holiday songs, new and old. In addition, SLAM!, the Student Leadership in the Arts Movement, Wisdom’s student led arts advocacy group, created a performance art piece as a form of arts advocacy. The evening included the Pioneer Band, solo performances,  student artwork, and for the first time ever, thanks to the Teaching Artist Dance Grant from the Maine Arts Commission and the Thornton Academy dance program, two dance performances under the direction of teaching artist, John Morris. The students created dance performances were the result of a week-long residency with Mr. Morris. Students worked with Mr. Morris & art educator Ms. Theresa Cerceo to create original dance pieces based on students’ poems around the theme of identity & community.

img_4607Throughout the week, John worked with two groups of high school students, S.L.A.M.! and a volunteer group of 8 students that became known as, The Butterfly Group. The students worked with John, first learning basic techniques, warm ups and then exploring concepts around identity. S.L.A.M.! used a poem about artistic process and struggle written by member, Jasmine DeMoranville, as inspiration for exploring personal expression and collaboration. The Butterfly Group took time to write “I am…” poems and then, individually created movements in response to their writing. Through much planning; reflection, critique and practice, the students worked with John to use their individual work and build a unified dance that expressed their interdependence as a community.

Student comments

“This work was more intense then I thought it would be and I learned more about physical motion then I thought I would.  It opened my eyes to a new medium of expression that I never explored before. SLAM!” ~ Daley

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John Morris

“The experience last week was beyond words. It actually taught me that any idea can be turned into something great and to never give up, no matter how stupid it may seem. It also taught me that there can be different interpretations to your idea that may contribute to other great ideas. Yes, I was shy because that shell of me is still not gone but I think this experience finally cracked my shell a bit and I know that SLAM! is capable of cracking and breaking my shell little by little. This dance residency helped me think of new ideas for SLAM!. What I want to do with SLAM (since it is my first and final year)  is to have fun and really advocate for art (music, dance, art, drama) in the community and I think the things that happened (the week of the dance residency)  is really going to help me throughout the entire year with my ideas because I have learned that no idea is going to go wasted and it could trigger other ideas!”  ~ Kelly

“As the author of the poem, it was an incredible experience to see and be a part of the process of transforming my poetry into another form of art. Watching (other students) interpret my work deeply and out loud is something I’ve never really had before. Seeing the thought process and the thoughts that it instilled was amazing. Then performing it was really incredible.” ~ Jasmine

img_4639In addition to the work Mr. Morris did at the Wisdom Middle/High School, he had a full week, teaching in the elementary visual art and music classes as well. Along with Mr. Charles Michaud, John worked with general music classes, using dance to teach music elements.  The work done in the Ms. Cerceo’s  classroom was integrated with visual art lessons that were implemented before Mr. Morris’ arrival, around the theme of individual and community identity. Under John’s direction, students used dance to further explore their compositions as well as artistic purpose and communication. These dances included individual, small group and whole class collaboration.

 

Reflections from grade 5 students:

  • “I learned to personify a painting (using elements; pattern, repetition, etc.).”
  • “There are more categories of dance than I thought.”
  • “Dances need cooperation & teamwork.”
  • “You can see a painting and then dance it out!”
  • “I figured out that movement is a type of beautiful art.”
Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud

Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud

“As arts educators, our goals are centered around the students. We are here to give our learners a place to be self directed, a place to explore and express themselves and their emotions, and a community where their differences are strengths instead of mistakes. Being able to include dance into our arts program at MSAD #33 has expanded our the students’ understanding of arts and arts education and has increased our knowledge base as educators.” ~ Theresa Cerceo and Charles Michaud

Highlights

This video provides highlights of the dance education residency. Thank you to Theresa for creating it! https://vimeo.com/198665764

February 9-11 are the blog posts about the dance education residency in MSAD #33. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

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Trip to The County

May 16, 2016

Aroostook county

Most days I feel fortunate to do the work I do. Let’s face, I believe working with Maine’s Visual and Performing Arts teachers is a great job! Most days it doesn’t feel like work because I love it so much. (Don’t mistake this for an easy job!) I don’t get to Aroostook County or the areas of Maine that are further away from the Maine Arts Commission office as much as I’d like but, when I do it is a wonderful treat.

IMG_2127Recently I traveled to the County (as Aroostook is affectionately know to many) and learned a great deal AND had a fabulous time. The early morning drive north on 95, once I reach Bangor, is an opportunity to turn off the radio and look and think. It took me almost 4 hours from my home to my first destination, Wintergreen Arts Center in Presque Isle.

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Wintergreen Arts Center, Presque Isle

I met with Dottie Hutchins, the Executive Director of the Wintergreen Arts Center and with the co-chairs of the center board members Heather Harvell, and Kim Guerrette Michaud. I felt like I had known them for a long time. The center has many successful programs that range from pre-school programs to after school art programs for young kids through teenagers to programs for adults. They are a growing center with so much to offer. If you are in Presque Isle be sure and stop in and say hello to the folks there. Dottie and the crew are working on a series of blog posts for meartsed so you can learn more in depth about their programs.

IMG_2132From there I headed north to visit Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Art Teacher Leader and Leadership Team member Theresa Cerceo. First stop, after my hour drive was at the Dr. Levesque Elementary School in Frenchville where Theresa was teaching a science lab. Yes, art integration in action. It wasn’t about the product but about learning by asking questions and experimenting with materials. For example, students were grinding leaves with a little bit of water. Students test scores in math and reading have increased due to the work that ALL teachers are doing during the weekly labs.

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SLAM at Wisdom High School, St. Agatha

From there I headed north again  to Wisdom Middle/High School in St. Agatha to visit with the Students Leaders in the Arts Movement (SLAM). It provided the opportunity to talk and listen to the members of SLAM at their own school. We exchanged ideas on the school board presentation they are preparing for. SLAM kicked off the statewide arts education census in December by creating a video inviting principals to submit the survey. It was great to share some of the results – 95% response. So proud of the advocacy work this group is doing. If you are interested in learning more or starting your own SLAM chapter please contact Theresa at tcerceo@msad33.org.

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Sip and Paint

Back to Presque Isle for supper with the MALI Teacher Leaders who planned the workshop I was attending the next day including Sue Beaulier who teaches Art K-12 in Ashland, Josh Bosse (and his lovely wife), Music PK-12 in Madawaska, Leadership Team member, Pam Kinsey, Music K-12 Easton, and Theresa. After supper we stopped into the Wintergreen Arts to see the center filled with 31 adults painting as part of a fundraiser, Sip and Paint.

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Jake Sturtevant presenting long distance

The next day I headed west for the MALI Mega Workshop at the beautiful Ashland School. Students were in session but you couldn’t tell. The school is laid out beautifully and the rooms are lovely places to work. Thanks Sue for hosting. It was a wonderful day with the following workshops offered:

  • Critical Thinking in the Art Room – Sue Beaulier
  • Individual Assessments in an Ensemble – Jake Sturtevant, joining electronically
  • GT Toolbox: Tools for the GT Classroom – Josh Bosse
  • Changing the Way We Think About Special Ed. Students
  • Studio Habits of Mind: Planting Seeds Towards Growth and Proficiency in the Arts – Theresa Cerceo

IMG_2147The day was complete with a discussion on PBE to learn where arts teachers in the County are on the continuum. And, two woman from the Partners in the Arts Presentation shared information about the organization and encouraged teachers to apply for grant funding.

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MALI Mega participants

Lunch was delicious and the company was wonderful! Congratulations to the MALI Teacher Leaders and to Dave Ouellette from CACE who planned a great professional development opportunities for their colleagues in the County. The drive to the County is far but it is well worth the distance. I learned a great deal and had fun talking with folks about their arts education program. I had never been that far northeast but I must say the trip was so beautiful, especially along Long Lake (ice still on) in St. Agatha. I still need to get to Madawaska – next trip to the County (Josh!).

Long Lake

Long Lake

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Great Day for Arts Education

March 28, 2016

Arts Ed Advocacy Day a success
IMG_2009 - Version 2On Thursday, March 24 the State House in Augusta was mobbed with students articulating what the arts mean to them, individually and collectively. Their messages were clear and legislators from all regions of Maine were listening.

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Biddeford Intermediate School Select Chorus under the direction of music educator and MALI Teacher Leader, Andrea Wollstadt

Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) directed by Susan Potters accompanied by many hands to organize the day. CONGRATULATIONS Susan! About 200 students representing elementary, middle, and high school were scheduled to meet with the representatives and senators from their regions.

Following the meetings students gathered in the Hall of Flags where there were performances and many were engaged in singing, dancing, poetry reciting, and visiting county tables with arts education information.

 

In Susan’s words, from MAAE website:

IMG_2003After the legislators themselves came downstairs a formal program included remarks by Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education, William Beardsley; Maine Arts Commission Arts Education Director, Argy Nestor; Farnsworth Museum Education Director, Roger Dell; Maine Resilience Building Network Co-facilitator, Sue Mackey Andrews; and Arts Education Program Manager at Americans for the Arts, Jeff Poulin. There were also student performances by the Biddeford Intermediate School Select Chorus, conducted by Andrea Wollstadt, by a Bangor High School English class working with teaching artist Katenia Keller, that had choreographed a piece collaboratively, and an art advocacy group speaking piece performed by SLAM! from SAD 33 in Aroostook County, directed by Theresa Cerceo.

It was a full day! But this Advocacy Day’s significance as a day of firsts was in the students themselves… not only in their sheer number (a first for the State House), but also as a statewide gathering of students involved in all art forms – visual art, music, dance, theater and poetry – meeting each other and feeling empowered. So this day was a first, but it wasn’t the last!

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Makayla and Cayden, students from Marshwood High School with music educator and MALI Leadership Team member Kate Smith are all smiles at Arts Ed Advocacy Day!

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Student Leaders in the Arts Movement (SLAM) presenting during the program.

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Senator Brian Langly, co-chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee speaks to students in the Hall of Flags.

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Maine Department of Education Visual and Performing Arts Specialist Beth Lambert, music educator at Central Elementary School Kate Smith, and art educator from Dr. Levesque Elem, Wisdom Middle/High School, MSAD #33, Theresa Cerceo. Both Kate and Theresa are members of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Leadership Team.

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Statewide Survey

January 12, 2016

How’s it going?

You might be wondering how the statewide arts education census is doing on collecting information from EVERY Maine school. I’d say the collection is going VERY well! As of today 156 schools have responded to the call and completed the survey. YAHOO, that is 24% of our goal!

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: It is essential that ONLY the principal complete the survey. I know, you might be thinking “BUT, I have to help my principal, since they don’t have some of the information needed to complete the task”. YOU are absolutely correct. SOOOOO…. I suggest that you go to https://mainearts.maine.gov/CMSContent/arts_in_education/2016_0106_Arts_Ed_Survey.pdf and download a .pdf of the questions. Gather the answers and provide the downloaded .pdf with your answers to your principal to complete the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MAINE_ARTS_ED. Just think how appreciative your principal will be by helping them to complete the survey.

Our goal is 100% of the schools to complete the online survey so we are excited that we are 1/4 to the goal. Please be sure and let me know if you have any questions.

You might want to share the below link with your principal. The video is created by the members of the Student Leaders in the Arts Movement (SLAM) from MSAD 33 under the direction of Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Theresa Cerceo.

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What Theresa’s Students are Saying

October 19, 2015

SLAM

Theresa Cerceo is a MALI Teacher Leader who teaches K-12 Visual Art in Dr. Levesque Elementary School, Wisdom Middle/High School, MSAD 33 (all the way up in the County). Her Logic Model plan for her work as a Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teacher Leader this year, involves advocacy work with students. In her own words: “I started working with my students today on advocacy work. I had K – 12 come up with possible blog titles and the high school art club created the, “Student Leaders in the Arts Movement” or S.L.A.M.! We will have a meeting at the start of every art club meeting (once a week). We had a great talk about the importance of messaging why the arts are essential. They had a lot of great ideas and really took ownership of the project. We have a board going for all the different activities we will work on. They are excited!”

Earlier this month at the Biennial Statewide Conference The Measure of Success Theresa provided an update on her work with her SLAM students. She created a video with them that expresses why the arts and visual and performing arts education is essential to them. In the future Theresa and her students will be writing a blog post for meartsed readers so you can learn more. This is only the beginning of the work Theresa is doing with students.

 

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