Posts Tagged ‘STEAM’

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Congratulations Sarah

May 25, 2021

Hancock County Teacher of the Year Sarah Doremus

The Maine Teacher of the Year process is extensive which includes writing, interviewing, and sharing about what is most important to teachers. It provides an opportunity for teachers to consider every aspect of the details of teaching. The 2021 county teachers of the year were recently announced and art teacher Sarah Doremus was named the Hancock Teacher of the Year. Sarah, along with the other 15 county teachers are eligible for the 2022 Maine State Teacher of the Year. Maine Teacher of the Year is a program of the Department of Education and is administered by Educate Maine.

Sarah teaches at Sedgwick Elementary School and recently provided her story in an interview for the Maine Arts Education blog. I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating Sarah and once you read this will understand why Sarah was selected. Included in this post are amazing examples of student work as well as Sarah’s own art. I’m so proud that an arts teacher has been selected and I know that Sarah will represent us well in her role.

WHY SARAH LOVES TEACHING

I love the fact that it is different every day. I love that I work with little people who have yet to see limitations in what they can do and are eager to try anything. I love that my job allows me to make a living doing what I love to do.

Making trophies – “Loan Shark”

TEACHING STORY

One of my favorite stories was a decade in the making. My first teaching position was in Massachusetts at an alternative middle school for kids who had a difficult time mainstreaming into public school. I taught jewelry and had a student who was fascinated with metal, fabrication and design. He took every art class offered and I was able to hire him as a work study (a practice common at the school). When he graduated he applied for and got accepted at Mass College of Art (my alma mater). After graduation he went to UMASS Dartmouth and earned his MFA in metals. I teach adult learners at a jewelry school outside of Boston and during his training in college he served as a Teaching Assistant for me. Recently I took a class at the school taught by him. I love this story because it is an example of “teaching full circle”. I taught him and now he is teaching me!  

I realize where I teach now (elementary school) I learn as much from my students, if not more, as they learn from me. Student interest and curiosity informs our curriculum development. Our school works to integrate curriculum between subjects. 

Voodoo dolls of the teachers and staff

STEM/STEAM CONNECTION

There is a connection to STEM and that is STEAM. Which includes art in the equation (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). My own art work addresses a wide range of subjects; from phobias to politics. My work is narrative so I want there to be a message which also works well with my teaching. I like using what the students are learning in their other classes to inform what we do in art. Having an added class of STEAM allows for even more integration.

  • Example 1: Students made whirligigs that represent non-violent world leaders and displayed them in front of the school. In science class they were studying force and motion and in social studies class they were studying civil rights leaders. It made sense for them to use what they were learning in other classes to create a whirligig installation.
  • Example 2: Students learned about plastic pollution and its effect on our ocean (many of our students have parents who make their living by fishing). We teamed with Haystack Fablab to teach the students  Scratch (a coding program) which they used to tell a story about the problem. We teamed with Alison Chase Dance Company to create a performance piece about ocean plastics and had scheduled an environmental artist from North Carolina to come up to create a pot warp (lobster bait rope) sculpture with the school and community. (Unfortunately Covid tabled the plan.) 
  • Example 3: Learning about what challenges face those who are differently abled we invited a blind alumnus to talk about braille and made copper braille alphabet plaques. We cast student hands in American sign language. Both were exhibited in our school lobby. 
  • Example 4: We invited a naturalist to come to talk to students about our vernal pool and right now I am preparing a class to investigate the caddisfly- Nature’s Engineers. The larval stage builds cases around themselves out of the detritis from pool floor for protection. At the conclusion of our study students will be asked to become caddisfly larvae and will use strips of cardboard, twine and egg cartons to build a larvae case around themselves. As much as possible I try to bring the community into the school to share their expertise. What we teach in school is so greatly enriched by having those that DO what we teach come and tell about it.
Cast hands in American Sign Language

TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROCESS

It is weird to be talking so much publicly about what I do in the classroom and at first I was a little embarrassed and shy but then I thought this could be a platform to advocate for what I believe in: project based learning and curriculum integration. I watched a Netflix show titled Abstract About Artists, Designers, Etc. and one episode was featuring a toy designer. She created these amazing toys and talked about a Chinese School where a new method of learning was being tried. It’s called Anji Play, where students are given building materials and set loose to explore, invent and create. It was fabulous! That probably would not fly in American public schools yet but I would like to see more inventive approaches to education. The Teacher of the Year process allows one to talk to other teachers and share new ideas and learn from the ideas of others. We don’t get much of that in our day to day teaching.

Solar cars

BECOMING AN ART TEACHER

I never intended to be a teacher. I don’t really think I ever knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. First, a nun, after watching “The Sound of Music” but then a firefighter. My career seemed to hop around like that until I started teaching at Sedgwick. I never could decide because there are so many options. I started college as a nursing major switched to chemistry and ended up with a BS in Art History. I got my Masters in Environmental Studies and went back to college and got a BA in Fine Arts. I started teaching when a friend  on the school board suggested I apply.  Initially I thought I would rather gnaw my arm off then work with little kids all day but summers off and health insurance were really appealing and I thought it could be a fun challenge. Now I can’t think of anything I would rather do. I have a very understanding wife and we have 3 amazing grown kids. We live with 2 dogs on Deer Isle up a mile long dirt driveway where I have a studio

empusta ugitfa or tempus fugit or time flies – Kinetic ring

ARTIST STATEMENT

As a sculptor, I work with my hands and in all honesty I think with my hands too. The texture, density, consistency and malleability of a material are its language and that language is what I find rewarding in the use of mixed media. I look to the inherent qualities of a material and try to manipulate them to my end.

I like to use my work to create a sort of tongue in cheek play on the human condition. Using words, puns or expressions in combination with physical representation of form I want to poke fun at our collective angst-ridden human condition: Not to minimize or diminish its impact but rather put it in perspective and by doing so remove the perceived anxiety; Basically, to render it impotent.

Most recently I have been interested in kinetic art especially kinetic jewelry. My work suggests sculpture that is ostensibly meant to be worn. Using found objects, doll parts and metal I make small scale pieces that are intended to comment on body adornment and ornamentation, both functional and otherwise. I’ve noticed that cell phones, and personal electronic equipment have become so commonplace that they are taking on the mantle of jewelry; jewelry that has a function and perceived necessity. My work questions this norm by functioning in a way that is both absurd and completely unnecessary.

 Barbie meets Sisyphus – Kinetic ring
 Hands up, don’t shoot
Fur lined wedding rings

Thank you Sarah for taking the time to share your amazing story. Sarah can be reached at sdoremus@sedgwickschool.org.

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Real STEAM

November 4, 2019

OK – Go upside down and inside out

OK Go Sandbox is an online resource for educators that uses the Grammy Award-winning band OK Go’s music videos as starting points for students to explore various STEAM concepts. OK Go Sandbox will be presenting at the National Art Education conference in Minneapolis, March 26-28, 2020. Registration is available.

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Maranacook Middle School

April 11, 2019

Dance Education grant

During the 2018-19 two schools in two different districts were the recipients of the Dance Education grant awarded by the Maine Arts Commission (MAC). Freeport High School and Maranacook Middle School created amazing units that impacted hundreds of students in Grades K-12. Freeport High School was highlighted in yesterday’s blog post with a description of the dance education opportunity that was provided during this school year.

G/T teacher Pat Godin, Teaching Artist Nancy Salmon, Visual Art Teacher Hope Lord

This blog post describes the dance education program that took place at Maranacook Middle School this school year. It is wonderful to see what occurred when teaching artist Nancy Salmon, art educator Hope Lord, and gifted and talented teacher Pat Godin collaborated! This is a great example of learning in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math).

Thank you to Hope and Pat for providing the plethora of information for this post – the story and resources!

DESCRIPTION FROM HOPE

My original idea was to have students create masks and then have them add lights with Little Bits electronics. However, after collaborating with Pat, we decided to teach the students about light circuits and how to soldier their own circuits. This allowed us to integrate science with the electricity and engineering with the design process. For math we introduced proportions as we discuss the features of the face and how to construct the masks and giving students the choice to increase the proportions of the face to make their mask more visible to the audience. We also provided students a variety of mask making materials, including a new medium called Thibra.  This is a thermoplastic sculptable material that costume designers and special affect artists use in designing masks and costumes. The students used the heat gun to soften the material and then molded it around sculptural pieces that were added to their masks.  

Students performing at the Arts Night Celebration

We showed the students examples of dance groups who performed in the dark with lights and the students wanted to incorporate black lights and glow in the dark paints in their masks and dance. As our dance choreography progressed, the students and Nancy determined which segment of the dance would be performed with lights on and which segment would be performed in the dark with black lights. 

The students started planning their masks with a group brainstorming activity called “brainwriting” where they all charted ideas of how they could represent themselves and their role in our school community. Students could add to other students’ ideas or write new ideas. Then students charted 12-15 ideas to help them plan their mask theme. 

The individual and small group dances came about through the students exploration of dance movement as a means of communication. Nancy helped the students experiment with movement and determine which movements could help them express their role and what their mask was communicating. For example, one student had a camera on her mask because she spends a lot of time taking photographs. She incorporated gestures that communicated someone taking photos. Next, the students worked in small groups and collaborated to create a dance routine that incorporated each of the students individual dance movements.

Nancy, Pat, and I also wanted to have the students end the dance as a community with the group dance. Our goal was for the dance to communicate that even though we all have individual interests and perceived roles, we are one school community.

Nancy introduced the dance collaboration project before we performed our dance since Pat and I were back stage with the students waiting to dance. We did not provide an audience handout because our dance was part of our Arts Night Celebration and listed in the program given to parents. The focus of the entire night was to advocate, educate, support, and celebrate the arts. That is why we chose this event to have the students perform their collaborative mask/dance performance. We feel our project communicated the value of teacher collaboration across content areas, including the Arts.

DANCE, VISUAL ARTS, SCIENCE STANDARDS

MLR Dance standards: A.Dance Literacy, B.Creation/Performance/Expression, and E.Visual and Performing Arts

NCAS:CR2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.

CR3: Refine and complete artistic work.

Pr5:Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.

Next Gen Science Stds. ETS:1, 2, 3, & 4 Engineering and Design

IMPACT OF SCHOOLING ON CREATIVITY

Research on this phenomenon is confirmed by Kyung Hee Kim. Kyung is a professor of Innovation & Creativity at the College of William & Mary.

In the last 20 years, children have become less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle (Kim, 2011).

BIBLIOGRAPHY SOURCES

Located at THIS LINK.

RESOURCES

Gem Activity

Thinking Matrix

Design Plan Sheet 

VIDEOS

Learning to solder – I DID IT!

Dance Practice Take II

The Dance Education grant is the only MAC grant that is a grass-roots effort grant. Several dance studios and two high school dance programs have a fund raiser each November. The money raised is what funds the dance education grant at the Commission. Without the dedication and commitment of many educators, dancers, parents, and community members this grant would not be possible. Special thank you to Thornton Academy Dance Educator Emma Arenstam Campbell for her contributions to being instrumental in making the Dance Education grant possible.

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A Computer Called Katherine

March 25, 2019

Interview with the Illustrator

Veronica Miller Jamison

On March 11 on Scott Simon’s public radio show, Weekend Edition Saturday, Mr. Simon interviewed Veronica Miller Jamison. She’s illustrated a book called “A Computer Called Katherine”, it was written by Suzanne Slade. Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. manned spaceflights.

Veronica Jamison is a living example of why the arts should be and how they are connected to STEM. I found the interview very interesting and I hope you’ll take 5 minutes to listen to the show or to read the transcript at THIS LINK

Below is one question and answer from the interview.

SIMON: Do you hope that reading this book about Katherine Johnson and seeing your wonderful illustrations can set something off in young readers?

JAMISON: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there is a huge push to get more girls and more children of color into STEM, which is very important in getting those young minds involved in thinking about, you know, math and science and how that works in the world and how it can make the world a better place. And I hope that children see the writing too and think the same thing about telling stories. And I hope they see the art too, and they think the same thing about painting and making art because, to me, all of it is crucial in – not to sound cliche, but it’s all crucial in making this world kind of a brighter, better place.

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3-D Printing Expo

March 17, 2018

Fueling the STEAM Engine with 3D printing

April 27, 2018 – 8:00-3:00 – Thomas College

To keep up with the changing global economy, and satisfy Maine’s urgent need to create a technically capable workforce, we need to offer new approaches to hands-on STEAM learning.  An effective way to accomplish this objective is to continue to expand the use of three-dimensional (3D) printing and design in Maine’s K-12 schools, which has grown rapidly over the past several years.

Come learn how 3D printing and design can help to meet STEAM learning targets at the first annual 3D Printing Expo to be held on April 27 at Thomas College. This event, sponsored by the Thomas College Center for Innovation in Education, is open to Maine teachers, technical directors, school librarians and administrators engaged in or interested in expanding the use of 3D printing and design.

The goals of the STEAM Expo are:

  • To create a network of teachers and students engaged in three-dimensional printing and design.
  • To document and share success stories and challenges related to three-dimensional printing and design in K-12 settings.
  • To publicize resources and ideas for teachers and schools interested in adopting three-dimensional printing and design.
  • To engage teachers and students in the professional work for publicly sharing their practice.

REGISTRATION

Conference Structure

Presentations by teachers describing innovative K-12 projects and cutting-edge STEAM curriculum, specifically related to 3D printing

Dialogue and networking between educators

Light breakfast and lunch will be provided

Agenda

Session Time Title Presenter Abstract/Slides
Arrival and Refreshments 8:00-8:30 Registration and Light Breakfast
Expo Kick-Off 8:30-9:00 Expo Overview Laurie LaChance, Thomas College

Dr. Kate Cook Whitt, Thomas College

 

David Perloff, Perloff Family Foundation

 

Amanda Nguyen, MDOE

Session A 9:00-10:20  Session 1 Maggie Boemmels, Line Elementary School and Shapleigh Memorial School
 Session 2 John McKechnie, Ellsworth High School
 Session 3
 Session 4  Richard Reichenbach, Carrabec Community School
Networking Break 10:20-10:40 Conversation and Refreshments
Session B 10:40-12:00  Session 5
 Session 6 Mat Brown and Karen Fream, East End Community School
 Session 7
 Session 8 Terri Dawson, Gorham Middle School
Networking Lunch 12:00-1:00 Structured Networking Lunch
Session C 1:00-2:20  Session 9 Gina Jandreau, Madawaska Elementary School
 Session 10
 Session 11 David Trask, Vassalboro Community School
 Session 12
Team Time 2:20-2:40
Expo Wrap-Up 2:40-3:00 Expo Wrap-Up Dr. Kate Cook WhittThomas College
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Sculpture Becomes One

March 2, 2018

“Man and Woman”

This is an amazing sculpture, “Man and Woman” located in the seaside city of Batumi, Georgia. The sculpture is 26 feet high, constructed out of steel and moves. The Georgian sculptor is Tamara Kvesitadze.  The Statue of Love sculpture is inspired by the love story of “Ali and Nino”. The story is similar to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and tells of an Azerbaijani youth who falls in love with a Georgian princess but dies defending his country. The novel was written in 1937.

You can view more of Tamara’s art work.

Every day at 7 p.m. the figures begin to move, they merge for a short embrace, and separate going in opposite directions. In all, the movement takes 10 minutes. The sculpture was designed in 2007 but only installed in 2010; it has since been retitled “Ali and Nino.”

Information about the sculpture is located at THIS LINK and you can view the video of it moving.

This is a wonderful example of the connection between art and engineering.

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Thomas College

December 8, 2017

Center for Innovation in Education

Thomas College is in the midst of gearing up for the 2018 CIE Summer Institute scheduled for June 26 – 28, 2018. The theme  is “Innovating In Education for Maine’s Diverse Population of Students,” with a focus on Digital Learning, STEAM, and PBE.

You can learn more at the CIE Summer Institute website and on the Thomas College CIE homepage. More information will be added as it becomes available.

Early bird registration costs $175.00, and ends February 1st, 2018. The regular event ticket price will be $195.00, and this cost takes effect starting on Feb 1st, and will run through June 1st, 2018. Registration is available at Eventbrite.

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STEM Program Changing Arts Ed

December 2, 2017

Interdisciplinary connections

Renaissance Arts Academy was founded as a K-12 arts charter public school in 2003 in Los Angeles. The school has incorporated a STEM curriculum into its existing arts education curriculum and is helping students develop and understand interdisciplinary connections. This article called Songs about computer coding? It’s what happens when an arts school adds STEM focus, written by George White and published November 19 in EdSource shares the story of a music student named Zane D’Amico and how his learning isn’t what he expected as a cello player. The school’s STEAM curriculum includes students learning engineering and math skills to “build massive stages for the school’s dance, orchestra and singing performances. And he certainly didn’t anticipate joining classmates on stage to sing about the joys of computer coding.”

Learn more about the school and curriculum by reading the ENTIRE ARTICLE.

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MALI Summer Institute: Day 2

August 4, 2017

Wowzer!

Kate Cook Whitt

Day 2 kicked off with an amazing STEAM presentation from Kate Cook-Whitt. The opening was titled This is your Brain on Art: Neuroscience and the Arts  – “Examining the World Through Different Lenses: Art and Science”. Kate is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Center for Innovation in Education (CIE) at Thomas College. Participants agreed that Kate’s presentation was outstanding!

Teacher Leaders participated in several great mini-sessions, some led by teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders themselves including:

  • Nancy Frolich, Social Justice mini-lesson

    Social Justice and the Power of the Arts with Nancy Frohlich from Leaps of Imagination

  • 7 Strategies of Assessment with Jeff Beaudry from USM and visual art teacher leaders Holly Leighton and Samantha Armstrong

  • National Board Certification with visual art teacher leader Danette Kerrigan

  • Connecting the STUDIO HABITS of MIND to the NATIONAL STANDARDS in the Visual Arts classroom with visual art teacher leader Jane Snider

  • Things Into Poetry session with Brian Evans-Jones

    Things Into Poetry with poet teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones

In addition Bronwyn Sale and John Morris provided a session called Teaching for Creativity. The afternoon brought all three strands together (teaching artist leaders, new PK-12 teacher leaders and returning PK-12 teacher leaders) for a session with teaching artist leader and potter Tim Christensen. We engaged with a small medallion of clay using the process Tim is so in tune with: sgraffito.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on leadership, advocacy, and putting it into action on the follow up plans for the next year. Strand 1, the Teaching Artist Leaders met with Jeff Poulin, electronically, from the Americans for the Arts.

Day turned into night and educators gathered around the Thomas College fire pit for drumming and a chance for Tim to fire the clay pieces created earlier in the day in the propane fire pit. This provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state. What a great way to end an outstanding day!

Strand 1 with Jeff Poulin, Americans for the Arts. Kate Smith, Design Team member, holds the computer during the question and answer period

Jennie Driscoll, Elise Bothel visual art teacher leaders

Jen Etter, music teacher leader

New teacher leaders David Coffey – music and Amy Donovan-Nucci – visual art

Tim Christensen firing the clay pieces

Fun around the fire pit!

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CIE Summer Institute

June 30, 2017

Superb learning opportunity

I just returned from Thomas College where Catherine Ring and I worked as a team to create a resource for STEAM at the Center for Innovation in Education Summer Institute. The conversation on STEAM appears to be happening across the state in a small way but after three days of talking STEAM, proficiency-based education and digital learning I am sensing that we are at the edge of a giant leap forward. The most interesting part is that the conversations were not just with visual and performing arts teachers but with teachers of all grade levels and content representing all regions of the state.

From a participant: STEAM is important because it engages the whole brain in learning.

Tim McNamara

The summer institute opening keynote was provided by Tim McNamara, director of High Tech High School in Chula Vista, California. He works in a true student-centered environment where students are not only surviving but flourishing, as they find and explore and learn through their passions. His stories were so inspiring!

The inspiration continued throughout the three days with a very moving performance by Brook Haycock. Her docudramas encourage questioning and thinking.

The final engaging activity was facilitated by Explo. Yes, they brought 35 moose into the room. Teams collaborated to create anything you can imagine for the moose to transport all kinds of goods.

In between participants chose from a variety of workshops. Some of them: Innovative Learning Experiences, Interdisciplinary Unit and Course Design, STEAM Power – Why it Works, How it Looks, Flipping’ Fake News, and A=Arts. All teAms cAn steAm with Music.

Hope Lord “playing” a note on a bottle.

In between attending workshops each team continued work on their project. Catherine and I will continue our STEAM resource work and provide it for you in the future when it is ready to be launched. It will be a living document so if you have any STEAM resources that you’d be kind enough to share please email the link or the resource at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

Providing feedback to each other on plans.

From a participant: The arts breathe life into everything that they touch – STEM is no different. The A in STEAM makes practical solutions beautiful – a chair becomes a sculpture, sound becomes music. When the arts are in the mix, it elevates the process and the product. A deeper, almost emotional connection seems to be made – kids get excited, I get excited. ~Chip Schwehm, Boothbay Region High School

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