Posts Tagged ‘teaching artist’

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Monte Selby

November 2, 2018

Keynoter at MAMLE

On October 18 and 19 the annual conference for the Maine Association for Middle Level Education (MAMLE) was held at Point Lookout. Educator and teaching artist Monte Selby provided the keynote. It was filled with thought provoking ideas and lots of music. Monte’s 22 year old son Martin joined him and provided a wonderful addition to the presentation.

Monte has a long history in education including serving as a school principal. He presently spends a lot of time in classrooms and schools in Maine and across the country making music with students. He’s written and performed songs with over 39,000 students around the world.

Below is a collaborative song he wrote with middle schoolers.

LIGHTEN UP

DON’T LOOK AT ME WITH THAT TONE OF VOICE

WHEN YOU CALL THE KETTLE CORN THAT’S A TASTY CHOICE

STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BACK

THE GRASS ISN’T GREENER TO BE EXACT

BECAUSE WORDS DO HURT JILL AND THATS A FACT JACK!

THEY BUILD UP FENCES WITH A BAD IMPACT

AND HENCE. IT’S COMMON SENSE

MAYBE WE ALL NEED TO LIGHTEN UP

LEAVE MORE ROOM FOR LESS SERIOUS

ENJOY OTHER PEOPLE AS PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE

TREAT’M LIKE AN ALL-STAR

GREET OTHER PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WANT TO EAT PIE

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES BACK EMPTY

IF YOU SHARE AND THAT’S FINE

AN APPLE A DAY MAKES AN EMPTY TREE

THERE’S NO “I” IN TEAM BUT THERE’S A YOU AND THERE’S A ME

LIFE’S NOT ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS

RAIN HAS A RHYTHM IF YOU’RE WILLING TO DANCE

LET’S TRY!  TO THE RHYTHM OF LIFE

MAYBE WE ALL NEED TO LIGHTEN UP

LEAVE MORE ROOM FOR LESS SERIOUS

ENJOY OTHER PEOPLE AS PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE

TREAT’M LIKE AN ALL-STAR

HATERS GONNA HATE.  FAKERS GONNA FAKE

BREAKERS  GONNA SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE

BUT DON’T HATE THE PLUNGER JUST HATE THE STOOL

LIFE’S A GARDEN, SO DIG IT, IT’S COOL AND FREE

DON’T LET YOUR FLAWS DEFINE YOUR FUN

YOU’RE A BOOK WITH A COVER I DON’T INTEND TO JUDGE

EMOTION DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE

THERE’S A STORY IN YOU THAT RELATES TO ME

SO IT’S HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE THIS SONG’S BEEN A RIDDLE

LISTEN REAL CLOSE THERE’S A LESSON

TO TICKLE YOUR BRAIN.  I HOPE YOU GAIN, THAT,

MAYBE WE ALL NEED TO LIGHTEN UP

LEAVE MORE ROOM FOR LESS SERIOUS

ENJOY OTHER PEOPLE AS PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE

TREAT’M LIKE AN ALL-STAR

HOW THIS CAME ABOUT

“Lighten Up” is a song Monte wrote with 7th graders (about 100 students) who were on an interdisciplinary team called the All Stars. Each student wrote down lyric ideas in response to the question, “What could everyone on the All Star team do to help make this a great place to come to school?” They shared ideas and posted their words all around the room, but they were not finding a creative theme to serve as a main idea. As they continued brainstorming, Monte guided them to famous quotes or familiar phrases to generate ideas. One student made a mistake with his quote when he shared his mother’s favorite line, “Don’t look at me with that tone of voice”. The mistake sparked a creative idea to build their song lyrics with mash-ups of multiple phrases that would express their desire for 7th graders on the All Star Team to “Lighten Up.”

Now that you know the history I suggest that you go back to the top of this blog post and read the song once again.

Monte and students at the national student council conference last summer – performing a song they wrote for the conference.

To watch a group of middle school songwriters in action, Monte has shared a recent video that comes from a songwriting residency with 6th graders. They decided that the best way for them to become the greatest group of 6th graders in the history of the school, it would require everyone to allow each individual to “be yourself”.  The song is called, “You Be You”. You can see also see Monte’s son in the video.

The most popular song written with students in Maine comes from a group of 2nd graders at Mabel I. Wilson elementary. Their song, “Animal Habitat” reflects what they learned from an engaging science unit. Listen for the enthusiastic voices of over 100 2nd graders contributing to the chorus of their own original song!

mp3 of “Lighten Up”

Monte has a doctorate degree in School Leadership so he not only has the knowledge and experience to write songs with students but he has an understanding of administrators. He is a Grammy Award winning songwriter, recording artist, educator, author, and speaker. You can learn more about Monte at his WEBSITE and contact him directly by EMAIL.

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Huey

October 18, 2018

Henry David Thoreau film

Many of you know the Maine film maker – Huey. He is on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster. I understand if you want to see a beautiful film perhaps you can catch one of the showings of Huey’s film Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul. Over the next two weeks it will be shown several times. Huey himself along with some of the people interviewed in the film will be present as well. 
“If you are not yet a Thoreau enthusiast, this beautiful, engrossing documentary just might turn you into one. If you already are, it will remind you of the many reasons why.”  Lucille Stott, forthcoming in December issue, Appalachia
October 18, 2 p.m., Vermont International Film Festival, Main Street Landing Film House
60 Lake Street, 3rd floor Burlington, VT.  https://vtiff.org/events/neq-1/
October 20, 10 a.m., Dietrich Theater, Tunkhannock, PA.  With guests featured in the film: Rochelle Johnson, Professor of English & Environmental Studies at the College of Idaho and Sandra Harbert Petrulionis, Professor, Penn State Altoona and author, To Set This World Right, The Antislavery Movement in Thoreau’s Concord.    
http://www.dietrichtheater.com/show.aspx?sid=4553&id=23
October 24, 7 p.m., Twilight Auditorium, 101, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT. With guest featured in the film, Matt Schlein, director Walden Project, Vergennes High School Vergennes, VT and Rebecca Kneale Gould, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and member of the board of the Thoreau Society.   
http://www.middlebury.edu/events?trumbaEmbed=date%3D20181024#/?i=1 
October 25, 12:30 p.m., Lecture: Thoreau, Katahdin, the Penobscot People and the Maine Woods,  Woodin Environmental Colloquium, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT.    http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/es/news/woodincolloquiumseries
November 14, 7 p.m., Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA
DVDs will be available for purchase at all screenings. If you can make it to a screening, you can order DVDs for all of Huey’s films at http://www.filmsbyhuey.com/order/
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Visual Thinking Strategies

July 27, 2018

Waterfall Arts

Every so often I meet educators who are not familiar with Visual Thinking Strategies or VTS as it is commonly called. Waterfall Arts, a community arts center in Belfast, provides a program using VTS. As part of their outreach efforts of the Youth and Family Outreach (YFO) program at Waterfall Arts, program coordinator Bridget Matros offers Visual Thinking Strategies training to teachers in area schools. These strategies are activity used in the YFO after school programs and are also utilized in field trips to Waterfall Arts. Teaching Artist Bridget Matros has put together the information below (taken from the VTS site). Thank you Bridget! She is also on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist rosterWaterfall Arts programs are comprehensive and they provide multiple programs for learners of all ages.

Many teachers in Maine, visual arts and others, use VTS in their classrooms. Several years ago we provided an all day workshop on the topic. Once reading this blog post, if you’re interested in learning more please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

What is VTS?

Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a method initiated by teacher-facilitated discussions of art images and documented to have a cascading positive effect on both teachers and students. It is perhaps the simplest way in which teachers and schools can provide students with key behaviors sought by Common Core Standards: thinking skills that become habitual and transfer from lesson to lesson, oral and written language literacy, visual literacy, and collaborative interactions among peers.

VTS provides a way to jumpstart a process of learning to think deeply applicable in most subjects from poetry to math, science and social studies. Art is the essential first discussion topic because it enables students to use existing visual and cognitive skills to develop confidence and experience, learning to use what they already know to figure out what they don’t; they are then prepared to explore other complex subject matter alone and with peers.

How does it work?

In VTS discussions teachers support student growth by facilitating discussions of carefully selected works of visual art.

          Teachers are asked to use three open-ended questions:

  • What’s going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can we find?3 Facilitation Techniques:
  • Paraphrase comments neutrally
  • Point at the area being discussed
  • Linking and framing student commentsStudents are asked to:
  • Look carefully at works of art
  • Talk about what they observe
  • Back up their ideas with evidence
  • Listen to and consider the views of others
  • Discuss multiple possible interpretations
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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

July 25, 2018

Leonard Middle School – Old Town

Leonard Middle School art teacher and MALI teacher leader Adele painting student

Adele Drake became a Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative during phase 7 (2017). The work she has underway is a great example of approaching curriculum and assessment to meet the needs students in a very authentic way. She addresses their needs of today. Adele’s ongoing collaborative work is helping to prepare them for the future, all the while empowering them for the challenges of their world. Not to mention this is REALLY REALLY COOOOOOL! Read on…

In September 2012, the Leonard Middle School in Old Town art teacher Adele Drake and school counselor, Tracey O’Connell began the Leonard Middle School garden. Adele and Tracey shared a vision that small organic gardens were the optimal way of providing high quality produce to their local community and that this collaborative effort would create a nurturing environment where students would thrive. In the process students would be empowered by creating a space, the garden: a functional work of art which produced food.

Their first consultant for the project was Kate Garland from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. She agreed to meet and share her considerable expertise. She counseled them to get a soil test and helped them select a suitable location for the garden. The university has been a great resource in many ways. Kate has presented to the school’s garden club and art classes many times. They have had many volunteers from the master gardeners program and visited the university green houses.

After getting approval from the superintendent, they started digging. They soon found that digging was not an option due to debris and clay deposits in the soil. Faced with these challenges, they opted for raised beds. That first fall, they started with one 3’ X 3’ raised bed, a 50 pound bag of compost and several bulbs of garlic which they planted. Their dream of having a school garden had begun. That spring their first crop of garlic emerged from the earth.

COA volunteer Teagan and Susan preparing materials.

Adele wrote her first grant which was a service learning grant to construct an earthloom which would be the centerpiece of our garden. As the Leonard Middle School art teacher Adele has found the garden has provided a way of integrating the arts with the study of other disciplines. They have had so much support for this endeavor that they have built a garden shed, a greenhouse, several raised beds and fencing. Students designed the garden layout, help to create a gardenloom, made mosaic tile stepping stones and have most recently designed functional sculptures which collect water and beautify the garden at the same time. In a community where food insecurity is a reality the garden as a focal point for the curriculum makes sense.

Talk about trust!

This year they worked with Susan Camp to grow gourds into self-portraits. This project was funded by the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant. Susan’s work is a natural fit to the already established goals of Adele Drake’s arts curriculum. The lesson concept: Harvesting Identity / you are what you eat was the focus throughout the process. Susan invited the to be co creators; they made plaster casts from their faces, made molds, and used these molds to grow gourds. The gourds are flourishing in the garden and after harvested in the fall will be used as wall hangings and made into bowls to be used at the culminating event which is a community feast.

Adele reflects: Large-scale food producers shape crops, such as watermelons, in order to make packing and shipping more efficient. Our project subverts this practice, shaping gourds to create portraits that are individual and reflect both the character of the subject and the growing fruit.

I see how engaged these students have been in the process and I know that I am getting them to think differently about food, art and the future.

I hope that students will be involved in growing food for their communities and that they will understand the importance of food and art in bringing communities together.

Trusting enough to take a selfie together – even if he can’t see.

I have learned a lot about formative assessment and the need to collect evidence which is triangulated from different modalities. I plan to evaluate students on their use of media and techniques and on their ability to analyze the process of using these materials and techniques.I will collect this evidence through observations, student reflection and teacher feedback.I will creating opportunities to analyze the process and the product with rubrics. Students will also reflect on where the process takes them through a critical response process which will help them grow as artists.

College of the Atlantic student volunteer in the program, Teagan reflects: Waiting!

I was amazed at how both students and teachers worked together and communicated throughout the process of making casts. I felt that everyone was looking out for each other. I believe that this sense of collaboration is needed for engaging in broader dialogues within food systems. I see this project as a way for people to take action creating new relationships with food and community.

Leonard Middle School Principal David Crandall reflects: Gardens grow communities, not just of plants, but of students. Students that are engaged in the school garden are focused on growing plants and also growing themselves. Being a part of fostering life and working with peers to maintain a productive garden is a motivation that encourages attendance and engagement at our school.

Our Garden Club has an active role in managing our school garden and they continue to work toward more and better resources to support their work. Under the guidance and leadership of Tracey O’Connell and Adele Drake, the students have sprouted into successful young gardeners that grow vegetables, flowers, relationships and communities. The group dreams big and we can’t wait to see what blossoms next!

I’m sure there will be a great celebration when students see their own faces on the gourds this summer. This is a unit that the students will always remember!

Imagine what you might do with funding from the Maine Arts Commission Arts Learning grant?! Grant application deadline will be in March 2019 for the 2019-1920 school year. Watch this blog and the Maine Arts Commission site for more information.

Waiting!

Waiting patiently for the paris-craft layer to dry before taking them off.

Example of the gourd about to grown into the mould.

Example of the gourds in the garden once they’ve come out of the mold.

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

July 18, 2018

Union Elementary

Over a two month period this spring art teacher Anthony Lufkin and teaching artist Randy Fein collaborated to provide an outstanding learning opportunity for all the preK-6  students at Union Elementary School. The residency was funded by an Arts Learning grant funded by the Maine Arts Commission.

Union School has a long history of providing learning opportunities in visual art that go above and beyond the curriculum. When the school was built in 1987 George Mason provided two relief murals as part of the Percent for Art program. He followed that work with a month long residency with middle school students and created a relief tile mural based on Greek Mythology, an interdisciplinary unit. Over the years there have been several residencies with artists and large scale integrated projects that involved all of the elementary students and when the D.R. Gaul Middle School was housed upstairs, grade 7 and 8 students participated.

It was a pleasure to watch this project unfold and develop, the steps involved are too many to count, the commitment from all staff to help with the success, the student learning observed and so much more. It is easy to forget during the day to day details of “school” that these type of large projects hold meaning and learning way beyond the actual project. I suggest you consider taking on something like this, if you haven’t done so in the past.

The theme of the ceramic relief mural is “Our Town Union” and had been planned for almost 2 years before its completion in June. The mural celebrates the community of Union, including the history, environment and architecture and how students interact and connect with these components. The completed work will continue to educate future learners, young and older, about their community.

Hopefully you can get a sense of what it involved from the description and the photos embedded in the blog post. Please don’t hesitate to contact me (argy.nestor@maine.gov) about the MAC Arts Learning grants. Or contact teaching artist Randy Fein, her information is on the MAC teaching artist roster. Or contact art teacher Anthony Lufkin, who is the 2018 Knox County Teacher of the Year.

This project was funded by an Arts Learning grant from the Maine Arts Commission ($2,300), the Perloff Foundation Fund ($2,000), and from the Maine Space Grant Consortium ($1,000).

Thank you to Anthony, Randy, and the school principal, Christina Wotton for the information in this blog and for working together with other staff to make this project so successful!

Describe the overall goals/plans that you’ve carried out with this learning opportunity for Union School students.

The overall goals for this project were two-fold. First and foremost, it is an art project with instruction and experience focusing on the medium of clay, but also with emphasis on communication through the medium. Throughout the process students have had to quantify their image development, making sure they are utilizing the medium to make their message clear, whether it’s a specific icon of Union historical significance, or the recognition the unique and identifiable features of native species. As a collaborative installation, it has become an experience that will be solidified in time and place.  

The second component, was to help foster connections with other subject areas and connect students with the local ecosystems and history of the community. Classroom teachers have been very helpful introducing the topics through multiple lenses.  Students have had to research their subjects, and then use that research to educate their image development. Members from the Union Historical Society came in and presented to students in grades 4-6, giving them first-hand information about some of the past events that helped shape the town into what it is today. As students images developed through sketching and then sculpting, their understanding of the subject grew.  They also learned much more about working with clay as a medium, and some of the logistics of putting together an installation like this. 

What do you see/know are the greatest benefits to students in having an artist in residency? What does Randy bring that supports/enhances your curriculum Anthony? 

Having an artist come in through a residency like this does several important things.  First, it is a “new” experience for students, having someone different offering new perspective and something of a “revitalizing” of the art concepts being taught. It also tends to change the structure of instruction giving students a chance for more in depth work and a closer look at some of the components of creating artwork in professional practice. Students have been able to really analyze the subject of their imagery and were committed to making a clear representation. It creates more instructional opportunity as well. With two art instructors working in relatively small groups, students receive more individualized instruction.  

What do you hope that students will remember or will be saying in the near or far off future about the opportunity to learn this way?

We hope that students have created a connection to this project whether through working with Randy, working on something of this scale, or with the subject matter they helped to generate. The emphasis of the project, both to make it happen, and to create the cross-curricular connections have transformed the normal schedule and so that alone may also have had an effect on student perception. Hopefully, students will recall the information learned through this process by being a part of it and by seeing it regularly throughout their elementary experience. With the nature of being an installation piece, it will hopefully remind students of the experience, give them a sense of pride in the work they were able to accomplish, and help scaffold future learning and understanding about art and the connections to community and environment. I think that students will become more aware of the opportunity this project has been as we get back into a more routine schedule again. I think that they will begin to recognize the hard work and time it takes to create something like this. I anticipate them to say in the next few years, “I did that,…its represents…”.   

Hopefully, they will appreciate the opportunities they have had to work on something for extended periods of time with direct instruction from both Randy and myself.  Hopefully, they will appreciate and help advocate for these opportunities in the future. 

Stories

There were many interesting conversations early on with students especially around the topics of community and local development. Many students related to the community components based on where they live and how the natural and man-made resources have structured community as it is now.  hey were able to identify features in the landscape or structures and were able to contribute to the conversation based on their experiences. Some were able to describe the lasting imprints on the landscape from Native Americans, the railroad, and several of the many mills. One student described the arrow heads his family had found along the St. George River. Another talked about the dam at Morgan’s Mills. Many younger students also connected with their organisms whether from personal experience or from experiences by family members. I was surprised at how many had seen a bear! They definitely like to elaborate but there are clearly past events that could be the basis for some good folk lore.

ARTICLE from Village Soup about the residency.

 

Randy, Anthony, and Christina

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A Grandson’s Reflections

June 11, 2018

Russell Kaback

Russell Kaback is a member of the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster. Russell will be providing musical reflections on his grandfather life before, during, and after the Nazi era at the PortFringe Festival. The show is a staged reading of the first act of a piece of musical theater inspired by the life story of his grandfather, a Polish Jew who spent four years in the Nazi concentration camps. There will be a talkback after the performance in which the audience is invited to discuss the work.

Russell Kaback is a songwriter, performer, and educator who lives in South Portland, Maine. He has been bringing this performance to classrooms in Maine as part of his mission to teach the history and engage the next generation.

The At MECHANICS HALL – THE LYCEUM CLASSROOM

SAT 6/16 @ 4:30pm
SUN 6/17 @ 9:45pm
THU 6/21 @ 9:45pm

PURCHASE TICKETS

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Marshwood Middle School

June 4, 2018

Performing tomorrow

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative participants, teacher leader Kris Bisson and teaching artist leader Brian Evans-Jones have collaborated on a project that will be premiered tomorrow night, June 5 at Marshwood Middle School.

The premiere performance of “The River Sings its Song”, funded by the Marshwood Education Foundation will take place on Tuesday, June 5, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Marshwood Middle School’s seventy-six member chorus has worked the entire school year to research, discover, and collaborate to create a unique curriculum-based study of our local community through the Great Works River and Bridge in South Berwick, Maine. The students worked with artist-in-residence, Brian Evans-Jones, to create their thoughts and then with their Choral Director, Kristine Bisson, to take their words and compose an original piece of music to be sung by the Grade Seven and Eight Marshwood Middle School Chorus.
The students are donating $200.00 from their annual Middle School Talent Show to the Great Works Bridge Brigade to help support the fundraising efforts of the Brigade to build a timber-frame footbridge where the bridge once was accessible. They will be presenting the check to members of the Brigade this Tuesday evening at the concert.
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