Posts Tagged ‘technology’


Move the Needle Summit

January 16, 2016

Yesterday at Thomas College

Educators from different pathways including Thomas College education majors, Teachers of the Year, those working with Teacher Effectiveness and others participated in an opportunity yesterday to discuss technology in the classroom. Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader and Central School in South Berwick music teacher Kate Smith attended and you’ll see her in this video from WABI TV5 clip from the gathering.


Tina Wood Shares

November 24, 2015

What a switch!

Recently 15 year veteran visual art teacher Tina Wood, Marcia Buker Elementary School (Richmond), emailed me about the work she is doing with students. I could hear the excitement in her voice about what is happening in her classroom that I just had to ask her permission to share it. Below is the email – in Tina’s own words.

IMG_2111I recently had an amazing breakthrough in teaching and learning and must share! At RSU#2 we adopted National Art Standards for our district as our learning targets. I put these in “I can” statements for students and their interest and understanding in learning outcomes was noticeable. Students were curious, questioning and open minded.  Using these statements and their unique art ideas I have been looking for an enjoyable, fun way to assess student knowledge.

Dan Tompkins, IT support at Marcia Buker Elementary School (MBES) found an app, Easy Blogger JR, for the 4 new iPads I wrote a grant for and it has been electric in the art room. Students easily photograph, text or talk about their art and ideas matching their learning to their learning targets independently. It is easy to comment on their posts and students will be able to comment along with parents and teachers. Students are coming in the art room to do their assessment during recess!

This is the biggest amount of joy and bubbling creativity I have ever seen expressed by students!

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 7.16.26 AMThe first blogs posted are 5th grades alabaster stone sculptures that they began while at Viles Arboretum Sculpture Symposium on October 3rd during a day long field trip exploring nature, creativity and stone carving. The article was published in Portland Press Herald Sunday October 11th about MBES students in the Outdoor section called Making a Solid Impression.

I hope you might have time to visit our blog, This is an inspiring adventure for myself and Marcia Buker Elementary School students. If you have questions for Tina please contact her at

And a recent update from Tina: It is exciting in the art room as we learn and grow and express ourselves. Students in the 5th grade have started tweeting what they are learning in art as part of their end of class evaluation. FUN! mbesartstudio on Twitter!



November 27, 2013

Feedback is clear

IMG_3726The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative offered an all day Mega-regional workshop yesterday at the beautiful Ellsworth High School. Forty-four educators attended from surrounding and had the opportunity to spend the morning in two different workshops. The teacher leaders offered workshops on digital portfolios and the digital classroom, gifted and talented music programs, looking outside the school day to fulfill the high school arts requirement, the MLRs and music ensembles, reporting on student progress, student empowerment, and advocacy.

IMG_3709The two afternoon sessions were spent on technology and the Arts and proficiency. The focus for the proficiency session was on answering “what does proficiency look and sound like in the visual or performing arts classroom?” The conversation was very worthwhile. Some teachers left with more questions than answers. The visual art teachers worked in small groups to look at student work samples. Below are some of the questions included from the both visual and performing arts groups.

  • Does proficiency really include growth of the student over time?
  • How do we chart the artist growth through the process and not just the end result?
  • How can we use the data collection to make sure we hold teachers accountable for teaching the curriculum and therefore allowing the kids the opportunity to BE proficient?
  • How will students find the time to become proficient? If a student is continually not meeting they would always be behind.

Some of what the teachers learned:

  • Being clear with students what the standards are.
  • Recording students to demonstrate proficiency.
  • There are many aspects to showing proficiency.
  • That I am accomplishing more thank I realized but I need to create better documentation.

IMG_3713Thank you to those who attended and a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to the teacher leaders for providing workshops and leadership.

If you are interested in attended a future Mega-regional workshop there are three more scheduled during the school year along with several regional workshops. You can see the MAAI workshop opportunities by clicking here.





August 19, 2013

By Marshall Davis Jones – WOWZER!

You won’t want to miss this 3 minutes and 12 seconds of  YouTube.


Eepy Bird and TED

January 11, 2013

Technology, Entertainment, Design – Maine’s

I know that many of the Maine readers are familiar with TED talks but periodically I meet someone who is not familiar with TED so before I launch in to what this one is I just want to say a few words about TED. I think of TED talks as a fabulous resource for me personally, as a teaching tool, and a way to connect with others. I learn something every time I watch a TED talk.

The mission of TED is that they “believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.” TED started in 1984 to bring people from the 3 worlds together; technology, entertainment, and design. They have branched out to include a variety of other topics. People are challenged to give the “talk of their life” in 18 minutes or less. There are over 1400 TED talks available online and more are added each week.

In addition TEDx was created and follows the TED mission, “ideas worth spreading” and supports communities, organizations, and individuals to bring about conversations and change by sharing ideas at the local level.

Logo from the TEDxDirigo site

Logo from the TEDxDirigo site

Since 2010 in Maine we have had TEDxDirigo whose goal is to “be a catalyst for positive change in the state and world, where new ideas are supported for the greater good of all.” I have attended three TEDxDirigo events where I have picked up ideas, been encouraged to think, and met interesting people. On top of that I had a GREAT time!

I have posted about Eepy Bird in the past when they performed in Portland on an early summer evening. Fritz Grobe and Steven Voltz use over 100 bottles of soda and over 600 Mentos candies in their live performances. Eepy Bird has has also presented a TEDxDirigo talk that is very interesting. You can enjoy it as well by clicking here.

Several teachers have emailed to tell me that they use the TED talks that I posted and others in their classrooms. Do you have a favorite TED talk that you’ve used as an instructional tool? If so, please share which one but posting a comment below.


Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013


I have taken some time today to reflect on 2012 and realize how fortunate I am to work with incredible arts educators in Maine and throughout the United States. Educators who are dedicated, passionate, and fully committed to providing an outstanding arts education for every student!

The year has been filled with many successes, some challenges, and sad losses! I wish I had time to go back through all the blog posts that I wrote in 2012 to help me remember all of the successes, challenges, and losses but instead I will provide the highlights.


The biggest success is the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI). The second phase of MAAI officially kicked off in the spring with the identification of 20 teacher leaders. These arts educators joined the 18 teacher leaders from phase one. They participated in a 4-day institute in August at the Maine College of Art (MECA) in Portland where they expanded their knowledge in the areas of assessment, leadership, technology, and creativity. They have created workshops that are being delivered throughout this school year at the regional and mega-regional level. (Registration for the mega-regional workshops is now open – FREE and contact hours are available.) The topics of the sessions are as varied as the individual teacher leaders. I am so grateful for their commitment to the work that is making a difference for arts teachers and in arts classrooms across Maine each day. The impact on students learning is amazing!

And, uniquely the Mega-regional workshops are being co-sponsored with the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). At these workshops their will be at least one session that is integrated with an MLTI integrator to provide a first time opportunity for educators!

The MAAI would not be possible without the commitment of the leadership team who have consistently shepherded the work. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Catherine Ring, Rob Westerberg, Jeff Beaudry, Bronwyn Sale, Pam Kinsey, and Matt Doiron. Their willingness to lead has made a difference! Close to 1000 arts educators have taken advantage of the professional development opportunities during the last year and a half.

The MAAI is aligned with the Maine Department of Education’s Strategic Plan: Education Evolving: Maine’s Plan for Putting Learners First.

In July Catherine and I flew to Denver for a national conference on arts assessment held at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. I was proud to let others know of the grassroots efforts that Maine arts educators are involved with.

Art educator Chris Milliken, on sabbatical from Wells schools, has been following and doing research on the MAAI during this past year. He will join art teacher Lisa Marin and present a session on their findings at the Mega-regional workshop at Ellsworth High School on March 29, 2013.

Literacy is a statewide focus with the Literacy for ME being launched this fall and arts education has stepped up to become an integral part of the cross content literacy connections. Arts educators Jen Nash, Suzanne Goulet, and Lisa Gilman have been facilitating literacy webinars. Suzanne is also co-facilitating face to face sessions.

We have had 4 wonderful art exhibits at the Maine Department of Education during this past year from Maranacook Community Schools, Bangor Elementary and Middle Schools, Lake Region High School, and Messalonskee High School. Along with the exhibits we had receptions at the Blaine House with music and dance performances from each school/district. Participating and collaborating are First Lady Ann LePage, the Maine State Board of Education, and the Commissioner of Education, Steve Bowen.

First Lady Ann LePage partnered with the Barbara Bush Foundation to create a new baby journal to present to parents at hospitals across Maine when their babies are born. We did a call for K-8 artwork and 867 young artists submitted work. Thirty two pieces were selected to be published in the book which will be completed in June 2014.

The Maine arts education list-serv has grown to 1200 and the meartsed blog is growing as a source of information, not only for arts educators but for all educators. If you are not on the list-serv but would like to be, please email me at On December 5, 2013 the blog set a record high day of 976 visitors. And a record high week happened during that same time of 2508 visitors. Thank you for taking the time to visit and informing others about what is available on the Maine arts education blog.


  • Common Core standards for ELA and Math were released this year and teachers are being asked to incorporate them into their curricula.
  • We are waiting patiently for the next iteration of the national arts standards to be released in March March 2013.
  • Arts education in Maine is underserved. As the economy continues to be a challenge so is providing adequate arts education programs and teachers.
  • Determining how to provide quality arts education to be ready for the “proficiency based graduation requirement” slated for the graduating class of 2018.
  • What will determine “teacher effectiveness” for arts educators (the non-tested content)?


In March music teacher Beth Polletto died in a car accident driving to school. Beth taught at Gray New Gloucester and Georgetown Central School. In May art teacher Jackie McTigue died in a car accident on her way to school. Jackie taught at Glenburn Elementary School. Both teachers were amazing arts educators and have left a huge hole. My friend and colleague 2nd grade teacher and Maine’s 2010 Teacher of the Year Kevin Grover died on Thanksgiving day after returning from a run. He is greatly missed by family, friends, and colleagues.

Looking forward

photoBeing forever optimistic, I know that 2013 will be filled with many more successes and that the challenges will be small mountains for us to climb. I invite you to collaborate with your colleagues to face the challenges and enjoy the successes. I hope you will continue to use the meartsed blog for resources and to access information. Many of you have heard me say “none of us is as smart as all of us”. Please continue to share information that I can pass on to others through the blog. I appreciate it!

I am confident that 2013 will be filled with opportunities for arts education to move forward. For example part of phase 2 of the MAAI is videotaping arts classrooms to respond to your request “what does a standards based arts education classroom look like?” So, Debi Lynne Baker (newly retired art teacher) will be visiting arts classrooms in the next few months and creating 4 short videos with examples. This is just one example of resources being developed for arts teachers.

I enjoy the challenges that my work at the Maine Department of Education provides for me. I especially love the opportunity to interact with you, the readers of the meartsed blog. So please take a moment when possible and drop me an email at or make a comment at the bottom of a blog post. You can subscribe to the blog by clicking on “Sign me up!” located on the right side of the front page of the blog.

I hope your year is filled with love and laughter and that you continue to provide outstanding opportunities for your students in arts education! Best Wishes for a wonderful 2013 and THANKS so much for all the good that you do in education!

Only one photo and one quote included in today’s post. Hopefully the photo will put a smile on your face and the quote will provide you with some “food for thought” as we dive into 2013!

The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society. – Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts


MAAI Resources!

September 5, 2012

Maine Arts Assessment Resources

Recently revamping the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative wiki moved to the top of the list of “things to do”. It was prompted by a question from the field, a high school art teacher who emailed asking if the information (“notes and/or minutes”) from the summer teacher leader assessment institute sessions was available. He has been following the work of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) including the blog posts, webinars, and other resources we have made available on the wiki and Department assessment webpage It was as if the teacher had whacked me upside the head. I thought “why don’t we post the handouts, links, and information that we provided in each of the sessions?”

That is when I moved the task up to the top of the “to do” list and Catherine Ring and I skyped to determine who had time to do what, and where we wanted to make changes on to provide as many resources to all of you as possible from the summer institute.

This is another example of the MAAI transparency. If you want to get to the summer resources page quickly here is how to do that. Go to read through the front page, and towards the bottom you will see in capital letters INFORMATION AND RESOURCES. Click there for the  Table of Contents. Click on 2012 Summer MAAI Institute Resources which will take you to a TON, I mean MEGA amounts of resources on the four main topics of the summer institute; ASSESSMENT, LEADERSHIP, TECHNOLOGY, and CREATIVITY. The workshop facilitator is listed with the information so you know the sources. Along with the four topics there are many other resources including books, .pdfs, articles, research, and so much more it will take you several rainy days to get through all of it. Is everything included from the summer institute? No, this would be impossible since the Teacher Leaders and other participants shared continuously throughout the 4-day institute held at MECA in July/August. But you know what it is like when you get together with arts educators; the willingness to share is unbelievable! Is it only from the summer institute? No, but most of it is. There are arts education resources that have been shared during other workshops and on the Department site.

My suggestion is to share this page with your colleagues, administrators, and determine what you can use for your local curriculum and assessment development work that you are doing this school year. Please let me know how you use the resources that we’ve provided for all of you!!

A great big THANK YOU goes to the MAAI Leadership Team who facilitated the MAAI summer sessions and our New England colleagues who stepped in and did sessions on the Common Core State Standards and National Arts Standards. I won’t mention any names here with fear of omitting some but please know that it is several amazing arts educators!


Day 4: Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Institute

August 9, 2012

Presentations, questions, next steps

The last day of the 4-day summer institute gave the teacher leaders from the second phase of the MAAI the opportunity to share their ideas for regional workshops. The opportunity was equally valuable for the leadership team and the first phase teacher leaders to learn from the presentations. The topics varied as much as the 20 teacher leaders do in their learning and teaching.

Part of the afternoon was spent on formative assessment “in action” through MLTIs (Maine Learning Technology Initiative) version of Jeopardy. The game was created by Tim Hart who works for Apple with MLTI and the questions were created by the teacher leaders from the first phase. It was a great fun and an example of how formative assessment doesn’t have to be stressful and serious. The categories matched our work for the week: Assessment, Technology, Leadership, and Creativity.

The day concluded with participants providing feedback including their “takeaways”. I’ve included some of the points so you can get an idea of the opportunity that these teacher leaders had and some of what they will take into their classrooms, schools, and regions.


  • The creative process is teachable and assessable.
  • Lots of awesome arts teachers in Maine.
  • The MAAI is growing strong.
  • None of us are as smart as all of us.
  • Some ideas about sparking creativity.
  • There is a broad spectrum of understanding w/regard to standards.
  • Ways of creating digital portfolios.
  • Different methods that can be used to track progress.
  • There are many ways to approach delivery of content.
  • New people and what they’re doing.
  • Bento (data)
  • News: Nationally & State.
  • Creative thinking/problem solving.
  • Where we are with Core and National Standards.
  • How to make the computer talk.
  • How to engage 30+ people in activities that are fun and they can learn.
  • We are all resources and can learn from each other.
  • I’ve learned a better understanding of formative vs. summative assessment.
  • More techniques for meaningful assessments.
  • Numerous resources and where to go for more information on any topic we discussed.
  • New Skills – technology, vocabulary.
  • New colleagues, friends & collaborators.
  • Renewed energy, we can do this.
  • Technology info. i.e. – MTLI minutes – note-share, script, sketch-up, etc.
  • A ton of resources books, online sites.
  • Ideas from discussions w/peers.
  • Activities & Assessments I can use w/my students i.e. consensogram, stickies, games.
  • Become a strong leader.
  • Assessing is important for everyone involved.
  • MLTI!!
  • There are many colleagues out there, willing to help!
  • The arts are Central, not peripheral.
  • Assessments can be straight forward & clear, not as scary as first thought!
  • Maine Learning.Net
  • Connections/Friendships
  • More confidence in myself & the Initiative.
  • Creativity Research
  • A better understanding of Standards-based assessment.
  • Data collection tools.
  • Quantifying, creative thinking/learning.
  • New energy and thinking process.
  • Inspirations.
  • Respect.
  • Using mind maps is very helpful.
  • Apply what I’ve learned regarding assessment (Just do it).
  • Continue communication and observation of great educational leaders.
  • I can do this!
  • Other educators have problems similar to mine.
  • Arts teachers are really enthusiastic.
  • I know more than I thought I did.
  • I can use new technology and enjoy it!


Summer Reading, Watching, Listening, and Learning

June 17, 2012

Points of interest wrapped up in one blog post

The information in this blog has come across my desk from a variety of sources and people. I have rolled it into one post to make reference easier for you… I am guessing there is at least one story here that will peak your interest.

  • A 5 minute+ film about John Baldessari created by Tom Waits. He is recognized for his height 6′ 7″ and his white beard and hair.  He is been called the Godfather of conceptual artist, surrealistic for the digital age. He has had over 200 solo shows, and 1000 group shows and has received many awards. You can learn more about him and watch the entertaining 5 minutes and 55 second video by clicking here. John has a great website as well –
  • While looking at the Baldessari film I discovered the website called Short of the Week which contains links to short videos. The topics are varied. This might come in useful as a resource for you and/or your students.
  • Thanks to MAAI teacher leader, music teacher at Aetna-Dixmont Jen Nash who sent me this info. I talked to Kern Kelley, who is the technology integrator for us. He shared this blogspot link with me and in her words: “The students picked a piece of art and had to put a video together. They had to talk about the different aspects of the piece of artwork and incorporate music. I thought that this would be neat to share.”
  • Will Richardson is one of those people who I find very interesting. He encourages me to think differently about school. This is a TEDx where he talks about young people and learning and starts out by referencing his daughter playing the piano.     
  • Eight schools across the country were selected to receive over $14.7 over a three year period to integrate dance, music, theater, and visual arts into the curricula. The President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities working with the US Department of Education hopes to prove that failing schools can be impacted by encouraging the expansion of creative expression. Public Radio has an interview that you can listen to by clicking here. And you can read more about the Turnaround Arts Initiative.
  • Not to long after I posted Eagles Have Landed about Suzanne Goulet’s art classroom at Waterville High School being the center of the viewing stage for the new born eagles someone sent me this video of young robins.
  • Mystery of a Masterpiece was aired on Public Television in January 2012 and tells the story of a painting that was sold for $20,000 in October of 2007 and now is thought to be a Leonardo da Vinci worth more than $100 million. Cutting-edge imaging analysis solves the mystery. You can watch the 52 min. program by clicking here. Thanks to Wiscasset Middle School art teacher Molly Carlson for sharing this information.
  • Playing for Change Day – changing the world through music. All over the world on September 22nd there will be people collaborating to inspire people to support music education. Portland is one of the locations, planned by the Maine Academy for Modern Music, and it will happen at 8:00-11:30 PM.
  • The photographs are amazing! Starstruck: The Fine Art of Astrophotography at the Bates College Museum of Art provides local teachers a FREE resource to explore a meeting point of art and science. 36 photographers from around the world are included in one of the very first exhibitions to examine astrophotography as a fine art genre. Starstruck opened June 8 and will be on view through December 15, offering ample opportunity for science and art teachers to plug in. Companion shows at the Bates planetarium are an option. To learn more or to schedule a tour, contact or A full color catalogue with essays by the jurors is available.



New and Old

January 9, 2012

Recent report and an older video

This is a recent report put out by the Wallace Foundation. It includes leadership, arts particpation, and after school programs. “The arts belong to everyone.” That was the conviction of our co-founder Lila Wallace. It has guided our efforts for more than two decades to support arts organizations as they develop and test innovative ideas to reach new audiences so that many more people might enjoy the benefits of the arts. Please click here for the report.

Thank you to my Department colleague, Laurel Sterling, for sending it.

This item is not recent interview but how interesting that it connects with the recent work in Maine in many school districts. On learning, computers, population growth, the universe. A 1988interview conducted by Bill Moyers on World of Ideas with Isaac Asimov
Please click here.

Thank you for art educators from Hampden Academy, Leah Olson, for sending it.

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