Posts Tagged ‘The Telling Room’

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Arts Learning Grant Recipient

May 25, 2018

The Telling Room

The Telling Room is a recipient of an Arts Learning grant this year from the Maine Arts Commission. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit their site in Portland not long ago. It was charged with creativity and excitement for learning. While visiting a group of students from the Biddeford Schools Gifted and Talented program were participating in a lesson. I had the opportunity to observe, participate, and speak to the participants. I also had the chance to meet with the staff and they kindly followed up with information that is included in this blog post. Thank you all for your contributions!
Suzanne Tighe, Biddeford teacher, has worked with the Telling Room staff for three years.
IN SUZANNE’S OWN WORDS
Thank you for helping to support the Telling Room. This is my 3rd year bringing students to the Telling Room or having them come to my school. My students always look forward to the visits.  My 5th graders this year did not get to visit with Marjo and they were so disappointed. She has been my contact person for the past three years. She has always made it a point to get to know the students and they feel that connection. One of my boys, a reluctant writer, was so looking forward to working with Marjo this part Monday. He wanted her to be the one to help him develop his writing.
I feel that the greatest benefit for the students is the level of investment they have in their writing after working with them. This interest and excitement about writing is then transferred to their every day writing. The students never know who they will be able to work with; a writer, photographer, a musician, artist or poet. This allows my students to work with adults who have a range of interests. Many of my students play musician interments or are gifted in the visual arts.  The opportunity to work with these artists is a wonderful experience.
For myself, its a great way to see some new ideas or see some old techniques reinvented. This allows me to use these techniques with other students. Its also an opportunity to talk about writing with a colleague and share ideas.

Marjolaine Whittlesey is a Teaching Artist Associate

Marjolaine Whittlesey is a Teaching Artist Associate at the Telling Room and worked with Suzanne’s students at the school and again on the day I visited at the Telling Room.

IN MARJOLAINE’S OWN WORDS
During a field trip to the Telling Room students get to experience the art of writing in a greater context than what they see in the classroom. They get to work alongside adult writers and see the plethora of publishing done by peers their age and other students from around the state. When they walk into our space they often comment on how it feels comfortable and creative, “like my home.”

Our space and our programing serves to create a safe space for each student to explore their own unique voice, which opens them up to their creative selves. Our programs often start with generative work that allows each student to find a way into the writing process. Our activities and warm ups strive to reach various learning types so that any student can feel inspired and successful. Our focus on writing as mostly rewriting is a skill that will serve any student throughout their whole life. We present revision as focused play rather than tedious work. Hopefully that sticks!

My hope is that each student remembers the excitement and pride they felt around writing and sharing. I hope that they can remember specific details about what they wrote or heard in others’ stories. Even if they can’t remember an exact writing exercise, my goal is that each student leaves a TR program being more curious about the world and their experience in it.

Students come to The Telling Room on a Field Trip with their class as a three hour experience. I love to hear when they return to school and continue to work on the pieces they started during the Field Trip and it becomes a bigger part of their classroom experience back at school. We had one student enjoy the writing they did with us in their Field Trip so much that they asked to return to The Telling Room for a Summer Camp — and then they followed that up with a semester-long afterschool program! They discovered that they loved to write and found a space to continue developing that love at The Telling Room.
Nick Schuller is the Program Director at The Telling Room.
IN NICK’S OWN WORDS
Sometimes we hear that “today’s young people” have difficulty receiving feedback or being told “no,” and that constant exposure to screens impedes their natural curiosity. Our work in field trips like this one counteracts those concerns: rather than shutting down because of constructive criticism, our young writers are encouraged to see an opportunity for new creative expression. We hope they’ll see that inviting diverse voices into the feedback process can foster collaboration and ultimately the product will be stronger as a result.

I always hope that we light a spark, and that field trip attendees will go back to school with a new energy for writing. I also hope that all of the students received a confidence boost from knowing that they can engage in the revision process and come out feeling encouraged.

Sarah Schneider is the Development Director at the Telling Room.
IN SARAH’S OWN WORDS
The opportunity to encounter writing in a new way—either through games and activities, other art forms like theater and performance, or simply being in a new space with time to write—can free up students to think in new ways and engage their imagination. Even reluctant writers often begin to open up in a field trip as they learn and practice writing a story they want to tell and that people will be eager to hear.

One of the key things students get to do with us, even on field trips, is share their writing—a whole piece, or even just a word or a sentence—with their peers. Getting a chance to share the story or poem they’ve been working on with an audience is a big part of building confidence. I hope that students remember that they can be bold and take a leap out of their comfort zone—in both writing and sharing their work—to discover things they didn’t know were inside them and to share their stories and voices with all of us.

Celine Kuhn is the Executive Director at the Telling Room.
IN CELINE’S OWN WORDS
I hope that students will remember that we offered them a safe and creative space to write for fun, tell their stories and find their voice. What we do every day is equip kids to succeed in and out of school.
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The Telling Room

July 8, 2011

Congratulations to the near Director, Heather Davis!

After a thorough search process involving staff and board members, it is with great pleasure that the Telling Room announces that Heather Davis has been chosen to be the next Executive Director. Heather brings an amazing skill set as a teacher, leader, and fundraiser to the position–skills that she honed during her time as Development Director at the TR, at the Harlem Children’s Zone and Theatre Action Project, and while co-founding Austin Bat Cave. Please join The Telling Room in welcoming her to this position!

Heather will start in her new role in mid-July, and, in the meantime, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc who leaves the director position and Heather will be working together to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The Telling Room is extremely excited about the passion, experience, and vision that Heather brings to her new role on an already talented team. And they look forward to the next five years as they continue to develop and improve on how they help kids build their confidence, strengthen their literacy skills, and bring their stories to the world.

The Telling Room is the 2011 recipient of the Imagination Intensive Community award. With funding this year from the Kennedy Center, the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Department of Education, and Bangor Savings Bank, the Imagination Intensive Communities program is in its second year of identifying and celebrating, through an open application process, those Maine communities where schools and partnering organizations of all kinds invest in the imaginative development of children and youth.

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Imagination Intensive Community 2011

May 24, 2011

The Telling Room is a marvelous example of providing imaginative opps for students

Last Thursday I had the chance to visit The Telling Room in Portland. I joined a team that observed and documented the outstanding components of the program. The Telling Room has been named the Imagination Intensive Community for 2011. Below is the news release and pictures from our visit. CONGRATULATIONS to The Telling Room and the staff and the hundreds of volunteers who are so passionate about the important work they do providing imaginative opportunities for students.

The Telling Room staff

NEWS RELEASE – The Maine Alliance for Arts Education, the Maine Department of Education, and the Maine Arts Commission are pleased to announce that the Telling Room in Portland has been named Maine’s 2011 Imagination Intensive Community.

With funding this year from the Kennedy Center, the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Department of Education, and Bangor Savings Bank, the Imagination Intensive Communities program is in its second year of identifying and celebrating, through an open application process, those Maine communities where schools and partnering organizations of all kinds invest in the imaginative development of children and youth.

The Telling Room exhibit at the Portland Public Library

Located in downtown Portland, the Telling Room is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers. Recognized for its many programs and community partnerships, the Telling Room focuses on young writers ages 6 to 18 and seeks to build confidence, provide real audiences for students’ stories, and strengthen literacy skills through literature, writing, music, drama, and visual arts.

Director Gibson Fay-LeBlanc accepts IIC banner

The Telling Room has evolved into a community that reaches beyond its own doors to collaborate with a wide variety of local and regional partners, including schools, Portland Public Library, Portland Ovations, and others. As the selection panel noted, “The Telling Room should be recognized and celebrated for participating in community building in a most meaningful way through their work.”

Engaged in learning

When notified of the award, Telling Room Executive Director, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc commented, “The Telling Room is honored to be selected as an Imagination Intensive Community. We believe that the power of creative expression can change our communities and prepare our youth for future success and are pleased to join the other model communities, schools, and organizations that are teaching students in and through the arts around the state. We value this award both for recognizing our past work with young writers and artists and for the way it will push us to continue to innovate and better serve students in Greater Portland and beyond.”

Comfy corner at The Telling Room

Past Imaginative Intensive Communities include Arundel, Blue Hill, Camden-Rockport, Deer Isle/Stonington, North Haven, and York (2010). Five communities have received honorable mention as “emerging communities:” Dover-Foxcroft and Kittery (2011) and Brunswick, Denmark, and Portland’s Reiche School (2010).

Visiting team member Bette Manchester speaks to Teen Librarian, Justin Hoenke, Portland Public Library

The search for these communities grew out of a statewide census of arts learning that documented that children’s access to education in dance, music, theater, and visual art is not equal throughout the state. The census raised the question, “Where are the communities that even in hard times use their available resources to support the development of young people’s creativity and innovation?” The Imagination Intensive Communities project was developed to answer that question.

An award celebration, at which the Telling Room will be recognized as the 2011 Imagination Intensive Community, is scheduled for May 19 and will include presentation of check for $1200, a banner, and award certificates for the Telling Room and its collaborating community partners.

The Maine Alliance for Arts Education (MAAE) is a statewide nonprofit that works to strengthen education in all of the arts for all Maine students. For more information on this project, the results of the arts education census, and other activities of MAAE, visit www.maineartsed.org or email info@maineartsed.org .

Telling Room photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetellingroom/5579769981/in/set-72157626282612047#/

All photographs taken by Gail Scott.

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