Posts Tagged ‘visual art’



November 29, 2017

GT Art Program

Does your school/district have a gifted and talented art program? Who identifies Gifted and Talented Artists and how? Who teaches these students and when?

Please join R.S.V.P. ME on November 30th from 3:30 to 5:00 PM for a roundtable discussion about our Gifted and Talented Art Programs. 

Maine Art Education Association President-Elect and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Teacher Leader Lisa Ingraham will facilitate a discussion about GT Arts programs: “I have been working on the re-animation of gifted and talented programming for MSAD 59. After receiving my GT Certification a few years ago, my district asked me to help coordinate our efforts to identify and serve our advanced learners. Since we had not had this type of programming for quite some time, I was involved in determining what GT would look like in our district from the ground up. Three years later our program is still evolving: I would love to share what I have learned and find out how other programs work around the state.”

Sign up to participate in this Zoom* Online Video Conference and earn 1.5 contact hours as a Maine Art Education Association member by emailing If you have questions, comments or suggestions for future topics, email Lisa.

Zoom Video Conferencing is done completely online.


Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Samantha Armstrong

March 15, 2016

MALI Teacher Leaders series


This is the second blog post of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Phase 5  Teacher Leader stories. This series contains a set of questions so you can learn a little bit about the work they are doing as Maine arts educators. CLICK HERE for more information on MALI. CLICK HERE for more information on the 73 of the MALI Teacher Leaders. CLICK HERE for Arts education resources. Search in the “search archives” box on the bottom right side of this post for past stories. There have been 61 posted to date.

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Samantha Armstrong teaches K-6 visual arts at Paris Elementary and the Hebron Station School. This is her ninth year teaching and second year in the Oxford Hills School District. She currently teaches a little over 500 students each week. Her students have art class once a week for 40 minutes and I teach either 5 or 6 classes a day. Samantha is a team member from the Oxford Hills School District that are creating integration ideas as part of the Maine Arts Education Resource Project – Integration formed by the Maine Department of Education under the direction of VPA Specialist Beth Lambert.

What do you like best about being an arts educator?

One of the things I like about teaching art is getting to see how unique each student is and how they all approach projects differently. I enjoy teaching students new concepts and techniques, exposing them to new artists, making connections between the arts, other subject areas and the world around them. It’s exciting when students can reflect and make connections between what they are learning in my classroom and the world around them.

What do you believe are three keys to ANY successful visual and performing arts education?

  • Teachers that are passionate and excited about what they are teaching.
  • School districts that support the arts and arts education.
  • Community outreach, getting student performances and artwork out into the community and getting local artists into the schools.

How have you found assessment to be helpful to you in your classroom?

I find assessment to be very helpful in my classroom. When students finish an assignment they each complete a reflection paper. This helps them bring together what they have learned in the lesson and how the concepts and techniques work in connection with each other. Assessment also helps  guide my teaching, the effectiveness of the lesson and my approach to teaching. Currently I have developed a checklist for students, a type of formative assessment, so that they can monitor their learning and progress and help them meet their goals.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

I have met many wonderful arts educators from all over the state of Maine and many others dedicated to the ongoing success of arts education. Through collaboration I have learned a great deal of information that has helped me in the classroom. I have become more involved in advocating for arts education and am currently working as a Teacher Leader Ambassador on the census and the arts integration resource project.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of my students and all their progress and learning that happens throughout the year. Seeing my students being successful and enjoying their learning is the best!

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Time and not having enough of it. I am fortunate to work in two great schools with very supportive administrators and teachers. Many teachers are interested and open to collaborating but with schedules and time constraints it is often difficult to have planning time. Planning is often a quick conversation in the hall or an email, which  works, but obviously with more planning time it could be even better.

What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I feel very lucky to be an art teacher in the community in which I live. It definitely took a lot of time and patience to finally be fortunate enough to be hired as an art teacher in my community. As everyone in the field knows art teaching positions are often few and far between. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree so I did not have an education background. I had several years of catching up on classes while working. My path was winding as I first taught Special Education, then moved to a small independent school as a classroom teacher.  At the same time I taught a metalsmithing class at Lesley University and at summer arts program for kids. My teaching experience has been all over the place but I have enjoyed all of it and have learned so much from it.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

My advice would be to be patient. Unfortunately I see many new teachers overwhelmed by behaviors. It is something that an education in teaching really can’t prepare you for. We all come to school everyday from a different place and for some the act of simply getting to school takes a lot of effort. Acknowledging the diversity in our schools and the struggles many students face academically, socially and physically is essential to creating helpful working relationships with our students. Being aware of students needs, being patient, and working with them to meet their goals is essential in helping students be successful.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

Add more art programs and help provide teachers with more opportunities for collaboration. I would love to see more drama and dance programs at the elementary level and more access to affordable instruments for all students. The time I have had to work with other teachers this year through MALI has been great and I have learned so much. It would be great if there was more funding for this and other programs that bring teachers together. 

Imagine you are 94 years old. You’re looking back. Do you have any regrets?

That is hard to imagine! Hopefully I still have my wonderful, crazy family around me, that I am still making art and enjoying lots of good food and wine. I’m sure I’ll have some regrets but for the most parts I love my life and how I’ve gotten where I am now. I have a simple life but that is perfect for me. I live in a great town, I have a loving family, wonderful friends, a warm home, good food to eat and I enjoy getting up everyday and going to work doing what I love with great teachers and students.



Gray-New Gloucester High School Art Exhibit

April 26, 2013

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Another Arts Teachers’ Story: Jennie Driscoll

June 26, 2012

Featuring one teacher’s journey as an educator

This is the 15th in a series of blog posts telling arts teachers’ stories. This series contains a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

Jennie Driscoll has been teaching visual arts for 24 years and is presently the chair of the Arts Department at
Brunswick High School
She has taught Photography I , Photography II, Art 3, Art 4, and Advanced Placement Studio Art for students in grades 10-12. Jennie is one of the teacher leaders with Phase 1 of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative.

What do you like best about being an art educator?

Helping students develop confidence as they express their ideas in a variety of media and utilize technical skill. I find media and tools an exciting pathway for the expression. I like seeing personal artistic growth and a seriousness of purpose develop in my students over time.

Tell me what you think are three keys to ANY successful arts ed program?

  1. What –Strong assignments that encourage students to problem solve.
  2. How – Teach technique with media so students have the right set of tools for expression.
  3. Share – Authentic assessments that allow for reflection on craft and expression.

What specific way(s) do your assessment practices tie into the success of your program?

I allow my students to be part of the assessment process and invite them to reflect and revise their art work to make it the best they can be. I invite the class to support one another with feedback. My goal is to help students express their ideas clearly in visual media.

What have been the benefits in becoming involved in the arts assessment initiative?

Sharing and connecting with arts professionals that deal with the same issues.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Always being there to support my art students as they take risks and make mistakes. Student successes  have a big impact on letting me know I am on the right track.

What gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher?

Not having enough time and too much to do, oh also the little beep I get when an email comes in.

Apple or PC?


What have you accomplished through hard work and determination that might otherwise appear at first glance to be due to “luck” or circumstances?

I have done my best to build and maintain a strong visual art program as well as meet the needs of individual students.

Look into your crystal ball: what advice would you give to teachers?

Although there are many days that seem like you don’t know if you are making a difference  or not, hang in there because the universe will share meaningful moments and your purpose will be validated. There will be specific art works that your brain will absorb and will always remember and thus you will in turn remember the student who did it.

If you were given a $500,000.00 to do with whatever you please, what would it be?

I would purchase a kiln and supplies for ceramics in each elementary art department in Maine that does not have one. Of course I would include teacher training in curriculum, assessment, and operation along with clay, some tools and cones!

Thank you for sharing your story Jennie!


Carol Deetjen Retiring

June 2, 2012

Art teacher from Boothbay Region Elementary School

I have know Carol Deetjen since she started teaching art in Boothbay 32 years ago. I remember when I was a young child my mother introducing me to her friends and saying she had known them for about the same amount of time. I remember thinking WOW, how can that be?! The idea of being friends with someone for that many years astounded me. Now, here I am all these years later, having many friends for more than 30 years.

Last winter while at the Hancock County Technical Center I met Carol’s son, Bobby, who is on staff there. He was creating a bulletin board in the hallway and I just couldn’t walk past without remarking on the outstanding letters he was using to title it. I could tell they were handmade and remarked to him that he must have had a really good art teacher while growing up. His response: “my mother is an art teacher”. Of course we went on from there making the connection. I had heard stories of Carol’s son Bobby over the years and was glad to finally meet him.

Carol emailed recently to tell me about the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens first student art exhibit for the Boothbay area schools reflecting a “birds and blossom” view of the gardens. Carol was responsible for creating artwork for the exhibit with her grade 5 students and it was, in Carol’s words: “very cool”.

Under Carol’s guidance the students created multi-level watercolor collage pieces and put them together into a wallhanging. The Botanical Gardens asked to use the artwork in their new Education Center for the summer.

As Carol winds down her last year of teaching she is reminiscing about all the wonderful memories she has from her years of teaching art! CONGRATULATIONS CAROL and THANKS  A BUNCH for all you’ve done for Maine children and their art education!


In Today’s News

May 24, 2012

Buckfield Jr/Sr High School art exhibit

The first annual art and music night was held on Wednesday night and the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal was there covering the story. You can read about it  which you can read what staff writer Eileen M. Adams wrote about it by clicking here. Included in the article are several photographs of the event. Music teacher Ethan Wright led the band and Joe McLaughlin is the schools art teacher.


Laura, Romy, Beth, and Karen Go To Boston

April 11, 2012

Art and Music Teachers travel to Boston for fabulous learning opportunity

Romy Polizotto, Laura Devin, Beth Whitney, Karen Wolfe outside Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Romy Polizotto, Laura Devin, Beth Whitney, Karen Wolfe outside Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Laura Devin, K-8 Art, Woolwich Central School and co-art teacher at Fisher Mitchell School, Romy Polizotto, K-5 Art, Phippsburg Elementary School and St. John’s School, Beth Whitney, K-8 Music, Woolwich Central School, and  Karen Wolfe, Pre-K-5 Art, West Bath School and Georgetown School applied and were accepted to an Expeditionary Learning Conference at Wheelock College in Boston put on by the Conservatory Lab Charter School. The conference title was Interdisciplinary Teaching in the Elementary Classroom, Art and Music as Tools for Learning – A Picturing America Conference.

In Laura’s words:

Audience Participation...Beth Whitney style!!

The next morning, as we checked in to the conference, we were handed a great tote bag with a full notebook of resources- you gotta love swag from conferences. (Most of my grocery bags are conference bags.)

Romy Polizotto, Laura Devin, Ekua Holmes, Karen Wolfeparticipating in a hands-on workshop with Artist in Residence, Ekua Holmes

The guiding question of the conference was “How do art and music shape the ways we picture the past?” We came away with many ideas that we are all anxious to implement in our schools. We will be developing an interdisciplinary lesson plan to be submitted for inclusion in a website of resources.

In the afternoon, we had the great pleasure of going to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to hear keynote speakers, Elliot Bostwick Davis and Barbara T. Martin. We toured the new Art of the America’s Wing and now want to bring all of our students back to such an amazing display of wonderful art with many interactive pieces included.

We also got to browse in Dick Blick’s Art Supply store…even Beth, the music teacher, bought something!

A great day and lots of ideas to go forward with.

Thank you to Laura Devin, one of our Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leaders, for writing this blog post.

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