Posts Tagged ‘visual arts’

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Shining the Light of Truth

November 16, 2014

Falmouth High School

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 8.54.26 PMNancy Durst teaches visual arts at Falmouth High School. Her advanced students just finished another intense unit on Genocide. Included in their studies students also learned about cleansing here in Maine that specifically impacted the Wabanaki Tribe. After hearing numerous presentations from Genocide survivors from Darfur, Rwanda, and Maine, each student created a piece of artwork that they felt they most needed to express.  Students photographed the artwork, added a public service announcement, and printed them off poster size.  The original pieces will

be displayed aside their public service announcement November 20th, 5:30 at USM Hannaford Hall.

Genocide and ME: Shining the Light of Truth, Nov. 20 in Portland

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Artwork at the Capitol in DC

May 14, 2014

Congressional Art Awards announced

Congressman Michael Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree are delighted to announce the winners of the 2014 Congressional Arts Awards in Maine’s Congressional districts.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 5.26.40 PMCongressman Michaud congratulates Jessica Chen a senior of Bangor High School for her winning artwork, “Floating,” which is a pastel. Congresswoman Pingree then announced that Elena Laustsen, a junior at Oceanside High School East in Rockland, as winner of the 2014 Congressional Art Competition for Maine’s First District with her color pencil drawing, “Salmon.”

“This year we had another impressive batch of submissions from some of Maine’s talented students,” said Michaud. “Congratulations to Jessica and all of the runners-up for their outstanding work. I can’t help but smile with pride every time I walk into the Capitol and pass the artwork on display from our district.”

The runners-up and honorable mentions also all hail from Bangor High. Siblings Abbey and Morgan Kidder received first and second runner-up, respectively; while Nick Fournier and Shirley Yuen received honorable mentions.

“The quality of work that Maine students produce for this competition is always impressive—and this year was no exception. I’m very proud to have Elena’s lovely study of a salmon represent our District at the Capitol. It says a lot about the wildlife and natural places that make our state unique,” said Pingree. “My thanks and congratulations go to all the students who participated this year, the art teachers who’ve fostered their talent, and the Maine Arts Commission for coordinating this fantastic event.”

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 5.26.50 PMThe judges also recognized the work of four other First District students—1st runner-up Caitlyn Duffy of Gorham, 2nd runner-up Veronica Jones of Readfield, and honorable mentions Elizabeth Brown of Manchester and Theresa Gervais of Chelsea. And from the Second District – 1st runner-up , Abbey Kidder of Bangor 2nd runner-up Morgan Kidder of Bangor, and honorable mentions Shirley Yuen of Bangor and Nick Fournier of Bangor.

The 2014 first place winners, Elena Laustsen and Jessica Chen will be joined by four runners-up from each congressional district when they meet with representatives from the Congressional Offices at a Blaine House reception held in their honor. This event is the culmination of a close partnership between the Maine Arts Commission and Maine’s Congressional offices. Both of Maine’s congressional delegates support this program enthusiastically and have provided their full support throughout the process.

CONGRATULATIONS to proud art teachers Holly Smith, teacher of Elena Laustsen, Sarah Dolley teacher of Caitlyn Duffy, and Linda Phillips, teacher of Veronica Jones and Theresa Gervais, Kal Elmore, teacher of Jessica Chen and Shirley Yuen, and Eric Hutchins, teacher of Morgan and Abbey Kidder and Nick Fournier.

 

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hART rocks Professional Development

March 12, 2014

Hancock county art teachers gather for professional development opportunity – March 28ARTatheCORE copy

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Baby Journal Published

June 23, 2013
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Art teachers with Westbrook Middle School students whose artwork is included in the book

You might remember back in September at the start of the 2012-13 school year the blog post that invited artwork submissions for the First Lady’s Baby book, “Love.Read.Learn!” Baby Journal. From that blog post and information going out to school’s and educators through other avenues there were over 800 pieces submitted for consideration. Every region of the state was represented and students from grades K – 8.

The project was a collaboration with the Barbara Bush Foundation and First Lady Ann LePage. The First Lady arranged the artwork throughout the Blaine House to be scored using a rubric derived from the AP rubric. First Lady Ann LePage, Becky Dyer from the Barbara Bush Foundation, and art teachers Lynne Shulman and Kathy Smith and I met at the Blaine House to score the artwork. It was great to share our love of teaching with both Becky and the First Lady. And a blog post announced the work selected.

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Barbara Bush and Ann LePage at presentation of the book

A couple weeks ago I was invited to the unveiling of the book as it was presented to three new moms. Two of the students whose artwork was selected for the book (out of the 32), from Westbrook Middle School along with their teachers, principal, and their parents were in attendance as well.

I was so proud to see the completed book and all the students who submitted work. I know that the First Lady and Barbara Bush were inspired by the student work and dream of the possibilities. During the next year the book will be presented to new parents at each hospital in Maine. A great day for art education!

All the artwork published is at this link which is located on the front page of the meartsed blog.

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Another Teacher’s Story: Samantha Orchard

April 16, 2013

This is the 27th in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

IMG_2916Samantha Orchard is in her 4th year teaching Visual Art to students in grades 9-12 at Woodland Jr/Sr High School in Baileyville. She has 43 students spread out across General Art, Advanced Art, Photoshop, and Yearbook classes.

 What do you like best about being a music/art/drama/dance educator?

 The best thing about being a high school art teacher is to see teenagers solve problems or develop creative solutions on their own. Some students need a little prodding, but they are at least willing to be pushed in a more independent direction.

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

  • Support for what is done in your classroom from other teachers, the    administration, and the parents of students
  • Buy-in on the part of the students – they have to feel that what they’re learning and creating is worthwhile
  • Time for planning, collaboration, and sharing ideas with other educators in your own district and around the state

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

Assessment for me is a great tool to gauge how clearly criteria and goals for a particular project are communicated. My students for the most part have a thorough enough understanding of the relationship between the rubric and the criteria for a given assignment to accurately gauge their products and answer for themselves the persistent question of “Is it done yet?”

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

Being able to take in ideas and different ways of looking at assessment has been one of the main benefits of being involved with the MAAI for me. Having other teachers who work with the same content and the same grade level to bounce ideas off of has also been great.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Most recently I’m proud that I was able to engage the faculty at my school in a meaningful and serious discussion about arts assessment. I presented my workshop about rubrics at a staff meeting and was really pleased about the discussions that developed out of the presentation. I was also proud of how it really seemed to prove that art is just as rigorous as the core classes to the non-believers.

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

I just need more hours in a day. Or less time doing mundane things like sleeping, eating, driving, etc.

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 developed a safe, productive, positive work environment in the art room and computer lab. It may sound trivial, but being able to turn your back on students to write on the board or to really focus one-on-one with a student as needed and not have to worry about what’s going on outside of your peripheral vision is no small thing. The expectation for behavior and materials handling has been set and is respected by students – I don’t even have to fret about what is happening to my classroom on days when I’m out!

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

Speak up and share what you do with other teachers! It can be a revelation for all parties involved.

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

With $500,000 I would pay off my student loans, buy a better vehicle, go on vacation, and purchase DSLR cameras and graphic design software for the digital arts classes.

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

I can’t imagine any great regrets.

Thank you Samantha for telling your story!

 

 

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In Today’s News

April 12, 2013

Arts Alive!

Annually at Dirigo Elementary School students have the opportunity to exhibit and perform their learning from their art and music education classes. Art teacher Karen Thayer is responsible for the organization of the annual Arts Alive event. Music teacher Scott Dunbar said the aim was to bring cultural awareness to the students, visually and musically.

Students performed songs from several other countries and created artwork influenced by student learning of artists and history around the world. The artwork will be on display until May.

You can read about the event and see photos in the River Valley Sun Journal, April 11 by clicking here. Included are photos of 2nd grade sun flowers inspired by Van Gogh.

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Another Arts Teacher’s Story: Susan Beaulier

March 5, 2013

This is the 21st in a series of blog posts telling arts teacher’s stories. The first 19 were told last year by the phase I Maine Arts Assessment Initiative teacher leaders. The  series continues with the stories from the phase II teacher leaders. These posts contain a set of questions to provide the opportunity for you to read educators stories and to learn from others.

sue beaulier2Susan Beaulier is in her 23rd year of teaching and is presently teaching PreK-12 Visual Arts Teacher in MSAD #32 in Ashland. Additionally, she has been the Coordinator of G/T Education for that same amount of time. In addition to Visual Arts classes, Sue offers a Digital Photography elective, and an Independent Study Seminar for High School students. Ashland Schools are a small school district in Aroostook County. Our district serves 6 communities. She is responsible for providing services for the 338 students in the district. Susan is a phase 2 Teacher Leader with the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative!

What do you like best about being an art educator? 

I like the fact that the students (for the most part) want to be in my classroom.  I think that the arts provide a platform for teachers to be more than lecturers. I like the honest interactions that occur within the realm of an art classroom.  The kids are comfortable sharing their thoughts, and usually appreciate my input as well. I like walking into my room in the morning and finding it already full of kids who feel comfortable there and who are actively engaged without being reminded to get started. I like that kids who don’t have art class sometimes drop in during a study hall and ask if they can draw or paint or sculpt. I like that kids choose to stay after school to work on art projects or just be where they are comfortable. I like the energy of the art room and I like providing a place where kids feel happy and successful. I like working across all age levels.  My job is never boring.

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

  1. Creating an environment where kids know that there’s no such thing as getting a “100” in art.  I think it’s important to let kids know that it is through mistakes that they learn. Taking risks is more valued in art class than “getting it right” They need to know that they always have the chance for improvement and growth…no grade is final.  Giving students the time and permission to plan, experiment, play, reflect and re-do is really important.
  2. Creating a place where learners feel productive and successful, and where they feel supported by their peers and instructor.  Allowing for flexibility in pace, practice, and product is also valuable.  Making learning fun doesn’t hurt either.
  3. Highlighting for the students, the problem-solving skills that they are learning and exhibiting, and how these skills can be applied to other areas of their lives. Sometimes they don’t recognize these qualities until we point them out. This connection adds validity to what they’re doing everywhere

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

 Refining my approach to assessment has influenced my instructional practices .I used to think that adherence to a set of pre-established criteria might lead to “cookie-cutter” art products. Now, I am working to include the students as much as possible in developing assessment tools for their work. Creating the rubric  together  is now part of our introduction to the process. Assessment has proven to be a very valuable conversation starter in our classroom.  When students are involved in the assessment process, they begin to “talk the talk” of art and art education. I think that kids inherently know what a “successful” project looks like, but sometimes they lack the descriptors to communicate that. When they have the criteria and vocabulary to express them selves, they are empowered to create, analyze, improve their own work, and justify their artistic choices. When students know what is expected of them, and they have the chance to define levels of achievement in language that means something to them, their work improves. Assessment opens up dialogue about art. 

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

 My involvement with the Arts Assessment Initiative has provided many benefits. It has invited me to step out from my isolated domain, and share my thoughts with other colleagues in the art education field. It has allowed me to gain feedback about things that I do well, as well as those areas that need revision and improvement. I have met an entirely new group of people who share the same passions, worries, tasks, as I, and it feels good to be part of a group. My involvement has reinforced me in what I am doing, but has also offered suggestions for improvement. I have made new friendships and bonds over a short period of time. I feel like we are a family.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am at the point in my career where I am teaching the children of my former students. Additionally, I am teaching the grandchildren of some of my former classmates. I am heartened by the positive response I have received from all involved. It delights me when high school students or even parents tell me that they still remember and/or have an art project that they made in one of my classes. That makes me feel like I made an impression on their lives. One of my former students recently joined our staff as an Ed. Tech. She is also a dance instructor in our town. She told me that the opportunity I gave her in high school to participate in dance class changed her life. I recently received  e-mail from a student who I had during one of my first years of teaching. She was very kind in her remembrances of art class. She made me feel proud that I had an impact on her life. The accomplishments of my kids make me proud.

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

TIME gets in the way of being a better teacher or doing a better job as a teacher.  I do relish time away from the responsibilities of school, but those responsibilities never really go away. I always feel like I’m behind the eight ball! We live in a fast-paced world. There are many demands upon every person today, and achieving a balance is difficult. I think that, despite our efforts, there is never enough time to accomplish what we want.

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

I’m not sure that I’ve made much of an impact  on many of my colleagues through my hard work and determination. My fellow teachers often comment on how “creative” I am, and that I “do things so easily.” I have even had teachers tell me that I am “wasting my creativity” here at school. I truly think that they are speaking from a naive view of what creativity truly is. I feel that they think I am accomplished at my job because I possess artistic skills, and can demonstrate those to the students. They often comment that I “make things look so easy…”  Though they recognize my artistic abilities, many of my colleagues fail to see me as an equal in terms of being an educator. I think that they still see the arts as a “special”  (A term I detest!). They don’t recognize that my artistic skills are really just an extension of who I am as an educator. What they fail to see is that I face all of the same difficulties with educating kids as they do. Visual Arts is a language.  So, when I am introducing the tenets of the visual arts, I am essentially teaching students a new language. That does not just happen because I can draw well. The skills that are developed and fostered in the art room may not be practiced anywhere else in the curriculum. I don’t think that regular ed. teachers know this or appreciate its impact on all other learning. Much of what I teach is really taught “through” art, not” because” of it. The critical/creative problem solving skills, life skills (working collaboratively, taking risks, working through a process, observation, reflection, revision, perseverance, etc.) aren’t really the by-products of an arts education. They are at the core of arts education. I often think that my students understand the benefits of a quality education in the arts better than my adult colleagues do.

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

Don’t let technology replace human interaction…kids crave it.  If all else fails, Play Power Ball!

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

I would add it to my Maine State Retirement Account because Teacher Retirement is abysmal.

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

Of Course!  I should have sung louder, danced more, and afforded myself more time for my own art.

Thank you Susan for telling your story!

 

 

 

 

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