Posts Tagged ‘York County teacher of the year’

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Rob Westerberg

June 3, 2021

Off the grid

Thoughtful, meaningful, figuring it out, asking questions, listening to students, high standards. When it comes to teaching all of these represent Rob Westerberg. He acts in a very serious way and approaches most actions with a humorous twist. Recently he posted a piece called “Off the Grid” on his blog “Goober Music Teachers”. He describes what he’s learned during the pandemic, how he’s embraced the situation and a caution on the importance of not comparing what you do as a teacher with what the next teacher is doing. I’m certain that this year has revealed much to us individually. My greatest hope is that the shifts we’ve been forced to make and have chosen to make have been an opportunity to learn about ourselves, like no other time in our teaching careers. No matter if your career is at the beginning, middle or end there is something for everyone to ponder in Rob’s pandemic story. I’m always grateful when Rob takes on a subject and blogs about it. His posts give me a chance to pause and reflect. The next two paragraphs are the first two paragraphs of his post. You’ll find the link to Rob’s blog post at the end so you can continue reading.

IN ROB’S OWN WORDS…

Would you believe me if I told you this has been one of the most satisfying, rewarding and happy years of my career? The phrase, “going off the grid” is a spot on reflection of what every music teacher in the country has gone through the past 14 months. Nothing has been “normal”, and a lot has been taken from us and our students since March of last year. How that has individually impacted us is dependent on many factors including whether we’ve been allowed to be in person or not, what grade level we teach, general choral or instrumental, single teacher in a school district or one of many. In any given year prior to this one, each music teacher’s journey is incredibly unique. That’s never been more true than this one.

But a funny thing happened to me right around the middle of November, and it carried through to this very week: my kids and I were learning and growing, and realizing that we were learning and growing. We started enjoying this journey together.

Rob is the 2020 Maine York County Teacher of the Year. He is co-creator of the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative (MAAI) turned Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) and presently MAEPL, Maine Arts Education Partners in Leadership, with the revised mission to develop and promote high quality arts education for all.” 

I invite you to read Rob’s FULL POST – Off the Grid, May 15, 2021. Rob can be reached at THIS LINK.

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Kate’s Picks

September 29, 2020

Teaching in a Pandemic

Below is a blog post contributed by Kate Smith, Central School, South Berwick Music Teacher. Kate is the 2014 York County Teacher of the Year and is a leader in the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. Kate has made an amazing list of some of her favorite children’s books with information and suggestions on how to use them in your classroom. THANK YOU Kate for providing not only books but your passion for teaching! The post starts out with this message from Kate…

Kate Smith with What If…

Hello colleagues! If I have learned anything these past six months, it is this: keep your friends close and your ARTS colleagues closer! I have learned so much from interacting with all of you through MALI events, Tuneful Talk webinars, DOE-hosted events, virtual book clubs, Facebook groups and, on the rare occasion, socially distanced gatherings. You inspire me, encourage me, support me, make me laugh, understand the frustration, and your authenticity and vulnerability in these unsettling times remind me I am not alone. THANK YOU. To attempt to pay it forward, I have offered to write a blog post for Argy (I owe her big time), and hopefully there will be something here that will benefit you in some way. Better, I hope you will comment with your own resources and we can make this an even more valuable blog post.

Favorite books Kate is using in her teaching…

WHAT IF by Samantha Berger and Illustrated by Mike Curato. This book came recommended to me by Kaitlin Young, a music teacher at SeDoMoCha and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year. It’s called “What If” and it is written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Mike Curato. This would be a great book for art, music, dance or theater teachers and their students.  I used this book to explain what we can and can’t do in the music room this year.  Little, Brown and Company do allow us to videotape ourselves reading the book but with restrictions which you can find on their website.

I’m Going on A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. This is an oldie (1997) but goodie. It works just fine as a chant. Adding hand motions and body percussion can make this a crowd pleaser, add instruments and they’ll be begging for more. First we acted out the book as a chant and added motions for each obstacle. Then we talked about how to make appropriate sound for each challenge using a drum. Each child had their own drum. We rubbed, scraped, tapped and banged our way to the bear cave and back!

Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and Sally Wern Comport. Are you having your students make their own instruments? This book can be inspiring and eye opening. A true story, a quick google search and you’ll find some videos of the actual orchestra to share as well.

 

Mole Music by David McPhail. Another oldie but goodie. This one is great for discussing hopes and dreams with your students, music’s impact on our feelings and emotions (sometimes when we don’t even know it!), and that learning a new instrument takes time and a lot of practice. I once invited a violin player to play while I read. It was awesome. Especially the screechy part at the beginning. 😉

 

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins, a Maine author with a fantastic sense of humor (if you haven’t read Mother Bruce, you must drive to the nearest bookstore right now.) This book addresses nerves when it comes to performing, in this case, the school talent show.

Because by Mo Willems and Amber Ren, published in 2019. This beautiful book speaks of persistence, hard work, inspiration, legacy, community and discovery. How did this book come to be? I will let Mo and Amber tell you at THIS LINK.  And here is THE LINK to Hilary Purrington’s symphony, The Cold, featured in this book!

Your Name is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow is a wonderful book that celebrates the beauty, history and magic of names. Saying them correctly is important and it matters. CLICK HERE for a video of a read aloud and THIS LINK will help to pronounce the names in the book from the author!

I will be reading this book to the students soon, have you used it in your classroom? Some teachers have their students draw their name in an artistic way to show what their name means to them. How powerful!

Please consider sharing one of your ideas or work that you have underway with the Maine Arts Education Blog readers! Email me your ideas at meartsed@gmail.com

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