Elizabeth Andrews: “Why Are You Always So Happy?”
It is 8:00 in the morning. I left my house at 6:30 to drive over an hour in order to be ready when my less-than-exuberant high school students enter the dance studio. They are here for Dance...
It is 8:00 in the morning. I left my house at 6:30 to drive over an hour in order to be ready when my less-than-exuberant high school students enter the dance studio. They are here for Dance Explorations – a multi-style, beginning level dance course designed for any 9 – 12 grader in the county.
I start the warm-up trying to motivate them with expressive music, witty comments & critique and overall excessive cheeriness. At a break in the movement, one girl raises her hand and asks a very grouchy, angry question that I am sure others in the class were also thinking: “Why are you always so happy?”
She caught me off guard. Did I overdo it with the morning coffee? Was I happy because I really love to dance and therefore it just comes out in my teaching? Nope. It took me a few seconds to form the answer: “Because it’s my job,” I said.
I do believe this. As a teacher, part of my job is to convey an attitude of positivity – of hope for not only the work we do in the arts but for my students as human beings. Part of my responsibility is to cultivate kindness, empathy and understanding for others – I do this through dance. Others do it through music, visual art, or drama.
Here is my wish for all teachers (and especially those of you in the arts): May you have the courage to do what you know is right, the energy to inspire your students with the passion you have for learning and creating, and the patience to do all that is asked of you!
On behalf of the MAEIA community, thank you for all that you do.
Dispelling Myths and Providing Resources for Scoring, Reporting, and Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness
The MAEIA Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness page is here! The page outlines the process an educator moves through in the planning, implementing, and presenting evidence of their effectiveness; complete...
The page outlines the process an educator moves through in the planning, implementing, and presenting evidence of their effectiveness; complete with supporting materials organized according to each stage of the process.
While there, scroll down to find our video modules and tutorials, including a brand new recorded webinar on Scoring and Reporting the MAEIA Assessments.
This webinar addresses common myths in scoring and reporting assessments including:
-The arts are too subjective to score objectively
-Scoring and grading serve the same purpose
-There is one best way to record and interpret data
-Teachers always know which students to profile
And as always, let us know how these resources are impacting your thinking and your practice! Comment on social media, our community forum, or reply to this post!
Cathy Depentu: The Benefits of Pushing Out of Your Comfort Zone
I believe in the importance of MAEIA and its resources. I always try to set aside my ego and throw myself into difficult challenges or situations in order to improve, from an advanced violin class (...
I believe in the importance of MAEIA and its resources. I always try to set aside my ego and throw myself into difficult challenges or situations in order to improve, from an advanced violin class (I am anything but advanced on the violin) to a challenging yoga pose (headstands anyone?). Technology can bring me to my knees. By the time I figure out how to do something, it’s obsolete. As I have prepared for my first solo MAEIA presentation, my MAEIA colleagues have been unfailingly patient while trying to teach an old dog new tricks. I am slowly getting better, which means a lot more obsolescence is on the way, but that is another story.
Stepping Out: Fears, Firsts, and Following
I am a talker–no one who knows me would dispute that. I am fearless in front of my students or with people I know, but generally not eager to speak formally in front of large groups. In fact, that is one of my fears. Another major fear is using technology, it hates me. So why is this what I am doing? What do I hope to gain? What do I hope to give people?
So, I made my PowerPoint and my Process Agenda, Heather Vaughan-Southard (my MAEIA guru) proofread it and I rehearsed it over and over in my head. I knew my content and knew my audience (another big fear). I was ready!
The Professional Development day got off to a roaring start. We had one of the best keynote speakers I have ever heard! Dr. Adolph Brown talked (and danced and sang) about how to truly reach every student and make a positive difference. Cornerstones of his inspiring words were the Four “F’s”: Be Fun, Fair, Flexible and have Faith. At the same time as I was devouring every word, a little voice spoke to me: ”How will you compare to this? You’re not even close to his fluid, choreographed delivery style. They won’t like you.”
Processing in Real Time
Time to present! I got there 30 minutes before my session to set up and scope out the space. When I got to the room, I discovered that the room was too small for the anticipated audience. From now on I will double check with organizers to make sure we coordinate details! The computer and hook-ups were on the teacher’s desk, in a corner of the room. This was awkward as I had to be positioned behind that desk to access my notes. I felt like I was hiding from my audience from there! As being able to move freely about while presenting and interacting with your audience can “make or break” the vibe in the room, I will carry a set of notecards, or a printout of my notes so that I am no longer “trapped”. Of course, when I become as adept a presenter as Dr. Brown, I will be able to get this all done as easily as a casual conversation with friends (dare to dream!)
Once I began my presentation I noticed I was covering material much more quickly than I had anticipated on my Process Agenda. This could have been due to being trapped behind that desk! I started with the background of MAEIA and the website, but think I may move that until later in the session, as a few participants would have preferred to follow along with me on the website (or break off and explore on their own). Later in my session, I was moving around the room assisting people and realized I had skipped a couple of things that needed to be added, particularly our next project, Collaborative Scoring.
The last thing we did was break into small groups and explore the assessments. Each person found one or two they liked, and shared with each other and then with the entire group. I had stressed throughout the presentation that the assessments were just tools to be used as is or modified to suit the class or situation, so our next step was to take an assessment and modify it for use at a different grade level. As I walked around, I heard comments like “Look at this!”, “I could use this!”, “This is great!”. One group of art teachers stepped out of the room to work on ways to incorporate the assessments into their SLOs right away!
As we finished up, I asked my colleagues to fill out the Quality Quadrant and leave it for me when they left. Regardless, only about 60% completed the form. I am not sure what to do about that, maybe I will use them as “Exit Slips” and stand by the door to collect them and say thank you and goodbye as people leave. In the week following the presentation, I have received several emails and notes from colleagues who are excited about MAEIA and all of our resources , and are eager to work together to incorporate some of the assessments into their classroom.
Finally, I am deeply appreciative to colleagues who shared these words of wisdom as I was preparing my session. I list them twice because of their importance.
Chocolate and a break are GREAT ideas!
Chocolate and a break are GREAT ideas!
Flexibility as a Practice
The focus of our PD this year is, “Take Chances, Try Something New, Start With “Why?”. For years, we as arts teachers have had to “build bridges” from the content of Professional Development to our own subject area. At general PD the next day, I was seated with a group of math, science, and business teachers focusing on technology in the classroom. I typically sit, listen to them and try to build those bridges. But I jumped out of my comfort zone, took a chance and asked if we could also address the use of technology to better suit the needs of the arts or solitary teacher. We had a great discussion, and I think we all learned something. I thanked them for being willing to be flexible and I think we all benefited from the session. I know I did.
I plan to present this session again to the K-5 music folks who couldn’t attend this one. I have also offered to present to colleagues in the Michigan American String Teachers Association (MASTA). I know as I continue to work with the sessions I am creating, my delivery will become more natural and intuitive. I’m not Adolph Brown yet, but I’ll get there (he has a crew to do all his tech)!
Cathy Depentu is a MAEIA Leadership Fellow and serves as Director of Orchestras for Plymouth Canton Community Schools.
A downloadable pdf of this post is available here. MAEIA blog: CathyDepentu_ComfortZones
Cecilia Gollan: How MAEIA has Made Me a Better Teacher (Part 1)
If you were to stand outside my classroom or talk to kids that take my classes, you would get the impression that I know what I am doing. Kids would make comments about how they...
If you were to stand outside my classroom or talk to kids that take my classes, you would get the impression that I know what I am doing. Kids would make comments about how they like my class and want to take more art. Well, that is all true. Personally, however, I feel that I am not a master teacher and can always do better.
An Invitation to Elevate
Back in 2011, there was this survey about arts education came out and I told my principal I was filling it out. Little did I know, I would become a part of this project called MAEIA. I am not sure how it came about, but I applied to become a part a meeting with other art teachers from across the state.
I remember sitting in my first meeting as a blueprint writer. I was in awe and a little intimidated by the brain power in the room. I had heard of some of these names, but had never met them. It was pretty amazing. As the day went on, our task unfolded. We were going to create a gold standard plan for four arts disciplines in Michigan. All I could think about was how exciting this MAEIA thing was going to be for the arts programs in our state and I was going to be a part of it.
I started as a blueprint writer. During this process, I learned how to better express myself in order to have a greater impact on arts classrooms, including my own. I researched to see what was happening in our state and across the country to support our recommendations.
Next, a program review tool was created to help districts and schools take a deeper look at their arts programs. I tested this on my own visual arts teachers. The results were similar to what I expected. I was able to share my results with my superintendent and he then was able to look deeper at our programing.
Around the same time an assessment specifications document was created which looked at state curriculum and national standards to suggest ways to assess students. This process helped me to look at what I was doing in my own classroom and reevaluate my assessment processes.
As these documents were written I don’t think is was until we started writing the high school assessments that I was able to reflect on my teaching and see the benefits of this project. The process of connecting the standards with a way to assess students that let me see my practices needed a 2.0 version.
At that point, I had been teaching middle school for 19 years. I had always strived to change things up and be innovative in my classroom. It is amazing what diving into state and national standards does for your classroom practices. As I worked through the writing of first high school, and then K-8 assessments, I also switched from teaching middle school to high school. I was a veteran teacher, but really felt like it was my first year. As I made this switch and needed to familiarize myself with the state standards I was relieved that I had these assessments as my finger tips.
The best part of this project and MAEIA assessments is that they are adaptable to our current practices and projects. I found that it was easy to slip in an assessment when I could search for one that was related to what was already planned.
Fast forward to October 2017, I am still a part of MAEIA. I am a Leadership Fellow- sharing these resources with teachers, administrators, districts, and cultural organizations who want to advance creativity in education. I am also a Team Lead for the Collaborative Scoring System pilot. Along the journey of MAEIA there has been many parts to make it what it is today. I have been fortunate to have been involved in many of them.
Margaret Thiele: Go Get Lost!
I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not...
I recently relocated to a new city. Except for the heat, which made for a very long two days in loading and unloading everything, this move has gone smoothly. Relocating to a new city not only requires moving all my earthly possessions, but it also means finding new doctors, dentists, stores and more. While the internet is great, and I do have navigation systems on my phone and in my car that will lead me directly to where I want to go, I have found that if I just get in my car and take the risk of getting lost, I learn so much more about the area.
For one thing, I find new ways to get home, which is definitely helpful with summer construction and detours that seem to pop up all over. But even more helpful, I find new sites worthy of investigation such an amazing park, an interesting boutique, intriguing eateries, or other helpful businesses to keep in mind for future needs—such as a shop where I can get my bicycle repaired. It does require more time than if I used my GPS and travel the direct route, however, I never really realized how helpful it could be to get lost.
The MAEIA Connection
When it comes to exploring the MAEIA website, it helps to just go get lost. The MAEIA website provides an excellent search engine for locating exactly what you need for an assessment, such as: the specific concept, discipline, grade level, or Content Standard. In addition, you can do a keyword search if you are only vaguely sure of what you want in an assessment. But, to become really familiar with the assessments I recommend getting lost.
Just dive in and start reading through the assessments. You will always be able to find your way back to the home page, no problem. You certainly will become more familiar with assessments in order to answer questions and guide participants when conducting a face-to-face.
You will likely find many other helpful items along the way, such as: ideas for teaching that you might want to modify for a different grade or discipline, ideas for integrating other topics/disciplines into your own teaching or for assisting classroom teachers, or maybe an assessment to keep in mind for future reference—when you try out that new unit you have been thinking about.
It will take a time commitment, and if you don’t have the time at the moment you can always take the direct route with the easy navigation tools at the top of the Browse MAEIA Model Assessments page. However, if you take the time to explore, you will find it to be time well spent. So go ahead, just get lost!
A downloadable pdf of this article is available here MThiele_GoGetLost.
Thank you, MCACA!
We are grateful for the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for 2017-2018! Earlier this summer, MAEIA Leadership Fellows Holly Olszewski, wrote a blog...
We are grateful for the support of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs for 2017-2018!
Earlier this summer, MAEIA Leadership Fellows Holly Olszewski, wrote a blog a post about MCACA.
Here is an excerpt:
“Far too many projects in the arts have the lights ‘turned out’ because they lack the funding to continue. Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs council meeting and hear the wonderful ways in which this government agency is keeping the lights on for many projects throughout our fair state. It was fitting that the council meeting took place in the Carnegie Library Building (1903) in downtown Traverse City under this beautiful lighting fixture, giving light and symbolizing a tradition of quality.”
More about MCACA from Holly’s post:
“The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) is a council made up of 15 individuals appointed by the governor. It is the state government’s lead agency charged with developing arts policy as well as grant making. The Council works to fulfill its mission by serving as champions, advocates and a point of connection and coordination for the field with legislative, corporate and other leaders with an interest in seeing the mission of MCACA fulfilled.”
We are fortunate to have the support from MCACA to fulfill our own mission of advancing creativity in education.
Rebecca Arndt: Why is MAEIA so important?
I have been asked about what the MAEIA project is and why it is so important. The simple answer is I want to give my students the best of me and the...
I have been asked about what the MAEIA project is and why it is so important. The simple answer is I want to give my students the best of me and the best opportunities to experience music and to develop an appreciation for all genres of music.
When I joined a MAEIA pilot program, I didn’t know what I was really getting myself into. I just knew that I was going to be presenting assessments to my students and sending them out to get graded.
Doing these assessments was different, challenging and definitely rewarding to me as an educator. It was a great way for me to see exactly where my students were struggling and excelling. I am sure many of us have those students who you think are really getting it but when presented with an assessment that isn’t a whole group activity they don’t seem to grasp the concepts that have been presented.
These assessments give you a step by step way to test your students.
These assessments aren’t changing what you are teaching but maybe how you instruct and gather informative and formative assessments.
After doing the first assessment I knew that I needed to change what I thought about my teaching and how my students learned.
I needed to do some pre teaching of different techniques. For example with melodic contour, I used to primarily use body movement or look at sheet music. Drawing the melody line was a foreign to me as Urdu. I knew that I needed to add this element to my teaching so that the students could perform this task without being unsure of the task.
Doing this type of activity was fun for them and for me as their teacher. They didn’t even realize they were being assessed. They thought it was “art”.
These assessment tools were a great way for me to teach concepts in a different manner than the Quaver curriculum that our district uses. Using the MAEIA assessments have helped me become a stronger teacher and in turn has helped my students’ love of music continue to grow.
Rebecca D. Arndt is a K-5 general music teacher for the Taylor School District, she also teaches a 4/5 grade combined choir. Prior to teaching in Taylor she also taught in Waterford Schools for 13 years. While in Waterford she taught k-5 general music and choir. She is a MAEIA Leadership Fellow.
A downloadable pdf of this post is available here: Rebecca Arndt: Why MAEIA is Important.
Janine Campbell: The Lasting Impact of Quality Professional Development
Professional development is an impactful tool for teachers. When it is directed in ways that allows teachers to take what they have learned and apply it in their own classrooms to engage students, it becomes...
Professional development is an impactful tool for teachers. When it is directed in ways that allows teachers to take what they have learned and apply it in their own classrooms to engage students, it becomes one of the most powerful tools we have. If you are interested in help assessing your district’s or school’s access to Arts-specific learning opportunities for professional learning, use the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Blueprint and Program Review Tool.
I am fortunate that I have had the continued opportunity to participate in and even lead quality Arts-specific professional development throughout my teaching career. Each conference, keynote, and presentation has made an impact on my approach to teaching in big ways and small. A key approach when I attend any conference is to take one idea, tool, or method and find a way to weave it into my practice.
Last April, I had the privilege to participate in “The Power of Art Conference” at The Lab School in Washington D.C. This three-day event gave me the opportunity to meet teachers from across the country, hear from thought-leaders in Arts Integration, and tour a school in our Nation’s Capitol that puts the Arts in the heart of their instruction. The Lab School hosted the event because of their commitment to Arts Integration and their history of sharing with teachers what is possible when you bring content and classrooms together for big, bold collaborative projects.
Over the years, collaboration is something that I have pushed more and more with my students. It has looked differently depending on what our end goals were; sometimes we did small group projects and sometimes we planned events that included the entire school. Regardless of the end result, the goals have always been for students participating to not only learn about the content covered through the creation of the collaboration, but to also feel a connection to those who are a part of making it. I often call these projects, “Legacy Projects” because of their lasting, visual impact on the school.
At The Lab School, legacy projects are everywhere. From the mosaic columns and the dragon fountain in the courtyard, to the large installation works often created with the help of well-known artists like one of the key figures in the school, Robert Rauschenberg, you can see something made by students in every area of the school. Each year before his passing, Rauschenberg would come and create a large collaborative work with the students for display in the school. Each time, something different was created and a new approach would be taken; each time, students knew they were creating something that would be left for others to view for years to come. This was something I knew I wanted to bring back to my school and weave into my teaching practice right away.
Fortunately, I did not have to wait very long before I was able to do just that. After returning home from “The Power of Art Conference,” I soon received an opportunity to use collaboration as a springboard into a large mixed-media piece my students made for one of the largest art competitions in the world: ArtPrize. The 19 day competition is celebrating its ninth year and has opened up a Youth Collaboration Award for the first time this year with a classroom grant of $5000 to those with the most votes.
Our collaborative work, “Painting Under Paper Cuts,” involves three 4x8ft panels and is a visual reaction to a week of state testing that happened to be occurring during its creation. Students started with choosing paint from a variety of colors. They were asked to paint how they felt and use brushes, sponges, and other tools, including their hands, to make marks overtop each of the panels. They then worked in pairs to create cut out images from separate pieces of colored paper that included images of their classmates and various symmetrical and asymmetrical circle patterns. These pieces were pasted on top of the painted panels. This work will be displayed during ArtPrize at Monroe Community Church in Downtown Grand Rapids from September 20th-October 8th. You can view and vote on site with your smartphone for the work at www.artprize.org/65259. Once the competition completes, the work will find a permanent home in our Library at our school.
I am thankful I work in a school that embraces the opportunities offered through quality Professional Development. Because I use what I have learned through these experiences in tangible ways in my practice, I am able to show my students and the greater school community what is possible when ideas are put into practice and when students come together to create a positive visual impact on their environment. These collaborations are one of the best parts of my job and one that my students often comment on as their favorite, too. If you would like more information on The Lab School of Washington D.C. or “The Power of Art Conference” and how to get involved, visit their website.
Do you work with the principles Janine listed above in your Visual Arts classroom? MAEIA suggests looking at the following assessment items:
**Janine Campbell is the Visual Arts Teacher at Byron Center West Middle School and is a Visual Arts team member of the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Program. Her classroom has won local and national recognition in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, as well as various grants for their use of technology. She was named a 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, 2015 Michigan Art Education Association Middle Level Educator of the Year, and 2015 National Art Education Association Middle Level Educator of the Year. You can see more of her students’ work in the classroom at www.bcwmsart.weebly.com.
A downloadable pdf of this post is available here Janine Campbell_Quality Professional Development.
Thinking about Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness?
It is that time of year again! With the beginning of the school year, comes the development of Individual Development Plans for teachers. Last year, we recorded multiple webinars related to Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness. Topics...
It is that time of year again! With the beginning of the school year, comes the development of Individual Development Plans for teachers.
Last year, we recorded multiple webinars related to Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness. Topics covered included: How to create a sample of students for data collection, how to collect data, writing SLOs, documenting instruction, and how to prepare to present data in a final meeting with an administrator.
You can find those webinar presentations here. Look for the Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness series preceded by numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 for the order in which they were offered.
Best of luck on a smooth entry to the 2017-18 academic year!
MAEIA in 2017-2018
Here are the MAEIA initiatives we are working on during 2017-18. How will you be joining us? MAEIA Professional Learning...
Here are the MAEIA initiatives we are working on during 2017-18. How will you be joining us?
MAEIA Professional Learning Community
- Increasing visibility of MAEIA and providing further support for Michigan education professionals through Professional Learning and Communication Strategies.
Follow us on Facebook @MAEIAartsednetwork.org and Twitter @MAEIAartsednet.
Want to write about your MAEIA experience or topics in the field of education? Contact Heather Vaughan-Southard at email@example.com to learn more.
MAEIA Leadership Fellows and Associates
A cadre of education professionals offering virtual and face-to-face presentations on the MAEIA tools and resources hosted by leaders in Professional Communities such as State Organizations, Arts Organizations, Districts in underserved areas, and with Teaching Artists.
Interested in learning more? Contact Ana Luisa Cardona at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Heather Vaughan-Southard at email@example.com.
Collaborative Scoring System Pilot
An program in which we explore a platform and process for uploading student work to be scored by colleagues.
Are you a Visual Art or Music Educator interested in participating? Contact Jason O’Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program Review Tool Pilot
The exploration of a web-based version of the MAEIA Program Review Tool.
Interested in learning more? Contact Karrie LaFave at Assistant@michiganassessmentconsortium.org.
MAEIA Re-Ignite 2018
- Annual gathering for MAEIA Founding Contributors, Key Communicators, Leadership Fellows, Associates, Partners, and Project Management Team scheduled for August 7, 2018.