Announcing Collaborative Scoring!

Arts educators can administer MAEIA performance assessments, then use our new online platform—Michigan Collaborative Scoring System (MI-CSS), powered by OSCAR Classroom—to collaboratively score student responses with reliability achieved through peer review.

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Recent Blogs & Online Sources by Heather Vaughan-Southard

Michael Letts: Art as Energy!

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment    , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One integral aspect of many MAEIA assessment items is time limits. Sometimes this may seem unnatural, high pressure, or “test-oriented.” But in the arts, limiting time can often...

One integral aspect of many MAEIA assessment items is time limits. Sometimes this may seem unnatural, high pressure, or “test-oriented.” But in the arts, limiting time can often be good, can even be liberating, and can spur creativity.

Creativity is not just coming up with new ideas. In fact, there are few if any truly new ideas. Usually creative concepts are changes to existing ideas. We can invert an idea, or synthesize it with another idea, or magnify it, apply it to a different purpose. Creativity is change.

Time limits are part of many art forms. Music, drama, and dance are all time based. In visual arts, time limits may seem less appropriate. But, a common question from new art teachers is “what do I do with students who finish early?” That can be a real concern, until we learn to structure visual arts lessons in terms of process, to consider that time is of the essence.

Creative Process as Time and Energy

It is often said the first idea is the worst idea. It is the first thing that comes to mind. It may even be a cliché. It is first because it is the idea we already know. But, it does have some value: it is a start.

So, we change it, we modify, combine, repurpose, transform, extend, or oppose (flip) it. Creative ideas don’t come to us like magic, fully formed. Creativity is what we do with ideas, how we edit, transcend, and develop them. Creativity is really about process. Great works of art come from artists so committed to process that they cannot stop processing ideas until something fresh emerges.

Therefore, we need be sure to teach process, not just product. A product goal is a goal already conceived. Creativity is also finding a new goal. We don’t always just want to get to a product, we want to create a process that leaves artifacts as evidence of a unique trail of thought. Then we arrive at creativity that can flow without a beginning or end.

The great artist/educator Thomas Hirschorn took the idea of a monument and redefined it. Traditional monuments are permanent structures that create and honor memories. Hirschorn flipped the “permanent” part of monuments and came up with the idea of a temporary monument. And he didn’t design it himself. He designed a process and let the people of the community create their monument. The idea was “monument”, but also was “temporary”; it had a time limit. A time limit can be a very empowering idea: we know when it is over. It eliminates the pressure of judgement of the “final product”. It is done when it fills the time, when the energy has been applied and sustained, and the artifact or outcome is the experience: the power of process, the real memory, not the object.

Hirschorn also came up with a great concept to define art: “Quality no, Energy yes!” He says quality is a characteristic of a product, but art is about energy. This is true when we consider that art is communication of ideas and emotion, empathy and expression; the true completion of art lies in also presenting (one of the process categories of the National Arts Standards), not only creating. The impact art makes in experience and ideas is the ultimate value. We make art to communicate and express.

Energy can take the form of time spent. The real goal of most artists is to spend their time making their art. When one piece is done, they don’t quit with relief, they start another. The value for the artist is in the creative thought, the time spent. The goal is to be creative, not to be done being creative. And more and more, for contemporary artists, the real creation is of a process which produces an artifact.

Oliver Herring, in his Art 21 episodes, says he doesn’t care about “the medium or the object…I really care about the process.” His “Task Party” process is one of play; “Play- it’s a thing we put on hold because we get distracted by so many things.” As educators, we know play is a primary learning process. Daniel Pink has identified play as one of the “Six Senses” of right brain creative thought. Picasso famously said “Every child is an artist…”. Herring says “everyone is a creative agent.” Children love play time. Tell a child to go play for an hour, and give them something to play with, and they will fill the hour with energy. Herring simply provides time and materials in his Task Parties and people bring the energy and infectious play.

Time is a major component of systems to structure energy. Ask any musician. Time in the art studio also is identified in Harvard Project Zero as a key benefit of visual arts education, one of the “studio habits of mind”: “engage and persist”. Inspire to play, to explore ideas, we engage and persist. The process of art is often playful search and research, an exploration. Exploring is grounded in play. It doesn’t end when you have a product, it ends when you run out of time.

How can we structure a visual arts lesson to target systems of time and energy as an objective?

Some of my most successful visual arts lessons use structured systems of time and energy as objectives. I think of them as creative systems and as “art problems”: play with a purpose, a structured exploration rather than an “assignment.” Assignment sounds like something you do for work, not play. I like the word “problem.” In math, a problem is about learning a process as much as finding a solution. The successful math answer is evidence that the student knows the process. Why not think of an art project of the evidence of engaging and persisting in a process? Energy, yes! Many less than successful art pieces look like they just lack real engagement or involvement by the artist, for whatever reason.

Time limits can force us to be more creative. If we have all the time in the world, we will search our mind for that next decision, that next best move, the right answer. But the answer is not there. In our mind is only what we already know. With a time limit, we must go back to our play state, make a random decision, go with it, play with it, and then decide what it means and see how it works: the process of discovery. Limits of time and of materials will force new analogies.

As my young son once told me when I asked him what he would do if he wasn’t so lucky to have all his cool toys- he didn’t miss a beat: “It’s okay dad, I’d just go outside and play with sticks.” Play was the experience, not the object, the process not the toy or artifact.

Time limits also give your students freedom and deniability. They do what they can with the time given, the goal is to make it through the process and have something to show for it, and to describe the decision-making process. The art from each student can be unique and surprising, not a replica of something that some other artist already did better than they can. It will be their voice.

In one of my recent MAEIA presentations, I had a group of teachers do a timed collage, based on a MAEIA visual arts performance event. At the end, much of the group discussion was around the feelings and outcomes we encountered because of the time limit. The teachers were interested and surprised by the effect of a timed project. The project was loosely based on the collage-based Performance Event “Communicating an Idea”. If art is about communicating, then this item gets right to the core of our purpose! Don’t be afraid of timed projects and assessments, and take a look at the MAIEA assessments to inspire your own use of time systems to inspire your teaching and students.

 

Michael Letts is an Associate Professor of Art Education at Northern Michigan University as well as a MAEIA Leadership Fellow.

A downloadable pdf of this post is here: Michael Letts: Art as Energy!

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Stand up and be counted: A message from Creative Many

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Dear MAEIA community, Below is a message from Creative Many Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Sarah Gonzalez Triplett. Creative...

Dear MAEIA community,
Below is a message from Creative Many Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Sarah Gonzalez Triplett. Creative Many and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs are partners of the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project.
As we head into the new year, Creative Many is working again with DataArts to collect valuable information on the impact of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Michigan. Arts and culture are a powerhouse in our state, contributing to our economy and providing thousands of jobs and cultural experiences across the peninsulas.
Stand up and be counted
The 2018 Creative State Michigan Nonprofit Report is produced in partnership with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. We need all non-profit arts and cultural organizations to complete a data profile in order to accurately capture the sector and make a case for the arts in our communities. If you belong to one, please visit our site to learn more about how you can be counted. If you value arts and culture in your community, share this information with local nonprofits who make a difference every day.
The deadline for completion is January 4, 2018.
Participating organizations will receive important reporting features from DataArts to support your work. Don’t miss the opportunity to be included in the 2018 Creative State Michigan report!
Many Thanks,
Sarah Gonzalez Triplett
Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
sarah@creativemany.org
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Powerful Voices in Michigan Arts Education

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We offer hearty congratulations to two MAEIA contributors who have received prominent attention this month. The National Dance Educators Organization convened in San Antonio, TX this November. Executive Director, Susan McGreevy-Nichols, annually awards a dance...

We offer hearty congratulations to two MAEIA contributors who have received prominent attention this month.

The National Dance Educators Organization convened in San Antonio, TX this November. Executive Director, Susan McGreevy-Nichols, annually awards a dance educator for their significant contributions to the field. This year, Michigan’s Nicole Flinn, received the award for her leadership and “grit” in advocating for K-12 dance in the state. Nicki is an assistant professor of Dance at Hope College and a long-time MAEIA contributor serving as Team Lead for many of the phases of the MAEIA work. Our congratulations to Nicki and appreciation for her leadership and dedication.

MAEIA Leadership Associate, Barb Whitney, has had her research published in the Americans for the Arts’ State Policy Pilot Program Summary Findings and Final Report. Barb is the Executive Director of the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center and is on faculty in the MSU Residential College for Arts and Humanities. You can read her research here: Americans for the Arts: SP3 Summary Findings and Final Report.

Do you know MAEIA has a bragging board? Notify us of your professional accolades or those of your colleagues by adding to the board or email Heather at hvsouthard@gmail.com. We want to celebrate the brilliant contributions Michigan Arts Educators are bringing to the field!

 

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Dispelling Myths and Providing Resources for Scoring, Reporting, and Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness

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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 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 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!

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Cecilia Gollan: How MAEIA has Made Me a Better Teacher (Part 1)

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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.

Program Benefits
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.

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Thank you, MCACA!

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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.

 

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Thank you, MCACA!

Heather Vaughan-Southard    Leave a Comment    , , , , ,

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.

 

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Visual arts educators collaboratively review student work during the MAEIA arts assessment field test. The MAEIA Project has created 350 arts performance assessments in visual arts, dance, music, and theatre for voluntary use by K-12 Michigan teachers.

Janine Campbell: The Lasting Impact of Quality Professional Development

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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:

V.T304 Applying Principles of Design to Paper Cutouts

V.T407 Collaborative Compositions

V.E404 Communicating an Idea

**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.

 

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Thinking about Demonstrating Educator Effectiveness?

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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!

 

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MAEIA in 2017-2018

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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 hvsouthard@gmail.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 cardona.analuisa@gmail.com and/or Heather Vaughan-Southard at hvsouthard@gmail.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 jodonnell@michiganassessmentconsortium.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.
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Professional Learning Resources and Blogs

Have a favorite blog that we have missed? Contact us to share the title!