Friday, February 17, 2017

February 17th Pre-break WRAP UP

 Durfee Music Department receives a $3000.00 donation from the Michael Troy Foundation

Heather Pereira's 3D work sits (finished and in progress) on her windowsill at Doran- super cool lesson ideas for younger grades that tap into art history!

Erin Erban's Guitar students at Durfee getting "schooled" on how to play the Uke!

So much to share this week...  💗

From Mary Zema:  Mary shared this Ted Talk with me and even though I had seen this one before, I forgot how hard I laughed when I saw it, but more importantly, how TRUE this rings for educators of the arts..  Please check it out (it ties into our last year's text, A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink)!

Sir Ken Robinson talks about how schools can be "programmed" to kill creativity..  He reflects on how children are NOT AFRAID TO BE WRONG, but how in school, we may be asking students to shy away from this..  He states, "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original."  

Let's reflect on how we plan tasks for students in the arts...  

  • Do we plan for that cycle of creativity, where students can grow from Knowledge, to Application, to Synthesis and Evaluation?  
  • How do we plan the task to allow for creative opportunity?  
  • How do we ensure that students feel comfortable to take these creative risks?
From Marcia Picard....

Know any creative elementary or middle school students? We're looking for someone to design our next yard sign.
This contest is a way for students to feel engaged by using their creativity to help promote safe roads for pedestrians and cyclists in their communities.
Winning students will have their designs turned into yard signs that will be distributed to our partner schools around Massachusetts. 
Click here for submission guidelines and entry forms. All entries are due by March 20, 2017
Contest Submission Guidelines and Eligibility Requirements:
• Participating schools must be a Massachusetts Safe Routes to School partner school.
• The contest is open to grades 2-8.
• Students must be enrolled in a Massachusetts Public School.
• Students may submit an 8 ½ x 11 version of the sign and/or a digital version.
• Yard signs may not include any copyrighted photos or slogans.
• Yard signs may not include the Safe Routes to School or MassDOT logos.
• Students may submit individual entries or work in a group.

School Arts Link!  Want to use School Arts magazine to drive really cool lesson planning?  Check this arts magazine out!  You can either use it to access ideas to fuel planning, or use it projected on your white board to engage all students in reading!  The link is here:

Password: ourkids!

Evaluation Nuts and Bolts, and Observations:
  • At this point, we have met for all formative evaluations, and we will be moving forward with the process..  It has been awesome meeting with all of you to discuss your goal progress and ways to support you in your work.  I thank you for being so open with me in your sharing, and acceptance of new ideas.
  • I will be "Learning Walking" back in classrooms across the district when we return from break, observing the great tasks you plan and sharing these out in the blog for your colleagues to learn from.
  • The next learning walk will be Tuesday February 28th and Wednesday, March 1st- I will be in K-5 schools Tuesday and 6-12 on Wednesday.  I will share notes and feedback on how we are doing as a team within a few days after the learning walk.  
  • Where we left off... In the last learning walk, for 6-12:
    • Commendations:
      • Most teachers at these grade levels are integrating other disciplines into the learning- whether cultural, historical, mathematical, or scientific.  This grounding of the task in a context that is beyond the art making or music performing will enrich and deepen the experience for students and can also cause them to use tiered vocabulary in more than one realm or content.
      • In almost all classrooms, consistent routines are in place and the environment is a safe place in which students can challenge themselves to learn new things.
      • Most teachers are using content vocabulary in the delivery of the lesson, and some teachers are preparing tasks that have the student using the vocabulary when asked.

      Focus Moving Forward:
      • Continue to establish that consistent practice of “talking like an artist/musician or performer.”  : This is grounded in a Key Instructional Shift: Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary.  Students need to hear this academic talk consistently throughout the period to reinforce their own ability to think and communicate within your content.  While I see teachers using the lesson specific vocabulary in the delivery of the lesson, we are not yet consistently reinforcing that academic language throughout the work period. 
        • This reinforcement of use of academic vocabulary can happen during check-ins, feedback to students, and tasks that we plan involving student to student talk.
        • Also, consider… challenging students through more accountable talk, probing questions, debate and synthesis of content specific information.
      And for K-5: 

    • Commendations:

      • In a few classes, teachers planned tasks that engaged students at the “Create” level according to Bloom’s Taxonomy (see diagram).
      • In most classrooms, routines continue to be consistent and the environment is a safe place for students to challenge themselves in.
      • Most teachers are using content vocabulary in the delivery of the lesson, and in a few classes, students are using content vocabulary.

      Focus Moving Forward:
      • Continue to plan time for students to talk using art vocabulary! The Key Instructional Shift: Regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary. 
        • Plan for: gallery walks, stop, drop and critique, defend your art making, artist’s statements, turn and talks, or other strategies to transfer the ownership of the content vocabulary to the learner!
Collaboration and Growth:
  • Thank you for being learners- you model this consistent growth mindset for our kids!  Seeing a few of you implement new ideas into your practice this week and last from the PD day we had at the end of January was amazing, and I am so proud of my team.  Thank you again to Matt MacMullen, Victoria Arons, Jay Treloar, Dr. Ron Sherwin of UMD and Carolyn Jane from Dick Blick for teaching us new things!  Stay fresh, FRPS!
  • Check out this Blendspace shared by Heather from the above sculptures:
  • Our next and final PD day together will be held during the release time day on Thursday, March 9th.  This afternoon's plan will involve us coming together as an entire fine and performing arts family here at Durfee- expect some collegiality, fun, learning, laughing and planning time that should last us to the end of the year!  I will share the Blendspace for the day here:  This is only a taste of the tasks I have planned..  :)
  • Monthly Department Meeting- Thursday, March 2nd from 2:30 to 3:30PM.
  • I would like to ask that the remainder of all monthly departmental meeting times be allocated for time to prep student work for the K-12 Arts Expo and the Spring Concerts at your schools.
Arts Around Us:
Have a wonderful break, and see you on Monday, February 27th!


Friday, February 3, 2017

Post PD BlogBlast! 2/3/17

Thank you all for being active learners at this past Monday's professional development session..  I would like to share some really great pictures that speak louder than any quote, inspirational phrase or words!

Continue to build lessons from what you learned and discussed with colleagues as this type of collaboration is what sets us apart from other districts...  💗 my team.


  • Monday: Kuss CPT- 7:30
  • Tuesday: CPT Morton 8AM, HLCS 8:30 AM
  • Wednesday: Formative Evaluations, CPT Durfee team- in individual departments at 10:45 AM ALSO: Durfee has PT Conferences from 5 to 7PM
  • Thursday: CPT Talbot 1:20,  Career Fair at Durfee
  • Friday: CPT Doran, Itinerant CPT
  • Durfee Team plan ahead- 14th of Feb is the next Faculty Meeting and the 15th is the Department Meeting!
Thank you everyone, and I am keeping it short this week because I want to just celebrate the greatness I saw this week during our professional learning time on Monday!

Now, let's DO OUR JOB Patriots!