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Neighborhoods District Student Showcase Festival Update - January 18, 2011
April 30, 2011 District Wide Student Showcase Festival
From: Christopher Morse
Director, Experiencing the Arts

Dear Mascoma District Faculty and Staff,

I hope some of you are saving examples of awesome student projects for our Student Showcase Festival! Our District wide student showcase festival is Saturday, April 30th. Thank you to all the teachers who have shared with me your plans to celebrate the achievement of your students. I would like to take some time to tell you about some of these plans and hopefully inspire more participation.

I have had only positive reactions to structuring the space into four "neighborhoods" one for each school ion the Mascoma Valley Regional School District. At this point I am going ahead with plans for the neighborhood theme. I will configure the Mascoma cafeteria into four areas with a big center ≥main street.≈ I hope Principals and department heads help develop a "look" for each neighborhood. I am happy to be as inclusive as possible. As far as infrastructure we will have about 320 of hanging wall, we can have table space for 3-D displays, I can make special space for demonstrations, and we have a small stage for performances, readings, presentations, etc..

There are two major subthemes astir. Both can easily be part of out effort. One, also to celebrate achievement is a celebration of Barbara Tremblay≠s tenure with us at Mascoma School District. Perhaps some of the artifacts from our celebration of her winning the best superintendant award can be part of this. The other theme, which dovetails nicely into our effort to build community, is the 250th anniversary celebration of Enfield and Canaan. Sharon Phinney of Enfield Village School is on the 250th planning committee. Please share your thoughts for using this theme in your curriculum and how it would be part of the displays at the celebration. Sara Dunkerton has been developing an idea to use the little red schoolhouses in each of our towns to create a project about our towns≠ histories. She was thinking that this might fit nicely into the fourth grade curriculum. There may be many ways this idea can help thematically. Sara has started researching the project idea with her mother. If you would like to contribute toward this and incorporating this into the Neighborhoods Student Showcase Festival, please share your thoughts with Sara.

The week before our Student Showcase we have lots of hands on programs that contribute to the festival. This year the middle school and high school will enjoy working with Raku potter Richard Foye. This will be the second time we have had Richard as an artist in residence and we are excited to have him return. Richard is a regular demonstrator at the League of NH Craftsmen's Fair, perhaps you have seen him.

The title 1 Math teacher from Canaan, Mary Beth Klunder, is excited to share knowledge of mathematical patterns in Mandelas to create works for the festival. She is looking forward to sharing with other teachers. I include a description in her own words, please contact her if you are interested.

From Mary Beth: "In my graduate work, I created a Mandela Sharing Website. I substituted for the Computer Ed teacher three years ago at IRS and I introduced the students to world of Mandelas and how they are linked to history, math, culture, art, etc.. Our theme was how to use technology tools to create and color them, and then share them. We looked at other websites and all kinds of ways mandelas are made and found. They loved it. Some drew their own with simple tech tools (pencil, compass, stencil), others used "Paint" software on the computer to create and color their masterpieces, while others printed Mandela designs from the Net and used "Paint" to color them. So much diversity and create thought processes going on. I was in heaven. I first learned about Mandelas in a creative art class in my BS degree program and got hooked. There are so many positive applications and aspects of a project like this. I believe that every classroom could find a way to link this theme to encourage:
 Diversity among cultures, history, people (Tibetan Monks≠ Sand Mandelas, Native American cultures, meditation and faith connections)
 Art appreciation
 Respect for others≠ work
 Empowerment and self-esteem; being valued and appreciated for creative thought and participation
 Learning how to use technology as a tool to express their art and share it with other schools and the world≈

Our partnership with the NH State Council on the Arts has lead to some wonderful collaborations. NH's poet laureate Walter Butts will present our Read Across America program. In addition, poet and writer Meg Kearney contacted me about working with some English classes during our hands on week April 25-29. "As one of this year's recipients of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the NH State Council on the Arts, I would like to donate my time by making a couple of free school visits... I'm mainly a poet, though I also write fiction and essays. I write for both teens and for adults. (I also have a picture book coming out.) What I do during school visits varies, but what I like to do is to meet with classes (as opposed to assemblies) where I can talk with students about poetry, read them some poems, and get them writing. It works best if they're familiar with at least a little bit of my work in advance (see:"

We are continuing our partnership with Kirsten Cappy of "Curious City: Where Kids & Books Meet." In 2008 she brought us a residency with graphic novelist, Anne Sibley O≠brien. During that residency, Anne did an assembly presentation, worked with Kobe Van Beest's Graphic Novels classes on a hands on project which was displayed at the Student Showcase Festival and she also made a guest appearance at the Cartoon School in White River Junction as part of the residency. This year, Kirsten Cappy working to have us pilot an interactive website based on a young adult novel, by Angie Smibert "Memento Nora." "Curious City: Where Kids and Books Meet" is developing the book's website as a place to "publish" and award middle school and graphic novel productions. The novel is set in a future totalitarian gated US where daily attacks by an unnamed opposition are wiped from people's memories by a government sponsored pill. Three teens, though, decide not to take the pill and to feel, think, and rebel. The form of their rebellion is a graphic novel that they smuggle into their high school and distribute in bathroom stalls (the only unmonitored space). The website will be an opportunity for students to develop their own chapters.

We are hoping to have League of NH Craftsmen's jewler Joseph De Robertis return to work longer with Voc Lab students as well as working with Mascoma's Alternitive Program (MAP). Joe was well received last year and his increased participation is by faculty request.

Carr Robertson continues to work with us. Last year, she created a play about Noyes Academy with the Indian River School students. This year, Carr has been coordinating a presentation by three people who have focused on black ventriloquist, hypnotist and magician Richard Potter, the man for whom Potter Place is named. Richard Potter lived from 1783 to 1835 and achieved acclaim and success at a challenging time for black people. Carr plans to bring together Princeton University Dean, John Hodgson, NH Art Institute's Graphic Novelist Joel Gill, and historic magician Robert Olson who does a live presentation of Richard Potter's magic show. All three of these people have dedicated extensive study of Richard Potter. Together they will present a program about the fascinating character.

Spanish teacher, Barbara Sirotkin is planning a puppet show as part of the Student Showcase.

From the Art department, in addition to results of the Raku residency, there are a wide variety of projects that will be displayed.

I am still looking for funding for a Dance residency with Ms. Coons and IRS' Ms. Rej and for Denise Sullivan request from Indian River School for drummer Theo Martey from Ghana.

Please share with me your plans to showcase your student work for our community. Let me know what your school is planning to create your neighborhood at the April 30th Student Showcase Festival.

If you are planning a presentation or performance, I try and schedule them together and encourage everyone to stay for all the performances. If you have a display, as soon as possible, let me know what you will need for wall space of if you need tables for your display. Let me know what you plan, if you are collaborating with other teachers or with other departments. Sharing as much as possible will help encourage participation. Please see the attached links to seem what we have done in past years. I look forward to working with you!

Christopher Morse