The Learning Space a Huge Success – Maine DOE Thanks Teacher Contributors!

At the end of March, in the midst of transitioning their own classrooms to emergency distance learning, Maine teachers went above and beyond the call of duty to develop over forty original video lessons (aligned with Maine’s Learning Results) to provide exceptional learning opportunities for Maine students in grades 3-5, which aired on Maine Public Television’s new program, The Learning Space, a project of Educate Maine, the Maine Department of Education, Maine Public, and additional partners (MSMA, MCLA, MSTOYA, NBCTs of Maine, MEA, MPA, MADSEC, Dead River Company, Finance Authority of Maine, John T. Gorman Foundation, Kennebunk Savings, Maine Community Foundation, University of Maine at Augusta, Machias Savings Bank).

HeatherTLSEach weekday at noon, students throughout Maine tuned in to Channel 10, where Heather Whitaker, Maine’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, greeted them with a warm smile and a heartfelt welcome!

Over the next two months, teachers throughout Maine piqued students’ curiosity and challenged them to think deeply, to wonder, to reflect, and to discover through lessons such as: nature notebooking, mini-comics, found poetry, positivity beats, penny science, using maps to ignite storytelling, reading photographs like a historian, understanding plate tectonics, what density is, how the water cycle works via a can crush experiment, math mysteries, fun with equivalent fractions and trail mix, fraction splat, and the cool ways to collect and graph data via a scavenger hunt!

Students listened carefully to Vivaldi’s “Spring,” traveled to Kenya on a special field mission, learned how to create sculptures in the style of Andy Goldsworthy, using materials found in nature, such as twigs, sticks, and pine cones. Students learned how to plant a garden, how to make music with their bodies, and how to make Agua Fresca en español (a refreshing fruity drink) via an introductory Spanish lesson. Check out an archive of episodes! 

Maine authors Lynn Plourde and Tamra Wight shared writing tips with students, and throughout the series, students met these notable Mainers: Margaret Chase Smith, Samantha Smith, and Louie the lobster—who taught the students how a bill becomes a law! In thinking about self-assessment, students learned how they can demonstrate and/or reflect on their learning using simple building blocks or other found objects in their homes. Many lessons included mindful moments and breathing exercises to help students center themselves and manage their emotions—helpful all the time, but especially during this time of emergency distance learning.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the following teachers for not only designing such a wide range of creative and engaging lessons, but also for adapting their lessons for a television audience. For many, this included learning new technology skills, filming multiple “takes” of their lessons to produce high quality video segments, and perhaps, most importantly, a willingness to be vulnerable in putting themselves and their work out on such a public platform. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DO!

Ingrid Bergstrom teaches specially-designed instruction at the Harrison Lyseth Elementary School in Portland.

Paula Bourque, National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), is an instructional literacy coach in the Augusta Public Schools.

Heidi Bullen, NBCT, teaches third grade at the Crescent Park School in RSU 44/MSAD 44.

Tracy Deschaine, NBCT, teaches math and science at Orono Middle School in RSU 26 and is the 2019 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

Cassandra Dunphy teaches at Readfield Elementary in RSU 38.

Marielle Edgecomb teaches math at The Peninsula School in RSU 24 and is the 2017 Hancock County Teacher of the Year. In the fall, Marielle will be teaching math at Sumner Memorial High School.

Talya Edlund is an instructional math coach in RSU 5, and the 2015 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year, as well as the 2016 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Nesrene Griffin teaches at the Robert V. Connors Elementary School in Lewiston.  Nesrene is the 2017 Androscoggin County Teacher of the Year.

Elizabeth Heidemann, NBCT, is a veteran Maine public school Teacher, and co-founder of Go2Science.  Elizabeth is a Presidential Award-Winning Teacher, and the 2016 Knox County Teacher of the Year.

Hillary Hoyt, NBCT, teaches science at the Leroy H. Smith School in RSU 22.

Carrie Lamothe is an instructional math coach in the Saco Public Schools.

Cherrie MacInnes teaches at Greely Middle School in RSU 51/MSAD 51 and is the 2016 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

Betsy Mayo teaches at the Songo Locks School in RSU 61/MSAD 61 and is the 2003 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Stacey McCluskey, NBCT, teaches at the Carrabec Community School in RSU 74/MSAD 74.

Angela McLaughlin, NBCT, teaches at the Asa C Adams School in RSU 26 and is the 2015 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year.

Argy Nestor is a veteran Maine public school teacher, and is currently the Director of the Sweetland School. Argy was also the previous Director of the Maine Arts Commission, the 2014 recipient of the National Art Education Association’s Distinguished Service Award. Additional recognitions include: Maine Middle Level Outstanding Middle Level Educator of the Year (2005), Maine Art Education Advocate of the Year (2013), and the Maine Teacher of the Year (1995).

Samantha Person teaches physical and health education at the Waterboro Elementary School in RSU 57/MSAD 57.

Connie Russell, NBCT, teaches at the Mabel I Wilson school in RSU 51/MSAD 51 and is the 2018 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.

Daniel Ryder is the director of the Success and Innovation Center at Mt. Blue High School in RSU 9. Dan holds multiple recognitions, including: 2016 WCSH Inspiring Educator Award, 2017 Apple Distinguished Educator Award, and a 2019 NEA Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence.

Benjamin Segee teaches science and G/T at Leonard Middle School in RSU 34.

Julie Speno teaches Spanish at Camden-Rockport Elementary in RSU 28/MSAD 28.

Heather Sumner teaches music at Ocean Avenue School in Portland Public Schools.

Rebecca Tapley teaches math and science at Brooklin School, Brooklin Public School District, and is the 2016 Hancock County Teacher of the Year.  In the fall, Becky will be a math STEM Education Specialist at Maine Math and Science Alliance.

Brooke Teller is an instructional coach for the Portland Public Schools and is the 2017 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year.

Heather Whitaker is an alternative education teacher at Gorham Middle School, Gorham Public Schools.  Heather is the 2019 Cumberland County Teacher of the Year and the 2020 Maine Teacher of the Year.

Kaitlin Young teaches music at the SeDoMoCha Elementary School and the SeDoMoCha Middle School in RSU 68/MSAD 68.  Kaitlin holds a Professional Music Teaching Certificate and is a Teacher Member Support at Se Do Mo Cha Schools.  In 2017, Kaitlin is the 2017 Piscataquis Teacher of the Year and the 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year.