Keep Kids Moving, Keep Kids Learning!

During these cold winter days of cabin fever in the classroom, we want to support educators with resources to keep kids moving and engaged.  Evidence suggests a positive impact of physical activity on academic achievement and in reducing behavioral challenges. Active recess time, physical education classes, and utilizing action-based learning strategies in the classroom can all be part of the regular school day.

We share the following as a resource.

Programs to explore

Healthy Kids Healthy Futures:  Staff can learn about the benefits and best practices of physical activity in child care and early education (including pre-school) settings. Physical activity habits learned in early childhood can last a lifetime.

Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program:  This guide is for schools and school districts to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive physical activity programs. School-age youth should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and schools have a significant role to play in helping students achieve this recommendation. This guide will help schools identify how to establish more active school environments.

Let’s Go: Let’s Go! is a childhood obesity prevention program found across Maine and in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire. These programs use evidence-based strategies to increase healthy eating and physical activity among children from birth to 18. The foundation for change is the 5-2-1-0 healthy habits message, developed in Maine and recognized nationally.

Explore Physical Activity:  School staff can learn about the five components of a comprehensive school physical activity program and how this new national model can support a culture of physical activity at your school.

I Can Do It (ICDI):  The “I Can Do It” program is a strategic physical activity program for students with disabilities in the K-12 school setting designed to provide access, equity, and facilitate and encourage opportunities for students with disabilities to be physically active for 60 minutes a day.

Specific Class Motor Break Ideas

Classroom Exercise Breaks for Elementary Students:  Classroom exercise break suggestions for elementary school classrooms.

Reading:  Literacy and movement suggestions to engage middle school students in acquiring knowledge. The suggestions require minimal materials and teacher preparation.

Scholastic Teachers:  Suggestions for combining both exercise and movement in early childhood classrooms across the content areas.

Math: quick physical activity games:  Movement suggestions to engage students while improving number sense.

Physical Activity Math Games:  A list of possibilities for supporting kinesthetic learners during mathematics instruction.

Classrooms in Motion :  A review resource hub for teachers committed to infusing movement into their instructional plans.

For more information or to share ideas, contact Jean Zimmerman, Health and Physical Ed. Consultant, at  Jean.zimmerman@maine.gov or 207-624-6687.

Maine Forest Collaborative Brings Together Rural Students for Resource-Based Educational Opportunity

Maine students from rural communities came to the Maine State Capitol last week as part of a unique learning opportunity offered by The Maine Forest Collaborative. The collaborative, created and administered by the Rural Aspirations Project, is a cooperative of rural schools embedded in forest industry communities in rural Maine, which aims to give students in rural communities the opportunity to develop deeper connections to their community through participating and contributing in ways that make it stronger.

In its first cohort, with around 30 students participating last week, there were students from Buckfield, Forest Hills, Jackman, and Greenville, and more on deck to start in the next semester. The learning opportunity provides students with a three-unit curriculum: Identifying Challenges, Rapid Prototyping Solutions, and Investigating Solutions. Grounded on the question, “How can we use natural resources to positively impact local communities,” the lesson invites students to work together to identify challenges that their community is facing, and then find solutions to those challenges by using resources available within the community.

The second unit, Rapid Prototyping Solutions, is what students were working on last week at the Maine State Capitol’s Fall of Flags. The location was chosen as a way to raise awareness about the project, but also to show participating students the impact they have on decision making at the State level, as they work among lawmakers and politicians who grapple with many of the same challenges and problem solving, whether they are rural and community-based or State level.

Students started the day by presenting the story of their community, with posters they made ahead of time. Their presentations included information about the geography of their community, the natural resources present, who they are, what is amazing about their community, their hopes and dreams, and questions they still have. After the presentations, they began working in groups to identify challenges, pick a challenge to work on, and brainstorm a solution to that challenge. Maine forest industry professionals were also present to help facilitate the group work and lend a helping-hand.  lending their years of work experience in Maine’s forest industry with Maine’s many natural resources.

Students left the State House last week with a deep appreciation for not only their own community, but for their rural neighbors was well. They also got to participate in an interdisciplinary, project-based learning experience that strengthens their connection to their own community and the State as a whole, and aims to tackle a community challenge that they care deeply about.

Following last week’s lesson, students will embark on unit three, which will identify the economic, environmental, and social impacts of the solution they came up with, and they will also make a plan to communicate the solution to the public.

For more information about the Maine Forest Collaborative, the curriculum, or how to participate in this unique learning opportunity, please contact the Rural Aspirations Project.

PRIORITY NOTICE: Seeking Public Comment on Health Education and Physical Education, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages Standards

As part of the scheduled periodic review of the Maine Learning Results, the Maine Department of Education is seeking public comments regarding the current health education and physical education, visual and performing arts, and world languages standards. Find links to each of the current standards below along with details for submitting comments.

Current Standards:

The standards review process opens with a public comment period and a public hearing, prior to the convening of steering committees who are charged with reviewing all submitted comments and with developing blueprints for the revision of the state standards in their assigned content area. Once the blueprints are created, writing teams, consisting of pk-12 teachers who represent Maine’s cultural and geographical diversity, will assemble to draft the standards revisions.

Anyone may speak at the public hearings, which will be live-streamed. People wishing to speak will be asked to sign in, and it will be helpful, but not mandatory, to provide a written copy of comments.

Public hearings will occur on October 23rd in room 103 at the Cross Building, 111 Sewell Street, Augusta, from 1-4pm. A link to the live-streamed hearings will be available prior to the public hearing.

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing may send written comments by 5 pm on November 8th, 2019. Written comments may be sent to Standards Review at sis.doe@maine.gov, or mailed to Beth Lambert, 23 SHS Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

Seeking Public Comment on Career and Technical Education Performance Indicators

In an effort to increase high quality CTE programs, Maine needs your input. The Maine Department of Education-Career and Technical Education Team has posted the proposed performance indicators for public comment as part of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act(Perkins V). The performance indicators,  referenced as Perkins V Accountability Measures, can be found on the DOE-CTE web site as well as a survey to allow for feedback.  These will be posted for 60 days to allow for public comment, after which recommendations will be reviewed by the CTE Team. For more information, contact Dwight Littlefield at dwight.littlefield@maine.gov.  

Meet the First Cohort of Maine’s Leadership Development Program 

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) recently launched a new leadership program called Maine’s Leadership Development Program (Maine LDP). The initiative aims to build and strengthen instructional leadership skills among Maine’s educational leaders at schools, districts, and across the state.  

A group of 18 education leaders in Maine, including superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum and instructional leaders, regional education leaders, Maine DOE staff, and other school and district level staff are among the first cohort of candidates on track to become certified trainers and facilitators of future cohorts. The names, pictures, and biographies of the group of Fellows in the 1st cohort of the Maine LPD can be found here. 

The Maine LDP is a partnership among the Maine DOE and its successful Transformation Leaders’ Network, along with the National Institute for School Leaders (NISL) and their nationally recognized Executive Development Program (EDP). NISL experts are delivering the Maine LDP curriculum and will provide additional training for Maine LDP facilitators. The cohort has already begun its trainings with a session about strategic thinking within systems, and high quality aligned instructional systems in classrooms, schools, and at the state level. The program is a full year commitment. 

LDP Fellow Al Pfeiffer, Superintendent of Vassalboro School Department, had this to say about the training so far, “ Some of the richest, most robust and rewarding professional learning that I have experienced in recent memory. Powerful readings, case studies reinforced with video snapshots, and engaging conversations have left me eager for the next session and future sessions over the coming year.” 

Paul Knowles, an educational leadership lecturer at the University of Maine and the UMaine Liaison to the Maine DOE for this initiative added that, “The University of Maine and the Educational Leadership Department are pleased to partner with the Department of Education for this important work. Personally, I am impressed with the caliber, diversity, passion, and commitment of the leaders participating in Maine’s Leadership Development Program.” 

Maine’s LDP is delivered through a blended learning model and includes study, inquiry, and hands-on activities with practical applications that meet the rigorous expectations for today’s educational leaders. Some graduates from this cohort will deliver the Maine LDP curriculum to future cohorts regionally.  The Department will be releasing an application for those interested in applying to be in the 2nd cohort of the LDP in March of 2020.