ABS Thursday Notes- April 14, 2016

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community

April 14, 2016



How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Let us put our minds together and see what life we will make for our children.”

– Tatanka lotanka (Sitting Bull)-Lakota


I was enjoying the sweet melodies from three little girls as they read through a small, illustrated song book, their voices wafting from the after-school program in the ABS lunchroom, through my open office door. They sang song after song as they paged through the book. Then I heard one that didn’t make me so happy: “One little, two little, three little Indians…” Here is a portion of our American Indians Study guide for ABS teachers:

     ABS policy is to teach studies of native people with respect and awareness, rooting out our own stereotypical thinking. We are aware that there are likely to be American Indian children in our own classrooms, who could be made to feel marginalized or belittled by stereotypes. We are prepared to make changes with ease if we discover that we are inadvertently using language or approaches offensive to native people. Students should be reminded at every grade level that Native Americans are not only people of the past, but that there are many American Indians living in and contributing to our communities today. Students should use the word “stereotype” and learn how to help identify cultural stereotypes about native people in advertising, literature, cartoons, etc. ABS students do not enact a native tribe’s spiritual celebration, just as they would avoid enacting a Catholic confessional. They do not dress in feathers or war paint or “Indian costumes”. ABS students learn that “cowboy” is a profession, and “Indian” is a race.

    Rather than teaching an isolated unit on Native Americans, current thinking is that it is best to include examples of modern American Indians when studying other aspects of life, such as families, pets, or homes. It is also good to include shared reading and picture books that represent native people. When doing this, guard against the stereotypical image of “Little Indians” who look all alike. When choosing poetry, literature or images consider whether you would interchange a representative of any other race in place of “Indian”. (You would never sing “one little, two little, three little white boys…”) Books and images that generalize Indian people into one image (instead of a race incorporating hundreds of tribes) should be removed from the school.

So I knew that this song had no place in our school, but the children had already sung it. It was in their heads. I stepped up to the three girls and told them how much fun it was, to hear them singing, and how happy I was that they were reading through a song book. (They were delighted.) I told them that one song worried me though, and I found it in the book. I said “If I were Indian, I’m worried that this song might hurt my feelings, because it’s counting me as if I am an object.” They thought about that, and agreed. I showed them where to find the date the book was published, and we discovered that I was 12 years old when it came out. “We didn’t think very carefully about things like that back then,” I said. I like this book though, so I want to keep the book but I’m going to do something now that I would never usually do to a book.” And I carefully removed the page. They were surprised but in agreement. “Do you have any ideas what we could count instead, using this great song?” One of the girls suggested “Pumpkins?” “Pumpkins would be great!” I said. “Those really are objects!” As I walked away, I heard their cheerful voices singing “One little, two little, three little pumpkins.”


Staffing Update

For the 2016-17 school year,

Emilie Wagner, 5th grade, will be leaving ABS to take some time with her family.

Leni Fragakis (currently 3rd) and Becky Koza (currently 4th) will be moving to fifth grade to teach with Laura Lynne Frazier.

Renee Meeks will be moving to fourth grade to teach with Lenora McNamara and LeeAnn Farrell.


At this time, we are looking for great teaching candidates to consider for the third grade position, teaching with Ms. Christian and Mrs. Campbell.  If you know of someone, please ask them to send his/her resume to Robin Hollis at rhollis@artsbasedschool.com.

Community Creates!  Save the Date

Our Community Creates! fundraising auction is scheduled for May 7.  Community Creates! pairs local artists and community leaders to create artwork together that will be auctioned to fund arts programming for children at the Arts Based School.  We use the term “collaborate” very loosely- whatever is comfortable for the artist; anything from taking a tour of the
artist’s studio to helping select a previously executed piece, to a one-on-one brainstorm and sketching session. The only goal is to enhance, rather than impede, the creative process for both the artist and the community leader.


Got tickets? 

Don’t miss Community Creates-May 7, 2015, 7-11p.m.  Tickets are available for purchase $40 per person online at www.communitycreates.com or in the front office at the MLK building.  Questions?  Call or email Claire O’Boyle 336-748-4116 ext 1029, coboyle@artsbasedschool.com


Parent Satisfaction Survey

Yes, that’s you – we want to know what you think!  Please follow the link ABS Parent Survey to a 20 question online survey about our school.  Your responses are completely anonymous and help us determine what’s working well and what needs more work!  Please take a few minutes to complete and submit.  Thank you!


Lion King Tickets

Disney’s The Lion King will be performed by ABS 8th graders on Wednesday, April 20th at 6:00 and 7:30, and Thursday April 21st at 6:00 and at 7:30, at the Hanes Brands Theater, 209 Spruce Street N. in Winston-Salem, 27101. The show lasts about one hour. Tickets are limited by this relatively small venue, so two performances are offered each night. General reservations: After April 15th, any ABS families may reserve or pick up tickets from Mrs. Brown, on a first-come-first-served basis. All reserved tickets that are not picked up in advance will be held for pick-up by last name at the entrance, until 5 minutes before show time. Your tickets may be distributed to family or friends, but must be reserved or picked up by ABS families only. Tickets unreserved by 3:45 on April 20th will be offered first-come-first-served at the theater door, until they are gone. Unclaimed tickets will be released five minutes before show time. Tickets are free, but a free-will offering will be gratefully accepted to help cover the cost of production.


Empty Bowls

The newly-formed ABS 7th and 8th grade Art Club, led by Ms. Gledhill, created and donated 10 beautiful and whimsical bowls to the Second Harvest Food Banks, Empty Bowls fundraiser this year. Ms. Gledhill reported “The kids did a great job and were so excited to participate. It was interesting listening to them talk about helping others. Such love, and what a proud moment for myself and ABS.”


Smile…Picture Day

Strawbridge will be here on April 20 to take group pictures of your class and will return the very next day, April 21 to take individual spring pictures of students.


8th Grade Parents – Reminder:

Pick up your students at ABS at 3:45 on Monday, April 18 and Tuesday, April 19!


Around Town…

The Wizard of Oz opens at Twin City Stage on April 15, with a group of ABS kids in the cast, including Isabella Ellis as Dorothy. Dorothy is double-cast. Isabella plays it on:

April 16 (Saturday @ 2:00pm),

April 22 (Friday @ 7:30pm),

April 24 (Sunday @ 2:00pm),

April 28 (Thursday @ 7:30pm), and

May 1 (Sunday @ 2:00pm). Isabella is also Dorothy in the preview show this Thursday night (April 14 @ 7:30) Tickets for preview are $10. All ABS students will receive coupons for $5.00 off of the $25 for the regular shows.