ABS Thursday Notes- April 7, 2016

Thursday Notes

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                                   April 7, 2016



How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Film is incredibly democratic and accessible, it’s probably the best option if you actually want to change the world, and not just re-decorate it.” – Banksy


For four years, ABS 6th graders have tackled some of the world-history social studies goals that the state requires through film making. Some of the phrases from the Standard Course of Study that suggest the grand scope of film making as the appropriate art form at this grade level are:

 “Understand the emergence, expansion and decline of civilizations and societies from the beginning of human existence to the Age of Exploration.”

“Understand the political, economic and/or social significance of historical events, issues, individuals and cultural groups. “

“Explain how innovation and/or technology transformed civilizations, societies and regions over time (e.g., agricultural technology, weaponry, transportation and communication).”

“Explain how invasions, conquests and migrations affected various civilizations, societies and regions (e.g., Mongol invasion, The Crusades, … and Alexander the Great).”

This is a dramatically broad swath of time and events for 10-11-year-olds to digest in a few short months, but the prospect of writing and performing in their own short films is a great motivator for research.

Each year, the astonishingly industrious 6th grade teachers Danielle Tarmey and Yvonne Leab look back over the previous year’s film projects and, together with arts specialists who work with them, consider strengths and weaknesses of the project, and adjust accordingly. The teachers are careful to represent leaders from varied continents and genders. This year it was agreed that the short films should be made over the course of the year, one at a time.  These teachers have become experts at maintaining rigorous learning and working of the text, balanced with opportunities for playful 6th grade humor. They shepherd the students through all four climactic shoots, encouraging opportunities for everyone to be involved and often making unexpected discoveries of previously hidden talent. The four short films include documentaries of Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, a “fashion show” segment with Cleopatra as the Heidi Klum of ancient history, and this week’s shoot (on Friday) of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Eleanor film is music-theater style, a cheerful romp to the tune of “Singing in the Rain.”

The teachers coach research and script writing, Nick Zayas directs the segments, Peter Wilbur films and edits them, Elizabeth Gledhill helps students create clay figures, props, painted portraits and maps for still shots, Ashleigh Cooper introduces potential sound track music and teaches song segments, Becky Koza choreographs a playful Broadway-style dance break, Claire O’Boyle manages the shoots and the premiere, all to be shared with families this year at SECCA on Thursday, May 19th at 6:00 p.m.


Like a Family, 4th Grade’s event sharing stories, music and dance of North Carolina, takes place at the MLK building on Wednesday, April 13th at 6:00 p.m. 4th graders and their families should arrive at 5:45, dressed in their “country” clothes (no bare feet please!) Ya’ll come!


Friday Sing April 8

On April 8, if the weather is fine, Friday Sing will take place in the ABS courtyard at the 7th Street courtyard at 1:50pm. If the weather is wet, Friday Sing will be CANCELLED in April.

Parent Council Meeting

This Friday, April 8th, 8:15-9:15am

The meeting will be held in the teacher resource room of the MLK Building. If there is a topic you want considered for discussion, please contact Lindsay Deibler (lindsaydeibler@gmail.com) or Michelle Hopkins Lawrence (mhopkins@alumni.princeton.edu).


Parent Council Board Nominations

The nomination period will begin at the next Parent Council meeting, this Friday, April 8th, with elections held in May. The positions that are up for election are: Co-Chair (only one position of two is open) 2 year position, Secretary (1 year), Hospitality Co-Chair (2 positions: 1 year), Technical Support Coordinators (3 positions; 1 year), Annual Giving Coordinators (2 positions; 2 years)

If you are interested in one or more of these positions please let Michelle Hopkins Lawrence or Lindsay Deibler know that your name will be on the ballot for voting at the May Parent Council meeting. (You do not need to be present for voting.) Thank you for considering these important roles that help make ABS a special place.


The Lion King Tickets

Disney’s The Lion King will be performed by 8th graders, with two performances on April 20th at 6:00 and 7:30, and two more on April 21st at 6:00 and 7:30 at the Hanes Brands Theater, 209 Spruce Street N. in Winston-Salem, 27101. Tickets are limited. 8th grade parents please contact Donna Brown at 748-4116 x2000 or dbrown@artsbasedschool.com now to reserve up to 10 tickets for the performance(s) of your choice.


Spirit Week in the 7th Street Building

This year spirit week, April 11-15, is being done in conjunction with the middle school Builders Club to help support organizations around our city.


The days will be:

Monday: Twin Day – dress the same with a friend and bring something that comes in pairs to donate to Sunny Side Ministries.

Tuesday: Book Character Day – dress up as your favorite book character and bring in a children’s or young adult book to help support the Junior League Book Worm book drive.

Wednesday: Wacky Tacky Day – dress up as crazy as you want! Make sure to bring in a gently used toy, game, or puzzle to help support  SCAN: Stop Child Abuse Now

Thursday: Decades Day – remind us all of the good old days and dress up in the style of someone from the past. Bring in your gently used hand-me-downs to donate to Sunny Side Ministries

Friday: Soup-er Hero Day – dress up as your favorite super hero and bring in a can of soup to help those in need at Sunny Side Ministries.


Around Town…

WFU Japanese Spring Festival, Saturday, April 9th, 2-4PM, Manchester Plaza (Rain location: The Barn)  The Japanese Spring Festival at WFU is a celebration that spreads awareness of Japanese culture to the campus and local community. Through interactive booths, activities, food, and traditional performances, Japanese Studies Club intends to bring an authentic matsuri (festival) experience. For more information, please go to:



RiverRun: Sherell McArthur (ABS teacher) and Kevin Calhoun (ABS parent) are featured in the film, Eudaimonia, produced by Tom Green (husband of ABS curriculum coordinator Liz Green). The film will screen at RiverRun as part of the NC Shorts 1 block: 3:30 pm, Friday, April 15 @ Hanesbrands Theatre and 4:00 pm, Sunday, April 10 @ SECCA. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: http://riverrunfilm.com/film/nc-shorts-program-1/


RiverRun 2016 Family Day, APRIL 9TH

For the first ever RiverRun Family Day we have put together a fantastic line-up of free events for audiences of all ages! Beginning with our Saturday Morning Cartoons Program and ending with a screening under the stars, we hope to have you all join in the fun! Visit the website for details: http://riverrunfilm.com/


Poet Joe Mills (our own Ms. Tarmey’s husband and the dad of two ABS kids,) will release his new book, of poems called “Exit, pursued by a Bear” at a launch party on April 7 at ArtWorks at 564 Trade at 7:00 p.m. The book consists entirely of poems prompted by Shakespeare stage directions.