ABS Thursday Notes- December 1, 2016

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                           December 1, 2016




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert
A Well-Tempered Mind demonstrates that by working together, we can make a difference in our children’s lives and replace cultural bankruptcy with a full pocket of good music.  Lord knows we need it.”—Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center

“This book should persuade parents and administrators to give education in music its deserved high priority in the schools under their care.” —Walter J. Freeman, M.D., professor of Neuroscience and Molecular & Cellular Biology, UC Berkeley


Five adult musicians perch on teensy first grade chairs, gleaming instruments at their lips. A crisscross-legged group of first-graders gathers curiously on the carpet.  There is a nod, a collective deep breath, a glorious burst of music. Little eyes grow wide and round, little mouths drop open. Wiggles become statues, leaning forward. One little girl turns to stare at me, flushed with delight, as if to say “Can you believe this miracle?” then she quickly turns back. When the music stops, the children sit in bewildered, delighted silence for a moment. The classroom teacher begins the applause, children join in. The smiling musicians introduce themselves and their instruments, and ask the children for comparisons. “What is the same about these instruments? What is different? Which one plays the lowest?” (Demonstrations follow.) The children learn that small instruments play higher than large instruments, just as little dogs have high barks and big dogs have low barks. It the first day of the “Music, Mind and Learning Quintet” in the 1st Grade.

The Quintet has worked with ABS students every year, since we opened our doors in 2002. They will visit first grade classrooms eight times before winter break, linking their performances with the first grade academic curriculum. The work of this distinguished group of professional musicians is chronicled in A Well-Tempered Mind, a book (available on-line on Amazon and from the University of Chicago Press,) by Peter Perret. Maestro Perret is Conductor Emeritus of the Winston-Salem Symphony, former ABS band director, and one of the founders of our school. He was inspired to create the “Bolton Quintet” after reading of experiments in neuroscience which produced evidence that active listening to music helps develop cognitive abilities in children. With five instrumentalists from the W-S Symphony, he designed a cleverly crafted curriculum that links with reading, comprehension, story structure, science, and math. Mr. Perret worked with Dr. Frank Wood, professor of Neuropsychology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, to develop and test the Quintet program. ABS participated in the study, which was shown to cause significant improvement in emerging readers, reflected on standardized test scores.

One of the hallmarks of the group is that they perform right in the classroom; not in a concert hall. The children grow to regard these musicians (and their instruments) as friends. Music is selected and prepared with meticulous care, including everything from Mozart to the Pink Panther; all performed just a few feet away from 1st graders’ ears. We are honored and delighted to host the Quintet again this year.


No Friday Sing This Week

As it becomes too cold to gather in the courtyard, we will postpone Friday Sing until further notice. Stay tuned!


ABS Spelling Bee

We will be holding our annual spelling bee for third through eighth grade students on Friday, January 6th. The top three winners from each classroom will participate in the school wide event.   Winners will proceed to the Regional Spelling Bee.


Happy Holidays

The holidays can be perplexing for American educators. The North Carolina Standard Course of Study (guidelines for what children should be taught at each grade level) specifies only first grade as a time for focusing on celebrated holidays and special days in communities, while nearly every other grade is expected only to discuss historical figures and practices associated with diverse holidays.  We respect the religious and cultural backgrounds of every student.

Holiday decorations are not used indiscriminately in the classroom or about the school; though they may be used as part of a focused study. We do encourage fun in learning and discovering.  We decorate our walls all year with the brilliant creations of our students. We often incorporate delicious receptions into our art openings and performances. We join together singing songs of peace and understanding. Thank you for supporting us in making every child feel included in the delights of learning together.


High School Information Night

December  15, 2016

Lead counselors from several local high schools will be on campus to participate in a high school information night. The meeting will include information about course selection and registration as well as time for questions and answers with individual counselors. Parents of 7th and 8thgrade students are invited to attend on Thursday, December 15 at 6pm in the 7th St. building.


Have you ordered your yearbook yet?

The cost is only 20$! Pay online via this link – http://www.strawbridge.net/order-online/  the ABS online code is 106312


Or, if you prefer to pay by check, you can order with the one of the forms that are on the front table of the entrance to the MLK building or at Donna’s desk in 7th street building. Forms can be turned in to Donna in the 7th st. building or Angela in the MLK building. Don’t miss out on all the memories!


ABS Garden Work Day

Saturday, December 10, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

The ABS gardens showed their love for you all spring, summer, and fall. Now it’s your turn to show your love back to the gardens. It’s time to do some cleanup and put the garden to bed for a couple of months. We also have about 400 Prairie Dropseed plants that need to get into the ground before real winter sets in.

As always, bring your kids, your neighbors, snacks, gloves, etc.

Questions and RSVP to Matt Mayers: mlmayers@gmail.com


Parent Council News:


January Jam – Jan. 20th 2:30-4:00pm 

January Jam is a dance party that the school holds as a fundraiser event. If you have any questions please contact, Ryan Leigh Runyon. (ryanleigh@gmail.com)

Volunteer opportunities available, view link below:



Parent Council Meeting – Dec. 16 

Our next meeting is Friday, Dec. 16th at 8:15am in the Cafe of the MLK Building. If there is a topic you want considered for discussion, please contact Lindsay Deibler (lindsaydeibler) or Julie Nunley (julee@thenunleys.com).


The holidays are around the corner! Want to give our teachers and staff a gift they’ll love? Use the ABS Teachers and Staff Survey to find out your teacher’s favorite…everything!




Crisis Control Can Drive

The K-Kids are sponsoring the Crisis Control Can Drive, from now until Friday, December 9. Please bring cans or dry boxed foods to help the hungry in our community. Each grade level in the MLK building will be collecting cans in a common area outside of their classrooms. Let us show the world we care!


Around town…

Tessa Turner, ABS First Grader,  has landed a part in Twin City Stage’s “Yes, Virginia” which will be playing Dec 16 and 17 at 7:30 pm and Dec 18 at 2:00 pm.

Upcoming Events

African Drumming

Mon, December 5 – Fri, December 9

7th – Mr Bob poetry

Mon, December 5, 8:20am – 10:20am

5th grade – Reynolda House Grant Woods

Tue, December 6, 9:20am – 11:30am

ABS Garden Workday

Sat, December 10, 9am – 1pm

3rd – Renaissance Spectacles- Ms. Christian

Tue, December 13, 12:15pm – 12:45pm

ABS Board Meeting

Tue, December 13, 5:45pm – 6:45pm

3rd – Renaissance Spectacle- Mrs. Campbell

Wed, December 14, 12:15pm – 12:45pm

Thu, December 15, 9:30am – 12:00pm

3rd – Renaissance Spectacles- Ms. Quintal

Thu, December 15, 12:15pm – 12:45pm

High School Info Night

Thu, December 15, 6pm – 7pm

Parent Council meeting

Fri, December 16, 8:15am – 9:15am