ABS Thursday Notes- February 2, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                              February 2, 2017





How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“I sing the body electric.” – Walt Whitman


The Lion King cast is ready for next steps: costume, make-up, and a move into the Hanes Brands Theater. Director Nick Zayas and Musical Director Ashleigh Cooper struggled with only one problem…the ensemble sang too quietly! Anyone who recalls their middle school years can imagine the self-consciousness that might arise when your entire class is asked to sing together; self-consciousness being a hallmark of those years. ABS 8th graders, however, have sung together for nine years. They sang an opera together last year. We know what they’ve got. So, how to break through the pianissimo barrier?

A quick brainstorm supplied a scientific solution: let’s play with decibels! Vibration, sound, hearing, and the properties of sound waves were studied in 6th grade, but will be included in the 8thgrade EOG science test. This seemed a great opportunity for review.

The teachers downloaded a free decibel meter app onto their phones. Curriculum Coordinator Liz Green researched how to feed the visual of the meter through a projector and onto the Promethean board, so students could see it. She quickly trained Mr. Zayas on how to implement the projector in the drama room.

The next day, all 8th graders gathered in the drama room, chatting and laughing. Unbeknownst to them, Mr. Zayas measured their decibel level (“dB”) and recorded the average: 85 dB. Ms. Cooper then led them through a vocal warm-up, and they rehearsed a song from the show. Lo and behold, the volume levels plummeted.

Mr. Z led the students through a brief review of the science of sound. The teachers divided the students into two “teams” who were directed to watch the dB levels, now projected onto the screen. They were to sing music from Lion King, to be adjudicated Olympics-style by faculty judges. Mr. Zayas monitored the sound levels to see that they sang consistently at 85 dB; Ms. Cooper monitored tonality and pitch; (it can be a challenge to sing lyrically and keep your volume up!) Ms. Micka monitored diction, and Mr. Eric monitored energy and commitment.

The students rose to the occasion. Their teams began with rankings of 2 and 4, and ended with rankings of 9 and 10.

Once they reached consistent levels, they were directed to close their eyes as they sang and take a “snapshot” in their minds of the sensation of full-body singing. That sense of resonance will be recalled, in the larger theater space, where Ms. Cooper plans to carry an ipad with the same app, and hold it high to help students find their levels.

Science teacher Ms. Dickson will capitalize on this opportunity for review, reminding students of the increasing distance between sound waves as one gets further from the source. This is a case of science assisting art, to the benefit of the audience members in the back row.


Parking and Traffic Update

As we continue to work toward solutions to alleviate the traffic congestion, we have implemented two new measures.  During the afternoon dismissal we have lined 7th Street with cones and “No Parking” signs.  We hope this will increase the safety and flow of traffic through that area during that time.   Secondly, we now allow cars waiting for dismissal to enter ABS parking lot and begin queing at the dismissal tents beginning at 1:45.  This allows approximately 30 cars to stack in the dismissal line and reduce back up Chestnut Street.  Thank you for your patience and support as we work toward a safer and more efficient dismissal procedure.


New Faces at ABS

Each year we are delighted to host student teachers and observers from area universities.   Welcome to Destiny Yates from Salem College.  She will be working with Mrs. Campbell in third grade.  Also we have a counseling intern, Maddie Saveliff from Wake Forest University working with our counselor, Ms. Sullivan.


Welcome to our new speech teacher, Meredith Abernethy.  She will be partnering with Mrs. Carter in working with our students needing speech services.


Raffle Tickets help fund ABS Hospitality!

ABS Hospitality hosts events throughout the year from new parent orientation to faculty and staff lunch on conference days. We rely on food contributions from families and the proceeds from the assistant principal raffle. Students from all grades may participate in the raffle and the money goes to a good cause. Drawings are held each month usually during First Friday Sing. For February, we will hold the drawing during the Parent Council meeting.  You can purchase tickets at the front office of school before Friday Sing.


Parent Council Meeting – Feb. 17- 

Our next meeting is Friday, Feb. 17th 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@gmail.com) or Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net)


Class Rep Meeting in February!

Please join us on Friday, February 17th immediately following the Parent Council meeting for a brief Annual Giving training session.  We will discuss the logistics of the campaign and your role in helping to communicate with your classroom.  Don’t worry – it’s easy and won’t take much time!  Can’t attend or have questions?  Please contact Annual Giving Co–Chairs Emily Ball (emilynball@gmail.com) or Shannon Wright (thewrights@triad.rr.com).  Thank you!


Box Tops Collecton: Friday, February 17th

Please send in your Box Tops with your child this Friday morning, February 17th. Volunteers will be at the doors to both buildings to collect box tops. This is a simple way to support the school financially. There is a new Box Top App that families can download on your phone to make redeeming funds easy as well. Any questions please contact, Gwen Ashburn (gwendolyne.ashburn@gmail.comhttp://www.boxtops4education.com


Read to Feed

The K-Kids are once again sponsoring the very popular  school-wide fund raiser for Heifer International called “Read to Feed.” Heifer International is an organization which contributes livestock and training to families in need around the world and helps them build sustainable businesses.


Around Town…

Avalon Cotillions is a social dance program directed by Ann Guill, who also brings the Dancing Classrooms program to ABS for 5th graders.  Fifth grade and middle school students are invited to attend fun and educational Avalon Cotillions classes on 5 Sundays, as well as a special dinner etiquette class and a dinner dance on March 10.  Some scholarships are available.   See attached flyer for more information or call Ann Guill at 336-409-0672.

Upcoming Events

Kinder Performance – Peter and the Wolf

Thu, February 2, 12pm – 1pm

2nd Audiologist visits classroom

Mon, February 6, 8:30am – 10:30am

2nd- Reynolda House

Tue, February 7, 9:15am – 11:45am

2nd-Twin City Stage

Thu, February 9, 9:30am – 11:15am

Lion King attended Dress

Thu, February 9, 12pm – 1pm

5th-Twin City Stage

Fri, February 10, 9:30am – 11:15am

Lion King attended Dress

Fri, February 10, 12pm – 1pm

8th – Lion King

Fri, February 10, 6pm – 7pm, 8-9pm

8th – Lion King

Sat, February 11, 6pm – 7pm, 8-9pm

ABS Board Meeting

Tue, February 14, 4:45pm – 5:45pm

ABS Board Meeting and Lottery

Tue, February 14, 5:45pm – 7:45pm

3rd- Old Salem

Thu, February 16, 9:15am – 12:15pm

5th-Freedom Train-Reynolds Auditorium

Thu, February 16, 11:15am – 12:30pm
Parent Council meeting

Fri, February 17, 8:15am – 9:15am

No School- President’s Day

Mon, February 20
K-3 opera “Jack and the Beanstalk” Fletcher Opera

Wed, February 22, 9:15am – 10:00am

ABS Garden Workday

Sat, February 25, 9am – 1pm