ABS Thursday Notes- May 26, 2016

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                                  May 26, 2016




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

“What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing…both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.” – Stacy Horne, Time Magazine, 2013


Last night, my teen daughter and I hulled the gallons of fragrant strawberries we’d picked the day before. She set herself up with headphones and a movie on her computer, to make the task fly by. I thought about the days of prepping fresh produce with my mom when we sang together in harmony. My immediate family sings non-stop, so I didn’t protest my daughter’s high-tech diversion this time; I was just happy to have the help. But I did feel a pang of nostalgia. Due to Alzheimer’s, my mom no longer knows who I am, but she remembers all of those songs.

When we consider progress in terms of technology, most of us think immediately of computers, smart phones, GPS, social media, and the quicksilver innovations of the Age of Information. But for young students, we push much further back. They study technology that transformed stone and clay into shaped tools in the ancient world. Spinning, weaving, agriculture, telescopes, weaponry, the printing press, medical research- All of this is innovation and technology that transformed us. There is also the life-changing technology of radio. Before radio, Americans shared folk songs by gathering on the front porch with instruments, voices, and a heart full of songs and stories. Every story changed as it passed from one storyteller to the next. Every singer sang a distinctly unique version of each song. Well before current research proved the physiological and psychological benefits of singing together, folks were reaping those benefits. The delights of shared singing faded from our culture when radio brought us recordings by master performers. We thrilled to those sounds and quickly began to view the popular versions as the “only” versions. There is a bittersweet side to much of this progress. Just as we lost flavor, nutrition, and the joy of harvest when we moved away from locally grown foods to industrially produced groceries, we lost variety and health benefits when we stopped singing together and allowed the radio to sing for us.

In the spirit of the front porch, ABS students sing together. We sing in the classroom. We sing in the music room. We sing in theatrical productions. We memorize facts by singing, and at K-4 we gather together once every month, raising our 300+ voices in unique ABS arrangements of songs that will last a lifetime. This tradition of First-Friday Sing sometimes extends through 8th grade in the 7th Street courtyard. One of the major goals of Friday Sing is to preserve and pass along American folk song heritage. We also occasionally choose songs in languages other than English, and delve into world cultures.

Mr. Wilbur and I confer and lay out the year’s songs for this event in advance. After well over a decade of doing this, we know what works. We typically avoid commercial songs, (with exceptions,) since students get plenty of exposure to these out in the world. We look for traditional songs with simple, repeated lyrics so they are easier to sing with the K-4 span. We choose songs that are not heavily reliant upon instrumentals. We balance silly with serious, ballads with up-tempo, younger topics with older. When choosing religious songs, we aim to represent iconic music and styles without delivering religious instruction. When others suggest songs, we consider them seriously, but trust our judgment. Songs of celebration, sadness, unity, patriotism, fantasy, nonsense, longing, hope. Songs with which to dance, protest, work, sleep, fight, and make peace. We need them all. We hope your children sing them when you hull strawberries together.


Final Friday Sing

The last Friday Sing this year will be in the 7th Street Courtyard with K – 8, from 1:50 – 2:20. If the weather is threatening, we will have K-4 Friday Sing only, in the MLK building.


Band Instruments

If your child did not bring their instrument to school this week, please be sure they bring it in before next Friday, June 3, so Ms. Hayes can check the serial number.


MAP results sent home

Third through Eighth grade students will receive MAP results in their Thursday Packets today.  Please take some time to review these results.   Overall results show that ABS students in each of those grades achieve higher scores than the national norms in all areas tested: math, science, reading, and language arts.   Congratulations to our students and their teachers for a job well done.   If you have any questions regarding MAP results, please contact your child’s teacher.


K-Kids Election

Congratulations to the new K-Kids officers for 2016-2017!

President –          Matthew Giles

Vice President-   Sadie Blalock

Secretary-          Cedar Nichols-Barnhart

Treasurer-           Watson Carter


Last ABS Garden Work Day of the Year

June 4

9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Come help us put the campus in good order for the summer. We can use all the hands we can get, and you might still need to do some of your volunteer hours. Bring your hats and gloves, kids and snacks.

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


End of Grade Testing Continues…

Parents, please help your child do his or her best by following these guidelines:

  • Help your child get 9 hours sleep throughout the weekend and each night before the test.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast, including more proteins and fewer carbohydrates.
  • BE ON TIME to school. Rushing around creates anxiety.  Late-comers must take a make-up test.
  • No couch potatoes, video games, or on-line junkies the week before.   Go outside and run and play.  You will rest better, think better, and feel better.
  • Help them arrive at school with a positive attitude.

Just a reminder that cell phones and electronic devices are not permitted in any End-of-Grade or End-of-Course test session.  All cell phones or devices will be collected prior to each testing session.  Students may have a book or magazine, but they may not use any electronic devices.  Parents and students may choose to keep all electronic devices at home during testing to avoid any issues.


Testing Schedule

May 27 EOG Math 5th -8th  grades

May 30 No School-Memorial Day

May 31 EOC Math 1

June 1  EOG Science 5th and 8th grades

June 2  EOG Reading Make Up Tests

June 3 EOG Math Make Up Tests

June 6 EOG Science Make Up Tests


EOG results will be shared with parents at the third trimester conferences- June 10 and 13.


Field Day

Field Day will be held on June 7th this year. It’s a half-day and we need volunteers to help the classes run their games. Please contact your class rep if you can help. This is one of the last opportunities of the year to earn volunteer hours.


End of Year Checklist

  • Pick up medications from the front office
  • Be sure all fees and lunch balances are paid
  • Let us know if you will not be returning to ABS next year.  If your child is transferring to another school, please let us know where to send your child’s records by emailing Stephanie LeFever – slefever@artsbasedschool.com
  • Thursday, June 7th is the last day of school.  Early dismissal.