ABS Thursday Notes- May 4, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                              May 4, 2017




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Beauty is only skin deep; but ugly goes clean to the bone.” – Dorothy Parker


The first graders are in rehearsal, each preparing a version of the Cinderella story, which will be accompanied by a cultural study in the classroom.  Cinderella stories have been invented or adapted in many cultures worldwide, and the watered-down Disney version we know is a distant relative of some of these richer stories. The comparison allows us to recognize similar elements within each tale, while noticing cultural similarities and differences. For example, the Chinese version (said by some to be the oldest known version,) involves magic fish bones, the Italian version involves a magic bird, and the Indian version a magic snake. No fairy godmothers. The characters vary too: Cinderella in the Italian story is clever and tough; her stepfather defends her right to be unique.

The first-grade show transitions children from the simple “follow the leader” structure in Kindergarten, when each character followed a UNCSA dancer through the story for emotional and recall support on stage. With an interactive adult narrator, first graders respond as individuals to prompts and questions, sometimes speaking lines, depending on individual development. The cast will change in each of the seven scenes, allowing for many lead players. There are no scripts to memorize, avoiding the stilted “anti-acting” that typically occurs at the elementary school level, and encouraging thoughtful observation and listening while on stage. It’s challenging to remain in character while on stage; to differentiate between the actors and the audience, to understand that it’s best not to reach up your shirt to scratch an itch or wave to grandma while you are on stage. Here are some of the ways we approach these learning opportunities.

We define “upstaging” as bad manners, learning to give focus to the storyteller. Students try intentional upstaging, with one child telling the story seriously, while another attempts to grab the audience’s attention from behind. Later, we can gently remind an actor that she is “accidentally upstaging” if she suddenly ties her shoe during a scene. There is a moment of realization, and the child makes a different choice without further direction.

We work in the classroom to help students feel the script coming from their own understanding of the story, its characters, and the character’s feelings and actions. As a result, much of the dialog arises spontaneously. One of our all-time favorite kid–generated lines occurred when the prince, wishing to discover whether Cinderella’s shoe matches the one he found, asks “May I see her? Maybe just a leg?” When we capture “good ideas” and save them to the play, kids recognize their own creativity in the process and gain confidence in writing.

We also examine the stereotypical characters, agreeing that beauty is something that runs much more deeply than surface appearance, that none of us are bullies but we can identify their characteristics and act “as if” we were bullies for theater, that most step-parents (like me) love their step-children, and that girls need not marry someone powerful in order to be powerful themselves.


First Grade performances of “Three Cinderellas” 

Ms. (Sherell) McArthur: Tuesday, May 16, 12:15 – 12:45

Ms. Howard: Wednesday, May 17, 12:15 – 12:45

Ms. Fansler: Thursday, May 18, 12:15 – 12:45


Band and Chorus Concerts Next Week

All band students: remember to bring instruments on Monday!


Monday, May 8, under the tent in the courtyard

10:30 – 8th grade band

12:00 – 7th grade band

1:00 – 6th grade band

2:00 – 5th grade band


Tuesday, May 9 in the ABS Theater

12:00 combined 7th-8th choir


First and Last Friday Sings

First Friday sing tomorrow, Friday, May 5, will be at 1:50, for all K-8 students (and parents) in the 7th Street Courtyard. If rain is predicted, we’ll have Friday Sing for K-4 only, in the MLK theater.

Final Friday Sing will be Friday, May 26 at 1:50, K-4 only, in ABS Theater


7th and 8th Grade Math Classes

Parents of rising 7th and 8th graders may be wondering about math classes for next year. All students are required to learn 7th grade math in 7th grade and 8th grade math in 8th grade.  Most students will take these required classes as their only math instruction. Some students who have demonstrated advanced skills in math will be eligible for advanced math instruction in addition to the math they are required to learn for their grade level. We offer Math I for 7th graders and 8th graders who qualify, and Math II for 8th graders who qualify.  Mrs. Raper will send letters home after school ends letting parents know their child’s math placement.


Teacher Appreciation Week at ABS!

Thanks to all of you for making our week so special!  From the delicious luncheon on Wednesday to the daily sweet surprises, you really brightened our days!  THANK YOU!


Parent Council Meeting-May 12th- 

Our last meeting of the school year will be Friday, May 12th at 8:15am in the cafe of the MLK Building. We will be voting on the 2017-2018 PC Board. If there is a topic you want considered for discussion, please contact Lindsay Deibler (lindsaydeibler@gmail.com) or Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net)


Community Creates – May 6th!

Join us for our 9th Annual Community Creates on Saturday, May 6th from 7-11pm!  It’s a fun-filled evening with dinner from The Porch, drinks, friends and some outstanding artwork! All proceeds from the event support our Artist-in-Residence program (think Mr. Bill, Mr. Bob, Diana Greene, Thao Nguyen and many others!). Checkout  http://www.communitycreates.com to learn what artists are participating, view photos from past events and purchase tickets.  Tickets may also be purchased in either front office (save on the ticket price by buying in advance – see attached flyer for details).


We would like to offer our great thanks to our Community Partner Sponsor Abby Umlauf at Keller Williams Realty!  Visit Abby at http://abbyumlauf.kwrealty.com.  Thank you for your generous support!





Great Summer Book Swap!

We’re having a summer book swap during field day.  We hope all K-4 students will bring in a least one book they would like to swap.  Got lots of books your kids don’t read anymore?  Bring in a whole bag!  The more we get, the more books will be available to swap.  Start collecting books and we’ll announce more details next week.


ABS Yearbooks

Don’t forget to get your ABS Yearbook! We have limited quantities still available at each front desk.


Around Town

Bookmarks Summer Reading Kick-Off Party

May 11, 2017 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

William G. White Family YMCA,

775 W End Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Free event for the entire family! Come for pizza and games and a short program about Bookmarks’ 2017 Summer Reading program!

Pre-K-12 students across North Carolina are invited to participate in the Summer Reading Program. Participants will have the chance to earn books, gift certificates, and cash prizes up to $250.

The program has book lists for Pre-K, Elementary, Middle, and High School students to read, enjoy, and respond to over the summer through written, visual, and video responses.  This list is comprised of 2017 Festival family friendly authors and books from standard North Carolina lists.

Free event, but please register!