ABS Thursday Notes- November 16, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community             November 16, 2017




November 17- Early Dismissal

                        K-4 Dismiss at 11:45

                        5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon

Nov 20-24 No School Thanksgiving Break


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” – Albert Einstein


Einstein was, in fact, a musician. One need not take on the rewarding life of a professional musician in order to gain the benefits of the art. Einstein’s regular violin practice fed that famous brain. Learning to read music is a complicated puzzle. Each note represents not only pitch but also rhythmic value. For a new student to interpret both of these values at once, let alone translate it through an unfamiliar instrument, is challenging. This process has been proven, over and over, to benefit students’ brain development. Studies prove that learning to play a musical instrument helps develop neural pathways in the brain.

The ABS music team, Ashleigh Cooper, Chloe Micka, and Peter Wilbur, are fully aware that their challenge is unique. Mr. Wilbur gets K-4 kids learning to love music, introduces them to the basics. At 4th grade, he leans heavily into rudimentary note reading, working with recorders and pianos to provide the upper level teachers with musicians who are starting with a working understanding of the complex task of reading music.

In ABS 5th and 6th grades, ALL students take band. Most bands are electives. Our music teachers have no colleagues who can share ideas for instruction and management of required band. Teaching twenty children at once how to play five or more instruments is not like anything else. Each instrument requires a different assembly, hand position, fingering, posture, application of breath, and mouth position, but they must somehow sound together as one. Each child with a broken reed or stuck mouthpiece requires immediate and individual attention. It’s not like teaching writing. They’re loud! You can’t circle the room and peacefully speak with each student as others continue working. They can’t practice during study hall, as they can study math. Their mistakes are public, and corrections are necessarily made in that same forum. And then, unlike other subjects, you must somehow unify all of these beginners to play together, with relative accuracy. It is not a job for the faint of heart. Even beginning band teachers who work with elected band are often referred to by parents as “saintly.”

Ms. Hayes and Ms. Cooper, our band saints, love our philosophy in spite of its challenges. They work as a team to support students’ steady growth. They seek new methods of helping every student succeed. They team up to create sectionals by instrument, but the most valuable tool for steady progress is unquestionably daily practice. Students who practice at home, even a little every day, progress much more rapidly and with more confidence than others. Like daily reading, daily instrumental practice at home is encouraged. Obviously, parental support would go a long way in helping students practice. In doing so, parents are helping kids learn that a little commitment goes a long way, and they are boosting brain development, too.

5th graders do not perform a concert in December, but 6th, 7th, and 8th graders do. The 7th and 8th grade choruses will also perform, and all these groups will have the opportunity to make music in beautiful Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University. The winter band and chorus concert will take place on December 13 at 7:00 p.m.


Conference Time is Coming

Soon your child’s teacher will be setting up conferences to discuss your child’s progress.  Students attending the Arts Based School are assessed using a portfolio system in place of the traditional report card.  The portfolio is designed to illustrate a student’s academic growth and successes as well as guide the teacher in planning appropriate instruction.  Teachers at ABS do not issue letter grades.  Teachers use observation, interviews, analysis of student work and performance tasks to assess student understanding.  Examples of student work, as well as other objective standards of assessments are incorporated into the student’s portfolio to give an enhanced portrait of the student’s progress.  These portfolios will be discussed and presented to parents during the Student-Teacher-Parent conferences.  Please be sure you schedule and attend your conference so that you can support your child’s learning. 

Conference Days- November 17- Early Dismissal

                        K-4 Dismiss at 11:45

                        5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon


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.


Imprints at ABS

Imprints Cares will begin offering  before and after school care onsite at ABS in January.    Registration for the program begins this week.  See attached flyer for more information about the program and registration go online to ImprintsCares.org/Expanded-Learning



Crisis Control Food Drive

K-Kids are sponsoring a canned food drive for Crisis Control Ministries, a non-profit organization which provides food for the needy in our community. Please bring non-perishable items in cans and boxes (no class containers, please). Items will be collected in a hallway location outside each grade level. This  drive will continue until Friday, Dec. 15.


No Parent Council Meeting in November

Parent Council will not meet this month.  Our next scheduled meeting is on Friday, December 15 at 8:15 a.m. in the MLK Cafe.  If you have agenda items for that meeting, contact Parent Council Co-Chairs, Joy Blaser (joy.blaser@gmail.com) and Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net).


High School Information Night

ABS will host counselors, teachers, and administrators from several area high schools for an information session on December 7th from 6-7pm. This will include a brief introduction from the high school reps and time to ask questions and gather information from a variety of schools. High School Information Night will take place in the 7th Street building and all 7th and 8th grade families are invited to attend.


ABS Science Fair

ABS will hold its annual science fair on January 11, 2018.  All students are invited to participate.  Information packets will be sent home via Thursday packets this week.  Science Fairs give students an opportunity to think and work independently, develop and refine individual science interests, and engage in critical thinking. Please help your child choose a science fair project topic that aligns with the science standards at his or her grade level. Science standards can be found for each grade level on the ABS website under “Our Students”. Science Fair applications are due to your teacher by Friday, January 5.


Bookmarks Day to support ABS
Shop at Bookmarks on Friday, December 1st to support Arts Based School. 10% of all sales will go back to Arts Based School for books for our media centers. Shop all day (10am-9pm). This is a great opportunity to stock up on books for the holidays and help our media centers get new books!

We have two author visits planned for this day.
-Special Illustration Workshop and Storytime with Kyle Webster, ABS Parent and the author and illustrator of Please Say Please at 3 p.m.
-Book Reading and Signing with Gabe Deibler, ABS third grader and the author of Bugs Broken Nose at 5:30 pm.

Please Share our Facebook Event page with family and friends!  Everyone is welcome!

Summer Book Swap Donations
We want your used children’s books!  If you are doing fall cleaning during the upcoming break, please bring us books that your children are done with.  We are looking for all types of books appropriate for children in grades K-12.
These books will be given to students at our Summer Book Swap station during Field Day.  This station was a big hit last year in the MLK building and we will be expanding to both buildings this year.

We have Summer Book Swap Donation bins in both buildings (MLK vestibule and 7th Street Library). (no board books, please)


Lost and Found

Please check lost and found for items you may have forgotten.   All items not claimed by November 17 will be donated.