ABS Thursday Notes- October 25, 2018

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community              October 25, 2018



Don’t Forget Picture Day tomorrow- Oct 26!


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


Inspiration is an awakening, a quickening of all one’s faculties, and it is manifested in all high artistic achievements.” ― Giacomo Puccini (Composer of “La Bohéme.”)

When attending your first opera, it’s best not to plop yourself into their theater seats and hope for the best. Some personal experience with the depth of the material and some understanding of the challenges involved in its creation help connect the experience to the heart and mind, making it accessible, rather than foreign. As a comparison, a visit to the pyramids of Egypt would be more impressive to people who had been tasked with moving a single 2.5-ton sandstone block. Or a visit to an original print of Hokusai’s famous Great Wave Off Kanagawa would be better appreciated by viewers who had attempted the art of printmaking. So how to prepare young teens for Puccini’s operatic masterpiece, La Bohéme?

Last night, forty-three ABS 8th graders attended the opera at The Steven’s Center. They were playful, open-minded, respectful, enthusiastic, and responsive to the performers and the music. In other words, I think they loved it. We’ll find out more about that when they share reflections in class today with a follow-up; Lincoln Center Institute style.

The Lincoln Center Institute has been a touchstone for arts integration in the United States since it was founded in 1975. Their website distills their goal into one succinct sentence: “Students see live performances and engage in creative and analytical exploration that, in turn, supports learning across the curriculum.” The program trains “teaching fellows” who partner with New York City school teachers to prepare students for encounters with specific live works of art.  LCI then sends those works of art to the schools. The LCI fellows and classroom teachers follow up, making rich connections and spring boarding off energy created by the students’ shared experience.

We have several direct connections with LCI. As a soloist in an LCI work of art, I visited many NYC schools in the 1990s. This work inspired my interest in arts-based education and led to my involvement helping develop The Arts Based School. The goals and values of LCI match those of ABS, so it was natural for many ABS educators to attend LCI workshops when they were offered in Winston-Salem, a few years ago. The LCI model of interacting with live performance fits perfectly with ABS’ commitment to extending the classroom into the arts community.

Fayth Caruso, a professional dancer who trained as an LCI Fellow in New York, recently moved to Winston-Salem with her husband (our drama teacher, Mr. Brown.) Fayth assisted 8th grade teachers in designing integrated lessons leading to opera night. Here’s what the teachers cooked up:

  1. In Language Arts, small groups crafted 30-second scripts of a scene: a group of friends is either arguing or celebrating, transitioning to the group exiting, leaving one person behind. That person expresses their feelings in a mini-monologue. (This mirrors the dramatic form of La Bohéme, in which a group of young friends romps and suffers together, punctuated by the occasional aria – a solo expression of deep emotion.)
  2. The script traveled with students to drama class, where they directed and staged the scene, converting narrative to dialogue. Once that scene was rehearsed, the lines were set to improvised song. (These are processes demanded by composer and director of an opera.)
  3. In music class, Ms. Allen introduced students to varied musical works and examined how composers use musical ideas to create contrasts in dramatic emotion. (This is sound pallet of the composer.)
  4. I introduced the story of La Bohéme, defining Bohemians as similar to “hipsters,” introducing the characters and showing audio/video snippets of scenes.
  5. Students attended the opera, where these elements come together into one world-famous masterpiece.


Next, students will discuss and write reflections. They will compare archetypes in “The Lion King” to archetypes in the opera. They will consider how the characters influenced the plot, and how gesture expressed character. They will examine how music helps tell the story. They will compare live performance to film. Eventually they will hand-copy a replication of a single measure of the full orchestral score from La Bohéme, considering the immense challenge the composer Puccini faced, in writing two and a half hours of music for full orchestra.

This opportunity to immerse themselves in live performance of a masterpiece will leave our students feeling that they own this music, and they do. It was created for the ages.


Dancing Classroom Demonstration next week

“Dancing Classrooms” in-class demonstrations, to be shared in the 7th Street Dance/Drama Studio:

Ms. Frazier’s class : Tuesday, October 30, 10:00 a.m.

Ms. Leni’s class:  Wednesday, October 31, 10:00 a.m.

Ms. Koza’s Class : Thursday, November 1, 10:00 a.m.


Our ‘Enchanted Forest’ Fall Festival , is just around the corner.

With your wings and ears on please come and join the festivities of food, games, face painting, live open mic and more !!!

Saturday November 3rd, 2018 from 12-3pm in the 7th street building courtyard!

5$ a child ( adults free)


With just over a week to go, we need everyone to pitch in!


We still have a list of volunteer opportunities that we will have available!

Outside of what we are all doing within our classroom for each grades activity, we still need volunteers for working the rest of our production. We Need able hands and willing spirits to help pull this all together!

Here is a list of volunteer jobs still open:

  • 2 people – ticket sales/square ( 2nd shift)
  • 3-4 people- runners and set up/breakdown
  • 4 people to sell Pizza slices and water ( 2 people per shift)
  • “Dj”- someone with a descent and magical set of tunes that are appropriate for kiddos  ( iPad or iPod even would work-)
  • A raffle ticket collector!


And yes there will be a raffle with wonderful prizes! From an amazing nights stay in a Tiny house to a lovely jar of local Fool’s Gold honey! Better show up and see what other magic is in store!


Please contact

Meagan Robinson to volunteer-




6th Grade Students Return to Classrooms

After the heavy rains and winds form Tropical Storm Michael, our 6th grade classrooms had to be cleaned and sanitized from the flooding that entered those rooms.  The teachers and students have been on the move, going on field trips and making the most of a tough situation.  Thanks to our great teachers and students for making it work!


MAP Results Go Home Today

Third through Eighth grade students will receive MAP results in 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.


ABS Scholastic Book Fair

The Enchanted Forest Scholastic Book Fair is coming NEXT WEEK (October 30-November 3).  Look in this week’s Thursday folders for a Book Fair flyer and more information.

Our online book fairs are open now through November 6th. If you have a particular book you would like to purchase or don’t think you can make it in to school, this a wonderful way to participate. Also, feel free to share the link with grandparents, etc. All books ordered through the online fairs will be shipped to the school for free when the fair closes.

We need lots of volunteers to make the book fair a success!  Follow the links below to sign up to help during the fair.

The Book Fair links below (one for each building) offers:

  • Preview titles available at the fairs
  • Order books from our online fair
  • Volunteer to work at the fair
  • Set up an eWallet account so your student can shop cash-free

http://www.scholastic.com/bf/artsbasedschoolk4 (MLK building, Grades K-4)

http://www.scholastic.com/bf/artsbasedschool58 (7th Street building, Grades 5-8)


Sad News

It’s with great sadness, I report that Mrs. Frazier’s husband passed away on October 23. The Fraziers have a lot of church family with them and do not need any food or help right now.    I know you’re all thinking about her and I’ve passed on our good thoughts and prayers.  The Service of Worship and Celebration of Life for Dr. Robert Edward Frazier will be held on Saturday, October 27 at 5:00pm in the Sanctuary at Centenary United Methodist Church, 646 W. 5th Street, Winston-Salem, NC  27101. There is a lovely tribute to Rob and information about the service at this link: https://www.hayworth-miller.com/notices/DrRobert-Frazier


Hurricane Relief Fund

The K-Kids are sponsoring a “Nickels for North Carolinians – Hurricane Florence Relief Drive”. They have donated $150 and challenge YOU to match it! In each classroom, K – 5, there is a piggy bank for coins and cash  Please help us help North Carolinians in need!