ABS Thursday Notes – October 8, 2015

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                              October 8, 2015




No School Monday-October 12


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.” – Moliére

I dropped in on the 5th grade Dancing Classrooms lesson yesterday, where instructor Deb Berger was energetically (and effectively) coaching couples through the tango for the first time, with our chorus teacher, Ashleigh Cooper, assisting. “Great scorpion shape with those arms!” Ms. Berger called out. “Demonstrate for us how you did that! Can you see these arms? No bendy scorpions, only strong, powerful ones!” …this kind of language, humorously appealing to the varied interests of kids while encouraging excellence, is typical of this beautifully crafted curriculum. Couples rotated, trading partners seamlessly as the dance repeated. (Read that last sentence again…we are talking about ten and eleven-year-olds here!) As always, I was taken completely by surprise when I saw which of the students seemed to float on air, excelling in this particular art form. Some of them might be disruptive or disinterested in other subjects, but displayed intense focus in ballroom dance, asking pertinent questions and executing complex combinations with graceful ease and apparent delight.

Dancing Classrooms is a program of twenty lessons taught at the 5th grade level at ABS, by visiting artist Ann Guill and her assistants. It’s well underway, now. ABS piloted the program with Ms. Guill six years ago. The Dancing Classrooms mission:“To build social awareness, confidence and self-esteem in children through the practice of social dance. Through standards-based, in-school residencies, we use the vocabulary of ballroom dance to cultivate the positive feelings that are inherent in every child. The maturity necessary to dance together fosters respect, teamwork, confidence and a sense of joy and accomplishment, which we hope to bring to every child. Ballroom dance is the medium we use to nurture these qualities.” Students learn the fox trot, waltz, swing, tango, merengue, and other dances while also learning how to treat one another with respect and social grace. This is a perfect match for us, particularly because Ann and her assistants are teaching the child, not the subject. They are all expert ballroom dancers, but the priority is the social progress of the individual child. It’s challenging at first to 5th graders, because of the “cootie” factor, but that passes quickly by. They have been dancing with partners since Kindergarten, so it’s not an enormous leap, and our students are accustomed to public performance. This makes them ideal exhibition dancers, and there is a performance for parents at the end of the program. In the meanwhile, they will be figure drawing from live models in the art studio (their own peers will model, frozen in dance positions that every students knows by heart.) They will also write poetry and prose about the experience, and these drawings and writings will be exhibited at the final program. Students’ familiarity with ballroom dancing leads easily into their work in Romeo and Juliet on the Border, in which they perform Northern Mexican and cowboy partner dances from the late 1800s.


Parent Council Meeting Friday, Oct 9

If you have any items you would like considered for the agenda, please contact Lindsay Deibler (lindsaydeibler@gmail.com) or Michelle Hopkins Lawrence (mhopkins@alumni.princeton.edu) by Tuesday, October 6.


Fall Fest Rescheduled

Fall Fest has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, 12-3pm.  There will be games for all ages, music, and some of Winston-Salem’s most popular food trucks! Admission is $5 for children. Parents/Caretakers are free. Volunteers are needed to help run the class games. Please see your class website for details about signing up.



Hats off to our amazing student artists!  These students won awards at the Dixie Classic Fair


Joseph Davila – 1st Place

Lilly Greene- 1st Place

Zoe Marazita – 2nd Place

James Cash-2nd Place

Josh Boger – 3rd Place

Ella Marion – 3rd Place


World Languages Update

7th and 8th graders have finished their 6-week study of American Sign Language and have learned so much! Starting tomorrow they will begin a study of Persian Farsi. Nazanin Kaussari is excited to come to ABS and work with our students teaching geography, Persian culture, and basic conversation. Ms. Kaussari completed her undergraduate degree at UNC Chapel Hill and a master’s degree at Wake Forest University where she was awarded the prestigious Bowen Fellowship which allowed her to study Farsi overseas.


Flu Season

As you know, flu can be easily spread from person to person.  We are asking for your help in reducing the spread of flu at ABS.  The symptoms for the seasonal flu and H1N1 are the same: fever of 100 degrees or more, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired.  Students with these symptoms will be sent home.

You can help us by taking these simple steps:

  • Teach children to wash their hands often.
  • Teach your children not to share food or drink.
  • Teach children to cough or sneeze into their elbows to avoid spreading germs.
  • Keep sick children home.
  • Children must be fever-free for 24 hrs before returning to school.
  • Get the flu vaccine for you and your children.

Special Thanks to Jennifer Stephens and   Rite Aid Pharmacy at Thruway for providing the free flu shot clinic for faculty and staff at ABS!


Halloween is Coming

Please do not send students to school in costumes.  We all enjoy the fun and excitement of Halloween but find that costumes and accessories make it very difficult to concentrate.  Also we do not want students to bring candy in their lunch bags for snacks.  Although it can be delicious, high sugar snacks should not replace a healthy snack.  Thanks for your help!


Around Town….

ABS Kids Perform Tonight at SECCA!

8th Graders Marley Priest and Ruthie Kelly will perform together at SECCA After Hours tonight, (750 Marguerite Dr., 27106) sponsored by NewBridge Bank. The event is FREE, from 5:30 – 800 p.m. and includes an open bar, food from Jeffrey Adams, a tour of the Point Counterpoint exhibition, and music from our own musicians. Find more info and RSVP on Facebook.


FREE Concert: Jazz and Classical Piano and Bass

This Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, 2:00 p.m., John Mochnick, Matt Kendrick Duo – “Spontaneous Combustion: a fusion of classical and jazz styles” Music by Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, plus spirituals and folk song choices with a twist. This “Music @ Home” concert series is designed to bring the finest classical music in the area to people who otherwise might not be able to afford a ticket. All are welcome – there is no religious service, prayer, or proselytizing associated with the concerts. Home Moravian Church in the “Saal” at: 529 S Church St, Winston-Salem, NC 27101


Poets to Perform Tomorrow for 7th Street students

Three accomplished poets will perform from their original writings in the 7th Street building tomorrow as part of a lunchtime “Cafe Cabaret” series for students, accompanied by double bass musician Matt Kendrick. Bob Moyer (“Mr. Bob”) program director of “Shakespeare Lives,” is a poetry slam master and has published several volumes of haiku.  Joseph Mills, a professor of humanities and writing at UNCSA, was recently honored by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association for his fifth volume of poetry. Ishmael Khatibu appears regularly with Piedmont Slam.