ABS Thursday Notes- September 28, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                        September 28, 2017




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Let us go singing as far as we go; the road will be less tedious.”  – Virgil


Tuesday morning in Ms. Robertson’s class, students practiced a new kind of “drill.” They pretended to be getting a little drowsy, imagining they were working on some problems or writing project that was a little tiring, because it required full, prolonged attention. Suddenly, they heard music. A young boy’s voice singing Ode to Joy (from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony…just ask them, they know…) and they immediately pushed back their chairs and joined in singing, standing at formal attention. Except they (and the recording,) weren’t singing the original German lyrics. They were singing “The Tens:”


Ten, twenty, thirty forty; Fifty sixty se-ven-ty,

Eighty, ninety, one-hundred; One-hundred ten, one twen-ty.

That is all the tens we will sing from Beethoven’s final symphony.

He went deaf and never heard it; isn’t that a tragedy?


Next, a HUGE CHORUS of adults began singing those same lyrics. (The UNCSA Cantata Singers donated the recording.) One student spontaneously began conducting, while everyone robustly sang through the lyrics again. Then they immediately sat down without a word, and got back to work.


That was the drill. It’s a little “song break” that teachers can use to accomplish three things at once: 1. Wake up, take a break, get both sides of that brain going! 2. Practice skip-counting. 3. Become intimately familiar with great music.


Singing helps students internalize ideas quickly and permanently, accessing a part of the brain that even Alzheimer’s doesn’t erode. Most of us still sing through the “ABC” song (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle) when we are thinking through the alphabet (perhaps to find the letter that comes after H for a crossword puzzle.)


Skip-counting helps students learn the basic multiplication tables; a particularly challenging task in the elementary years. Most songs or raps that have been created to assist with this are ill-fitting, not differentiated from one number to the next, employ overused nursery school tunes, or include lots of lyrics and music that are beside the point; capturing neither the unique pattern of the counted number nor the interest of the child.


This fall, ABS students K-4 will learn a set of original, carefully designed and playful skip-counting songs from “the 2s” to “the 12s”, set to a broad variety of significant music from various cultures, crafted to dive straight into the counting, and to musically fit the inherent patterns the numbers present. Little details identifying the song or composer are often tacked on to the end. Introductory lessons about the composer or the music accompany each song. In the process of memorizing skip-counting, students will also be internalizing music that has cultural and historic value. The songs are meant to be a tool for teachers to use in the classroom, not part of the music class curriculum, so I am introducing them with classroom teachers room-by-room, to gain additional input from both students and teachers. The songs have all been recorded by local professional musician friends, for teachers to use. We’ll be working gradually to re-record them with ABS children singing.


The ABS skip counting songs include the following music: 2s: Standard blues pattern 3s: Japanese melody Sakura 4s: NC folk song Shady Grove 5s: Traditional sea shanty, 6s: Mardi Gras Indians song Jock-a-Mo (Iko Iko) 7s: Grieg In the Hall of the Mountain King. 8s: Ellington Love You Madly 9s: Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandy 10s: Beethoven Ode to Joy11s: Debussy Claire de lune 12s: Irish Danny Boy and Russian Kalinka.


Fun at the Fair

Check out the beautiful artwork created by ABS students at the Dixie Classic Fair!  ABS art teachers Betsy Messick and Elizabeth Gledhill selected from among works produced last school year, and hung the student display in the Education Building at the fairgrounds.    The fair opens tomorrow. Artwork by the following students is represented:

K – Ellery McGowan
1st – Olivia Rareshide, Sabeyah Spencer, Moses Umlauf, Francie Barnes, Noah Baker
2nd – Anna Wagner, Darian Pisapia, Hailey Wooten, Jazahiel Downs
3rd – Giavonni Griffin, Emma Robertson
4th – Ceilidh Woosley, Sophia Pisapia, Savanna Knight
5th – Melyn Piper, Hayden Wright
6th – Stuart MacMillan, Hannah Brooks
7th – Alex Lail, Kendal Shaughnessy, Sarah Brown


Traffic and Parking Concerns

There have been several concerns about traffic and parking over the last week.  The ABS Traffic Flow Q&A document attached to the Thursday Notes e-mail includes answers to the questions that have arisen, as well as reminders about the proper car line procedures.  We will plan to discuss this issue at the October 13th Parent Council meeting.


Fall Fest!  This Saturday!

Join us this Saturday, September 30th from 12:00 to 3:00 for the ABS Fall Fest!  We will have class-sponsored games, music, several food trucks, frozen yogurt, and Krispy Kreme coffee and hot chocolate.  The games will be located in the 7th Street Courtyard and the Book Fair will be open in both school buildings. Admission for children is $5.00 and adults are free.


We still need volunteers to work at the 7th Street building to take money for admission.  If you can help with this volunteer need, please contact Shannon Shearburn (shannon621w@aol.com)


Book Fair News

The Scholastic Book Fair is in full swing in both buildings! Be sure to check out your child’s wish list and check when their class will be purchasing this week. If you haven’t had a chance to stop by and shop, don’t worry! We are open today and tomorrow until 3:30 and will be open during Fall Fest on Saturday 12:00-3:00.

We appreciate all the volunteers who have worked both fairs this week!  MLK still needs volunteers for Saturday’s Fall Fest.  If you can help, please sign up:


If we’ve sold out of an item you wanted or if you can’t make it to the fair- you can shop our book selection at our ONLINE FAIR!  All online Book Fair sales will ship for free to the school.  http://onlinebookfairs.scholastic.com/default.aspx?f=3739510 (scroll down to the orange “Shop Now” button)

Be sure to check out the Classroom Wish List board when you visit the fair.  Every teacher selected books they would like to add to their classroom library.

Please note, we will be open for FALL FEST in BOTH BUILDINGS!  Be sure to walk up to the MLK building to visit the fair, make a bookmark and attend a special author visit by Kyle Webster (ABS Dad and author of Please Say Please).  Kyle will be reading his book, signing books, and showing kids how to draw his tiger character (and other fun things!).  Readings will take place in the MLK building at 1:00, 1:30 and 2:00 on Saturday.

You can also purchase signed copies of Please Say Please for a special price of $15.

You can see a great book trailer for ‘Please Say Please’ here:


Around town…

Cabaret at Muddy Creek ABS Arts Director Mary Siebert performs the cabaret “Not for Children: A Musical Revue of Women Behaving Badly” this Saturday, September 30th at Muddy Creek Music Hall,8:00 p.m. Click here for tickets and info. Wine, beer, food and soft drinks available. Adults only.


Bach and Jazz – Free! The second annual Salem Bach Festival offers FREE concerts of world-class musicthis Friday, Saturday and Sunday, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Visit here for concert information.

Upcoming Events

3rd – Reynolda House, O’Keeffe exhibit

Fri, September 29, 9am – 12pm

ABS Fall Fest

Sat, September 30, 12pm – 3pm

Fall Fest- Rain Date

Sun, October 1, 1pm – 4pm

Kinder – Dixie Classic Fair

Mon, October 2, 8:30am – 2:00pm

1st – Triad Farmers Market

Tue, October 3, 10:50am – 1:45pm

2nd-African Tales-Cohen

Tue, October 3, 12:15pm – 12:45pm

7th Reynolda House – Georgia O’Keeffe

Wed, October 4, 9:00am – 11:30am

2nd-African Tales-Sankey

Wed, October 4, 12:15pm – 12:45pm

5th and 8th – “South Pacific” Triad Stage

Thu, October 5, 10am – 12pm
2nd-African Tales-Parris

Thu, October 5, 12:15pm – 12:45pm

6th-Olio Glassblowing Studio

Fri, October 6, 8:45am – 10:15am

6th-Purdy-Olio Glassblowing Studio

Fri, October 6, 9:45am – 11:15am

Friday Sing

Fri, October 6, 1:50pm – 2:20pm