ABS Thursday Notes- September 3, 2015

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                          September 3, 2015




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


The only thing better than singing is more singing.” – Ella Fitzgerald


This is the week I get to meet all of the Kindergarten students in their individual classrooms. Seated on the floor with me in a circle, their fresh faces change from a little wary to open and delighted, as I begin to sing songs with them that they have learned in Mr. Wilbur’s music class, like Elevator Operator and The Bear Missed the Train. (Yes, the ones you’ve heard in the car already.) This is fun for all of us, and it helps the children become comfortable with me before Mr. Wilbur and I stand tall, loud, and brightly lit on the stage at First Friday Sing.

On Friday, Mr. Wilbur and I will host a mini Friday Sing rehearsal in the back-space around noon, with only Kindergarteners. We will tell them what to expect (over 300 kids singing their hearts out), and share the rules (…hands to yourself. And it’s not Friday talk; it’s Friday sing.) Then, we sing. There’s nothing like singing together to bond a bunch of kids.

K – 4 students will all join in song from 2:00 – 2:25 at First Friday Sing. These monthly gatherings are a great weekend send-off, sometimes punctuated by student performances of curricular songs. Parents are welcome to join us, (standing around the periphery…so that the children can see well, plus this is bonding time for the class,) and are asked to sing along. Occasionally, weather permitting, we walk down to the 7th Street courtyard for an outdoor sing with 5th – 8th graders joining in. We open with Funga Alafia, a welcoming song sprung from Nigeria, accompanied by 4th grade African drummers, and then we’re off. The songs change a little each year, and cycle through the seasons. Most are traditional American folk songs that even our grandparents sang as kids. We sing rounds, harmonies, and in unison. We sing loud, silly songs, patriotic songs, songs that tell stories and soft, lonely songs that bring tears to the parents’ eyes. We sing to the babies of our ABS teachers, past and present. Now and then the grown-ups and guitars drop out and listen to the children’s voices alone.

2013 article in Time Magazine reports that group singing lowers stress levels and relieves anxiety. Of course it does. It bonds us in times of work, strengthens us in times of fear, soothes us to sleep as babies, and connects us with our elderly. For celebrating your first year in Kindergarten with your new fellow students in a cool new school, there’s nothing like it.


Bring Your Band Instruments!

Studies prove that music students develop superior cognitive performance in reading and mathematical thinking, and also benefit socially. Don’t let your student miss out! Some kids leave their instrument right by their bed, where they will see it in the morning. Others leave it in front of the fridge, so they see it when they get milk for cereal or grab their lunch. Some tape a sign to the car window or the bathroom mirror, reminding them to bring their instrument. If you are uncertain about your student’s band days, please check with your child’s teacher, or with band teacher, Chloé Hayes, at chayes@artsbasedschool.com


ABS 8th Grade Presents: The Lion King!

As Mr. Zayas prepared to teach his second year of theater at ABS, he sat down to examine the 8th grade curriculum across all disciplines, looking for connections through the arts. It occurred to him that American Broadway musicals aligned with topics of American history all year, and that he could present a year of study through this great art form. Shows like 1776, OklahomaShow BoatSouth Pacific, The Sound of Music, and Miss Saigon all address social issues prevalent in the U.S. from westward expansion to the Vietnam War. As he laid out a year of study, it seemed only natural that it would culminate in the actual performance of a musical, and he offered to take the helm. This spring ABS will be the first school in our area to perform The Lion King, with rights freshly available only to elementary and middle schools.  Adapted from the American animated film by Disney, the musical was composed and written by an Englishmen, a German, and a South African; not uncommon for an art form that has taken root world-wide. The show incorporates our African drumming skills with wonderful singing and dancing. It will be directed by Nick Zayas with musical director Ashleigh Cooper, and guest choreographer Thao Nguyan. Performances will take place at the Hanes Brands Theater on April 20th and 21st at 7:00 p.m.


6th Grade Merges Art and Science

6th Grade launches investigative work on a cooperative ArtStem project with UNCSA general studies and the mosaic/mixed-media artist Jan Detter this week. They will visit the physics classroom of Dr. Janna Levin next Wednesday, September 9th at 8:00 a.m. (Ms. Tarmey’s class arrives at 7:30 a.m. for a 7:45 bus departure) where Dr. Levin’s students will share information about light, and the properties of waves and particles. Watch for more about this fascinating project as we progress!



Calling all volunteers for the Sports Club:

The Sports Club needs volunteers to lead activities.  If you are interested in teaching classes once a week, for 2-4 weeks, please contact Danielle Tarmey (6th grade teacher) at dtarmey@artsbasedschool.com.  The club will be every Thursday from 3-4 after school.  I look forward to hearing from you.


What is Sports Club?  

The Sports Club is an after-school club for students in grades 5-8.  Instead of focusing on one sport, the club will offer a variety of non-competitive sports/activities. The club will focus on the importance of fitness, hard work, teamwork, and sportsmanship. It will provide an opportunity for all students, regardless of athletic ability, to explore different sports and activities while having fun.  The Sports Club will meet on Thursdays at 3pm until 4pm. If you have any questions regarding the club, please contact Danielle Tarmey (6th grade teacher) at dtarmey@artsbasedschool.com



mClass Reading

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has implemented and required a kindergarten through third grade reading assessment called mCLASS:Reading 3D to help teachers assess, track and support each student’s reading skills.  Each student will be assessed every trimester using the online assessment program.  mCLASS:Reading 3D will instantly analyze your child’s development in grade-appropriate foundational reading skills. Teachers will use this data to focus their instruction around your child’s specific needs, in areas that may include:

  • Hearing and using sounds in spoken words (Phonemic Awareness)
  • Knowing sounds of letters and sounding out written words (Alphabetic Principle)
  • Reading words in stories easily, quickly, and correctly (Accuracy and Fluency)
  • Understanding what they read (Reading Comprehension).


After each assessment period you will receive a letter outlining your child’s specific assessment results and progress as a reader. The letter will also include learning activities you and your child can do together at home to reinforce skills learned at school.  Parent support and reading at home are a vital part of your child’s education. The teacher’s efforts, combined with your support, will help your child read with mastery and confidence.  If you have any questions about the assessment, the activities, or your child’s classroom work and progress, please talk to your child’s teacher.


Recording Your Volunteer Hours

In order to make logging your volunteer hours easier, we offer the ability to record your hours through HelpCounter from home! Please use the following link to create your personal login information. Once you log in, you can easily record your volunteer hours, set profile preferences and view volunteer opportunities.  If you have any questions about the process, please email Stephanie LeFever at slefever@artsbasedschool.com


Link – www.helpcounterweb.com/ci/volunteer


Parking for Friday Sing

Many of our parents and visitors enjoy joining us for First Friday Sing (K-4).  Friday Sing will begin at 1:50pm and end at 2:20pm this year to allow enough time to get to dismissal. To accommodate the additional parking needs, the gravel lot will be open for afternoon parking on Friday, Sept. 4.  Important note, when exiting the gravel lot you must not travel down Chestnut St.  Please turn right upon exiting the lot and join the flow of traffic into the school parking lot to exit with the dismissal line.   If you do not wish to travel through the dismissal line, you can delay your departure until after 3pm and travel down Chestnut St. 


K-Kids and Builders Club

Does your child want to make a difference in our school, our community and our world?

3rd-5th graders are invited to join the K-Kids program while 6th-8th graders are invited to join the Builders Club program.  Both are service organizations sponsored by Kiwanis International.  Meetings for K-Kids will take place in the dance studio in MLK. Builders Club meetings will take place in Ms. Tarmey’s classroom on Friday mornings from 7:45 to 8:15 each week beginning September 4.   See the letter in this week’s Thursday packets.


Beginning of Grade Test

The State Board of Education has implemented a standardized test required for all third graders in North Carolina.  Third grade students will take the Beginning of Grade (BOG) test in reading.  A student’s BOG score will be used as baseline data to measure growth and also as a screening tool to identify those students who will need remediation to pass the End of Grade test.  The NC Read to Achieve initiative requires retention for students who do not pass the Reading EOG at third grade.  The test has 42 questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.  It will be administered on September 9.    Testing accommodations will be provided for students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP).  Make-up tests will be required for any student that is absent from the regular administration of the test.


Save the Date:  Book Fair Sept 28-Oct 3

The annual Scholastic Book Fair is coming to ABS Sept 28-Oct 3! Mark your calendars! This year the book fair will be open during Fall Fest on Sat. Oct. 3. If you don’t make it during the week, be sure to shop then! Our online book fair will be from Sept. 23-Oct. 6 with many more books available. Look for a link on the ABS website soon. This is a great way to involve out-of-town family and friends in helping our school earn money to purchase books for our libraries and teachers!   There will be a lot of volunteer opportunities along with buying opportunities. Please email Mackenzie Calhoun at mackenziecombs@yahoo.com if you would like to volunteer or donate money for a gift certificate so that all of our kids can buy a book!


Parent Council Meeting Friday Sep. 11 from 8:15 to 9:15 am

The opening meeting of the school year will be held in the Resource Room of the MLK Building. All families of ABS students are welcome. Younger siblings too! If you have a topic that you would like added to the agenda, please contact Lindsay Deibler (lindsaydeibler@gmail.com) or Michelle Hopkins Lawrence (mhopkins@alumni.princeton.edu).


Assistant Principal Raffle!

Get your tickets for a chance for your child to be Mrs. Hollis’ assistant. The drawing will be held at our First Friday Sing on September 4. Tickets may be purchased in the front office of either school building. All proceeds benefit the Parent Council Hospitality Fund.


Activity Fee

Each family is asked to pay $30.00 per year per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities, including field trips and art trips.  Fees are payable at the start of the year and may be paid for the full year or in smaller increments, if needed.  Financial assistance is available to those families with demonstrated need per the approval of the principal.  Checks should be made out to The Arts Based School and turned into Ms. Wise in the front office or paid online at http://mkt.com/the-arts-based-school/activity-fee


Around Town…

Twin City Stage’s Youth Series announces auditions for The Box Car Children, directed by our own Nick Zayas. Auditions are: Monday September 21st at 7:00pm at Twin City Stage in the rehearsal hall. Performances: November 6-8 at Hanes Brands Theatre. Roles available:2 girls (ages 9-14), 2 boys (ages 6-15), 2 men (ages 25-50+) and 2 women (ages 20-35). All ages are encouraged to audition. Auditions will consist primarily of reading from the script. Character-appropriate monologues will be welcomed, but not required.