ABS Thursday Notes- September 8, 2016
Published for the Arts Based School Community September 8, 2016
How We Do It and Why
By Mary Siebert
“What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing…both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.” – Stacy Horne, Time Magazine, 2013
Last spring, my teen daughter and I hulled the gallons of fragrant strawberries we’d picked together. She set herself up with headphones and a movie on her computer, to make the task fly by. I thought about the days of prepping fresh produce with my mom when we sang together in harmony. My immediate family sings non-stop, so I didn’t protest my daughter’s high-tech diversion this time; I was just happy to have the help. But I did feel a pang of nostalgia. Mom no longer knows who I am, but she remembers all of those songs.
When we consider progress in terms of technology, most of us think immediately of computers, smart phones, GPS, social media, and the quicksilver innovations of the Age of Information. But for young students, we push much further back. They study technology that transformed stone and clay into shaped tools in the ancient world. Spinning, weaving, agriculture, telescopes, weaponry, the printing press, medical research, all of this is innovation and technology that transformed us. There is also the life-changing technology of radio. Before radio, Americans shared folk songs by gathering on the front porch with instruments, voices, and a heart full of songs and stories. Every story changed as it passed from one storyteller to the next. Every singer sang a distinctly unique version of each song. Well before current research proved the physiological and psychological benefits of singing together, folks were reaping those benefits. The delights of shared singing faded from our culture when radio brought us recordings by master performers. We thrilled to those sounds and quickly began to view the popular versions as the “only” versions. There is a bittersweet side to much of this progress. Just as we lost flavor, nutrition, and the joy of harvest when we moved away from locally grown foods to industrially produced groceries, we lost variety and health benefits when we stopped singing together and allowed the radio to sing for us.
In the spirit of the front porch, ABS students sing together. We sing in the classroom. We sing in the music room. We sing in theatrical productions. We memorize facts by singing, and at K-4 we gather together once every month, raising our 300+ voices in unique ABS arrangements of songs that will last a lifetime. This tradition of First-Friday Sing sometimes extends through 8th grade in the 7th Street courtyard. One of the major goals of Friday Sing is to preserve and pass along American folk song heritage. We also occasionally choose songs in languages other than English, and delve into world cultures.
Mr. Wilbur and I confer and lay out the year’s songs for this event in advance. After well over a decade of doing this, we know what works. We typically avoid commercial songs, (with exceptions,) since students get plenty of exposure to these out in the world. We look for traditional songs with simple, repeated lyrics so they are easier to sing with the K-4 span. We choose songs that are not heavily reliant upon instrumentals. We balance silly with serious, ballads with up-tempo, younger topics with older. When choosing religious songs, we aim to represent iconic music and styles without delivering religious instruction. When others suggest songs, we consider them seriously, but trust our judgment. Songs of celebration, sadness, unity, patriotism, fantasy, nonsense, longing, hope. Songs with which to dance, protest, work, sleep, fight, and make peace. We need them all. We hope your children sing them when you hull strawberries together.
First Friday Sing
The first Friday Sing this year will be tomorrow, Sept 9th at the 7th Street Courtyard with K – 8, from 2:00 – 2:20. This one is shortened due to expected hot weather.
During morning drop off, students should only be dropped off next the sidewalk. Do not allow your child to exit your car alone unless they are directly adjacent to the sidewalk. Volunteers are there to assist and monitor to be sure students are out of the street before moving the traffic line. Students must be accompanied by an adult if they are walking through the parking lot. Thank you for helping to keep us all safe!
ABS Scholastic Book Fair
Mark your calendars! The annual Scholastic Book Fair is coming to our school Sept. 27-Oct. 1!
This is a wonderful way to support the school and to help reinforce the joy of reading to the students. The children get very excited about the fair every year. Students will enjoy browsing the fair and creating wish lists with their classes which they will then bring home and will have the opportunity to return later in the week to purchase. Parents are also encouraged to shop all week long! Scholastic matches every dollar of purchases with credit for the school to use to supply teachers and libraries with more books. Go to http://www.signupgenius.com/index.cfm?go=s.signup&urlid=20f0c4ba4ac22a1f85-book&view=standard to sign up for volunteer opportunities, the book fair is a fun way to get involved at school! “Get Hooked on a Book!”
Ms. Martha Holland, one of our veteran kindergarten teachers, recently informed us that she will not be able to continue teaching kindergarten this year. She will need to retire to care for her mother full time. We are sad to see her go but know that it is important for her to be home to take care of her mother.
We have a few great leads on possible kindergarten teachers. We hope to be able to fill the position quickly and provide a smooth transition for our students. If you know of someone in our community that is a licensed, experienced teacher and the perfect match for ABS, please have them send their resume to email@example.com.
Garden Work Day
Saturday, Sept. 10, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Come enjoy the sunny weather with your fellow ABS families this Saturday. Bring your kids, water, snacks, weeding/pruning tools, hats, sunscreen, and a your best warm weather philosophy.
RSVP to Matt Mayers: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent Council News:
Parent Council Meeting- The first Parent Council meeting will be Friday, Sept. 16th at 8:15am in the MLK Bldg. Cafe. Please submit topics for the agenda for the first parent council meeting of the school year by Sept. 9th. Contact PC Co-Chairs Lindsay Deibler (email@example.com) or Julee Nunley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fall Festival- Save the Date: October 1st
Mark your calendars for family fun at the ABS Fall on Saturday, October 1st held at the 7th Street building and courtyard !! Our Fall Festival Planning Committee this year will share the responsibility of hosting a wonderful event for our ABS families and community. We’ll have games, music, food trucks and more!
Want to be the Assistant Principal?
First Friday Sing is this Friday, September 9th!!! Time to purchase your raffle tickets to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal of the Day! Yes, your child (of any grade level) can serve as Principal Hollis’ Assistant for an entire day! Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of “Principal Duties” for the day! Simply stop by either front office and purchase your raffle tickets today ($1/ticket, $5 for 6 tickets). All proceeds from the raffle support our Hospitality fund and allow us to do special things for our staff throughout the year.
MeadowFest at Reynolda Gardens meadow, Sunday September 25′ 1:00-4:00. Habitat lessons, drone demos, hayride, treats and more. Raindate October 2.