ABS Thursday Notes- November 15, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                                  November 15, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com     November 16- Early Dismissal                         K-4 Dismiss at 11:45                         5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon Nov 19-23  No School Thanksgiving Break   Dear ABS Parents and Families, As the leaves change and the air grows crisp, we find ourselves in the middle of fall and in the season of giving. What makes this season a favorite of many is that it’s a time when we all are joyful with our hearts more open and grateful for all the good we see around us. Among the good we see around us is our school, and we are so grateful that we are part of the Arts Based School community. ABS is a remarkable place where our students feel secure and supported in an environment that fosters creativity and exposes them to the arts in a way that builds a true love learning. Through drama, dance, visual arts, and music, our students are able to learn in an innovative way, which compliments a strong core curriculum. ABS provides a learning opportunity that invigorates students, and they simply love coming to this school. Last spring, we asked you to feel “lucky to learn at ABS” and you stepped up in a major way. Your support led to the most successful annual giving campaign ever at ABS. You understood the importance of the campaign, you gave what you could, and you made all the difference. Now, we are asking you again to please support our school… your school. We are asking you to be grateful for all that ABS means to your student and your family. When applying for grants and seeking community support, it is vital to first show that we support our own school. Imagine what we could accomplish as a school if we had 100% participation from our ABS families in the annual giving campaign. Imagine what it could mean for your student and those students yet to come. Imagine all that the Arts Based School could be with that kind of support. During this season of giving, let’s come together to give to our school and make that dream a reality.   Thank you for your support, Brandi Cleveland Annual Giving Co-Chair Parent of ABS third grader Jennifer Bender Annual Giving Co-Chair Parent of ABS kindergartener and second grader   Annual Giving! We are one week in to this year’s Annual Giving campaign, and we are so grateful to everyone who has already made a gift to the school. Thank you! We truly do need help from each...

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ABS Thursday Notes- November 8, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                                   November 8, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com     Veteran’s Day-No School Monday, November 12   How We Do It and Why By Mary Siebert   “The golden way is to be friends with the community and to regard the whole human family as one.” – Mahatma Gandhi   The visiting and resident artists at ABS are an important part of our learning, and quickly become part of the family. Beyond these personal relationships, we have developed partnerships with local organizations who contribute to our experience of the community as an extension of the classroom. Here are just a few examples:   SECCA (The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.) With ever-changing exhibits of local and national artists, SECCA is uncommonly welcoming to students. On-site lessons, performances, attendance at exhibits, meetings with artists, and even exhibitions of our students’ work are all part of our relationship with this generous organization.   UNCSA (The University of North Carolina School of the Arts.) We have partnered with each department at UNCSA and are inspired every year by their dynamic students and faculty, who generously lift us up with their energy and expertise. Dancers, musicians, film makers, visual artists, actors, general studies students, and professors from all these departments have learned and created together with us. The possibilities are endless.   The Hispanic Arts Initiative. This organization brought us musicians, dancers, lecturers, and artists. They advised us in authentic dance and costume design, built costumes for us, found us a Mariachi band, suggested curricular materials, and participated in our fundraiser. Although they recently disbanded, their impact on us is a lasting one.   The Healing Force. This small family organization packs a jubilant punch, sharing stories and music from Africa through performances and extended visits. With them, we designed a unique performance which centered around the story-telling of the family, who, encircled by twenty second-graders at a time, told a traditional story from West Africa as the students acted it out. We mourn the 2017 loss of “Mama” Gail Anderson of The Healing Force.   Reynolda House. We have never had a year when some of our students didn’t tour this local treasure. We often design our own tour, based on current studies at each grade level, and the staff has supported our creative ideas, even crafting activities to support them. We walk their wooded trails, picnic on the lawn, stroll through the gardens, visit the grand home interior and listen to their pipe organ, attend special exhibits, and focus on permanent collection pieces that fit into specific studies.   The Winston-Salem Symphony. We...

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ABS Thursday Notes- November 1, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                                              November 1, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com     Veteran’s Day-No School Monday, November 12   How We Do It and Why “The mother art is architecture. Without our own, we have no soul of our own civilization.” – Frank Lloyd Wright First graders are engaged in a progressive exploration of self, family, and community. It will include some experiential lessons that introduce the city of Winston-Salem as their own ever-changing and growing community. Along with delivery of state-required goals, we aim for the students to feel that this is their town. The teachers read the story of The Three Little Pigs. Students consider and discuss the Three Little Pigs as architects who chose their own materials. They might experiment with those same materials themselves (straw, sticks, and bricks) and compare their properties. They ask themselves the following questions:   Q: What is an architect? Q: Why was the third pig the most successful architect? Q: What else could the third pig have made her house from, to make it extra strong? Q: What are the properties of good building materials? Q: Why did the third pig have to work so much harder to make her house?   Next, they look at buildings in Winston-Salem, thinking about the materials that those architects and builders chose as materials. They visit Old Salem and notice how the old buildings were constructed. They will enjoy a special visit from ABS’ contractor Don Vanderbeck, who will answer questions about how he chooses building materials, and what it’s like to work with them. Assisted by a website that compares Winston-Salem skyscrapers, with names, measurements and identifying characteristics, first graders learn about the skyline of the modern part of downtown. They take a downtown walking tour and think about the building materials needed for a skyscraper compared to the materials needed in Old Salem, over 200 years before. Like the Three Little Pigs, our town’s architects thought about form, function and materials. They are beginning to learn about observation and perspective, in art. As they walk from our school to downtown, they notice the tall buildings above them. Then they will ride an elevator way up high and look down over their own city, to compare how the perspective changes, from below looking up to up high, looking down. Finally, they draw and color the Winston-Salem skyline, and add luster using bright colors. These are not so foreign and far up, now. They are their own buildings, and they can name each one.   ABS Annual Giving! The ABS Annual Giving campaign is moving this year...

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ABS Thursday Notes- October 25, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community              October 25, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com   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...

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ABS Thursday Notes- October 18, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                          October 18, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com       How We Do It and Why By Mary Siebert   “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou   Last week, we were moved and grateful to receive word of a $50,000 bequest from Alex Ewing. Well over ten years ago, I was invited to speak about our school at a Rotary Club meeting. Afterward, a cheerful gentleman approached me and introduced himself. He was Alex Ewing, Chancellor of UNCSA. Alex was so delighted by our mission and approach that he volunteered immediately to help the school. He wanted to be a part of it, and he was, for the rest of his life. Alex served on the board for many years.  He attended dozens of student performances with his wife, Sheila. He showed up at meetings, retreats, and parties, and his presence always elevated the joy factor in the room. He walked the hallways, openly amazed by the energetic teachers, the happy children, the abundance of art and creativity bursting from the rooms and plastered on the walls. After his retirement from the board, we developed our raw warehouse space into a lovely black box theater with Alex’s financial help. He visited the school to see the result. 320 children, Kindergarten – 4th grade, were assembled in the Alex Ewing Theater to sing together. When Alex entered, they all burst into cheers and applause. He sat and listened to them sing for him, and wept, as he often wept in the presence of joy. That is one of our many favorite memories of Alex. He passed away in December of last year. We miss him, and are thankful to have known him. Our students had showered him with colorful illustrations and thank-you notes, and many of these remained on display in his home, right up until his death. Alex was more than a benefactor to us – he was part of the family.   5th Grade Dancing Classrooms Rescheduled Here are the newly rescheduled times for “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.   Theater Dates Confirmed for 8th, 7th, and 5th Grades The following dates are now solid for these productions. All of them will take place at First Presbyterian Church, 300 N. Cherry Street. The church has a beautiful, big theater in addition to their sanctuary where we can easily seat friends, family, and guests. There will be one evening performance for...

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ABS Thursday Notes- October 11, 2018

Thursday Notes                            Published for the Arts Based School Community                          October 11, 2018 www.artsbasedschool.com       Construction Update Unfortunately, we are facing an additional delay in our construction timeline. The best estimate we have for construction completion is mid-November. The issue is with water entering the building through the existing walls during heavy rains. This was unexpected and needs to be fixed before interior construction continues. That coupled with the two hurricanes coming through this fall makes the timeline tentative.   These delays will require some additional adjustments to our performance schedules and other school events, including Fall Fest.  We are working on solutions to these challenges and will keep you posted as we know more.     Lion King Performance Date and Location Confirmed   The 8th Grade production of Lion King, Jr. will be performed at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 17, at First Presbyterian Church, 300 N. Cherry Street in downtown Winston-Salem. First Presbyterian has a large theater in addition to their sanctuary, and it is ideally suited to our large-scale productions. Some parents have asked about multiple performances, but since we will be able to seat our entire parent and family population plus guests in this beautiful venue, one public performance is sufficient. (The cast will have the opportunity to perform for exclusively student audiences as well.)   mClass Reading Results Sent Home The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction requires 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).   In this week’s Thursday Packet, 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.   Flu Season As you know, flu...

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