ABS Thursday Notes- April 9, 2020

Thursday Notes                        Published for the Arts Based School Community                         April 9, 2020 www.artsbasedschool.com  Spring Break   April 10-April 17 No Distance Learning   How We Do It and Why By Mary Siebert   “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”   – Christopher Robin, from A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh   Even the most organized among us knows how to improvise. No matter how meticulously you plan it out, life is constant improvisation. If you construct a structured and predictable mirage for yourself, you can wake up in a hurry by bringing a baby into the picture. All of the books and videos and wise grandmas in the world could not have prepared you for your unique child. There are moments along the way when you may say to yourself “AHA! She is acting like a two-year-old!” But those fleeting landmarks can be just as confounding as they can be reassuring. Because eventually they don’t line up, and the truth is, we are all improvising. Sometimes more than others.   Experts in the theatrical art of improvisation will coach you to “listen, breathe, react, respond.” You always have to keep breathing. If you fail to breathe, your brain loses its quicksilver magic and can easily lock up. You might experience a moment of blankness. Or terror. So it’s important to listen to what is happening, or to carefully observe, and to keep breathing.   To follow the next steps, (react and respond,) the actor thinks:  “Yes, and…”     Let’s say you are improvising a scene with a partner, in front of an audience. Your partner picks up a stone and says “Oh look! An armadillo!” Now, if your response is “That’s a rock.” you’ve killed the story on the spot. But if you move in, wrinkle your brow at the rock and exclaim “Oh dear, it’s been injured!” then you and your partner can keep the story afloat. In your head, you have to say “YES!” to the armadillo, and move forward into the “and.” The “and” is your creation, built upon the restrictions presented to you by your partner, or perhaps by a virus. But first, you have to keep breathing and then say “Yes” in your head. “Yes, this is the new reality for now, and…”    The same is true for emergency caregivers. They expertly observe and listen. They keep breathing, stay focused. They make a decision, and they act on it. For these skills and commitments, we are deeply thankful.   The arts and sciences use...

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ABS Thursday Notes- April 2, 2020

Thursday Notes                        Published for the Arts Based School Community                         April 2, 2020 www.artsbasedschool.com  Spring Break-April 10-April 17-No Distance Learning   First Digital Friday Sing! Tomorrow is the first Friday of the month, so it’s time for Friday Sing! Join Mrs. B. and Mrs. Siebert (and a quick visit from Mr. Bill) for a Friday Sing video. Finishing touches are still being applied now, so watch your email tomorrow for a Friday Sing Link, and share with your students whenever it works best for you.   Thank you, teachers and parents! I know we’re all working through new challenges and circumstances as we’ve transitioned to remote learning.  Many of you have shared both your success and frustrations. I appreciate that you have found ways to make it work for your child and your family.  As we continue to identify problems and troubleshoot solutions, I’m hoping we’ll accomplish more success and less frustration. Our goal is to be flexible and accommodating with families while still being responsible for delivering our state’s curriculum.     A Note from our Counselor- Amanda Sullivan It is now week three of our stay-at-home mandate, and one of two things might be happening in your home: 1) You’ve settled into a “new normal,” a new routine that is working well for you and your family, or 2) You and everyone around you are about to go stir crazy!  You can put me in that second category…   In order to bring some peace back to your lives, let’s talk about the importance of routines.   Kids crave routines.  Their minds need order as they learn about the world around them, and maintaining routines helps them to feel safe and protected and confident.  So what do you do when everyone’s routines are thrown off across the entire country?! It can be very scary for a child to know that even adults are off-balance right now and not sure about what to do.   It is very difficult for children to go from a very ordered environment (school) to a possibly unordered environment (home). Because of this, it is important to find a new routine at home and stick to it.  It will be more work for you initially as a parent, but the benefits far outweigh the work that is involved to make it happen. You will all feel much more safe and secure and well-balanced, which makes staying at home together day in and day out much more bearable.    Here is an excellent article from PBS about creating a new routine now that...

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ABS Thursday Notes- March 26, 2020

Thursday Notes                        Published for the Arts Based School Community                         March 26, 2020 www.artsbasedschool.com  How We Do it and Why By Mary Siebert   “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” – Pablo Picasso   In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a messenger is dispatched with a critically important message for Romeo: “Juliet is not really dead, but only sleeping!” Unfortunately, he is unable to deliver the message. He gets quarantined along the way; stuck in a home where officials believe there may be an outbreak of plague. Romeo never receives the message and, well, we all know how that turns out.   Unlike Shakespeare’s time, messages are easy to share during our quarantine. In fact, we might be overwhelmed with them. The news, the opinions, the advice that flows through our computers can swamp even the spring buds and bird songs calling for our attention. But here is one bright spot: the arts. They are being showered upon us as abundantly as seasonal pollen.   The internet brings us quarantined Italians singing from their balconies to share love and courage across empty streets to their neighbors, who receive the offer and join in. The shuttered Metropolitan Opera in New York offers free nightly live stream opera videos, and hundreds of thousands of viewers from all over the world overwhelm the system. The world’s greatest art museums offer virtual gallery visits. Free dance classes are offered. Poetry is read and shared by the poets themselves.    At home, ABS children are invited to draw pictures of their families, comparing them to families in famous works of art. Letters and cards filled with pictures and poetry are shipped to separated friends and relatives. Parents receive abundant ideas from the school, from old friends on Facebook, from corporations and websites and countless collections of curriculum that urge us to have our children make art, sing along, dance in the living room.   One ABS family shared photos of their two young daughters performing an improvised play on their front porch, for an audience of a single elderly neighbor who sat 20 feet away, on the sidewalk. The play was one in an ongoing series, so the audience had something to look forward to for several days; a memorable connection during a time of careful detachment.   Parents, too, may be using the arts now to anchor themselves, to become present. A new recipe, finally finishing a textile project, drawing, singing, dancing with your partner while your children watch and wonder. These are things that can make time stand...

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ABS Thursday Notes- March 19, 2020

Thursday Notes                        Published for the Arts Based School Community                         March 19, 2020 www.artsbasedschool.com    Thank you!  We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.  -John F. Kennedy       Each day we find ourselves with new questions, new guidance, and new information.  It can feel overwhelming to try to anticipate all the what-ifs and what next. For a moment, it’s good to stop and appreciate the amazing people in our lives and community to give ourselves some grounding.      How about those amazing teachers!  Each day I’m delighted by their creative activities and thoughtful ideas as they work to maintain connections they make with their students.      Thank you to our ABS families for making the best of a tough situation.  For many of you, your work schedules and family schedules may have morphed into something unrecognizable.  As we try to get into a groove, remember children thrive on routine. Try to establish some constants in the day so everyone knows what to expect.        Thank you to our community for coming together following the rules to help reduce the spread of the virus, helping not only ourselves but one another.     We will continue to keep you posted as we receive more information and guidance from the State.  Stay well and I hope to see you all soon!   Here are a few FAQ: How long will schools be closed? The Governor has closed all NC schools until March 30. The federal government, the Governor’s Office, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Public Instruction continue to monitor this rapidly-developing public health situation.  Closures may be extended as new information becomes available.   Will we need to make up these missed days? Only the General Assembly has the authority to waive or forgive instructional days and hours required by the state’s school calendar law. We will continue to advocate for districts’ flexibility within the calendar that best meets the needs of students.   What will happen to EOGs/EOCs? At this time, no decision has been made about accountability. The State is working with the United States Education Dept on potential flexibilities in our ESSA plan around accountability.   How will my child keep up with learning? Our teachers are working hard to share activities and resources with families via email.  These activities are not required at this time. We are mindful of striking a balance between those who are choosing to focus on family time and those looking for academic assignments.     Will the shows/performances/Community Creates...

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ABS Thursday Notes- March 12, 2020

Thursday Notes                        Published for the Arts Based School Community                         March 12, 2020 www.artsbasedschool.com  Updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)       As reported in the news, two people from Forsyth County have tested positive for novel coronavirus, bringing the total of positive cases in North Carolina to 12.  The couple from Forsyth County was on a cruise where other travelers tested positive.      As the situation continues to evolve, we are doing our best to stay on top of information and making decisions based the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).      Our school staff and custodial staff are paying special attention to cleaning doorknobs, handrails and other high-touch surfaces, consistent with seasonal flu prevention. Additionally, the CDC recommends the following preventative actions to reduce the risk of developing COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory illnesses: Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. In addition, we are making some changes to our planned activities as a proactive response in limiting congregate settings to be as safe as possible with virus containment. We have cancelled all school-sponsored field trips until further notice. We have cancelled Friday Sing until further notice. We are making contingency plans for all student performances.  We will have students perform but most likely without an audience.  We could potentially film the performance and share with ABS families. Parent Council meetings are cancelled until further notice. Until further notice, we are suspending our volunteer/visitors program beginning Friday, March 13, reducing the number of visitors to campus.  Parents picking up students for appointments will wait in the front office area.     YEARBOOK ORDERING DEADLINE  The deadline for yearbook orders is April 1st. Last year we sold out of yearbooks AND sold out of our reprint! Make sure you have your copy by ordering today! Orders can be placed by visiting the Strawbridge website at http://www.strawbridge.net/ and clicking the red “Order Pictures and Yearbooks” button at the top of the page. The price is $22 and our school code is YB106312.   Morning Traffic As many of you...

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ABS Thursday Notes- March 5, 2020

Thursday Notes                        Published for the Arts Based School Community                         March 5, 2020 www.artsbasedschool.com  Conference Days- March 6- Early Dismissal,                      K-4 Dismiss at 11:45                      5-8 Dismiss at 12 noon                        March 9 No School Updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) As the world continues to learn about and adapt to concerns regarding COVID-19, ABS is actively taking steps to help ensure the health and safety of our school community. ABS is following the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).  We are aware that a single case of COVID-19 has been identified in North Carolina, and CDC confirmation is pending. There have not been any confirmed cases in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County or surrounding areas. Our school staff and custodial staff are paying special attention to cleaning doorknobs, handrails and other high-touch surfaces, consistent with seasonal flu prevention. Additionally, the CDC recommends the following preventative actions to reduce the risk of developing COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory illnesses: Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.   As you support your children through this challenging time, please keep in mind these tips from the National Association of School Psychologists. For the full article visit Parent’s Guide for Talking to Children about COVID-19 –Remain calm and reassuring Children will react to and follow your verbal and nonverbal reactions. –Make yourself available Children may need extra attention from you and may want to talk about their concerns, fears, and questions. –Monitor television viewing and social media -Be honest and accurate. -Review and model basic hygiene for prevention.   -Communicate with your school    Sports Club starting soon Sports Club with our PE teacher, Coach Pierce, on the field, will start again for Spring Trimester. 2nd and 3rd graders on Tuesday/Thursday (you must commit to both days,) and for 4th and 5th graders Fridays only, beginning the week of March 16. The last day of clubs will be May 15.  Sports Clubs will be canceled for inclement weather. Sports Club students will develop skills and learn new games,...

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