Thursday Notes – December 18th, 2014

Winter Break Dec 22-Jan 2

Dec 19 is a full day of school!


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


 “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein


Peeking at gifts before you are meant to open them can whet the appetite for what’s to come. Here’s a taste of what coming to 6th, 7th , and 8th graders next term:

6th Graders will again study world history through the medium of film, by producing their own “shorts” festival. Short films require in-depth research, but grab only a bite of the big story for the movie. This year our 6th graders will focus on four main historical characters using four different film genres: Genghis Khan will inspire a black & white military recruitment film, describing the delights of becoming a troop in the Mongol hordes. Cleopatra will host a “Project Runway” show, exhibiting the fashions and functions of clothing through the ages. Alexander the Great’s battle scenes will be brought to life via clay animation and miniature scenic painting, and Eleanor of Aquitaine will sing of her crusader hubby King Henry II. Research and acting technique studies are well underway.

7th Graders will host accomplished local poets who, accompanied by bassist Matt Kendrick, will offer a poetry reading that will inform and inspire the student’s own poems for publication in their own book. They will visit bookmaker/artist Terri Schupbach Gordon, who will introduce them to her printing presses and guide them through a book-making process using their own poetry and art. In science, they will make their own solar panels and visit the LEED platinum-rated ­Green Hotel “Proximity” as they study sustainability. Both 7th and 8th graders will be exploring multimedia performing ideas to explore mathematical concepts such as balanced equations. And then, the opera Brundibar in late spring.

8th Graders will dive into a complex, multi-faced study called “Manufacturing Economies” with filmmaker/photographer/writer Diana Greene and visiting fiber artist Jane Gillian Morrow. Ms. Greene will lead students in all three of her expert media to document combined studies in chemistry class and of natural vs. synthetic dyes, their impacts on the environment, the artistic use of fiber and dye in art class, and the history of the textile industry in North Carolina to produce a richly integrated project. Watch for more about all of these exciting studies in the New Year.


Kid-Made Movie

Check out the new movie produced by Mr. Wilbur’s 7th & 8th Grade documentary film elective! Student writer/cinematographers created a peek into the daily workings of The Arts Based School with brief student testimonies about what they love about ABS. You can see the movie by visiting  and using the password Demon Deacons.  Make sure “HD” is clicked for best quality. Do NOT share on social media please. This is an insider-only perk!


Thanks from Crisis Control

Many thanks to all who contributed canned goods for Crisis Control. We collected 1,828 cans and have helped our community reduce hunger!


ABS Spelling Bee

We will be holding our annual spelling bee for third through eighth grade students on Thursday, January 8th. The top three winners from each classroom will participate in the school wide event.   Winners will proceed to the Regional Spelling Bee.


The Arts Based School Capital Campaign

-Shannon Wright

It’s that time of year again when we pause to think about those things in our life that we’re truly thankful for – our family, our friends, our health, our happiness – whatever those things are that are most important to you.  It doesn’t have to be anything big or even something anyone else would understand.  Like for me, I am thankful for the zen-like hugs I get from my dog Tucker whenever I’m feeling sad or stressed out about something.  He has a calming presence that brings me back down to earth.  I’m grateful for my morning coffee and how the combination of the delicious smell, warm cup and sinful taste make me smile when I’d rather be sleeping.


Of course, what I’m most thankful for is my family and the joy they bring me each and every day.  My two daughters are now 9 and 13 years old – hard to believe since it feels like they were babies not that long ago.  When I think about my girls and the amazing kids they’ve grown into, I pause and reflect on how truly grateful I am for The Arts Based School and the enormous effect it’s had, not only on my children, but on our entire family.  I truly believe fate brought us to this school.  We started in a traditional elementary school and watched our happy, creative, care-free girl crumple into a miserable, tentative and overly-anxious child that cried everyday on the way to school.  We moved to The Arts Based School when she was in 2nd grade and never looked back.  Within a couple of days she was loving her new school and making new friends, within a couple of weeks she was showing interest in reading for the first time and within a month she was at or above grade level in all subjects and singing her heart out on stage while performing African dances!  It was truly like watching a fuzzy little caterpillar blossom into a bright beautiful butterfly and take flight!


When I asked my daughter what was different about her new school she said, “They let me be ME.  And, it’s really fun!”  She summed it up perfectly right there.  One of the most beautiful parts of The Arts Based School is the staff’s ability to let each child’s individuality shine through and for each child to learn in a way that is engaging, artistic, challenging and extremely memorable.  There are no “one size fits all” molds here.  There are no “right and wrong” ways to create a work of art.  There is no “one way” to learn – there are infinite possibilities and our children are given the opportunity to teach as much as they are given the opportunity to learn.   At The Arts Based School, those things go hand in hand.


When I make my list of the things I am most grateful for The Arts Based School and the incredible staff are way up there.  My children are thriving.  My children are learning.  My children are happy.  For that, I cannot thank our school enough.  I want my children, and many others that will follow, to benefit from The Arts Based School’s philosophy for as long as possible.  My husband and I were excited to support the school’s Capital Campaign and do our part to ensure the school continues to grow and provide incredible opportunities for our children.  As you think of your own lists this year and the things you are grateful for, I hope you will consider supporting the Capital Campaign and investing in a school that has given us all so much to be thankful for!


Pledge cards are available in the front offices or you may make an online pledge by clicking on the link below.  Thank you so much for your consideration and Happy Holidays!


Save the Date for January Jam!

One of most popular school events is coming up soon after Winter Break.  January Jam will be held on Friday, January 16 starting after school until 4:30.  This year we will have two simultaneous events:  one for K-4 in the MLK building and one for 5-8 in the 7th Street building.  The cost is $5.00 and permission slips will be sent home in Thursday packets after the break.  We will need lots of parent volunteers to make this event successful.  Several people will be needed to supervise the dance floor, monitor the bathrooms, and sell concessions during the event.  We will also need help with set up and clean up.  Please contact if you can help.


In Today’s Relish…

Check out the Winston Salem Journal article about ABS Arts Director, Mary Siebert!