Thursday Notes – January 29th, 2015

ow We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


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


It can be confusing for a child to learn that the United States of America, also referred to fondly as “America” is located on the continent of North America, and that South America is a different continent altogether. ABS third graders get help from the U.S. Map Song, an original ABS curriculum song that teaches basic map-reading skills. Students discover that, by singing the memorized song “inside their heads,” they can easily answer the questions on the test that follows. This internal listening is also referred to as audiation, a term coined in 1975 by Edwin E. Gordon. According to Gordon, the process for audiating and giving meaning to music is the same as the process for thinking and giving meaning to speech. In both cases you make connections to things you’ve heard before, while predicting what’s next.  One can sing in the mind without singing aloud, just as we imagine conversations without speaking. Memorizing facts or terms to music strengthens the memory so effectively that many adults with Alzheimer’s Disease can still sing the “Twinkle Twinkle” alphabet song even if they no longer recall the names of their own grandchildren. Nicholas Simmons-Stern, in Alzheimer’s Reading Room, reports that his Boston University study proved that learning facts via lyrics while singing boosted memory dramatically, due to music’s inherent emotional qualities and the stimulation of more comprehensive use of the brain.

At ABS, instead of recycling nursery-level tunes like Twinkle or Farmer in the Dell, we take the opportunity to do some cross-curricular learning, combining a rich music lesson with material from other disciplines. The “Geometry Song” is set to a classical tune by Franz Schubert. This gives the teacher an opportunity to introduce Schubert and the historic culture around the German Lied (or song.) A classical singer and pianist may visit to perform the song in German. The students “take possession” of this beautiful melody, which they will recognize for the rest of their lives. To this they sing:

  A Triangle has three sides, a quadrilateral has four

  Rectangle’s sides are equal, with square corners like a door.

  A polygon is any figure that’s closed, with angles and with sides;

  Congruent means the same; just as tall and just as wide.

Add to this an opportunity for students to solve the physical problem of creating the geometric shapes with their bodies as they sing, using stretchy loops and working with partners, and you have approached memorization from many angles at once. By this time, they couldn’t forget a quadrilateral if they tried.


Volunteer Hours

We are over halfway through our approximate 40 weeks of school!  Our volunteer policy requires one hour of volunteer time/child/week (40 hours for the school year).  Now is a great time to review your volunteer hours by logging onto HelpCounter.  Need assistance with your account?  Contact Stephanie May in the front office (


Activity Fee Due

Each family is asked to pay $15.00 per semester per child to help cover the costs of our extensive curriculum enhancement activities.  Fees are due at the start of each semester.  Second semester activity fees are due now.  Please make checks payable to ABS and turn into Ms. Wise in the front office.


Student Intent for 2015-2016 School Year

As we prepare for next year’s enrollment lottery (2015-2016), it is important to know how many spaces are available in each grade.  As a current student, your child has priority placement.  You should have received an email from Helpcounter requesting your intent for the 2015-2016 school year.  Please reply to the email as soon as possible.  Your intent must be received before February 1st so we know to hold a space for your child.


If you have not received the Helpcounter email requesting your intent, please email Stephanie May at


Siblings of students also receive priority, but must fill out an enrollment application. You must complete an application for the 2015-16 school year for siblings of current students in order to reserve a space before the lottery.  Deadline for receiving applications is Feb 6 @ 3pm


Parent Council Meeting

The next Parent Council meeting will be held on Friday, February 13th at 8:15am in the Teacher Resource Room (MLK Building).  Please submit any requests for next month’s agenda to Shannon Wright ( and Michelle Lawrence ( before Thursday, February 5th.


Sports Club needs your help!

Do you have a special sporting talent that you would like to share with middle schoolers?  We are in need of an activity for the month of February.  If you are interested, please contact Ms. Tarmey ASAP at


Inclement Weather

In the event of inclement weather, ABS will announce school closings on local TV channels, under “The Arts Based School”.  This information will also be posted on the ABS website (


Flu Season

As you know, flu can be easily spread from person to person.  We are asking for your help in reducing the spread of flu at ABS.  The symptoms for the seasonal flu and H1N1 are the same: fever of 100 degrees or more, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, and feeling very tired.  Students with these symptoms will be sent home.

You can help us by taking these simple steps:

  • Teach children to wash their hands often.
  • Teach your children not to share food or drink.
  • Teach children to cough or sneeze into their elbows to avoid spreading germs.
  • Keep sick children home.

Get the flu vaccine for you and your children.


Around Town…

The national NBC broadcast of the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championship Smucker’s Skating Spectacular will feature ABS parent Taimur Sullivan conducting his UNC School of the Arts saxophone
ensemble as it performs a live accompaniment for four-time U.S. figure
skating champion Jeremy Abbott. WXII12, Saturday, January 31st,
2:30-4:00 p.m.