Thursday Notes – March 19th, 2015

Spring Break-March 30-April 3


How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Never memorize something that you can look up.” – Albert Einstein


Many songs and raps attempt to help kids memorize their times tables, but they don’t usually help much. Each number’s rap is too similar to the next, to make it stand out. Melodies written to times tables aren’t very inspired, and times tables set to pre-existing songs fit awkwardly. However, those times tables, when memorized, help children quickly build understanding as they progress in math. If they have to stop and look up the answer each time it is needed, the teacher may have moved on. The test might be over. This is one group of facts that is worth memorizing.

Songs designed to help children memorize facts, words, or letters are more effective if they are cleverly crafted, because children feel the pleasure of rhyme, pattern, and the well-tracked lyric. The “ABCs” song fits “Twinkle Twinkle” pretty well, which is lucky for all of us who still sing quickly through it, to answer a question about the 12th letter of the alphabet in a crossword puzzle. If the song fits beautifully to the lyrics, we will remember them well into our lives, even into old age, and it can serve to help young children gain quick, playful confidence as they familiarize themselves with skip-counting.

For several years, I have been tapping away at skip-counting songs, for the “Twos” through the “Twelves.” Teachers at K-4 have said these would be valuable, and that it’s helpful if children are able to memorize the patterns well before they understand the concept of multiplication which they serve. I looked for snippets of music which would, in themselves, be a valuable lesson; songs I wanted children to know, beyond nursery rhymes.

I would think through The Sevens, for example, while I went for my daily run. Each number reveals its own personal pattern, and circles around eventually too.  As I ran I would repeat the pattern over and over: seven, fourteen, twenty-one, twenty-eight…and eventually every pattern for every number suggested a song to me. For The Sevens, it was “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg. For The Threes, the Japanese folk song “Sakura.” I looked for multicultural tunes, consulted with teachers and made corrections (one song said “that is all the fours” and teachers said this would suggest that counting by fours couldn’t continue on from there, so I changed it to “that’s enough of fours,” and at last they are finished).

Second graders have started learning them, both in the classroom and in music class. The goal will be for each class to perfect a counting song to the level where they earn a music video of themselves performing it, and then we will project their video on the screen in the MLK lobby, or the drama space at 7th Street, etc.  Long-term, we plan to make a professional quality recording of these songs and release them for purchase, to benefit the school.


Community Creates!  Save the Date

Our Community Creates! fundraising auction is scheduled for May 2.  Community Creates! pairs local artists and community leaders to create artwork together that will be auctioned to fund arts programming for children at the Arts Based School.  We use the term “collaborate” very loosely- whatever is comfortable for the artist; anything from taking a tour of the
artist’s studio to helping select a previously executed piece, to a one-on-one brainstorm and sketching session. The goal is to enhance, rather than impede, the creative process for both the artist and the community leader.

Community Creates! Components:

  • Live Auction Pairs of local artists and community leaders team up to collaborate on an original work of art. The resulting unique creations vary from oils on canvas, metalwork, photography, watercolors, fibers and many other inspiring collaborations.
  • Silent Auction An eclectic mix of original works of unique finds and arts-themed experiences.
  • 100 for $100 One hundred local artists each create an original work of art on an 8×10 canvas with the only guidance being the idea of ‘community’. Each artist is encouraged to explore the theme in any way they are inspired. All works are signed and dated on the backs of the canvases.  Guests purchase pieces, all priced at $100, based on their connection to the work and not on the perceived value of the artist.
  • Food, Drink and Entertainment Heavy hors d’ oeuvres, beer, and wine are included in the ticket price as well as live musical entertainment.


ABS 2015-16 School Calendar

ABS’ board approved the 2015-16 school calendar at the last meeting.  A copy of the calendar is attached to this email and available on the school website.


Order Boxed Lunches Now Available

In collaboration with Mudpies Daycare, ABS will now be offering parents the option of buying a boxed lunch for Mondays.  The boxed lunch is prepared by Chef Pam at Mudpies and includes a turkey/cheese sandwich, fruit, carrots, and treat (cookie, chips, etc) condiments/napkin/utensil) for $5.    Milk/juice sold separately.   If you would like to order a boxed lunch for Monday, money and order must be turned in on the Friday before.  Ordering will be tomorrow, March 20.


Parent Satisfaction Survey

Yes, that’s you – we want to know what you think!  Please follow the link ArtsBasedSchoolsurvey  to a 20 question online survey about our school.  Your responses are completely anonymous and help us determine what’s working well and what needs more work!  Please take a few minutes to complete and submit.  Thank you!


Parent Council Board Nominations

Nominations are open for Parent Council Board positions for 2015-2016. Descriptions of the duties for each officer can be found on the ABS website for Parent Council under the “Our Parents” Section. Elections will be held at the Parent Council Meeting in May. If you wish to nominate yourself, please contact Michelle Lawrence ( or Shannon Wright (


Builder’s Club Talent Show

Don’t miss the Builders Club Talent Show-March 25th at 6:00pm. The show will be held in the dance studio in the MLK building, and features some of our talented middle-school students.  The Tickets are available at the door for $5. Kona Italian Ice and popcorn will be available for purchase. Proceeds will support The Eliminate Project. This global organization provides tetanus shots for mothers and their babies.  Hope to see you there!


Get Ready to Jump!

The K-Kids are sponsoring “Jump Rope for Heart” to benefit the American Heart Association. Our event will be held on Friday, March 27. This is a great opportunity to learn about heart health and help the cause of heart research.


Community Creates!

If you would like to help with this ABS fundraising event or know of an artist that would like to paint an 8 x 10 canvas, please contact Claire O’Boyle at  Save the date- Saturday, May 2 for the auction!


Garden Work Day

Saturday, March 21   9:00 to 1:00

The next outdoor work day at ABS is sponsored by the Builders Club (Kiwanis affiliated service group for middle-schoolers). Show your support for our service-oriented students by helping them move mulch to bare spots on the MLK playground, prune trees, and clean up garden areas.   RSVP appreciated but not required. Matt Mayers ( or 723-7189)


Around Town…

Diana Greene’s and Mr. Wilbur’s film The Final Rummage, as well as the film Teaching from the Floor (directed by Tom Green, husband of Liz Green) will both be screened as part of the NC Shorts 1 block at this year’s RiverRun International Film Festival. Screenings are 4:00pm April 19 @ SECCA and 3:30pm April 24 @ Hanesbrands Theater. Tickets go on sale today!


Sawtooth School for Visual Arts offers Camp Sawtooth this summer. Registration is now available at  See flyer in today’s Thursday packet for more information.


Twin City Stage presents Mary Poppins March 27-29 and April 2-5. See flyer in today’s Thursday packet for more information or visit