Thursday Notes – May 14th, 2015

How We Do it and Why

By Mary Siebert


“Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes.” – Robert Altman


The North Carolina core and essential standards require that 6th graders study key historical figures and events, conquests and invasions, technology and geography pre 1940s. Maps, charts, graphs, physical environment and economic activities of various civilizations are to be studied, but the standards require that they “should not be taught in isolation, but woven together in an integrated study that helps students better understand the ancient world.” The standards do not suggest how this might be accomplished.

ABS has chosen the platform of film-making for this complex, integrated study. Over the past two years, we hired a visiting artist who worked with small groups to develop the project. This year, our students have regular drama classes with Nick Zayas, a graduate of UNCSA’s drama school with a master’s degree in film acting from the University of Southern California, who is a veteran of film and stage. We also rely upon the newly developed filmmaking skills of Peter Wilbur, and the two are working hard with Ms. Leab, Ms. Tarmey and students toward the May premiere.

Art teacher Elizabeth Gledhill helped with clay animation, bringing to bear her considerable experience with painting and sculpting characters for major theme parks, helping students to create characters for a complicated battle and paint watercolor portraits and backdrops informed by their historical research.

Visiting artist, costume designer Justin Hall, introduced students to the idea of consumer choice. He brought a number of examples of his own work during his first visit. Students learned that in clothing design, “form follows function” and they researced the purposes of the many modes of attire through the centuries. Mr. Hall returned with racks of costumes for students to examine and then don for their playful “Project Runway” film short about clothing from cavemen to Cleopatra’s Egypt.

Four genres are represented in the four short films of this project: Musical Theater (Eleanor of Aquitaine’s song and dance number), Propaganda (Genghis Khan’s military recruitment film), Clay Animation (Alexander the Great in battle) and TV Reality (multi-generational “Project Runway”) Though 6th grade humor is evident everywhere, the research is all business.

Here are some of the many inter-woven disciplines in this project:

Film-Making: A skill that transfers into everything from advertising to politics to doctoral theses, film-making is the ultimate in collaborative art.

Social Studies: Students focus on the lives of leaders, male and female, of the ancient world.

Writing and research: The art of documentary film-making requires pulling facts and distilling meaning from various sources. Adapting these ideas into entertaining and engaging short film scripts is a creative challenge.

Geography and geology: Research into regions where ancient leaders lived helps students understand human-environment interactions, strategy, and development of technology.

Drama: Problem-solving and empathy are folded into choices about acting.


Four Original Shorts: films by ABS 6th graders, premieres at SECCA on Thursday, May 28 at 6:00 p.m.

End of Grade Testing begins today

Students in grades 5 and 8 begin the EOG testing season today taking the Science test.

Parents, please help your child do his or her best by following these guidelines:

  • Help your child get 9 hours sleep throughout the weekend and each night before the test.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast, including more proteins and fewer carbohydrates.
  • BE ON TIME to school. Rushing around creates anxiety.  Latecomers must take a make-up test.
  • No couch potatoes, video games, or on-line junkies the week before.   Go outside and run and play.  You will rest better, think better, and feel better.
  • Help them arrive at school with a positive attitude.


Just a reminder that cell phones and electronic devices are not permitted in any End-of-Grade or End-of-Course test session.  All cell phones or devices will be collected prior to each testing session.  Students may have a book or magazine, but they may not use any electronic devices.  Parents and students may choose to keep all electronic devices at home during testing to avoid any issues.


Testing Schedule

May 14 Science 5th &8th grades

May 15 EOC Math I

May 18 EOG Math 3rd & 4th grades

May 19 EOG Reading 3rd & 4th grades

May 20 EOG Math 5th & 7th grades

May 21 EOG Reading 5th & 7th grades

May 22 EOG Math 6th & 8th grades

May 26 EOG Reading 6th & 8th grades


EOG results will be shared with parents at the third trimester conferences- June 9 and 10.





We still have a long way to go toward our goal of 100% participation by all our ABS families.  Please remember it isn’t the amount that counts – whether you give $1.00 or $100 – ALL PARTICIPATION COUNTS EQUALLY!  We want all our ABS families to feel included and invested in our school, no matter what the amount.

You may send in envelopes with your child, drop them off in either office, mail them in or simply click below for online donations.  It’s a great time to encourage family and friends to donate as well, just forward along the link.  Thank you so much for your continued support!


MAP results sent home

Third through Eighth grade students will receive MAP results in their Thursday Packets today.  Please take some time to review these results.   Overall results show that ABS students in each of those grades achieve higher scores than the national norms in all areas tested: math, science, reading, and language usage.   Congratulations to our students and their teachers for a job well done.   If you have any questions regarding MAP results, please contact your child’s teacher.



Mrs. McNamara and her husband welcomed their son Henry Paul McNamara on May 9th at 9:07 a.m. weighing 8 lbs 7 oz, 21 inches. All are happy and healthy!  Mrs. McNamara plans to return to ABS next year.


Garden Work Day

Join us on Saturday, May 16, 9am-1pm for Garden Workday.  We have several things to accomplish: finish terracing the slope outside the 7th St. gates, finish rebuilding the Kindergarten raised beds, build a trellis for climbing plants, win the battle against weeds, and maybe do some pruning.

Questions and RSVP: Matt Mayers (723-7189 or


No K-Kids or Builder’s Club This Week or Next

Because of testing activities in our buildings in the next two weeks, there will be no Friday morning club meetings on May 15 or May 22. The last K-Kid meeting will be a celebration on May 29.


Parent Council Elections Results

The Parent Council Board Officers for 2015-2016:

Co-chairs: Lindsay Deibler and Michelle Lawrence
Secretary: April Greenwood
Hospitality: Lynn Silkstone
Annual Giving: Frances Beasley and Amy Jones
Technical Support: Amy Archambault, Jason Ekstein, and Betty Faulk-Hastings


The minutes for the May 8 Parent Council Meeting are attached.


Around Town…

Youth Orchestra Auditions

The  youth ensembles of the W-S Symphony will hear auditions on Saturday, June 6 10:00 – 3:00 and Sunday June 7, 12:30 – 5:00 at the Reynolds High School Fine Arts Building. For information about audition requirements, fees, and directions, visit and click on auditions.