ABS Thursday Notes- July 30, 2020

Published for the Arts Based School Community
July 30, 2020

First Day of School -Wednesday, August 19

ABS Will Begin School Year in Remote Learning
Tuesday night the ABS Board of Directors convened a special meeting to consider a motion to begin the 2020-21 school year in Remote Learning for the first 9 weeks.

How Do I Stay Up to Date with School ReOpening Plans?
We’re doing our best to keep ABS families, staff and community updated with the latest information about our School ReOpening. We will continue to provide information in multiple places, including direct email, Thursday Notes and Virtual Parent Meetings. If you have specific topics, or questions, please send them to us at this form so we can be sure to address them.

Here are the links to School ReOpening Information Meeting recordings. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show!


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 times tables, but they don’t usually help much. Each song or rap is often too similar to the next, so the patterns are not differentiated. Melodies written to times tables tend toward the uninspired, and times tables set to pre-existing songs usually fit awkwardly. But those math facts, when memorized, do help children quickly build understanding as they progress in math. If students have to stop and look up the answer each time it is needed, they slow down. The teacher may have moved on, the test might be over. This is one group of facts that is worth memorizing, and repetition is required.

Songs designed to help children memorize facts, words, or letters are more effective if they are cleverly crafted, because children intuitively sense the pleasure of rhyme, pattern and the well-tracked lyric. The ABC Song fits Twinkle Twinkle pretty nicely, (in spite of the slightly awkward “LMNOP”, but that clump of letters is forced together so we can have the memory enhancing rhyme with G, V and Z. Alright... I admit I’m a nerd about lyrics.)  This is lucky for all of us who still need to sing quickly through the ABC Song, to answer a question about the 12th letter of the alphabet, in a crossword puzzle. If the song and the lyrics are crafted with skill, we will remember those lyrics well into our lives, even into old age. It’s a great mnemonic device to help young children gain quick, playful confidence as they familiarize themselves with skip-counting. As a side benefit at ABS, they’ll learn some richly sourced music.

ABS has a set of skip-counting songs from The Twos through The Twelves. Teachers at K-4 agree that it’s helpful if children are able to memorize the patterns even before they understand the concept of multiplication, so even little kids might find some of these songs on their music menu. The songs were set to music which would, in itself, be of musical value; more sophisticated than ubiquitous nursery songs like Twinkle and Farmer in the Dell.

The melodies were selected to match up with the natural rhythmic patterns of the multiples, and with the emphasized syllables of the words. The Sevens are set to In the Hall of the Mountain King by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. For The Threes, it’s the famous Japanese folk song Sakura. For The Fours, the North Carolina folk song Shady Grove, and for The Eights, the elegant Duke Ellington tune, Love You Madly. Each of the skip counting songs may be delivered with a lesson about the song’s origins, from Beethoven to the 12-bar blues, and most of the songs make a fleeting reference to their musical history. They are well-suited to distance learning, and may be delivered by the music teacher online and practiced at home with a shared recording for repetition. And...all of the melodies are robust ones that won't fatigue the household. You're welcome!


Staffing Update
Unfortunately, Miss Owusu will not be able to teach fourth grade with us as planned. She informed me yesterday that she is unable to accept the teaching position at ABS. We are very disappointed but hopeful to find an excellent teacher to add to the fourth grade team. We’ll keep you posted.


New Parent Orientation
Save the Date- Wednesday, Aug 5 at 10am for the New K-4 Parent Orientation at ABS. This program is designed specifically for new families in grades K-4th at ABS to support your transition into ABS and to answer your questions and will be provided in a virtual meeting this year. Please mark your calendars and we’ll send you a link soon!


Middle School Orientation
Save the Date-Wednesday, Aug 5 at 2pm for Middle School Orientation. For new parents (grade 5-8) and also for parents new to middle school. This program is designed to answer questions about how our middle school program works (grades 5-8) and what to expect. This will also be a virtual meeting and we’ll send you a link soon!


Special Visits
Educational research shows that the relationship between the student and his or her teacher is one of the most important factors in a student’s academic success. This critical relationship is enhanced by our small class size and our educators’ commitment to children. In support of the teacher/student relationship, our teachers will be offering a Special Visit before school begins. A Special Visit is simply an opportunity for your child to meet his or her teacher in a familiar setting, a chance to learn a bit about the class and what to expect in the coming school year. Due to Coronavirus Safety protocol, Special Visits will be set up to occur virtually, individual meetings at the school, or on the phone. This year’s scheduled days for Special Visits are August 13 and 14, 2020. Your child’s teacher will be contacting you to schedule a 15-20 minute appointment in early August.


Who’s My Teacher?
Classroom teachers met with the grade level team before school was out to create the class rosters for next year. They use all that they know about your child’s academic, social, emotional, and behavioral qualities to determine which classroom is the best match. Class placement will be sent to parents in early August. Supply lists will be posted on our website when Class Lists are released.