ABS Thursday Notes- September 15, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

Sept 15, 2022

How We Do it and Why

by Mary Siebert

“Training people to be creative is a subtle process.” – Sir Ken Robinson

Bob Moyer is back for his twenty-first year with us. “Mr. Bob’s” work is often misunderstood, because of his amazing grasp of the subtlety of training young actors. He abhors the idea of sticking a script into a child’s hand, forcing the words into the young memory, encasing the little body in a charming costume, and creating an enchanting show for Grandma. This is always a temptation for educators, because it pleases parents and children enjoy being on stage. But we want to require the young actor to think, observe, make decisions, contribute to the creative process.

Mr. Bob thinks well beyond the possibility of training eventual actors and public speakers, although his approach is the best preparation for growing such fruits. Instead, he is aware of the importance of developing the overall creative capacity of each child, which may translate into innovation, focus, and invention in later years. He avoids handing a script to a child, before they have been led through exercises designed to discover capacities in each of them; capacities that might be develop into abilities. Rushing this process is like rushing the rising of bread. The result is flat, brittle, and maybe distasteful.

Second graders are currently working (and playing) through drama game lessons, as they develop a new show. Danielle Tarmey, their director, is learning to use some of Bob’s techniques. Ms. Tarmey has been given a story to work with, which fits into the second grade team’s new social studies explorations. Danielle is a professional actor and licensed, accomplished teacher (who taught 6th grade with us for years, and in other schools before us,) and is studying Bob’s approach to working with our youngest students. Bob studied directly with Viola Spolin; the famed teacher credited with inventing drama games, who died in 1994. In working with Ms. Tarmey, he is passing along Spolin’s legacy.

A typical story that Bob might share might be his hilarious telling of the “Family of Brutes”, who eat sticks and rocks for dinner and never say “Please!” or “Thank you!” or “How Lovely!” because it’s NOT lovely. Eventually the baby Brute encounters a stray “good feeling” while wandering, and brings it home. It causes the transformation you hope for, and the family changes their name to “Nice.”

Bob tells the story while introducing the concepts of storyteller and audience, the beginning, middle and end of a story, and the simplest ideas of using facial expression or position to dramatize.

With second grade, he and Ms. Tarmey are sharing a story from the Shoshone tribe in the Pacific Northwest, in which the people and animals of the world object to the sky being too close overhead, and decide, together, to push it up higher with sticks. The process is typically to tell the story, tell it again, then begin to tell it again but pretend to forget things…at which point the students laugh and protest and straighten the story out for him. Through this process, they take the story as their own.

Eventually, students volunteer to act as certain characters in the story, When asked “What would you say, when this happens?” they improvise sentences and begin to build the script, puzzling through what they know someone might say or do in each circumstance, and trying it out. In this way, their own original script is built.

There is a revelation of the value of one’s unique creative contribution in this process, which develops into self-confidence and delight as growth continues.

Household Income Survey 

Every year the Arts Based School applies for federal and state grants that help fund the education we provide to our students. The survey provides vital information to determine how much funding we are eligible to receive from State and Federal sources. This information also allows us to provide assistance to families with free/reduced lunches and other financial support. Please take a few minutes to complete this form today if you haven’t already.

Friday Sing This Week-North Campus

Our Friday Sing for North Campus (K-4 students only) will be this Friday, September 16th, from 1:50-2:20. Parents are welcome to come sing along as space permits—standing room only. New this year: Parents leaving from Friday Sing will go to their child’s classroom to pick up their student, letting the teacher know you have them, and then may exit out the cafeteria doors. No need to announce in Pikmykid, if you are attending Friday Sing and picking up at the classroom. Other students will dismiss as usual. 

Assistant Principal for the Day

There’s still time to purchase raffle tickets to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal for the Day! Yes, your child (of any grade level) can serve as Assistant Principal at their campus for an entire day! Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of "Principal Duties" for the day! Simply stop by either front office and purchase your raffle tickets ($1/ticket, $5 for 6 tickets). You may also purchase tickets online, and we will fill out the physical tickets for you in our front office. (This form will close at noon on the day of Friday Sing.) Drawings are held each Friday Sing!

5th Grade Beginning Violin Group with UNCSA’s Community Music School


Violinist Charles Shafer will offer group violin classes on the Arts Based School North campus, through UNCSA’s Community Music School. Classes are offered to 5th grade only, beginning Monday, October 3. The group will meet Mondays 2:40 – 3:50 PM in the 7th Street music room.


There will be 8 classes in the fall term. We’ll need at least seven students to sign up for the class in order to get it started, and the group will be limited to 20 students. Students will bring their own instruments.Cost for fall term: $160/student. Special arrangements for fees and instruments may be arranged for those who qualify for free or reduced lunch through the family income survey.


Rental instruments are available through the Community Music School or at our local music stores, and  are around $35/month. 5th grade parents, you may print out this flier to sign up, or watch for a hard copy to come home with your student.

After School Band

ABS is offering a free after school band club for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades! More details and sign up information are available on the clubs page of our website.

Traffic Reminders—Please be a good neighbor!

Please remember to use common sense and good courtesy as you drive through our traffic line each morning and afternoon—especially for our neighbors at Happy Hill Neighborhood, 757 North Apartments, Goler Memorial AME Zion Church, Foundations Early Learning Center, the North Chestnut St. homes, and Lloyd Presbyterian Church. Parents at Foundations Early Learning Center are also dropping off their children on their way to work in the mornings, so please remember to leave space at their driveway so that cars can come and go. 

Activity Fees

ABS is publicly funded and free to all students. We ask families to contribute a $40 activity fee each year to help cover the costs of our field trips, special arts activities, and more. Scholarships for the activity fee are available; please contact Angela Garner. You may pay your fee via our secure online form or by sending a check to the school. Thank you!

Volunteer Thanks!!

We’d like to offer a special thanks this week to our Parent Council Chairpersons, Katherine White and Debbie Mason, as well as the entire Parent Council Board! These folks work behind the scenes throughout the year to add many of the special touches and secret sauce for our school, families, teachers, and students. Thank you, Katherine, Debbie, and board members for your truly wonderful dedication to our school! The Parent Council meets monthly. All ABS parents, caregivers, and guardians are members of our Parent Council and welcome to attend. Check the ABS calendar for upcoming meeting dates! 

Ways to get involved and learn more about ABS:

  • Follow us on Social Media
  • Catch up on Thursday Notes you may have missed
  • Explore the ABS website
  • Make sure we have best contact information so that you receive all communications

Around Town

Make your plans now for the Bookmarks Festival of Books and Authors in downtown Winston-Salem on Saturday, September 24. You can buy your books in advance via the above link.


The Piedmont Youth Chorus will perform songs from "Frozen" at 9:00, before the 9:30 storytime featuring Cara Mentzel and Idina Menzel at the Bookmarks Festival on Sept. 24th at Winston Square Park! It's not too late to join in the fun! Email [email protected] to schedule an audition or to learn more about the Piedmont Youth Chorus.


The Winston-Salem Girls Chorus is now accepting registrations for fall. More info here!


Winston-Salem Theatre Alliance is presenting Disney’s Beauty and the Beast September 16-17 & 23-25. The cast has several ABS students, recent alums, and parents in it too! Purchase tickets at https://www.theatrealliance.ws/box_office/