ABS Thursday Notes- December 15, 2022

Published for the Arts Based School Community

December 15, 2022

Early Dismissal- Friday, Dec 16

K-4 dismiss at 11:45

5-8 dismiss at 12noon

Winter Break-No School

Dec 19-Jan 2

How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert

Consider this: When you are using a device, you are disengaging with something else. Is that something else important to you? Perhaps it's a child, a significant other, exercise, your job, chores or hobbies.” - Mayo Clinic

While your children are out of school over the break, it may be tempting for you to plop them down in front of a video game while you make preparations for the holidays. And certainly, there will be some of that. But they will remember these young years best if they spend time and effort making things with their hands, voices, and hearts. It’s messier for you, but in the long run, the cookies they make themselves will taste the best to them, and they’ll be learning while they’re at it. 

There are free software interfaces that allow a teacher to simultaneously show a class of ipad-toting students the same images, problems, or questions. The teacher controls content and images, and controls when those images change. That capability is cooler but not much different from a white board or a projector, but the teacher can also add links, which a student can touch and access when ready. It can show more than one image at a time, scroll back and forth between them with the touch of a finger. It can be programmed to progress through a lesson only when everyone has touched the screen to answer a question, graphing an instant class assessment. The teacher can see, by looking at a screen, which child is struggling or excelling. 

That sounded more exciting before Covid, when we were all forced to experience the sensation of teaching through a screen. Technology can certainly help. But our teachers can already instantly see who is struggling or excelling, by interacting with the students, rather than a screen. And on the down side, while a fancy program might force every student to answer each question before the whole class moves on, those same kids don’t get to learn from one another by hearing their answers and their reasoning. Let’s say we are staging a tableau of a battle from the Revolutionary War. It’s instantly obvious when a child isn’t participating because they don't understand. It’s also rare that they don’t participate, because it’s so engaging to create a tableau with your fellow students. We do use tablets in some classes, but we still make tableaux. And we try to limit our use of screen time.

Children need texture, just as they need nutrition. The flat-screened, shiny world that fascinates kids when they play video games is a land in which every answer, color, and shape has been anticipated and pre-determined by the programmer. That’s not true of the things we manipulate to make art: clay, dirt, paint, ink, paper, words, bodies, and noise for example. Screens keep everything tidy, with plugs in the ears and limited variations. We need kids to get their hands on materials that will provide them with opportunities to solve the problems of physics that are inherent to art - how much paint is too much? How hard should my hand grip the brush? What if I press too hard and the soft clay collapses? How will gravity affect the glue? What if my arm drags across the wet paint? When I stack the blocks, they might actually clatter, tumble and land on my foot, unlike a painless, virtual, 2D tumble. When I play the wrong note on the piano, it should sound sour and cause me to seek the cause of the dissonance. A teacher’s or parent’s ears can instantly assess whether that note is right, wrong, or maybe the beginning of a brilliant new idea. They also know when to say “YOU figure it out! Why doesn’t it sound right? How can you get better at it?” 

Technology is exciting and fun and engaging and necessary. We need to keep up with it. But it is no substitute for the glorious, absorbing sloppy mess of making art, writing and reading books, dancing, being present together. The processes required of us as we solve the problems of real life do more than keep us engaged and self-expressed. They also develop our brains when we are young, and help sustain our intellect as we age.

May you have a break full of sloppy, generous, delicious experimentation! And also a few convenient and fun video games, movies, easy treats, and sweet rest. All things in moderation. See you next year!

ABS Awarded Capital Improvement Grant from Winston-Salem Foundation

We are delighted to announce that ABS has received a new, one-time $50,000 grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation to support the opening of our ABS South campus. The Arts Based School is deeply grateful to The Winston-Salem Foundation for their outstanding support! This retroactive grant from the Capital Improvements committee of the Foundation enabled ADA-compliant upgrades, and also supported new paint and flooring at ABS South. We are honored by the foundation’s recognition of our efforts to increase access to The Arts Based School. 

Congrats to Ashley Tate

Congratulations to our interventionist, Ashley Tate! She recently completed her National Board Certification. National Board Certification, offered by the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), is a way to recognize the accomplished teaching that is occurring in North Carolina's classrooms. The certification process is based on high and rigorous standards that evaluate teaching practice through performance-based assessments; the ultimate result is improved performance and achievement for North Carolina's students.

Videos of Performances

You can find videos of this year’s performances at the Family Portal on our website. 

MAP Testing in January

Third through eighth grade students will complete the second round of MAP testing in January. After the testing is complete, parents will receive an updated score report showing the progress your student has made this year.

Pack the Pantry

Tomorrow is the final day to help us pack the pantry! ABS Builders Club wants to pack the Little Pantries of Winston-Salem with canned foods this year. Our canned food drive will be December 12th-16th. We are asking for canned food items only. There will be boxes set up in the cafe in MLK, 7th street lobby and South Campus office for food donations. Thank you!

Set-Moving Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are needed to move sets, props and costumes! These are high-energy, rewarding tasks that help us produce our beautiful performances. These magical shows do not just magically happen...we rely upon magic-making volunteers! You are invited to log DOUBLE VOLUNTEER HOURS for these set-moving tasks:

-Tomorrow, December 16, 8:15-9:15 a.m.

-Friday February 3, 3:00-4:00 p.m.

-Friday February 24, 3:00-4:00 p.m.

If you can help with any of these, please sign up HERE. We will meet in the Ewing Theater at ABS North.



High School Information

Mrs. Raper sent an email to 8th grade families a few weeks ago about high school enrollment and registration. Please make sure you have received that information. If you live in Forsyth County, you can visit the Choice and Magnet Schools website for helpful information. Choice and Magnet applications are now open for grades 1-12. 



Assistant Principal for the Day

Does your child want a chance to be Assistant Principal for the day? We hold drawings every month at Friday Sing! You can purchase raffle tickets online or in the front office of your campus to give your child a chance to be Assistant Principal of the Day. Assistant Principals have their own desk, name tag, and list of very important duties for the day. All proceeds from the raffle support our teacher appreciation fund and allow us to do special things for our staff throughout the year. Thank you, and good luck!


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 (www.artsbasedschool.com).