Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Claxton Students Share Their Holiday Love with Trees for Elderly

Claxton students put their artistic and caring skills to work this week decorating mini-Christmas trees for people in elder care.

In all, 90 trees will be delivered to CarePartners by our second graders.  They will also perform for the recipients with a concert of song.

What an important and heartwarming way for our students to show their love to others.

And here's the WLOS segment on it:

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Ammons Sisters to Headline Claxton Storytelling Festival

Get ready for the 7th annual Claxton Storytelling Festival, coming on December 12!

In addition to the many professional storytellers and talented Claxton storytellers who will be performing, we are excited to report that the Ammon Sisters, who tell stories about North Carolina Mountain heritage will be appearing.

Both Amy and Doreyl have written beautiful books of Appalachian stories that will be available for purchase at the Festival or can be ordered ahead of time by visiting the Catch the Spirit of Appalachia   website.

Mark your calendars and come join Claxton students for a full day of storytelling on December 12!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Check Out Our New Henhouse!

The hens have come to roost on the K-1 playground, and they're living in style, thanks to the artistic talents of Claxton's kids, teachers, and parents.

Mr. Godleski built the house for the hens he has generously brought to live at school, and the Bear Pack helped complete the roof.

All those colorful signs? Compliments of Claxton student artists—demonstrating their mad humor, composition, and design skills.

How lucky are our kids to be able to spend time with the chickens, observe oviparous animals first-hand, and, come spring when the rooster comes to visit, have the chance to watch chicks hatch?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

K-3 Have a Great Time with Children's Book Author and Illustrator David Biedrzycki

David Biedrzycki—author of fabulous children's books like Me and My Dragon; Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective; and Santa's New Jet, and illustrator of The Beetle Alphabet Book, How Will I Get to School This Year?, and many others—wowed Claxton students in grades K through 3 on Monday.

He showed students how he creates his illustrations on a computer without ever using any paper and described taking an idea—a small boy walking a big dog—and turning it into something original—a small boy walking a dragon.  He even changed one image into a picture of our own Mr. Butler! 

Mr. Biedrzycki also told students about his "idea notebooks."  He keeps notebooks all over the place—under his pillow, in his car, in his pocket—so he can jot down ideas he has for things he'd like to write about.  Some of the kids were so excited about this idea that they are now carrying their own ideas notebooks!

Our sincere thanks to Mr. Biedrzycki for such a fun and informative presentation—and for inspiring our students to become greater writers and artists.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Get Your K-3 Student Ready for David Biedrzycki (and Send a Book for Signing!)

Children's book author David Biedrzycki is coming to speak to grades K through 3 on November 18.  With the holidays coming up, what a great time to ask Malaprops to order you one of his books, read it with your child, and send it along for a possible author signing if he's willing.

Here's one we love:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Signed Blockheads Arrive

Visiting author Joseph D'Agnese provided personal inscriptions for the Claxton students who ordered copies of his book, Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci.

Anyone who'd still like a signed copy of this lovely look at learning to be yourself, discovering math all around you, and, of course, what exactly the Fibonacci Sequence is (think The holidays are coming!), can order one from Malaprops—Mr. D'Agnese will inscribe it for you.

Click here to order your copy—and tell Malaprops that it's for a Claxton student.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

K and 1 Rock Claxton's First Student Showcase!

Claxton held its first ever Student Showcase on Friday, November 1, featuring performances by Mrs. Powell's, Mrs. Head's and Ms. McNair's classes and by Mr. Butler's first grade Roots and Wings group.  

Congratulations to our brave and talented kindergarteners and first graders for kicking off this new arts-integration program!

Student Showcases are a chance for every student at Claxton to perform in front of his or her peers—and to gain the confidence, skills, and knowledge that come with performing on stage.  Over the course of the four quarterly Showcases, students will get to show off their knowledge of a curricular subject embodied in performance art at least once.

Mrs. Powell's class sported apple costumes they made themselves and labeled with their favorite kind of apple while reciting poems and singing songs about apples—and of course spelling A-P-P-L-E.

Ms. McNair's kindergarteners sang and danced to a song about rainbows, inclusion, and community while showing off their knowledge of the colors of the rainbow.

Mrs. Head's class. also wearing hand-made costumes, performed a musical number using percussion instruments, demonstrating the integration of their academic studies with their music specialist time, which teaches them rhythm and fractions.

And Mr. Butler's first grade Roots and Wings showed off their xylophone skills—and their knowledge of rhythm (math) and sound creation (science).

The next Student Showcase will be held on January 24.  Find out if your own Claxton star will be performing!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Open Dream Ensemble Is Here!

The Open Dream Ensemble—a group of actors, musicians, and arts educators trained at the NC School of the Arts—are visiting Claxton for a three-day residency this week.

They kicked off the residency on Wednesday morning with an exciting performance for the entire school.  According to student reviews, it was, by turns, funny, fast-paced, and sad.  (They laughed, they cried ....)

Since then, the actors, working in pairs, have been visiting 14 classrooms to work with students on movement, music, and drama—all with an emphasis of teaching them science concepts.

For example, a visit to Mrs. Powell's first grade class included a discussion of why a trombone makes a low note when the tube is extended and a high note when the air within it is compressed:

a movement exercise in which students we asked to identify animals that live in various habitats and then to move like them:

and a chance to help play the saxophone and identify different genres of music.

We are so impressed with ODE's talent, enthusiasm, and the joy they brought to our children.  Special thanks to them for the grant they provided Claxton to help fund this residency!

Find out more about Open Dream Ensemble and all they do—including web series that incorporate science concepts into fun shows—at their website.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alash Ensemble Visits from Tuva

Second through fifth graders were treated to something very new for them on Friday as the Alash Ensemble, who come from the country of Tuva (located between Siberia and Mongolia) and perform "throat singing," shared their music and culture.

Tuvan throat singing is a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time.  Masters of traditional Tuvan instruments as well as the art of throat singing, Alash are deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and culture.  They tour professionally, sharing their culture with westerners. We are very lucky to have had them perform at Claxton.

Both during the performance and in classroom discussion prior to it, students learned about a different part of the world with different music, traditions, and religious beliefs. Attending the performance helped make them truly world scholars.

Check out a sample of the Alash Ensemble's music here:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Local Author Joseph D'Agnese Shares His Book About the Fibonnaci Sequence

Asheville author Joseph D'Agnese joined fourth and fifth graders in the Media Center on October 17 to talk about his children's picture book, Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci.  

Blockhead is a fictionalized account of how the real-life mathematician Leonardo of Pisa helped convert Europe from reliance on Roman numerals to the Hindu-Arabic numerals we use today and how he discovered the Fibonacci Sequence, a series of numbers that mathematically describes how many natural objects develop and thrive.  The book follows Leonardo's travels from Italy to North Africa over 800 years ago, his discovery of the more efficient numerals, and his subsequent travels throughout the Mediterranean learning about these numerals and how to use them.

Listen to D'Agnese's discussion with the fourth graders here: 

Learn more about his book here:

To order a signed copy of his book, scroll down to the next post.  Order are due Tuesday, October 22!

D'Agnese also writes adult crime novels, has co-authored books about the U.S. Founding Fathers, and is the author of The Scientist and the Sociopath: True Science Stories.

We are grateful to him for sharing his story of science, math, and history with Claxton students and showing them how factual events can be turned into an illustrated work of fiction.  Now that's arts integration!

D'Agnese with Claxton Media Center Specialist, Jamie Allbach

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Order a Personally Inscribed Copy of Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by Visiting Author Joseph D'Agnese

Claxton Exclusive!

Asheville author Joseph D'Agnese will be visiting Claxton this Thursday, October 17 to talk to fourth and fifth grade students about his book, Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci.

He has generously offered to sign copies of his book and has arranged to have them available for purchase through Malaprops. 

If you would like to purchase a signed copy of Mr. D’Agnese’s book, please fill out and return this form by Tuesday, October 22.

** Fourth and fifth grade students who do not purchase the book will receive a bookmark signed by the author! **

Based on the real-life mathematician who lived in Italy during the Middle Ages, this charming fantasy tells how young Leo discovers the Fibonacci Sequence, the series of numbers that order the way all living things grow and flourish.  Perfect for kids who love math, history and nature.  Learn more at  Grades 2 to 6.  Hardcover.  Henry Holt Books for Young Readers.

“Math lover or not, readers should succumb to the charms of this highly entertaining biography of medieval mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci.” — Publishers Weekly

“This lighthearted introduction to Fibonacci’s ideas will inspire young math lovers and perhaps point them toward more scholarly explorations.” — School Library Journal

Yes, my child would like ____ copy/ies, inscribed as follows:


Price of 1 book:  $18.18 (tax included).  Please pay by check only made out to CLAXTON PTO. 

Child’s Name: ____________________________  Grade: __________  Teacher: __________________

* TEACHERS:  Please send forms & checks to the PTO box in Debra Stewart’s office.  You do not need to receipt. *

Monday, September 30, 2013

Did You Hear About the Drumming?

Last Tuesday, September 24, every Claxton student spent their specialist hour putting on quite a drum show with Steve Turner of Giving Tree Music.

Each session created an interactive circle of kids, all drumming together, holding a common pulse and weaving a facilitated rhythm into a cohesive musical experience.   The only rule of Giving Tree Music is:  If you don't drum, you have to dance!

Our student sources report that not only did they learn new rhythms, but they taught a little "Gagnam Style" to the Claxton teachers.  Ask your sources about their drumming experience!

Steve Turner, Giving Tree Music's founder, inspires students to believe in themselves and to believe that they have their own, individual sense of rhythm.  He also travels with Bess the Book Bus, a mobile literacy outreach program.  

Learn more about both Giving Tree Music and Bess the Book Bus at

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuvan Throat Singers to Perform

The A+ Committee is excited to announce that they have just scheduled a performance of traditional Tuvan throat singing by the Alash Ensemble on October 18.

Grades 2 through 5 will be lucky enough to hear this unique form of music making.  The Alash Ensemble plays traditional Tuvan instruments and does throat singing, in which the musician sings at several pitches at once.  

"Imagine a human bagpipe-a person who could sing a sustained low note while humming an eerie, whistle-like melody. For good measure, toss in a thrumming rhythm similar to that of a jaw harp, but produced vocally-by the same person, at the same time." -Newsweek (March 17, 2006)

The Alash Ensemble is committed to sharing traditional Tuvan culture with other parts of the world.  Tuva is located at the southern edge of Siberia, just north of Mongolia.  It has been part of the Chinese and Mongolian empires, as well as the USSR.  It is now a member of the Russian Federation.