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.

Monday, September 9, 2013

More on the Grayson Morris LEAF Puppetry Residency!

We've worked out the details of the Puppetry Residency through LEAF in Schools' residency program, and we're excited to share the details with you!

Ms. Then's and Ms. Wells' fourth grade classes will spend 3 weeks in October learning the art of puppetry and writing and producing a show to be performed at LEAF.

Puppetry artist Grayson Morris will be in residency during the weeks of September 30 and and October 14, spending two sessions per day with the students.  Students will continue to work on their scripts and puppets during the week of October 7 as well.

During the residency, Claxton students will learn all about puppetry. In small groups, they will illustrate a story with flat puppets in the toy theater style, write adaptations of folktales or original works, and learn all the elements of producing a show, including set design, building puppets, sound effects, and storytelling and puppet manipulation skills. Students will practice telling and acting out the stories in preparation for their debut at LEAF.

Grayson Morris is a teacher, puppeteer and stand-up comedian who performs both locally and regionally. She is also director of The Nut House Theater, a puppet company that produces short form puppet shows that both kids and adults enjoy.  

Claxton students will perform at LEAF on Sunday, October 20 at 11:30 on the Roots Family Stage.

Please make sure to come by to watch them and support our talented kids!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Claxton Children's Art Garden Is Launched

At Tuesday's faculty meeting, the A+ Committee introduced the Claxton Children's Art Garden, a year-long project that will give every child enrolled at Claxton this year the opportunity to work with a local artist creating a permanent installation of art for the green space outside the school building on the grounds bordering Merrimon and Hillside.

Teachers will spend the next 6 weeks working with the artists to decide on curricular themes and performance goals to be addressed by the art projects and making plans for the residencies, which will take place early next year.  Each grade level will enjoy a 6.5-day residency, thanks to generous funding from the Asheville City Schools Foundation.

The grade-level artists and projects will be:

K     Ginger Huebner       stepping stones (to be installed as a path)
1      Holly de Saillan       decorating existing picnic benches
2      Audra Holden            garden looms
3      Melissa Weiss          ceramic tiles (hung throughout the Garden)
4      Scott David Smith    mural (on the outside of the cafeteria)
5      Joe Dinwiddie          carved boulders

Please let your children's teachers know how much you support them as they work extra hard with planning!

If you would like to be included on a list of adults willing to volunteer some time to help with this amazing project (with the artists in the classrooms, in prep work such as priming benches or helping to build the looms, or with the installation on May 10), please email

Thanks as well to our corporate sponsor, French Broad Pediatrics.   If you know of a business who'd like to help sponsor the Art Garden, please have them email