Friday, December 16, 2016

The Winter Concert Warms Our Hearts

Last night saw one of our favorite Claxton traditions, the Winter Concert. Students from 1st through 5th grade performed (the kindergartners are prepping for the Celebration of Learning in the spring), showing off just how much confidence and know-how a school of the arts can instill in young children.

Not only was there singing, but students played an array of instruments—ukelele, recorder flute, piano, drums, xylophone, and, of course, bells, a 2nd grade tradition:

Here are our 4th graders accompanied by the Advanced Recorders morning music group on a particularly timely song:

In keeping with Claxton's believe in inclusion, the concert featured not only traditional Christmas songs, but music from Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Australia, and African-American traditions as well. 

We wish we could have recorded the entire concert! We did get the finale:

Our greatest appreciation to Mr. Butler for once again organizing such a massive undertaking with grace, patience, and an eye toward making sure everyone—students and their families—had a wonderful time!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Claxton Students Learn About West African Music

Claxton students were lucky enough to meet Sean Gaskell, a musician who plays the Kora, on Friday.

The Kora is a 21-string harp that originated in Gambia, West Africa. A melodic and peaceful sounding instrument, it often accompanies songs of hardship and war, some of them dating back as much as 800 years, to the founding of the Mande empire. The Kora is traditionally played by oral and musical historians knows as Griots ("Gree-ohs").

The students loved hearing music that sounds so very different from what they're used to and were fascinated by the idea of an instrument with a whopping 21 strings!

Hear it for yourself:

Once again, we're thankful for how arts integration can expose kids to so many different parts of the world and teach them to be open-minded and excited about other cultures. Thank you, Mr. Butler, for bringing Sean Gaskell to Claxton!  

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Claxton Second Graders Perform at LEAF!

Claxton second graders showed the audience at this fall's Lake Eden Arts Festival ("LEAF") what arts integration is all about when they performed with West African musician Arouna Diarra and the AZA Band.

Diarra grew up in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, an arts-rich community. He plays the n'goni and balafon and performs with Biko Cassini and Jessie Lehman, who also participated in the residency.

The three musicians taught second graders about West African musical traditions, including the call-and-response you can see in their rehearsal video here:

In this  Mountain XPress interview, they talk about how they teach kids and about their work with LEAF in Schools and Streets.

The residency culminated in a performance at LEAF!

Many thanks to Mr. Butler for arranging the residency and partially funding it from his music budget. And thank you to the Claxton PTO, who provided additional funding through its teacher mini-grant program. We are so lucky to have a community that provides our students with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like this one!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Claxton Students Drum with Giving Tree Music

"Imagine a circle of kids, drumming together, holding a common pulse, and weaving a facilitated rhythm into a cohesive musical experience!"

This is how Giving Tree Music's website describes their youth programs, and we can't think of a better match for Claxton's Leader in Me and arts integration themes.

On Tuesday, October 11, every Claxton student had the opportunity to come together in a drum circle. Students learned how to communicate through drumming, absorbed the mathematics of rhythm, and had a great time drumming, dancing, and moving.

Our thanks to Giving Tree Music for visiting us annually to bring our student community together in this wonderful way. And thank you to Mr. Butler for making it happen!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Using Art to Understand Character Traits

We love hearing how teachers integrate art into their classroom curriculum, and right now we're especially loving Ms. Quinn's approach to helping her students understand how to recognize literary characters' traits.

Students represented character traits in artwork. This hands-on approach gave students who struggle with reading comprehension a different way into the text, while encouraging all students to dig deeper. Approaching the assignment from an art perspective helps students think more creatively about what defines a fictional character and how to recognize character traits. And it helps them see fictional characters as full, rounded people. 

We can't think of a better way to help students become engaged in the world of books!

Next time you're on the third floor, take a look at the final product on display. It DOES rock!

Thanks, Ms. Quinn, for making using arts integration in your classroom!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Second Graders to Perform at Fall LEAF with West African Musician Arouna Diarra

Our artist residencies this year are off to a resounding start with the announcement that Arouna Diarra will be introducing our second graders to West African folk songs and the language, music, and culture of West Africa.

The residency will culminate in a performance at the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) on Sunday, October 23!

Diarra plays the n'goni and balfon, West African instruments, and sings in his native language, Bambara. He comes from Burkina Faso, a major hub of cultural and artistic significance in West Africa. He is passionate about bringing both his culture and the joy of music to young students. We're so lucky he is sharing both with our students!

Many thanks to LEAF in Schools and Streets for making this residency possible, and to Mr. Butler and the second grade team for bringing it to Claxton!

Monday, September 19, 2016

What's Coming Up?

As we settle into the new school year, keep an eye out for arts integration in your children's classrooms. Our teachers are amazing at incorporating drawing, singing, acting, music making, performing, sculpture, and other arts into the curriculum to make learning the core curriculum fun!

Meanwhile, our specialists have been hard at work planning some terrific arts assemblies and other learning opportunities.

A couple we're particularly excited about:

Giving Tree Music Interactive Drum Circle

Building community through drumming together—that's the simple message of Giving Tree Music. With an emphasis on peace and empowerment, Giving Tree will also help prepare developing Claxton student minds to understand math concepts (but don't tell them that!).

Giving Tree Music will be visiting Claxton on Tuesday, October 11. All Claxton students will get to participate during their specialist time.

Find out more about Giving Tree Music here.

West African Music with Sean Gaskell

Musician Sean Gaskell plays the kora, a 21-string harp that originated in Gambia, West Africa. Students will learn about the traditional use of the kora by oral and musical historians, who use it to pass on ancient stories of war and to praise political leaders. Students will have a chance to participate in the music-making as well! Learning about history becomes a lot more interesting when students see how it can be made into music, and our own history takes on new meaning when we learn about other cultures.

Sean Gaskell will be visiting Claxton on Friday, December 2. All Claxton students will have a chance to participate in this event as well.

Learn more about Sean Gaskell and the kora, and take a look at his calendar of upcoming events here.

You can see more of our growing calendar of arts events and assemblies on the Calendar page. We do our best to keep it up-to-date, so check back frequently.

Many thanks to our amazing specialist team for their work in giving Claxton students such important and amazing opportunities!

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Leader in Me Meets Arts Integration

Have you heard that Claxton is now a Leader in Me school?

We're thrilled about the Leader in Me program because it works so well with arts integration!

The Leader in Me helps Claxton students gain a sense of power over their own actions and creates a sense of investment in their school ... just like arts-integration. And both acknowledge that we're all leaders in different ways—as artists, as readers, as athletes, as mathematicians, as scientists, as musicians ...

Spend a few minutes in front of the new Leader in Me display featuring student artwork in the entryway to Claxton, and you'll start to see how arts integration fosters The Leader in Me.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Last Year's Second Graders' Recording Session with the Bob Moog Foundation

Welcome to another year of incredible arts integration at Claxton!

As we look forward to the amazing experiences ahead for our kids, here's a look back at the recording session last year's second graders had with the Bob Moog Foundation. It caps off their work in Dr. Bob's Sound School, where they learned about the science of sound. Check out the lyrics!

We're so very grateful to the Bob Moog Foundation for sponsoring Dr. Bob's Sound School and for all the support it shows Claxton.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fifth Graders perform at LEAF with M.A.K.U. Soundsystem

LEAF feels long ago, but we bet our fifth graders are still excited about getting to perform!

Thanks to LEAF in Schools and Streets, all Claxton fifth graders got to experience a residency with M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, an immigrant band now hailing from New York City. Their music combines authentic Columbian Folklore and Caribbean grooves. During their dynamic performances, M.A.K.U. Soundsystem explores how multicultural communities can grow together through a positive perspective encompassing love, hardships, and the embracing of different cultures. Their various musical backgrounds allow them to truly exemplify the idea of World Fusion and bring together a diverse room of listeners through their empowering sound.

M.A.K.U. Soundsystem embodies an active quest for celebrating identity through performance. Throughout their journey, they have explored various musical landscapes from indigenous Colombian compositions to progressive rock, bringing cultural awareness to venues and festivals across the United States and throughout the Globe. 

Best of all for our Spanish integration school, much of their performance is in Spanish. Check out "El Jugo" ("The Juice"):

The residency included a performance for our kindergarten, first, and second graders and a hands-on demonstration.

Thank you, LEAF in Schools and Streets for making this amazing opportunity available for our kids. And thanks to Mr. Butler for making it happen!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Second Graders in a Special Recording Session!

Claxton second graders rock the Orange Peel annually at the Dr. Bob's Soundschoo show, but this year they also landed a record deal!

As part of their work learning the science of sound, they wrote a song about Bob Moog, founder of Moog Music. The Bob Moog Foundation sponsors Dr. Bob's SoundSchool, a program that teaches the science-of-sound in Asheville City Schools.

When our kids performed the piece at the Orange Peel show, Michelle Moog-Koussa—Executive Director of the Moog Foundation, daughter of Bob Moog, and parent of Claxton alums—was moved to tears. And then moved to invite Claxton's second graders to record the song.

On Friday, May 5, they did just that. The Moog Foundation sponsored a field trip for all of them, put them in a real sound studio, and recorded their performance. 

Way to go, second graders! And thank you, Bob Moog Foundation! What an amazing experience for our students. They're sure to remember the science of sound.

Learn more about Dr. Bob's SoundSchool here. And check out the video below to see Claxton students at work learning the science of sound.

Monday, May 2, 2016

"Fifties" Is Nifty!

It's truly springtime when our talented Claxton third, fourth, and fifth graders perform in the Spring Production, and we're happy to report that spring 2016 has been rung in with high style by this year's performance of The Nifty Fifties.

Watching the show was a real reminder of the huge benefits of arts-integrated learning. Students memorized lines, learned songs and choreography, understood story structure, practiced working cooperatively, and demonstrated real leadership in making it to rehearsals and performances, taking care of their costumes, and making the show the huge success that it was.

Backstage was great fun too!

Full of great songs, notable costumes, and some incredible acting and singing by our students, The Nifty Fifties was a real treat, and a showing of just how much love and support our teachers and parent volunteers offer. From set design, construction, and painting to costuming, hair and make-up, and backstage supervision, to programs, pictures, and DVD's, this was a real community effort.

And, of course, it couldn't possibly happen without the heroic efforts of Mr. Butler working with the students on their singing and then leading the band for performances, and of Ms. Baldwin once again helming as Director.

This was Ms. Baldwin's final production, as she'll be retiring in December. It was a bittersweet send-off for all, topped by the presentation to Ms. Baldwin of a quilt made of old Claxton tee-shirts, including many from her productions. Ms. Ingle made the beautiful quilt, and the faculty got together to purchase it at the Light the Night Auction. It made the perfect thank you gift.

Our deepest thanks to Ms. Baldwin for all she's done over so many years of Spring Productions, and to everyone who made this year's happen!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Asheville Then and Now ... An Artist Residency

Claxton fourth graders have been working with TAPAS artist Leslie Rosenberg on a special project—creating wood panels that will be displayed at Avenue M restaurant on Merrimon Avenue!

Working in their art time with Mr. Cassara, students identified important people from and aspects of Asheville in several categories, such as sports, arts, and civics. They worked together to create designs that Ms. Rosenberg then translated to the large wood panels.

Students are now working collaboratively to paint the panels and add pieces to create relief (three dimensions).

This project called on fourth graders to identify important people and events from Asheville's history, articulate whey they should be included on the panels, figure out how to visually depict them, and work both collaboratively and independently. As always, Mr. Cassara has demonstrated a knack for amazing arts integration!

This is Ms. Rosenberg's second residency at Claxton, and we are thrilled to have her back. An artist and educator who works in mixed media of wood and paint, she believes creativity is an essential element of health and education. Her work with Claxton students certainly demonstrates this belief! Visit her website to see her amazing art.

Many thanks to Ms. Rosenberg for her time and passion, Mr. Cassara for bringing her to Claxton and for all he does for our students, and Asheville City Schools Foundation for making the TAPAS program available.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Amazing Day with an Author

Children's author Jane Clarke visited Claxton on April 12 for a day full of poetry, puppets, and plans for more writing. It was her FIRST visit to a U.S. school on her tour!

Grades K through 2 joined her for an introduction of her new book, Who Woke the Baby?

Our lucky kids had a chance to purchase a copy of the book and have it signed by the author!

To everyone's delight, she handed out puppets so the kids could act out the story. 

As they did so, they learned about the rhythms of poetry, performing in front of an audience, and how to really bring a story to life.

Ms. Clarke then worked with third graders on a poetry workshop. Students did a phenomenal job, and had so much fun!

Many thanks to Ms. Clarke for sharing her time with us, to our own Ms. Brown for making it happen, and to Spellbound Books for bringing Ms. Clarke to Asheville and giving Claxton students the opportunity to buy her book for signing!