Music, movement, and spoken word on Friday

Friday assembly was a mix of presentations from several groups. The Juniors kicked it off with “Au Clair de La Lune” and “Merrily We Roll Along” performed on the recorder. Then Agnes and Wednesday group provided a demonstration of some of the yoga poses they’ve been working on, including a downward facing dog bridge. The students were also treated to a spoken word presentation of Shel Silverstein’s “Homemade Boat” followed by a demonstration of a student’s composition for guitar.

Wednesday group’s songlines

Have you ever wondered what the Wednesday group is all about? Well at Friday assembly, Margaret and her students gave us a glimpse into one of the many fun projects they create out in the woods. The students presented maps drawn from their songlines. Aboriginal Australians created songs, stories, dances, and paintings that when recited in the correct sequence, helped others navigate across the land and identify landmarks and watering holes. Students were also treated to a fencing demonstration and “Calvin and Hobbes” poem by members of Stuart’s Spoken Word class.



The Seniors begin at the beginning

Maggie and the Seniors, in the midst of early life studies, broke down our planet’s history by creating a timeline to the scale of 1 centimeter per million years. Whew! It is impressive, especially when you see the tiny space human existence takes up at the very end. It hangs in the big room for all to see. The Friday audience was also treated to some dinosaur presentations and the poem “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams recited by a student in Stuart’s Spoken Word class.

Middle School music on Grandparent’s Day

Here are four videos from Grandparent’s Day on October 24th. Below, we hear from the Middle School Choir, as well as the Middle School musicians.

Juniors and Seniors share Friday with grandparents

Juniors sang “The Marvelous Toy” for family visiting North Branch on the annual Grandparents’ Day. The folk song about a toy passed down through the generations was learned by Juniors as they wrote their autobiographies. In researching their stories, some students discovered items in their own families that have been passed down and shared those with the group. The Seniors also added their own musical number on recorder and hand chimes.

Music from The Middle School Ensemble

Here are several fantastic recorder pieces from the last few assemblies. Here are the Middle School students playing with Katrien:


Read for the Record

On October 21, North Branch joined millions across the country for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. The national event celebrates literacy by attempting to set a new world record each year for the most people reading the same book on the same day. Students joined their book buddies and settled in as teachers read Rosemary Wells’ Bunny Cakes. Last year, North Branch students also took part in the record-setting day along with 2,462,860 other readers.

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The beat goes on at Friday assembly

Before Friday assembly set off around the globe, Natasha’s Primary II students kicked it off by sharing their stories of a creature from our own backyard, the Monarch butterfly. Middle School students then gave examples of fun ways to learn and practice Spanish followed by Juniors leading a round of “Kookaburra,” picked up from their studies of Australia. The busy assembly was finished off with two musical pieces by Katrien and her Middle School students. The first was a song for the recorder and the second piece, in the video below, originates from Brazil. “Lanterna Na Mao” (Lantern in the Hand) beautifully blends recorder and percussion.

The Juniors get inspired for The Writer’s Eye

On a rainy Friday, Karen, Stuart, and Charlotte accompanied the Juniors on their docent-led tours of UVA’s The Fralin Museum of Art. In preparation for the annual writing competition, students learned about several selected works of art from paintings and photographs to sculptures and etchings. They were encouraged to take notice of details, interpret visual information, and discuss their responses. Then students chose a piece or explored the museum further, in search of a style or medium that appealed to their senses. They will now begin the process of creating their own inspired prose or poetry about their chosen piece.

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Connecting to the wider world at Friday assembly

As different age groups at North Branch have embarked on journeys of discovery around the world, Oscar’s Spanish classes sought new ways to learn Spanish and apply it to other countries. Students combined words they are familiar with and some new ones to present a Spanish-speaking country, its capital, and colors of the flag. Stuart’s math group also found connections by discovering patterns in multiplication up to one hundred and displaying them for younger students or Future Mathematicians of America to ponder. The October birthdays closed it out with their classmates singing the traditional birthday song in both English and Spanish.