A little something for everyone

Last Friday’s assembly offered a variety of participants sharing their talents with the audience. Jon and two of his students improvised a little music for the rest of the budding musicians to see where their musical abilities might take them. Then the Juniors recited penguin poetry which provided a fun way to learn a whole lot. There was even some Irish step dancing in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!

The Middle School goes to the Science Fair

7th and 8th grade students, along with Margaret and Jennifer, are at the Virginia Piedmont Regional Science Fair today. The fair is being held at John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville. Students have been working on their experiments and displays for months. Yesterday, they showed them in the Big Room to the 5th and 6th grade and some of the teachers.

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The band’s debut

The last Friday of the shortest month had no shortage of music. Kat and the Middle Schoolers played “La Morisque” on recorder, a lively dance dating back to the Renaissance. Then Jon and the band introduced the audience to a whole bunch of new instruments that they’ve been learning and practicing on for the past two months, from the woodwinds and horns to bass guitar and percussion.

The Middle School goes to Model U.N.

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Katrien’s Middle School class participated in Model U.N. in Williamsburg last weekend. The 7th and 8th graders spent several weeks writing their position papers and practicing their speeches. Their trip also included stops in Yorktown and Jamestown.

What is Model U.N.? From Wikipedia: “Model United Nations is an educational simulation and academic competition in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. MUN involves and teaches research, public speaking, debating, and writing skills, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Participants in Model UN conferences, referred to as delegates, are placed in committees and assigned countries, or occasionally other organizations or political figures, to represent. They are presented with their assignments in advance, along with a topic or topics that their committee will discuss. Delegates conduct research before conferences and formulate positions that they will then debate with their fellow delegates in committee.”

Friday assembly music

On this snow filled day, sit back somewhere warm and enjoy some recent performances by the Juniors, Seniors, and Middle Schoolers including, “We Shall Overcome” and the South African hymn “Siyahamba.”

Valentine’s Day at North Branch

Valentine’s Day at North Branch is one of my favorite days of the school year. The Big Room looks so festive with the carefully decorated bags and boxes made by students and teachers. Everyone exchanges Valentines. There is also a special assembly with songs that we sing every year. Also up in the Big Room are some very special 6-word compositions. Bonnie asked students, teachers and parents (current and former), to write 6 words about NBS. They range from funny to very moving. Here are some photos and a video of the day.

The gifts of song and dance

Last Friday’s assembly audience was treated to inspirational performances that left the feet tapping, voices humming, and hopes and dreams on the rise. Our own nine-time award-winning middle schooler and her partner performed the ballroom rumba for the rapt crowd. After a session of many excellent dance questions, Kat and the chorus took the floor to sing The Alternate Route’s “Nothing More.” It was an afternoon that left everyone proud to be a part of the North Branch community and contemplating the part we all play in it.


A workshop on fake stage blood? Yes, please!

The middle school is currently studying Macbeth. Today they were delighted to participate in “Blood Hath Been Shed Ere Now”: Blood on the Early Modern Stage, a workshop led by Sarah Blackwell and Kim Newton of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. Huge thanks to them for coming to North Branch and facilitating such an interesting workshop! We learned several interesting things in the first few minutes:

1. In Shakespeare’s time (late 1500s-early 1600s), the actors most commonly used pig’s blood on stage.

2. At the ASC, chunky peanut butter is often used in the stage blood to make wounds look “textured.” <shiver>

3. Actors often use soap-based blood recipes so that costumes can be successfully washed after a scene.

The students heard about the different ways to make blood (edible or not? washable or not?) and then were assigned scenes that used blood. The groups then chose and mixed an effective recipe, applied the blood, and acted out the scene. Tomorrow, the students get to do two more workshops: one on special effects and another on rhetoric. And on Thursday, when they go to see a play at the theater, they will do a final workshop on stage combat.

Here are some pictures and video from today:

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Assemblies in the New Year

The first two assemblies in 2015 were about looking back and recognizing the December birthdays and being in the present with the January birthdays. Students also connected to one another by interviewing their book buddies and discovering memorable moments from 2014 like Christmas, vacations, and summer and hopes for the coming year like Christmas, vacations, and summer — and snow, playing with friends, soccer, and so much more. One student compared it to closing one door and opening another. The Primary IIs rounded it all out with the “Yes, No” song.

By northbranchschool Posted in Assembly

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” – M.L.K., Jr.

North Branch was in session today for everyone to learn about Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work. Students from nursery to eighth grade learned about the civil rights movement and who Dr. King was. They talked about how to make peace and justice a part of daily life at home and at school. The school day began with a special assembly that included a recorder prelude and the presentation of a quote by Dr. King. (Charlotte asked the students if they knew what a federal holiday was, and one boy responded that it was a “day to celebrate people, not things,” which I thought was very insightful). In the afternoon, the middle school went to see the movie Selma and the nursery through 5th grade students met to share what they had learned.