Yesterday’s Midterm Experience was designed to give our 9th and 10th grade students a hands-on workshop to provide insight into how English can be used in future careers and activities. For two-hours, students worked with acclaimed playwrights, poets and creative artists in activities designed to engage students in a way that can be challenging during the regular school day.
The Midterm experience occurred thanks to the dedication of Mr. Collier, our English teachers, Mrs. Roberts and the funding of the Wheatley PTO.
An earlier post described some of the workshops presented during the Midterm Experience. Some additional workshops include:
Playwriting Workshop (Molly Smith Metzler, playwright)
During this fun and rigorous workshop, students were introduced to the basic elements of playwriting and were then guided through writing a short play of their own. Led by award-winning playwright Molly Smith Metzler (author of Elemeno Pea), this workshop experience was designed to promote student creativity. Students simply needed to bring a pen, an open mind and a readiness to share.
Your Super Bowl Commercial (Jonathan Cranin, director)
Award-winning Creative Director Jonathan Cranin led students in a workshop during which they discussed famous TV commercials, focusing on what made them successful and what elements go into making great spots. Working in creative groups, students created a positioning for the assigned brand: “Old Westbury.” Working together, they scripted a commercial and presented it to the class for feedback and a vote
Celebrity Interviewing (Jen Calonita, author)
Jen Calonita, a well-known YA author Secrets of My Hollywood Life) and former entertainment magazine editor, combined interview techniques, entertainment reporting and video technology to lead participants through the process of developing interview questions and preparing to interview a well-known music celebrity. Working collaboratively, students developed questions, selected the ones to be asked, and then connected via Skype with Zach Barnett, lead singer of American Authors (who had a huge hit in 2014 with Best Day of My Life). After the interview (which included an impromptu jam session), students prepared an article for The Wheatley Wildcat.
Found Poetry (Dan Burke, teacher)
Our very own Dan Burke led students on a hand-on workshop on found poetry, which is a creative and exciting form of poetry that uses existing texts in order to reframe the words into a poem. This is a fun and creative way to play with language and to explore one’s innovative side. Students looked at a variety of found poem ideas, including creating poems by darkening the words or phrases of a passage, leaving only the words the poet wants to use to make his/her poem, cutting out words from magazines and organizing them into poem form, or simply identifying words in a standard prose passage and customizing them by changing spacing and lines, adding or deleting text, thus creating new meaning. There is an artistic component to the workshop as the visual representation of the poem is just as important as the wording.