Midterm Experience Engages Students (Part 3 of 3)

Wednesday’s Midterm Experience was designed to give our 9th and 10th grade students hands-on workshops 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.

Earlier posts (here and here) described some of the workshops presented during the Midterm Experience. Some additional workshops included:

Getting Dramatic:  Elements of Theatre (Elaine Kanas, Superintendent / Former drama teacher)

In a fun and rollicking session, students worked with our very own Dr. Kanas on the elements of theatrical performances. Through acting exercises, drama games and theatre improvs, students discovered key elements of the actor’s,  playwright’s  and director’s craft.  Both experience and novice thespians found a role in this fun, fast-paced theatre adventure.

Fairy Tale-a-thon (Karen Bartscherer, Wheatley teacher)

In today’s current climate of trial by social media, would the Ugly Duckling’s mother end up in family therapy or family court? Little Red’s image would surely be on a milk carton, right? As for Cinderella, reality TV is written all over that one! For this workshop, students joined our very own Ms. Bartscherer for a Fairy Tale-a-thon.  Students explored numerous classic tales, including multiple Cinderellas, Red Riding Hoods, Sleeping Beauties, Rumpelstiltskins, and more.  Participants created their own contemporary versions or totally original tales.
Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight (Natalia McMillan, Wheatley teacher and Batman enthusiast!)

This workshop was designed for fans of Batman! After watching a 45-minute documentary that delves into the psychology of Batman as well as his villainous counterparts, students used this knowledge of character development to create their own original character to serve an either an ally (sidekick) to Batman or another enemy (villain).  For this workshop, there was both a drawing and writing component.

Sitcom Writing (Colin McKenna, Wheatley teacher)

During this workshop, students learned how to write a sitcom for television! Led by our award-winning playwright and teacher, Colin McKenna, students learned how sitcom writing is actually done by professionals.  Students learned to write a “logline,” craft for commercial breaks, the difference between a single-camera and multi-camera show, and how to create a “spec script” for your favorite sitcom.  Along the students examined some great examples of sitcoms — from The Office to The Simpsons to Modern Family.

Story Cubes (Tara Jacobs, Wheatley teacher)

Story Cubes are an exciting way to get your imagination whirling and generate your best creative writing!  Led by Ms. Jacobs, students worked in groups with Story Cubes, which are dice with different pictures on each face. Working together, students needed to interpret the pictures and weave them together to tell a complete story.  Students worked together to produce a creative, imaginative and engaging story.

Children’s  Literature:  Cute or Controversial? (Stephen Collier and Karen Homer)

Have you ever been offended by a picture book? It sounds silly, doesn’t it?  However, in this workshop, students explored children’s books that have caused controversy for some parents, teachers, or librarians. Led by Mr. Collier and North Side’s Karen Homer, students discussed such titles as Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Pinkerton Behave!, Little Red Riding Hood, Goodnight, Moon, The Stupids Die, and Where’s Waldo.  After examining these published books, students then created a piece of writing suitable for sharing with children.

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