Midterm Experiences Capture Students’ Interests (Part 2)

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience is designed to give our 9th and 10th grade students hands-on workshops to provide insight into how English can be used in future endeavors. On Tuesday, over the course of two hours, students worked with acclaimed authors, poets, comedians and creative artists in activities designed to engage students in a way that can be challenging during the regular school day.

The Midterm experience occurs thanks to the dedication of our Secondary English Chair, Mr. Steve Collier, our English teachers, Mrs. Jo Beth Roberts and the very generous funding of the Wheatley PTO.

A previous post described some of the workshops presented. Here are a few more:


Making it Real
by Gae Polisner, YA author The Summer of Letting Go, The Pull of Gravity & the forthcoming The Memory of Things

Where do ideas come from. . . and how can you turn them into authentic-feeling fiction?In this mini novel-writing workshop and discussion, with hands-on writing exercises, Gae Polisner led students through topics ranging from how to get started, write dynamic characters, explore and strengthen your own unique voice, plow through muddy middles, and make your work shine through revision.

An Intro to Improv
by Christopher Leidenfrost & Asia Lupo, stars of The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told

Though this workshop, students explored the theatrical art of short-form improvisation with Off Broadway performers, improvisers and part-time pirates Christopher Leidenfrost and Asia Lupo. Short-form improv performers take suggestions at random and must quickly weave them into characters, scenes and even musical numbers. During this workshop, students learned improv basics, formats and how to quickly engage action, conflict and character in a scene. In doing so, storytelling doors were opened and inhibitions were blocked!


Star Wars and The Hero’s Journey
by Dan Burke, English teacher and Star Wars Enthusiast

In George Lucas’s classic saga Star Wars, Luke Skywalker goes on an epic adventure to learn the ways of the Force, avenge the death of his father, and help the Rebels destroy the evil empire controlled by the Emperor and his apprentice, Darth Vader. Joseph Campbell, an American scholar, developed a model to describe the typical adventure of the archetype known as The Hero, the person who goes out and achieves great deeds on behalf of the group, tribe, or civilization. George Lucas was inspired by Campbell’s model to create the groundbreaking films that are still popular almost 40 years after their release. In this workshop, students looked at the structure of the Hero’s Journey and how Lucas used it to create Star Wars. Students also analyzed other films and literature that use this model, and then created their own Hero’s Journey: Wheatley 2016 edition.


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