Midterm Experiences Capture Students’ Interests (Part 5)

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience is designed to give our 9th and 10th grade students hands-on workshops to provide insight into how English might relate to 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.

Some previous posts (here and here and here and here) described some of the workshops presented on Tuesday. Here are the final batch of workshops!

Lyric Writing: Lessons in Framing the Sentiment
Alan Semerdjian, poet, songwriter and educator

Alan Semerdjian led a discussion about how lyrics are crafted in order to best articulate a song’s thematic concerns, musical elements and emotional terrain.  He performed and discussed his own work as well as the work of others.  Participants did some writing and shared copies of a favorite lyric with others. Alan was called by Relix magazine “an impressive contemporary sound…rich, textured songs and poetic lyrics.” Alan teaches English at Herricks High School and lives in NYC’s Lower East Side.

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Sitcom Writing
by Colin McKenna, award-winning playwright and Wheatley English Teacher

This workshop was designed for students with an interest in learning to write for television! Through an analysis of a sitcom arc, students learned how this is actually done by professionals. Students learned how 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 their favorite sitcom. Along the way, participants examined some great examples of sitcoms from The Office to The Simpsons to Modern Family.



Enter Stage Right! The Fundamentals of Theater Direction
by Dr. Elaine Kanas, Superintendent of Schools and former Theatre Director

It is obvious what a playwright and actors contribute to the theatre experience. But what does a director actually do?  During this workshop, participants learned the essential contributions a theatre director makes to a production in this hands-on workshop that had students interpreting, staging and guiding actors as they learned how to bring a playwright’s words magically to life through a unified vision.

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