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 Wednesday, 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 extraordinary librarian, Mrs. JoBeth Roberts, and our dedicated English teachers.
Children’s Literature: Cute or Controversial?
by MaryBeth Collins-Cook (Wheatley English Teacher)
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, including titles such 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 students examined some published books, they created a piece of writing suitable for sharing with children.
Think Like an Improviser
by Elana Fishbein (Teacher, playwright and performer, Magnet Theater)
Whether you’re an actor, writer, athlete, programmer, musician, or community leader, learning how to think like an improviser can be an invaluable asset. Skilled improvisers know how to think on their feet and tackle challenges with creative agility. In this fun and fast-paced workshop, games and exercises will focus on building an atmosphere of trust and support, collaborating as a team, getting outside your comfort zone, and embracing your authentic voice. Students learned how to turn “mistakes” into opportunities by utilizing the most important rule of improv, “Yes And!” Elana Fishbein has been improvising for nearly 20 years and holds a Master’s degree in Educational Theater from NYU. Her play, Sisters Three, devised entirely through improv, was a New York Times Critics Pick.
What Can We Learn from a Turtle? Analyzing and Creating Children’s Literature
The best children’s stories help us understand how to accept each other’s differences and cope with difficult thoughts and emotions. Many books use animals to do this. In this workshop, students not only explored the effectiveness of this technique in various children’s books (like But Not the Hippopotamus, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and Olivia and the Fairy Princesses) but also created their own fiction featuring animals.