Wheatley’s Midterm Experience is designed to give our 9th and 10th grade students hands-on workshops to provide insight into how English skills can be used in future endeavors. On Tuesday, over the course of two hours, students worked with acclaimed authors, poets, directors and creative artists in activities designed to engage students in activities that simply cannot be done during a regular class period.
The Midterm Experience occurs thanks to the dedication of our Secondary English Chair, Mr. Steve Collier and our Librarian, Mrs. Jo Beth Roberts. Our incredible English teachers provide crucial support, leading many of the workshops. Finally, we are thankful for the many talented professionals who spent the morning with our terrific students!
Some of the workshops given include:
Thinking Like a Writer
Todd Strasser (author, Summer of ‘69, The Wave, Give a Boy a Gun, No Home, Wheatley Graduate)
Many films, plays, and novels share common story elements, such as exposition, conflict, rising action, crisis, climax, and resolution. In the first part of the workshop, we identify these elements in popular films and novels. In the second, highly interactive, part of the workshop, students will discover why these elements are essential by creating a story of their own. In the process, we will examine character and plot development, theme, back story, foreshadowing, subplot, and many other aspects of creative writing. By the end students not only have a greater understanding of story structure but have experienced “thinking like a writer” as well.
Celebrity Interviewing (or…Do You Want to Write for Rolling Stone — even though I never have!)
Jen Calonita (author: Fairy Tale Reform School series, I’m With the Band, Flunked, Secrets of My Hollywood Life, Belles)
Do you love movies, music, and TV? Do you dream of someday having a job where you can talk and write about Hollywood all day long? Maybe you have what it takes to be an entertainment journalist. In this class, you’ll work with former entertainment magazine editor and young adult book author Jen Calonita to learn what it takes to conduct a celebrity interview from research to published article. Want in on this class? Be ready to learn fast–by the end of the first hour, you’ll be Skyping with a well-known celebrity and writing an article for The Wheatley Wildcat.
Character is Story: Bringing Narrator Characters to Life
Valerie San Filipo (Poet and writer, and a recipient of the George R.R. Martin Scholarship for Horror Writing. Instructor of Creative Writing at Stony Brook University.)
A story doesn’t happen unless it happens to someone. When writing fiction, characters are both the catalysts for plot and the lens through which the readers experience the world. In this workshop, we will learn to tell a shared story from an original character’s point-of-view. By combining our own personal experiences with a bit of imagination, we will create compelling characters to inhabit a fictional world. We will work together to tell the same story from multiple perspectives, and in doing so we will discover what character traits make for the best narrators.