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, 21 January, 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!
Star Wars and The Hero’s Journey
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. According to Hollywood development executive, Christopher Vogler, “The Hero’s Journey is a pattern of narrative identified by the American scholar Joseph Campbell that appears in drama, storytelling, myths, religious ritual, and psychological development. It describes 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 used this Hero’s Journey model to create the groundbreaking films that are still popular over 40 years after their release. In this workshop, we will look at the structure of the Hero’s Journey, how Lucas used it to create Star Wars, analyze other films and literature that also use this model, and then create our own Hero’s Journey: Wheatley 2020 edition.
Lyric Writing: Lessons in Framing the Sentiment
Alan Semerdjian (poet, songwriter, and educator)
Alan Semerdjian returns to facilitate a presentation/workshop on the basics of songwriting. Students should be prepared to hear and conduct short studies of live and recorded music, review fundamental aspects of songwriting and some of the language associated with the process, and do some writing themselves mostly in the form of lyrics. Students who play guitar or some other kind of easily transportable chordal instrument are welcome to bring it to the session.
Criticism Through Comedy: The Art of Satire
Lauren Blum (Wheatley English Teacher)
Do you enjoy dry and/or ironic humor? Are you sometimes described as sarcastic? Would you like to put these traits to creative use? In this workshop, we will explore satire (a way of commenting on human flaws by poking fun at them in an intelligent, clever manner) by reading and writing it. We will start with a brief excerpt from Jonathan Swift’s 1729 essay, “A Modest Proposal,” and then travel through varied examples from the modern satirical news website, The Onion. We will write and share our work with each other, and hopefully have lots of laughs together while discovering a new purpose for writing.