Wheatley Students Earn Accolades at NYSSEF!

On 19 March 2018, four Wheatley students earned accolades at the New York State Science and Engineering Fair (NYSSEF):

  • Emily Wang – 2nd Place in Environmental Engineering
  • Vani Kumar – 2nd Place in Biomedical and Health Sciences
  • Rebecca Sparacio – 3rd Place in Plant Sciences
  • Vedant Singh – Honorable Mention in Biomedical Engineering

Emily Wang also received two special awards from The American Meteorological Society and from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Taking the Pulse of the Planet Award.  These awards recognized Emily’s project for excellence in environmental sustainability.

[Thanks to Alexis Pace, Secondary Chair for Science, for the photo and the write-up!]

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Students Present AP Seminar Projects!

Wheatley’s AP Capstone Program is College Board program designed to help students learn the research, collaboration and communication skills necessary for success in college and beyond. You can learn more about this relatively new two-year program here: AP Capstone Program.

The first year of our AP Capstone Program consists of the AP Seminar course. Taught by Mrs. Alexis Blondrage Pace and Mr. Andrew Ardito, the AP Seminar course requires students to investigate topics from multiple perspectives, collaborate with classmates, synthesize new information and deliver presentations in multiple modalities.

The AP Seminar course is a wonderful, accessible course for our 10th-grade students.

On 30 January, students in this year’s AP Seminar course presented their group presentations each other and to the three evaluators: Mrs. Blondrage Pace, Mr. Ardito and Mrs. Roberts. As you can see from the listing below, the presentations included a wide-range of topics. The score students earned on this presentation factors into the overall AP score given at the end of the academic year.

  • Affirmative Action: Zach Azevedo, Jason Koty, Aidan Wong and Dean Sheinman
  • War on Drugs: Chloe Lanese, Fernando Macedo and Sanjana Khana
  • Chemical and Nuclear Weapons: Sahil Jain, Emily Yagoda and Aidan Cozzolino
  • Foster Care System: Ally Keller, Eliana Li, Erin Wu and Alia Yamin
  • The Role of Technology in the Classroom: Ilana Nimkoff, Emily Blumberg, Izzy Avila and Becca Zeltsman
  • Native American Rights: Rahul Ajmera, Brenden Resnick, Ashley Vincenzo and Brenda Zhong
  • Women’s Health Care: Rachel Lee, Allison Zheng and Alyssa Belle
  • Gun Control: Danyal Zulfiqar, Derek Gilbert and Ashis Kumar
  • Capital Punishment: Maggie Caroddo, Hailey Ramalhete and Diya Shah

 

SWS Module 2 Wraps Up!

Last week marked the end of the second quarter at Wheatley. For our School Within a School program (SWS), it marked the end of Module 2. I am particularly fond of Module 2, for it is during this time frame that I have been fortunate enough to offer a class for these past four years.

This year, my class was based on Sean Covey’s The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make. It was a remarkable treat to be able to teach a group of wonderful students over the marking period. With SWS classes meeting twice a week, students in the program have an opportunity to take a wide variety of courses each module. During Module 2, a sample of the courses offered included:

  • Beloved
  • The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make
  • The Ethicist
  • The Little Prince
  • Rhinoceros
  • Cooking with Life Skills
  • The Visible Man
  • Mindfulness
  • Podcasts
  • Inspired by Dreams
  • Trip Around the World
  • Cultural Criticism
  • Contemporary Dramas
  • Poetry as Protest
  • Memoirs
  • AP Language and Composition
  • Mock Trial

We used our 16 class periods during the module to discuss the various “decisions” outlined in the book. Students wrote reflections on what they read throughout the module. As a final project, each student presented a topic to their peers.

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Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Connects Classroom to Career! (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 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.

previous post and another post and another post and another post highlighted some of the workshops. Here are a few more of the wonderful workshops:

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.

 

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Connects Classroom to Career! (Part 4)

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.

previous post and another post and another post highlighted some of the workshops. Here are a few more of the wonderful workshops:

Sports Broadcasting

Michael Chisena (School of Communications, Hofstra)

Dan Savarino (Instructor, News12 Varsity PxP, Freelance PxP, former NY Islanders Reporter/Color analyst, Station Manager of WRHU-FM)

Julia Esposito (student with the program, currently a freshman at Hofstra pursuing the field; member of WRHU-FM, Hofstra Sports Beat)

We hear them during Sunday football, we watch them on ESPN, and we read their columns and Tweets to get the latest news. Sports journalism comes in a variety of different ways, but how do they know what to say? In this workshop, students learned the on-air side of the industry. Learning from current professionals who have covered athletics from the professional level to high school, students had a chance to learn hands-on on what it’s like to read from a teleprompter or interview someone on camera.

 


Write Your Own Graphic Memoir!

by Todd Henao, Wheatley English Teacher

Do you love comic books? Do you like talking about yourself? Is there a story you’ve been itching to tell? In this seminar, students looked at examples from writers and artists of comic-book based, personal stories. They then deconstructed these comics to learn and analyze all of the things that go into creating an original comic. Finally, students adapted their own personal stories into an original graphic memoir! Can’t draw? No problem! Good storytelling can still happen even if you don’t have artistic skill.


 

Engage, Organize, and Act! Political Activism for Young Citizens

by Jen Fatone, Wheatley English Teacher

Political activism has been surging in recent years. Engaged citizens from all across the political spectrum are writing letters, making phone calls, signing petitions, marching in the streets…. But to whom are they writing? And how do they make sure that their message is heard? Whom do they call, and what do they say? Do petitions really make a difference? What is the purpose of a march or rally, and what do I do once I join one?

Participants explored these questions as they learn how to effectively take action to promote causes that are important to them. A healthy democracy demands that no matter what our political leanings, we are all active and engaged citizens. Whether you lean Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Progressive, somewhere in the middle, or none of the above, this workshop permitted students to decide what issue you feel passionate about and inspired students to take action. As a culminating activity, students will write a letter and/or compose an email to a local, state, and/or federal representative.

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Connects Classroom to Career! (Part 3)

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.

previous post and another post highlighted some of the workshops. Here are a few more of the wonderful workshops:

Improvisation: Make Your Partner Look Good!

by Rick Leidenfrost Wilson

In this workshop, students explored the theatrical art of improvisation through games, movement, and scene building.  They used games such as Freeze TagWho Started the Motion?, and Seeing a Sport to build awareness and confidence, and to discover the comedy and drama in our interactions with each other.  Mr. Leidenfrost drew on his experience as a playwright, actor, producer, and director to help students through all aspects of improvisation.

 


YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE: PUBLIC SPEAKING FOR EVERYONE

by Elise May (performer, teaching artist, teacher, elocution and dialect coach)

Can’t get enough of that Ted talk?  Be the inspirational speaker you know you can be!  Using short personal writing based on “I have a dream,” this workshop incorporated theater voice games and techniques to give students the confidence to boldly go where they haven’t gone before.  Your words have power – learn to let your voice have power, too!

 

 

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Connects Classroom to Career! (Part 2)

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience is designed to give our 9th and 10th grade students hands-on workshops to provide insight into ways in which reading, writing, and speaking skills can be used in the world beyond Wheatley. Over the course of two hours on Monday, 22 January, 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. You can view a previous post here: Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Connects Classroom to Career! (Part 1)

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.

Some of the workshops given include:

Celebrity Interviewing
by 
Jen Calonita (author, I’m With the BandFlunkedSecrets of My Hollywood Life, Belles)

This workshop was designed for students who dream of someday having a job where they can talk and write about Hollywood all day long — that’s right…an entertainment journalist! In this class, students worked 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 a published article. By the end of the first hour of the workshop, students were ready to conduct (via FaceTime) an actual celebrity interview! The hour-long interview was conducted with musician Andrew Taggert (of The Chainsmokers fame).

 


Inspiration for Crafting Songs
by 
David Diamond (singer/songwriter, drummer/guitarist)

What comes first: the groove, melody, chords or the lyrics? What kind of mood you may be in? David Diamond led a discussion about what can inspire one to create a song; how there is no one way to begin the writing process. Sometimes a catchphrase can become a chorus, or a rhythmic pulse of a train can help create a groove to lay a foundation to create. What does a song make you feel? Students explored how certain styles of music can create different moods and transport the listener. Students created lyrics or rhythms of their own to help craft their own song.