Wheatley Students Remember the Holocaust Through Two Remarkable Presentations!

On Thursday, April 11, all students in grades 7-12 had the opportunity to participate in a day of Holocaust education.  In the morning, students in grades 7-9 assembled the Wheatley auditorium to see the play “From the Fires:  Voices of the Holocaust.”  This play traced the life of a Berlin teenager from 1937 to 1945 and helped students understand the events of the Holocaust in an age-appropriate and accessible way.  Following the performance, students had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the playwright, Jeff Sanzel, and the ensemble.  The cast was thoroughly impressed with the maturity of the students and their ability to ask high-level questions.

At the same time, students in grades 10-12 listened intently to Felice Katz, who gave her mother’s testimony of surviving the horrors of the Holocaust.  Audience members were so touched by her family’s story that Ms. Katz stayed to talk to several upper-classmen who were free the following period.

In the afternoon, the older students watched “From the Fires” while those in grades 8 and 9 heard Evelyn Altenberg tell the story of her parents, survivors from Germany.  The connection between the historical fiction they had seen in the morning and the true story of one family’s survival was quickly apparent.  Seventh graders heard Ms. Katz speak at Willets Road School.

Throughout the day and into Friday, students reflected on the presentations with their teachers and peers.  Thank you to the entire East Williston school community for supporting programming that touches upon difficult yet important topics such as genocide and tolerance.

Thank you to Dr. Eckers for arranging this most impactful day.

[Thank you to Dr. Eckers for some of the photos.]

At Our Parent-Student Evening Forum, LICADD Helps Educate and Inform about the Dangers of Vaping

The use of electronic cigarettes among teenagers has reached epidemic levels. The dangers posed by these devices are known by researchers but not by many parents or students. You can learn more about the problem through the following articles:

Along with every high school in the United States, Wheatley has worked to educate parents, students and faculty of the dangers posed by electronic devices. In light of these concerns (and after the closure of the 200-corridor bathrooms for just over a week), we held a Parent-Student Forum on Tuesday evening in order to share our concerns about electronic cigarette use, inform parents about the dangers of such heavy doses of nicotine (and, potentially, THC) at such young ages and discuss strategies to move forward as a community in order to keep our children safe and healthy.

To help us with this conversation, we had the support of our friends at LICADD (Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) were at the meeting. Steve Chassman, the Executive Director of LICADD, spoke with authority and passion about the nature of addiction, the dangers posed by nicotine abuse at such young ages and the ease at which students can transition from vaping nicotine to vaping marijuana. We also discussed strategies Wheatley would incorporate, including more student education about the dangers and the availability of treatment, more parental education and more faculty education.

Overall, it was a wonderfully productive meeting that will help us move forward in a positive, collaborative manner. Thank you to those parents and students who were in attendance!

You can view Steve Chassman’s presentation here: LICADD Wheatley School 2019

LICADD Wheatley School 2019

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Helps Students Connect English to Careers (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 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!

I have shared information about some of the workshops in this previous post and this previous post and this previous post.


Some of the other workshops given include:

Writing About You: Exploring Memoir and Creative Nonfiction

Rick Wilson (Wheatley English Teacher)

Workshop Description:

In this workshop, we will use the senses to recall, craft, explore, structure, and write about memories which might grow into compelling pieces of writing.  Whether you are an experienced writer or someone just beginning to think about writing about yourself and what you know, you’ll love this option. Through journal writing, mindfulness meditation, creative exercises, and work on the Chromebook, we will start many pieces which might fit together or stand alone.  Flash Creative Nonfiction will be discussed and read, as well as exposure to longer forms of memoir. All participants are encouraged to bring five to ten random texts found in their houses, two-three pens, perhaps some earbuds or headphones, and a readiness to churn out as many words as possible in two hours time!  All participants will be encouraged to submit a piece to be considered for publication in Vintage.  

 


Make Your Own Superhero Origin Story!

Todd Henao (Wheatley English Teacher)

Workshop Description:

Have you ever wondered how Batman became the world’s greatest detective? Or why Captain America refused to sign the Sokovia accords in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War? Or why superheroes often have a secret identity? In this midterm experience, we’ll read, watch, and explore various superhero origin stories, and examine what defines a superhero. Then, we’ll work on creating an original superhero!

 


Improvisation for the Theatre

Dr. Elaine Kanas (Superintendent of Schools)

Workshop Description:

Unlock  your creative side!  No scripts necessary here.  Explore the elements of theatre…..character, setting and action by getting up on your feet and creating original monologues and mini plays, letting inspiration guide the way.  Through fun theatre games and skits you never know what seeds you might sow for a future work of art.  

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Helps Students Connect English to Careers (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 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!

I have shared information about some of the workshops in this previous post and this previous post.


Some of the other workshops given include:

Writing as Mind Control

Valerie San Filippo (poet and writer, recipient of the George R.R. Martin Scholarship for Horror Writing; instructor of Creative Writing at Stony Brook University)

Workshop Description

The best writing doesn’t just transport a reader to new worlds; it makes a reader feel what others are feeling. How do writers evoke emotions in their readers? Why do some books suck us into their pages, while other books fall flat? In this workshop, we will explore how small things like description, sound, detail, and sentence structure have the power to influence a reader’s thoughts and emotions.


What Can We Learn from a Turtle?  Analyzing and Creating Children’s Literature  

Lauren Walbroehl (Wheatley English Teacher)

Workshop Description:

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, we will not only explore 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 create our own fiction featuring animals.


Tell Your True Story

Jude Treder-Wolff (writer/performer, Social Worker and creative arts therapist;  host/creator of (mostly) TRUE THINGS, a live show that features true stories – with a twist!)

Workshop Description:

The ability to tell a great story is one of the most effective ways to connect with and have a positive impact on others. In fact, research shows that people who tell stories well are seen as more likeable and trustworthy, and that anyone can develop the skills to discover and develop stories that maximize their awesomeness. This workshop will use interactive experience to explore some of the basics of great storytelling about personal experiences, which involves using words, ideas and story structure to carry a listener along an emotional and imaginative journey. We will discuss ways to choose experiences from one’s own life and some skills for transforming true events into artistic, compelling stories.


Will Write for Food

Mike Dunn (Wheatley English Teacher)

Workshop Description:

Do you love food?  Not just eating it but the creation, the look, the all out pleasure barrage on the senses? If so, this is the workshop for you.  In this workshop we will be: Blogging and creating a food website, reading and writing about food and the culture of food, recipe construction, food tasting, cooking demonstration, reviewing cooking shows.  Remember, as Franz Kafka so wisely pronounced, “So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.”

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Helps Students Connect English to Careers (Part 2)!

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 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!

I have shared information about some of the workshops in this previous post


Some of the other workshops given include:

Lyric Writing: Lessons in Framing the Sentiment

Alan Semerdjian (poet,​ ​songwriter,​ ​and​ ​educator)

Workshop Description:

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.


Your Voice, Your Choice: Public Speaking for Everyone 

Elise May (performer, teaching artist, elocution and dialect coach, winner 2017 National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award)

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


Thinking Like a Writer

Todd Strasser (author, Summer of ‘69, The Wave, Give a Boy a Gun, No Home, Wheatley Graduate)

Workshop Description:

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.  

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Helps Students Connect English to Careers (Part 1)!

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 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:

Children’s Literature:  Cute or Controversial?

Mary Beth Collins Cook (Willets Road English teacher)

Workshop Description:

Have you ever been offended by a picture book? It sounds silly, doesn’t it?  However, in this workshop, we are going to explore children’s books that have caused controversy for some parents, teachers or librarians. These include 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 we examine some published books, we will create a piece of writing suitable for sharing with children.


Tackling Social Issues through Character Driven Documentaries

Margaret Galbraith (Documentary filmmaker, Fulbright Scholar)

Workshop Description:

Watching real people living their lives—witnessing their struggles and dreams—can teach us so much about the social issues of our time, not just in the abstract but in their full complexity.  Character driven documentaries allow the audience to identify with the character, feeling their humanity and empathize with their struggles. In this workshop, we will discuss social issue that you would like to focus on in a video that you would like to make, and explore ways for you to find character(s) that bring these issues to life.  We will focus on the groundwork of making a documentary—the research. It is in the research you begin to lay out your story, find characters, begin to lay out scenes, figure out the visual style, and creatively problem solve. This workshop will help give you direction and ideas for how to tackle your next video project.


How to Become a Comics Superstar

Drew Dernavich (Cartoonist)

Workshop Description:

Words plus pictures: what could be better? Comics are a medium that combine the best of both worlds. Contrary to popular opinion, one doesn’t need to be a Picasso with a pen to draw comics. It’s not the ink, it’s the think! There are no rules, but there are principles behind making great comics and cartoons. In this class we’ll look at the unique visual language of comics, and we’ll jump right into exercises to help unlock your artistic imagination and unleash your voice. Whether you want to make drawings that make people laugh, cry, or tell graphic stories which will have a powerful impact, this class will inspire you to be the comics superstar that only you can uniquely be.

Curriculum and Activities Fair Highlights Student Opportunities and Offerings!

As parents of our incoming 8th Graders (the Class of 2024) were learning more about their child’s first year at Wheatley, parents of current Wheatley students were learning more about the many offerings, programs and opportunities in grades 9-12 through our Curriculum and Activities Fair.

Over the course of the evening, parents were able to attend sessions on the following specific topics:

  • 10th Grade English Offerings (SWS/English 10/English 10H)
  • College-level Course Offerings (AP courses, Dual Enrollment courses, AP Capstone, alternative diploma pathways)
  • STEM Overview (including PLTW, Computer Science, Mathematics and Science offerings)

Parents also had an opportunity to learn about our co-curricular offerings, including our many clubs and activities. It was an evening of information and activity! A huge “Thank You” to the department supervisors, club advisors, and classroom teachers who helped make this night both informative and exciting!

You can download some of the information distributed through the following links:

9th grade parent presentation 2019.pptx

college-level course offerings

8th-9th curriculum night presentation 2019ew