Our English 10H Students Share their Passions through “10H Talks”

On Thursday, 30 May, students in our English 10 Honors courses invited friends, family and special guests to the fourth annual “English 10H Talks.” Modeled after the well-known Ted Talks, these student presentations aimed to answer the question, “What Matters?” Students chose topics that reflected their passions and interests, aiming to educate and inform the audience in under ten minutes.

The topics and presenters were quite impressive! Congratulations to the students, and thank you to Lauren Blum, who organized and helped the students through their presentations!

Due to the fact that multiple sessions ran simultaneously, the format of the evening prevented an individual from attending more than 8 complete presentations.

The students and topics presented include:

  • Umar Ahmad: “It’s All Too Much: Stress’s Impact on Our Lives”
  • Zain Akhtar: “Video Games: More Useful Than We Think”
  • Adam Aldad: “The Ever Growing American Divide”
  • Huda Ayaz: “Media Diversity: Why It’s a Problem and How We Can Fix It”
  • Ali Bhalloo: “Fake News: The Growing Crisis of Fake Conspiracies”
  • Alexandra Castiglie: “Running the Impossible Mile: A Glimpse Into Depression”
  • Anya Chabria: “Superheroes and Society: What Captain Marvel Says About Us”
  • Karen Chu: “Let’s Talk About Talking: Bilingualism’s Effect on Personal Ideology”
  • Nadav Cohen: “The Olympic Games: The Greatest War (1896-present)”
  • Grace Ducroiset: “Why You Need to Take More Vacations”
  • Sarah Fieldman: Why EQ is Just as Important as IQ
  • Jonathan Friedrich: “The Modern School System: For Better or For Worse”
  • Paula Gbenebitse: “The Dangers of Political Polarization”
  • Sana Goher: “Do We Need Sleep?”
  • Saad Haroon: Social Media: How Connection Breeds Disconnection
  • Sarah Hassan: “70,925 Minutes: How Streaming Has Changed Our Interactions with Music”
  • Ubaidullah Hassan: Have We Been Sleeping Wrong?
  • Aarushi Jain: “When your child begins to lie, Celebrate! Dance! Bake a pie!”
  • Layla Jarrahy: “The Power of Music: How it has Shaped our Languages and Cultures”
  • Pukhraj Kaur: “To Become Yourself, Know Yourself”
  • Emma Leng: Musical Training Can Train Your Brain
  • Alexandra Levine: “The Causes and Perils of Modern Antisemitism”
  • Thomas Lew: “Evolution of Comedy in Superhero Movies”
  • Cathy Li: “Imaginary Friends with Real Benefits”
  • Freddy Lin: Out of Eden: The Mediocrity of Evil
  • Jason Liu: School is a Part-Time Job
  • Rayhan Meghji: “Artificial Intelligence: The Future Of Human Relationships”
  • Anika Mittle: “The (Brain) Power of Music”
  • Eric Ness: “Modern Art: An Exploration of Changing Perceptions”
  • Temitope Oshodi: “Traumatic Brain Injury and Its Lasting Effects on Athletes and Soldiers”
  • Olivia Palmieri: “One Step at a Time: Dancing for Better Health”
  • Iman Pirzada: “Innovating for Athletes: Combating Sports Injuries”
  • Laken Pomerantz: “The College Admissions Process: Are We Lying Our Way Into College?”
  • Kayla Roberts: “My Quest to Discover Why We Have Color Preferences”
  • Arielle Rokhsar: “Stop Snapping, Start Snoozing”
  • Isabella Roudbai: “Using Social Media to Change the World”
  • Samar Saleem: “The Importance of the Arts: A Continuing Necessity in Today’s Education”
  • Dalia Savy: “The Bilingual Brain: How it Functions and Why it Matters”
  • Natalie Scudero: “Cheesin’ for a Reason: The Psychological and Physical Benefits of Smiling”
  • Astha Singh: “It’s Time to De-Phone Your Toddlers”
  • Gabriella Testani: “Political Correctness vs. Effective Comedy”
  • Andrew Thaler: “More Than Video Games: The Importance of Virtual Reality in Medicine”
  • Matthew Valle: “Sports: More Mental than Physical”
  • Brianna Werny: “Failure: A Requirement for Success”
  • Elizabeth Yuen: “Wait….it’s due today?: The Causes of and Misconceptions About Procrastination”
  • Lucy Zha: “Misspelling in Writing: AutoCorrect Your “AotoCurrect”

Wheatley Poets Recognized at Walt Whitman Annual Student Poetry Contest!

On Monday, 7 April, the award ceremony for the 33rd Annual Student Poetry Contest was held at the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. This year’s ceremony was held during the year in which we are commemorating what would have been Whitman’s 200th birthday.

Wheatley English teacher Rick Wilson took his AP Literature students to receive the recognition announced last month. It was a beautiful ceremony with congratulatory tributes by NYS Senator James Gaughran, NYS Congressman Thomas Suozzi, NYS Assemblyman Steve Stern, Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, and Suffolk County Legislator Susan Berland.

Senior Tiffany Jiao was the Grand Champion in her category! Tiffany read her Whitmanesque “Sweet Poison” piece for the audience of 200.  Other winning Wheatley poets who were present included Huda Ayaz and Yusuf Meghji.  Not present but still honored were Jamie Ryan and Manan Shukla.  Mr. Wilson received the award for our AP class Grand Champion anthology “In the Eyes of an Eagle.”

Whitman Poet-in-Residence Jane Hirshfield was truly inspiring, reading not only from her own poetry but in calling out the importance of young poets in these challenging political times.  Tom Suozzi, too, was highly articulate as to poetry’s purpose in society and the significant accomplishments of our young people.

Congratulations to the students who were recognized during the ceremony. Thank you to Mr. Wilson for engaging his students in this contest celebrating one of our country’s literary treasures!

[Thanks to Mr. Wilson for the write-up and the photos!]

Wheatley’s Midterm Experience Helps Students Connect English to Careers (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 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 and this previous post.


The final set of workshops given include:

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)

Workshop Description:

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.

Note: The celebrity who was interviewed was Robin Thicke, who was so gracious and giving to our students! [Thanks to Mrs. Malik for the video!]


You CAN Judge a Book by its Cover

Ed Kemnitzer (EWSD Director of Technology and Innovation)

Workshop Description:

Have you ever read a book that you loved but its cover wasn’t appealing? Of course you have! Think about how many students pass up on great books because the first look didn’t grab them as a potential audience member.  It is time you take the reins in accomplishing something illustrators have missed with certain titles….create book covers that inspire readership. In this session, you will use Buncee, a digital creation tool, to redesign covers for books that call Wheatley’s library their home.  Using digital stickers, animations, gifs, pictures, videos, and other media content, you will add optic life to books that have awesomeness within the binding. After these redesigned covers are presented to the group, they will be used to brand what is available in our high school library, #wheatleybooksrecovered.


Poetry in the Age of the Selfie

Sonia Arora (Teaching artist, author, writer and poet)

Poetry takes so many different forms. In this age of the selfie, students will use poetry to reflect back on who they are and what they want to represent to the world. All students will leave the workshop with a poetic prose memoir.

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.