Local author Beatriz Williams visited Ms. Carbone's and Ms. Baklik's 11th grade classes last week to facilitate a writer's workshop. The classes are writing "Counter-Narratives," a creative writing project in which students develop short fiction pieces from the point of view of a minor character from one of the literary works they have read earlier in high school. Eric McDowell of the Michigan Quarterly Review says counter-narratives, "...not only use important stories to assert the dignity of misrepresented characters and invite our empathy, but they also ask us to think critically about how stories wield their power." In this way, students will give voices to characters on the margins of familiar stories like The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, and To Kill a Mockingbird.
In representing their own fictional characters, Beatriz Williams encouraged students to consider, "What is your character's burden?" She prompted students with more probing questions: What is hurting them? What are they missing? What is most important to them, maybe without even realizing it? Williams offered skillful guidance and helped students workshop their characters' development, brainstorming everything from the character's childhood to their greatest fear. She advised them to create a plot, "fiendishly designed to test that character's weakness." Williams' energy and enthusiasm as well as her expert advice led to fruitful discourse and exploration. After the workshop, students left the room with a new sense of purpose and direction. Their teachers are looking forward to the results!
13: 8th Gr. Parent Night @ 6:30
15: Festival of Bands
16: ½ Day PD / Progress Reports
19-23: Winter Break: HOMEWORK FREE!!!
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