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Freshman English Wilma Theater Residency!

Wilma 2014
Over the 3rd quarter, students in Red & Orange Stream English 9 participated in The Wilmagination Theater residency program. This special opportunity spanned over 6 weeks and included a collaborative memoir/creative non-fiction writing and performance unit designed by professional actors and myself. After weeks of writing and experimenting with thematic and theatrical choices, the students performed both individual and group memoir pieces at The Wilma on April 30th. The short film gives a snapshot of the experience. Enjoy!

This is the collaboration's 4th year running at SLA!

9th Grade English Launches You and the World!

Red and Orange 9th grade English students have begun their You and the World projects!  This year-long project asks students to take an interest in local, national, or international issues that they are willing to learn more about. They develop a passion for research, relay that knowledge and passion to others, and seek to educate themselves and those around them via public writing and a service component. 

Fueled by essential questions like, Why is this world issue important to me? How can I be a global citizen? How can change occur?, students will become "agents of change" for their issues in the Spring when they choose to do volunteer work, perform a civic action, or spread awareness through presentations and activities in our school community (including The Franklin Institute).

Students craft a series of blogs about their experiences going through the You and the World process. Please click on Red Stream  Orange Stream to read and comment on their first round posts. They would love to hear from you!!

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Katia's IRP on Pablo Neruda's Poetry

I was reading 5 poems from a book named 100 love sonnets  by Pablo Neruda.

He is a chilean poet, he was born in 1904 and died in 1973. Neruda was called the greatest poet of the 20th century  in any language. He won  a lot of prizes one of them was a nobel prize of literature  in 1971. Neruda wrote this book celebrating his love. The book is talking about the different  periods in his relationship with his wife Matteld .

-Poem 1:

It says:  if your eyes were not the color of moon, of a day full of clay and work and fire. this is the first line of the poem. maybe that means that this love is so beautiful  but so hard it is like if we say that this love is as the most pretty  rose. but the prettiest  rose is the most one that have more thorns than any other tipe of flowers. it is maybe saying that love is the biggest hurt but the largest joie. we could know that he loves her so much, his life depend on her life and that this woman is everything  for him. as he says:           but when i hold you i hold everything that is...

-Poem 2:

The first line says: i crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. silent and starving, i prowl through the streets. It means that he strongly  wants her, and he is looking for her everywhere as he misses her so much, it is saying that he is lost without her and that he is nothing if she is not by his side. she means for him a lot and he loves her much.

-Poem 3:

It is saying that the time is so short when they are together. or maybe he wants to say there is something happened  and they were focusing on it then he could not  enjoy  her her, and now he wants to give that time to do what he could not do.

 it seems that he really likes her hair. as he says: i only want to be your stylist. also he is telling that he loves her so much, as he says:  do not forget me remember that i love you. also, he really needs her with him, as he says:  don't  let me wander lost without your hair.

-Poem 4:

The first line of this poem says: i do not love you as if you were salt--rose, or topaz...I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.  it maybe means thatthis love is a secret between him and himself and that it could be something so pretty  that we can see but it is not as it is invisible. but however he it is a beautiful  feeling inside,  as he says: i love you as the plant that  never blooms but caries in itself the light of hidden flowers.he is saying that he just love her and he can not control his feeling, as he says:  i love you without knowing how or when or frome where. he loves her so much and his heart, his mind and his soul are always with her, he is talking as there is two souls in one body, as he says:  so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as i am fall asleep.

-Poem 5:

in the first line it says: leaning in to the afternoons i cast my sad nets towards your oceanic eyes.  so, he is trying to get something from something that can not give him what he is looking for. he is putting his nets in a sad ocean where there is nothing to get,.the fire of that love is burning him and no one could take him out even  water   as he is talking about fire and  drowning. he is lost, he is drowning in that ocean which is her eyes or love, he is lost and he wants to  be in the sea or the beach, he wants to see the land, he wants to see something that tells him that he is all right and he does not need to be scared anymore, something like the lighthouse. all of these things that he wants to see are just in her eyes, all of these places where he wants to be are in her eyes. but her eyes are so far, he can not see her eyes as they are absent  eyes which means that everything is absent. he says:  there in the highest blaze my solitude lengthens and flames, its arms turning like drowning man s. i send out red signals acrosse your absent eyes that smell like the sea or the beach by lighthouse.     his love for her gives him a courage  and strength, he could do anything just to arrive to her, as he says:   leaning to the afternoons i fling my nets to the sea that is thrashed by your oceanic eyes.  it seems like this love hurts him someway but it still beautiful  and he is fighting for it, as he said:  the birds of night peck at the fast stars that flash like my soul when i love you. the night gallops on its shadowy mare shedding blue tassels over the land..

I really love these poems, i like how the poet is using the opposite language and relating everything to nature, his poems are unclear, i feel like he has some of sheakspear  language as he uses a lot of medaforms  and we can not understand   what he wants to say exactly.  if i would have an opportunity  to change something in these poems i would never change anything, when i was reading them i felt   that he  feels what he wrote or he wrote what he felt. and if the write what he feels he makes the reader live with him what he is saying. 

i am so glad because i knew this poet and i  rad  his poems i hope if i could read the haul  book. if some one is looking for something to read i would definitively  say that this book is one of the best books.

                                i loved it, i loved it, i loved it.

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9th Grade English Completes Wilma Theater Residency!

This Spring, Red and Orange English students had the unique opportunity to take part in The Wilma Theater's Wilmagination artists-in-residency program. Stemming from our creative non-fiction and memoir unit, teaching artists from The Wilma Theater visited our classrooms twice weekly for six weeks. Keeping in line with the 9th Grade Essential Questions surrounding Identity and the Self, we crafted memoir portfolios of our personal writings, focusing on the stories we wanted to show an audience.  Some students collaborated on performance pieces while others opted to go it alone and create powerful individual monologues.  We had our culminating performance onstage at The Wilma last week. The kids performed for each other, parents, friends and theater personnel and also had a chance to debrief and reflect after the experience. This year marks the fourth year of this amazing partnership! 
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Todd Samuel's Blog #2: Brain Cancer

Brain tumors are one of every one out of one hundred cancers diagnosed in just the United States every year. These being the most deadly tumors because there is no room for it to go inside of your skull. Which in turn causes the cancer to spread which is the most fatal part to having this kind of cancer. The person in which I had initially done this blog on has since passed it is going on almost a month now since the passing of my friend’s dad. It was most painful to watch someone die so slow over the course of a year. It was probably even more painful for him knowing that he was also going away and he watched his family and friends try to do anything to save him. In fact there was nothing anyone could do at all. The chances of him even surviving this illness were slim to none already. 

Most of what I am writing is based off of opinion since I witnessed first hand what it was like to see someone going through such a painful illness. The entire time he expressed that he just wanted to live which was horrible to hear because he was in fact begging for something that no one could aside from make him comfortable and wait around until that one day where everything shuts down because your body is so sick of fighting. I recall him asking for constant pain medication and something to make this headache go away. Later, the cancer had officially spread through his entire body which made everyone give up hope.  I was unaware at exactly how fatal this form of cancer was and why once it had spread they let him come home. I was numb to the fact that this deadly strain of cancer which most people do not survive was killing him and once someone is gone you can not get them back.

I tend to take a more opinionated stance on this subject because it directly affected me. I look at the facts and understand them but at the same time I feel like for all cancer it is really a matter of luck whether you survive or not because it is so rough on the body it really takes a toll on the whatever organs it decides to spread to next leaving the body weak; so weak that you cannot even perform surgery on it to directly go after where the cancer is. The entire idea of cancer is tricky, especially brain cancer. This is scary because he was perfectly healthy the cancer essentially came out of no where. One out of twelve people in my survey knew/know someone who has had cancer.

Types of cancer brought up in the survey were brain, breast, and lung; along with other cancers which were listed under “other”. 80% of people who did know someone with a form of cancer did not not survive. Eight out of twelve people said they would be open to donating money to cures for cancer of all sorts. Eight out of twelve people have also never donated to cures for cancer, but would be open to doing it. Finally one out of twelve people said that cancer has had an impact on their life.
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SLA Parent University: Thursday Nov. 1st

To the SLA Parent Community,

We hope that you are safe at home weathering hurricane Sandy. What a week!

This is a reminder that we are still ON for SLA's first Parent University session, SLA 101, on Thursday, November 1st from 6-8pm. 

What do your kids mean when they say “Moodle”, “Benchmark Projects”, “Standards”, and “Slate”?  Wondering about how to parent a student at a laptop-based school? What to get the most out of SLA? You are invited to attend an evening with Dr. Frederic Bertley, VP of Science & Innovation at The Franklin Institute and SLA teachers for SLA 101. 

All are welcome! Please see attached flyer for details.
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Wilma Theater Residency Comes to Senior English!

SLA English students in Ms. Dunn's classes have had the unique opportunity to work with teaching artists and actors from The Wilma Theater over the last three years. While it has been part of the 9th grade English experience for two years (Macbeth in 2010 and Our Class in 2011), this year the Seniors in Sexuality and Society in Literature classes had their chance to experience this amazing partnership through their study of Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Since mid-September, students have explored this powerful play via the HBO miniseries version and also the Wilma stage production currently running. We attended a matinee of Part 1: Millennium Approaches and had actors from the production work with us in sessions both before and after to help us engage physically with the play, and also discuss some of the its larger issues. Our last session was this week; we are sad to see The Wilma go, but look forward to continued partnerships into the future!
c band eng
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9th Grade English: Macbeth Projects!

For their 3rd quarter Benchmark in English, Red and Orange Freshmen had a two-part mission: to do a quote analysis expository writing piece charting Macbeth or Lady Macbeth's journey through Shakespeare's Macbeth and then to also do a creative representation of that journey while incorporating the same quotes they used in their more formal writing. Here is a sampling of creative projects; more can be found on the class blogs here and here. Enjoy!!
Macbeth Ft James.
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Sophomore Success in Court Competition!

Sophomores Allison Patterson and Manna-Symone Middlebrooks competed last Saturday in the regional Marshall Brennan Moot Court Competition held at Drexel University.  Both Manna and Allison advanced from large pool of competitors from numerous Philadelphia high schools to the quarter finals of the competition.  Allison later advanced as a competition finalist where she argued in front of two Philadelphia Common Pleas judges, Judge Cardwell-Hughes and Judge Hill.  As a result of her performance in final round, Allison was awarded the second best oral advocate in the entire competition by the two Philadelphia judges.  She will represent SLA again in April when she competes in the Marshall Brennan National Oral Argument Competition.  She was the only Sophomore to advance to the finals.

Here is a link to the Drexel webpage where Allison is featured:

Manna and Allison participate in the Marshall Brennan Project as part of their Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) at SLA.
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Senior English: The Scarlet Letter, Juno, and Easy A

While studying The Scarlet Letter, Juno, and Easy A, our Sexuality and Society in Literature class examined the thematic connections between the three "texts" and crafted creative projects (accompanied by written self-reflections) that sought to capture a major theme from the works. 

Senior Brett Chapman chose to focus on the idea of an individual feeling ostracized by the larger society based on choices she/he made.  He states, "For my thematic project, I chose to focus on social outcasts and use a teen lens. Fabricating t-shirts, each with a different message, I explored choices some teens make that lead us to judge and isolate them. Thus, each t-shirt is an expression of an outcast in the 21st century.  The following pictures are of teenagers who have volunteered their time to participate in this photo shoot. The statements printed on the shirts do not display factual information of the models." The T-shirts and photos are displayed on the third floor outside of Room 303.

Senior Beth Knibbe chose to write an original song with lyrics to explore the themes of intellect vs. passion and love deeply rooted in true emotions. In her self-reflection, she expresses "I tried to start writing some lyrics [for my project] but I was coming up with nothing. I decided to think of some places in The Scarlet Letter where I saw these themes most prominently. The first part was the scene in the forest where Hester is watching Dimmesdale walk along the path before she approaches him. This got the ball rolling for me." Inspired by the text, Beth composed a listless guitar melody to match Dimmesdale's state of mind.  The rest is up to you to relfect on.  Download her song and take a listen for yourself.

The Only One
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The Wilma Theater Visits English 9!

Actors from The Wilma Theater's production of Macbeth visited Orange and Red Stream English today as part of The Wilma's Artist-in-Residence Program. Ninth grade English students have been studying Macbeth over the last few weeks in preparation to see the play at The Wilma this Tuesday evening, October 26. In the pre-show visit, these actors helped students embrace the idea of being on the stage, of living and breathing Shakespeare's language, and aided in their further understanding of the play. The Wilma Theater will return to SLA on Friday, October 29 for a post-show session with the students to discuss their impressions of the production, and to continue the effective, engaging stage work started today.

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