3rd Annual Writing Institute at Nottingham High School
“Write to make a blind man see and a deaf man hear.” These words from Bud Poliquin, columnist for the Post-Standard, inspired the 26 rising ninth grade students who attended the 3rd annual Writing Institute at Nottingham High School. Over the three- week program students kept a Writer’s Notebook, wrote and revised a personal narrative and created a digital movie to explore how writing affects the world.
During the month of June, social studies and English teachers from Nottingham High School collaborated with Syracuse University faculty and graduate students to plan a fast paced learning experience. Nottingham teachers included Jodi Burnash, Ellie Leach, Heather Moses and John Zeleznik. Dr. Kelly Chandler-Olcott, SU Professor, graduate students Lorraine Adu-Krow and Paul Czuprynski rounded out the team and were assisted by Mary Taylor, a retired SCSD teacher.
In addition to Mr. Poliquin, a range of speakers helped make the connections between writing and the world outside of school. Dr. James Rollins, Professor at SU showed the students how an author combines images and words to create a children’s book. He then asked for their feedback on a novel he is writing geared toward teenagers. They’re anxious to see if their suggestions make the final copy! Dr. Katharine Chang, a pediatrician at Upstate University Hospital, explained how precise writing is necessary in medical practice. Neal Powless, producer of the movie Crooked Arrows, provided examples of the many revisions a script must undergo even as a movie is being filmed. Finally, the marketing team from C&S Companies invited students to create a slogan and tag-line for a high school snack bar.
The students wowed their family and friends with a closing celebration on July 27. Parents enjoyed a gallery walk that showcased the writer’s notebooks, independent reading and visual responses to the speakers. Nottingham principal Mr. Maynard, provided opening remarks before Mayor Stephanie Miner spoke to the students and took their questions. Snippets from personal narratives gave the audience a glimpse of the personal narrative writing. A film festival of student work capped off the morning’s celebration.