A masters class in literature and writing was organized by BOCES. Here’s a recap:
Everything that Polar Bear knows
Becomes indistinguishable from the snow
Amanda Montera, a student from Mahopac High School, wrote those lines as part of a writing exercise during a Master Class for Young Authors at Putnam Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services Thursday.
The exercise was one of several prompts used to get the creative juices flowing during a daylong workshop for some of the region’s most promising high school writers. The workshop, which was sponsored by the Curriculum Center at BOCES, was led by Cathy Greenwood, a teacher, writer and national presenter on creative writing.
During one prompt, students were given masks of goats, warriors, pirates, kings and other characters to wear while conversing with each other briefly. This was followed by a short writing period, with the students writing from the perspective of the character they took on during the exercise. Amanda wore the mask of a polar bear and imagined the animal’s reaction to the loss of natural habitat.
Laurel Chase, a student at John Jay High School in Katonah, wrote from the persona of a coyote conveying its natural instinct to hunt, while Shannon xxx did her own take on the Langston Hughes poem, “Minstrel Man.”
In addition to working with Greenwood on writing prompts and techniques, the students had the opportunity to meet individually with professional editors to get feedback on their work. The four editors included: Vin Dacquino, author of several books for children and adults and host of a weekly television program on writing; Janet Matthews, a teacher, writer and veteran presenter on writing; Sandhya Nankani, a writer, editor and educational consultant whose clients include the New York Times and Sesame Street; and Sangeeta Mehta, who has been an acquiring book editor at two major publishing houses.
Master Class participants will have the opportunity to submit their writing for inclusion in a digital anthology, which will be made available through BOCES website later this year. The Curriculum Center at BOCES also will sponsor a Young Authors’ Conference in the spring for high school students from across the region. The conference will feature a day of workshops with poets, journalists, novelists, screenwriters and editors.