In their English classes, Emma Willard students read works that fascinate, entreat, inform, enliven, frustrate, and delight them.
Students read about the world well beyond their campus, “talk back” to their literature, and explore new forms of writing. Mastering the analytical essay and developing discussion and readership skills happen in some unique ways at Emma.
Courses focus by year on genre study, American literature, and works from specific regions and time periods in electives. A glance at the course catalog reveals that girls can study nonfiction and media, storytelling, Shakespearean tragedy, and African literature, to name a few genres.
Students submit their critical responses and creative pieces to class blogs for sharing and response by colleagues. Students in the Jane Austen course write fan fiction to respond to, and rewrite, Austen’s major works.
Students write critically at all times in journals, personal essays, and letters to authors. Students write personal response papers connecting themes in works they read to events in their lives, and they are encouraged to write creatively. Teachers use one-on-one writing conferences as conversations to teach the writing craft and process.
Girls Write Here
Emma Willard’s new website and writing elective, Girls Write Here, is for teen girl writers who like to roll up their sleeves and really write, not just share the occasional poem. It is a one-of-a-kind editing and publishing platform by girls, for girls who like to collaborate, write, edit, and publish their work.
Clock and Triangle
Students can submit articles and reviews to the newspaper, The Clock, and their poetry, prose, and art to the literary magazine, Triangle.
Lectures and Workshops
They can also expect to hear renowned poets read and talk about their work. In 2011, students welcomed poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, who spoke to students in an evening reading and lecture and ran workshops the following day.
Playwriting and Performance
In 2010-11 students worked with guest artists from the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival to sharpen their monologue skills. Students performed Shakespearean monologues in front of classmates using techniques they learned, including gymnastics. Yes, Shakespeare’s Shylock can do cartwheels, if he is being portrayed by an Emma Girl.