On one typical day, Emily’s Creative Writing class was reading poetry created by others in the class – poems which had connected to the stories implicit in works of art on postcards in the front of the room. As one student read aloud, the others looked at the postcards to see if they could find clues to identify the artwork which inspired the writing. “Typically, I use art posters around the room and have the students write internal monologues,” she notes, “but this time I had a lot of postcards around and I thought, ‘I want to use them.’ So I handed out the postcards and said, ‘Choose one. You are going to write an internal monologue or a back story [as a poem].’ And you could tell they were into it.” Another assignment indicative of her interdisciplinary approach involves the Art and Poetry Research Paper. The purpose of the assignment “is to study a period of time through its art and poetry.” Serving as museum guides, her students are responsible for an art research paper, a poetry research paper, and a presentation that compares a poem and a painting – effectively using both art forms to gain historical insights. “I try to have the kids see the artist as a person. They have to research the artist’s childhood, schooling, love life, married life, etc. And so many have such crazy lives, the kids love that. They have a blast.” Senior and literary magazine editor Casey Stewart agrees with the rigorous approach in Mrs. Farrell’s class. She recalls an assignment comparing an artist (Eugene Delacroix) and a poet (Lord Byron), and writing a research paper. “One thing Mrs. Farrell is known for is checking the citations. If you do not have the proper citations, she will make you go back and do it again.” Not deterred by the hard work, Casey is also a frequent student of Mrs. Farrell. Senior Erin Seglem, another one of Emily’s literary magazine editors, has studied four times with Mrs. Farrell. “She’s tough. It’s intimidating sometimes because she goes over every poem and every essay that you turn in, and sometimes you think, ‘Oh I just want to be done with it.’ But then it winds up being a really great piece.”
Emily Farrell with seniors and literary magazine editors Erin Seglem (left) and Casey Stewart (right)
For more information, please contact Education: School & Teacher Programs by phone at (215) 684-7580, by fax at (215) 236-4063, or by e-mail at .