On Wednesday, October 24, author Anjali Sachdeva visited the Woodland Hills Junior Senior High School as part of the Woodland Hills Interaction Series. Ms. Sacheva is the author of the short story collection All the Names They Used for God. This collection has been called “strange and wonderful” by a reviewer for The New York Times. Her stories bend genres and open her readers to worlds both known and unknown. Ms. Sachdeva currently teaches writing at the University of Pittsburgh.
During her visit, Ms. Sachdeva shared insight into her work, answered the students' questions about her book, and conducted a writing exercise. To prepare for this interaction, the students in Creative Writing with Ms. Kayla Clair were assigned a short story from Ms. Sachdeva's All The Names They Used For God. They then prepared responses in multiple media and genres to share in a Short Story Fair. Student presentations in the fair focused on communicating basic information about the story and encouraging others in class to consider reading the piece. Students completed various writing assignments such as writing an alternative ending, changing the point or view, and having the protagonist make a different choice. Student chose from a list of possible projects to demonstrate their knowledge of the story's literary elements, such as bringing in representative physical artifacts, creating collages, illustrating comic strips, and more. On the day of the fair, the class explored the displays for the short stories, creating questions for the visiting author as they moved from presentation to presentation. By the end of the activity, students were exposed to all of the short stories and their literary elements. Ms. Sachdeva had the opportunity to view this work during the visit and speak with the students about their projects.
The Woodland Hills Interaction Series (WHIS) started in 2013. The WHIS was created by library media specialist Kevin McGuire and instructional technology coach Jason Coleman with the goal of providing first-class interaction opportunities for students at Woodland Hills Jr/Sr High School.
During our first five years, the WHIS has hosted such notable guests as Jennifer Egan (Pulitzer Prize Winner), Sara Shepard (N.Y. Times Bestseller), Colum McCann (National Book Award Winner/Academy Award nominated writer), Elizabeth Strout (Pulitzer Prize Winner), Dr. Sheri Fink (Pulitzer Prize Winner), Terrance Hayes (National Book Award winner/MacArthur Fellow), Jesse Andrews (N.Y. Times Bestseller), Dr. Cyril Wecht, S.L. Price (Sports Illustrated Senior Writer), and Robert Bilheimer (Academy Award nominated director). Additionally, the WHIS has also hosted local writer Dave Newman, poet Jim Daniels, EPA Director Barnes Johnson, nationally syndicated cartoonist Joe Wos, and U.S. Ambassador Bryant Salter.