We’ve Got Moves

Our amazing Parents Association (Parents Unite GCE) and members of the student council organized another successful school dance. We are so grateful to have opportunities like these to connect with our community outside of the school day. This Winter dance was partly in celebration of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, but mostly in celebration of putting on our coolest PJs and dancing the night away!

Field Experience

Looking Through a Pinhole

The Juniors in Light, Sound, and Time have been focusing on light and investigating the guiding question: What would life look like without light? . In order to illuminate answers to this huge guiding question, students are examining how light could be captured and manipulated. As a part of this investigation, they built and experimented with pinhole cameras to better understand the role of light and time in creating photographic images. The class visited the darkroom at the Latin School of Chicago and met with photography teacher, Betty Lark Ross to learn more about the power of light.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to see the concepts of light waves and how we perceive them come to life.

How?

Students will experiment light using their hand-built pinhole cameras.

Thank you Crossing Borders Music

We’re so honored to have hosted the out-of-this-world musicians from Crossing Borders Music as a part of our GCE Tiny Concert Music Series. The mission of Crossing Borders Music is to use music to promote the dignity of people from all cultures. The musicians transported us to Peru through soulful vocals and mesmerizing strings.

If you’re interested in playing a small intimate show, email [email protected]

Sound It Out

In the third and final unit of the Ollywood course, students are investigating the elements of film post-production. As a part of this investigation, they have been examining the role of music and sounds in movies. For this assignment, they assumed the role of a foley artist and were tasked to create and add sounds effects to a classic movie clip with its original audio removed.

Field Experience

Closing the Loop at The Plant Chicago

In the third unit of the Biomimicry Elective, the students have been investigating the guiding question, What would a fungus do?. In this unit, students have been investigating fungi and their role as decomposers in order to rethink their definition of waste. The students are drawing inspiration from fungi and other decomposers’ ability to recycle nutrients to turn linear systems into circular systems to design their own closed-loop systems. As a part of this investigation, they visited the Plant Chicago whose mission is to make healthier and more efficient cities by developing and sharing the most innovative methods for sustainable food production, energy conservation, and material reuse. The students got a first-hand look at an aquaponics system and the practical applications of closed-loop systems.

Why

The students visited the Plant Chicago to learn about the practical applications of closed-loop systems.

How

The students explored an aquaponic system and attempted to design their own in order to demonstrate their understanding of closed-loop systems.

Field Experience

Want Not, Waste Not at The WasteShed

Students in the Game Changers Elective have been pursuing the guiding question, How do game components come together?. In this unit of this game design course, students have been examining the different physical components that make up a tabletop game. They investigated the fundamental design of boards, cards, and moving pieces in order to design and build a game of their own. As a part of the creation of their game, they visited The WasteShed Creative Reuse Center to find recycled materials to build a prototype of their game. The WasteShed is dedicated to providing Chicago with an organized, affordable, and reliable resource for repurposed art, craft, and school materials.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is for students to buy materials to build a prototype of their original board games while learning to find value in repurposed materials.

How?

Students will work in small groups to find the materials they need.

What is a Film Critic?

Genesis, a Junior is taking the elective course, Ollywood for the second time because she fell in love with film and film critique the first time around. Ollywood teacher, Brent Mix has created an advanced track of the course for Genesis, challenging her to take a deep dive into the works of Akira Kurosawa and to take on the role of assistant teacher. Genesis led a lesson on what it means to be a film critic. Take a look at the opening of her lesson.

Photo Gallery

What the Heckadeck

Students in the Game Changers Elective have been pursuing the guiding question, How can you harness the power of play?. In this course, students have taken on the role of a game player and game designer. They are getting a behind-the-scenes look at tabletop games, investigating how they are played and how they are created. As a part of their investigation, students have been studying strategy, probability, and game mechanics.

On this day, students played spades using a souped-up deck of cards called Heckadeck, a deck of 160 hand-illustrated playing cards designed to add a twist to your favorite card games or for you to design your own game. Creator of Heckadeck and founder of More Lies Publishing, Travis Nichols aims to inspire and enable creativity through games, activity books, stories, and cool stuff to get kids and post-kids busy living to draw, write, build, dance, go outside, and explore.

Field Experience

Location Scouting @ Lower Wacker Drive

Students in the Ollywood Elective have been pursuing the guiding question, What makes a movie a movie?. In this course, students have taken on the role of a film critic and are learning to evaluate films based on 3 stages of production: pre-production, production, and post-production. As a part of their investigation of pre-production, students have been learning about the role and creativity involved in scouting locations for film settings. For this Field Experience, students were given the opportunity to propose a location worthy of the time of a location scout.

There were lots of great pitches for locations, including:

  • Cairo, IL: as the location for a post-apocalyptic film depicting society in ruins;
  • the Merchandise Mart: as the location of an action film with a chase scene on a bridge;
  • the Bahá’í House of Worship: as the location of a medieval romance;
  • Pratt’s Castle (Elgin, IL): as the location of a medieval romance;
  • Oz Park: as the setting of a Disney family film

And there were more! The ultimate winner, though, despite the frequency of its use as a setting — in films such as The Dark Night, Batman Begins, Wanted, and The Blues Brothers — is Lower Wacker Drive. So the students explored the different landscapes of Lower Wacker Drive and captured photos to visualize the story they want to tell.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, what is the role of a location scout?. Students will familiarize themselves with the role of the location scout as one part of the pre-production process in the making of a film. Students will also create a short storyboard demonstrating their understanding of the responsibilities of the scout.

How?

Students will walk around Lower Wacker Drive to collect photographs to create their short storyboard.

Field Experience

Exploration Before Innovation

The students in the Innovative School Design workshop have been assigned to think about the design of our new facility. They ventured out to explore a space that could potentially be our new school. As they stepped out of the Roosevelt El station, the students reveled at their proximity to the Metra station, the park, and a handful of their favorite food spots. Upon entering the building, they were greeted by an open loft full of possibilities.

After exploring the interior of the building, the students ventured outside to Grant Park where they got a better sense of their surroundings and a great view of the exterior of the building. They discovered public artworks, a skatepark, and even started to map out their route from home to this new space.

Practicing Democracy

Even though most of our students aren’t able to participate in the midterm elections yet, they did participate in student council elections. After hearing compelling speeches from three presidential candidates, the students embraced the power of their vote, and we’re proud to announce Citlalli as student council president. As president, Citlalli promises to speak up for and act on behalf of her constituents.

PSA: Your Vote Matters

GCE students urge us to vote by reminding us why our vote matters to them. Most of our students are not old enough to vote, but more than ever before, young people are demanding to be heard. Our students encourage those of us who can vote to practice our civic duty and use our vote to speak up for their future.

In 1,000 Words

The theme for this term’s Final Presentation was A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. GCE students were challenged to demonstrate their learning with an image. Given just a couple of guidelines, the students were free to create dynamic and personal presentations that showcased how they connect their learning across disciplines and to themselves. The presentations varied in format and allowed the guests to experience learning like a GCE student.

It was a Smash!

We danced the night away at our first-ever GCE Halloween Dance. HUGE shout-out to Lina Nicklin, parent of Simas and member of the parent association for organizing a spooky night of fun. The members of student council and the dance committee were masters at transforming the school into a ghoulish crime scene. The students wowed with their creative costumes. We had an angel and a devil, Steven Universe and Connie, Agnes from Despicable Me, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a zombie school girl, a deer and a cheetah, and many others. It was such a treat to spend a Saturday night dancing and eating lots of candy with our GCE family.

Field Experience

Feeling Climate Change @ The Lincoln Park Conservatory

In the final unit of the Water class, the Freshman have been investigating the guiding question, How can you utilize water to predict the weather?. In pursuit of an answer, students have been studying precipitation, cloud formation, greenhouse gasses, and climate change. As a part of this investigation, students visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory which houses thousands of plants that thrive in different climates. Students walked through the Palm House, the Fern Room, the Orchid Room, and the Showroom, all of which were set at different temperatures to best mimic the plants’ natural habitats. The Freshman took this opportunity to measure temperatures and humidity levels, and experienced in an immediate way, how climate change feels.

Why

The Freshman walked through the halls of the Lincoln Park Conservatory, experienced climate change, and measured and collected data on temperature.

How

Students were guided through the halls by a docent who offered insight on why different plants thrive in certain temperatures and how climate change is effecting plants and animals in their natural habitats.