Can You Sell a Drum Set?

Rhetoric student, Ayana was challenged to demonstrate her understanding of rhetorical devices in a creative way. She rose to the challenge with a humorous and layered video ad for Ludwig Drums. 

Your purpose in this creative test is to use your knowledge of rhetoric (elements of the situation; appeals; devices) to “re-create” ad copy for your chosen vintage instrument. You are free to use any medium you like: print, audio, video, text, music, animation, etc. Once you have finished your ad, submit it with a paragraph explaining why you made the choices you did regarding the rhetorical situation, appeals, and devices.

Brent Mix, Rhetoric Teacher 

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It’s Lunchtime and The Livin’s Cheesy

As a part of this month’s community lunch theme, Spice It Up, the Sophomores whipped up a macaroni and cheese bar that featured paprika. The preparation of this lunch was a true exercise in empathy for the chefs. In addition to preparing lunch for the community, they also made gluten-free and vegan versions of their meal. This challenge did not deter these ambitious chefs. In fact, they embraced the spice challenge and presented made-from-scratch pumpkin spice cupcakes for dessert.

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Empathy in the Garden

The Juniors in the Design and Engineering class are addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 9 by examining the guiding question, How does design process impact product and experience?. SDG 9 addresses the need for resilient infrastructure, and inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation. The designers and engineers are investigating the importance of empathy in design, specifically that of gardening tools in the first unit of the course. As a part of this investigation, the students are learning about the physics behind simple machines and spending time in the garden working with and without tools in order to redesign a gardening tool.

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Truss In It!

During the first Unit of the Urban Planning course, Juniors investigated the elements necessary to build a strong bridge. The engineers studied examples of bridges in order to understand the concepts of weight and force, tension and compression, and trusses. Equipped with their newfound knowledge, lots of glue, and 60 popsicle sticks, they set out to build a strong, functioning bridge. After days of hard work, the bridges were put to the test with a set of weights. We were blown away by the results.

Spring Into Community

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to build community. We started off Spring term with a Community Day that focused on teamwork, problem-solving, a bit of athleticism, and a whole lot of laughter. The teams battled it out in karaoke, trivia, Boggle, and an intense 8-round relay race. At the end of the afternoon, one team earned the most points, but we were all winners!

We Call BS!

On March 14th, high school students across the nation walked out in solidarity to protest Congress’ inaction to do more in response to the violence that plagues our schools and neighborhoods. The members of GCE’s Student Council organized a walkout in which they read off the names of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting and reflected on the tragic loss of life.

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Truth Manifestos

The Freshmen in the Who Am I? class are investigating the guiding question, “How will I investigate my Self to know who I am?”. This guiding question will be pursued through two units: Truth & Memory and Doubt & Dream. Students will not only examine their own beliefs and experiences to define who they are, they will also study how philosophers have pursued this question throughout history. In the early stages of this soul-searching investigation, these Freshmen philosophers were tasked with writing their own truth manifestos.

Share Your Discoveries!

For this Elective Term’s Final Presentations, our guests were challenged to investigate two guiding questions, What have you discovered? and How will you share it with the world?. Elective term is truly an opportunity for teachers to teach to their passions and help students discover their voice and their own passion in those subjects. With the two guiding questions in mind, our guests set out on a journey to discover their voice and passion in those subjects with the help of the students as facilitators.

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The Warmth of Community

After intense weeks of classes, Field Experiences, and Action Projects, we were all looking forward to spending time with our families. We kicked off our holiday break with a community potluck and student talent show.  The community came together and put together a bountiful and delicious spread. After our feast, we gathered for the student talent show organized by the members of the Music Makers club. We were graced with singing, piano-playing, skating, and dancing by our students.

We left for the holiday break with full bellies and warm hearts. We’re so grateful to everyone who joined us in celebrating the holidays and our talented students.

Teaching to Our Passions

Welcome to Elective Term at GCE! Elective Term is a time for teachers to teach to their passions. Our teachers have been working hard to develop these courses all summer and they are so excited to share what they’ve created with the students. This term, the cartographers and historians in Thin Red Lines will learn how to use maps to save the world. The designers in Rapid Prototyping will examine the role of MakerLabs in solving real-world problems. The poets in Poetic Justice will discover their voice as political poets and unite people through their poems. And the engineers in Rocket Science will examine the history and the Math and Science of rocketry in order to build their own rockets.

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Experience Our Learning

For this Fall Term’s Final Presentations, our guests were challenged to investigate two guiding questions, How did we get here? and Where are we going?. With these two guiding questions in mind, the guests visited students presenting from their Fall term courses and experienced what it’s like to learn like a GCE student. Our presenters were also challenged this evening; they did not simply share their knowledge, but they were tasked with facilitating the guests’ learning and investigation.

At the end of the evening, there was a palpable sense of community and shared achievement. Thank you to all our guests who were open to learning with and from our students.

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Until It’s Clear

The Freshmen in the Water class are studying the water cycle. In the process, students learned that infiltration is an important part of the cycle because as the water passes through layers of soil and sand, it is filtered and purified so it can be consumed. Using that information, students built water filters to address the guiding question, how would you cope in a water crisis?. As a part of this investigation, they studied pH levels and how to determine if water is potable. Ater they designed and built their filters, the students attempted to turn non-potable water into potable water.

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Cooking with Homa Shojaie

Students in the Cooking workshop received a cooking lesson from visual artist, Homa Shojaie. Ms. Shojaie taught the students that cooking is definitely an art. There are certain procedures to follow and certain tools that make the task easier, but at the end of the day, intuition and passion make a dish extra special and delicious. Ms. Shojaie gave the students the tools, ingredients, and knowledge to make herb kuku, a baked omelet traditionally served on New Years in Iran. The green herbs symbolize rebirth, and the eggs, fertility and happiness for the year. Thank you to Ms. Shojaie for a cooking lesson that taught us a lot more than just cooking.

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Simple Machines with Sean Shaffer

Sean Shaffer, parent of Junior, Maeve came into the Design & Engineering class to teach us about the power of simple machines. Mr. Shaffer has a background in design and is an educator for the Chicago Park District. He came equipped with tools that demonstrated the physics of the lever, the pulley, and the wedge. The students have been pursuing the guiding question, what lies at the heart of our fundamental drive to create tools?. As a part of this investigation, the students identified scenarios and problems in which tools make a task easier and determined that simple machines are at the core of most tools.

Sean brought in the Lever-tator 3000, the Bully Pulley 3000 (both machines that he built himself!), an ax and wedge, and a crazy-cool chair pulley that all brought the physics of these simple machines to life. The highlight was a pulley system that allowed the students to pull themselves off the ground! Thank you to Mr. Shaffer for making physics so much fun.

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Making the Cut

The Sophomores in the Population class are studying classification and taxonomy. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students are investigating systems of classification, how they came about and how they caused a scientific revolution. As a part of this investigation, students dissected crickets to examine similarities and differences between their bodies and ours. Despite some initial hesitation, everyone eventually got the hang of it and collected valuable information from the specimen.

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Start with the Basics

The students in woodshop have some big projects to work on this term. But before they start on those projects, they must learn the basics. In the first week of woodshop, the first thing the students learned were important rules to keep them safe around some very sharp and powerful tools. Then, they practiced using clamps, hand saws, a drill, and the power tool of the day, the miter saw. Now that the students are comfortable with the tools, the possibilities are endless.