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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

Studying Sustainability at Interface

In the first unit of the Biomimicry Elective, the students have been investigating the guiding question, What would a plant do?. In this course, students are studying the concept of biomimicry through Art & Science. They are investigating diverse case studies of biomimicry that rethink art, technology, and society from the perspective of nature in order to rethink and redesign flawed products. As a part of this investigation, the students visited Interface, a global flooring company whose products are not only inspired by nature but whose production positively impacts the planet.

The students spent the morning touring the Interface showroom and talking to Mikhail Davis, their Director of Restorative Enterprise to learn more about how biomimicry is applied. Our biggest takeaway from Mikhail is that nature has already solved all of our problems, our job is to ask her the right questions to find the solutions.

Why

The students visited Interface to learn how nature impacts not only the design of their products but the mission and philosophy of the company.

How

The students will talk to Mikhail Davis, the Director of Restorative Enterprise at Interface.

Thank you Cider Provider, Violet Crime, and Thom Perry!

Truly ecstatic to kick off our GCE Tiny Concert Music Series where we host musicians and bands at our Lincoln Park Campus. Huge thanks to Jed and the guys from Cider Provider, Violet Crime, and Thom Perry – Andersonville folk-artist, street performer and chef, crooning traditional folk tunes accompanied with his own banjo playing. Also, thanks to Jet at Busk & Barrel Records.

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

November
16

Tiny GCE Concert

Come check out some music from our Alumnus, Jed. Jed’s been working on creating music to bridge communities since he graduated. Come for an evening of singing, cider, and cookies. You won’t want to miss this intimate performance.

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.

November
15

Prospective Student Spotlight Day

Join us at GCE for a prospective student day! At most schools, these days are known as shadow days, but at GCE, you’ll be in the spotlight, participating in class, group work, and truly experiencing the learning. Our spotlight days will run from 8:45am-12:30pm and include lunch.

The next available dates for spotlight days are Thursday, November 15; Monday, November 19; and Thursday, December 13.

If you would like to attend, you can fill out the form here to get started!

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.

December
5

Parent Wine Down

Finding the right high school for your child can be tough. Luckily, these parents know exactly what you’re going through. Join parents like you for wine, small bites, and advice. Get advice from the pros. Ask the questions you haven’t yet. Have a glass of wine and relax. You’ve got this!

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.