The Neighborhood Project & Humanities Fair

Little Italy

The Neighborhood Project is a large-scale, multi-faceted school project that, in total, takes about 7 weeks; we’re currently about halfway done. Seen by some as a “mini independent study”, this project goes along with our Chicago History studies.

Working on this project builds so many of the skills that we value in 12-14, and gives the students the opportunity to really get to know our city geographically and culturally. They’re doing independent work and collaboration, writing, navigation, photography, social interaction, research, cooking, mapping, interviewing, and much more.


The NP includes 4 main components, some of which you may have caught a glimpse of your child working on:

  • A big research paper
  • A creative project on a certain area of focus
  • City Trip Explorations to various Chicago neighborhoods
  • The presentation fair

A couple weeks ago the students completed their first City Trip Explorations to their chosen neighborhoods (pictures included here!). They’re currently working on planning a second trip to each neighborhood. Each student is responsible for arranging the time, date, and details of the trip. Parents and other family members are welcome to join their 12-14er on this trip, as long as they’re willing to follow the student’s plan! The second trip should be completed by December 11.

And, perhaps most excitingly for you all, YOU’RE INVITED to check out all the hard work they’ve put into planning,

Hyde Park

researching, and exploring at the final Humanities Presentation Fair! Students will present their research, and display videos, food samples, maps, drawings, speeches, and many other showcases.

I’ll send a reminder email next week, but please MARK YOUR CALENDAR for FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2017, 1:00-2:00 pm in our home classroom.

Fall Book Recommendations

Every Friday, our class holds a weekly Council Meeting, in which we discuss the highs and lows of the week. Students each take a turn leading council, and wrap up the meeting with a favorite book recommendation. Here are a few of the recommendations we’ve heard so far this year:

Rowan: A Year Without Autumn is about a girl who goes on vacation with her family and meets her best friend there. She ends up going into an old elevator, and goes forward in time. She realizes that her best friend’s family has changed a lot, and she tries to figure out what went wrong.

Kieran: The Martian is about this guy who is left for dead on Mars after his crew thinks he’s dead in a big sandstorm. He has to find multiple ways to survive, such as farming, since he’s a biologist. It’s a space survival story.
Tyler: Revolt on Alpha C is about a space cadet on a ship going to Alpha C. When he gets to the planet there’s turmoil there and a rebellion against earth. He has to decide between both sides.