Category Archives: City2Classroom


Escuelas del Pasado, Presente y Futuro

April 9, 2013, by

On our Spanish course “Escuela”, we have explored schools around the world, in the past and present time and we have discussed what schools and education will be like in the future. The first Action project consisted in creating a timeline of what schools were like in the past. The second Action Project consisted on creating an auditory description of  the role of a student and teacher in the past, present and what would be like in the future. The third Action Project consisted on designing a lesson of the future. Please see featured Action Projects that the students have created.

PAST: Timeline


PRESENT: Conversation


FUTURE: Lesson


Lesson Plan


Why: The purpose of this lesson is to create the three different ways of learning into the categories past, present and future. By doing this wild will be able to note improvements in schools over time as well as what has been changed and or loss in time.
How: I will create three spaces that represent past, present, and future and split students into those spaces. In each one students will be given a task using a few mediums to complete it with. Afterwards each student will be given two tests one based on simple facts and the other on experience.
When: Friday
Who: the entire class
What: teach me how to learn

Group 1: Past

Background: En escuelas en pasado estudiantes aprendíamos básico matemática y ingles. Estudiantes aprendíamos habilidades diferente. Niñas aprendían habilidades de casa, cocinar y coser. Niños aprendían and advancado ingles y matemática y habilidades de cultivar. Niñas no permitir advancado clases en escuela. A veles niñas eran enseñaban por su madre. Niños aprendiand habilidades tenían éxito en vida. Niños eran maestros y cultivos. Niñas a mas de casas. Todo el mundo las clases se estructuran de forma diferente. El clases en Escuelas de Arabia Saudita son separados los niños y las niñas. Las niñas son mas inteligente los niños. Escuelas en Taiwán son doce horas largo. Escuelas en Korea es también doce horas largo. Escuelas en Korea son caro. Escuelas en China siempre tienen prueba. Estudiantes de Korea, Saudia Arabia, China, y Taiwán todos preferimos escuelas en América.

Objective: Your objective is to learn about breakfast in France and to speak about it in french.

Task: You have a worksheet to complete.

Tools/Setting: You can only use a dictionary and your worksheets and you can help each other but absolutely NO TECHNOLOGY.

Group 2: Present

Background:Escuelas en presentar son mucho centrado. El contenido de clases es depende en el país. En diferente país ellos son diferente contenido por puestos de trabajar. En mas escuelas ellos tiene mucho tecnológia. En unos pocos que utilizan los libros de texto. Contenido en clases dependerá de las carreras. Puestos de trabajar están en constante cambio.

Objective: Your objective is to learn about breakfast in France and to speak about it in french.

Task: You have to write 5 sentences about breakfast in french using the vocabulary and present.

Tools/Setting: You can use any type of technology but you can’t ask for help or speak to anyone in the class.

Group 3: Future

Background: En el futuro Los contenidos impartidos en clase van a ser muy diferente. La clase esctructurara de manera diferente. Las lecciones van a ser mas interactiva e incorporara tecnológica. Información van a ser al alcance de los estudiantes con la tecnológica. Las estudiantes se les van a enseñar a cuestionar y analizar la información y las ideas. Van a tener que aprender a digerir la información y llegar a sus propias ideas.

Objective: Your objective is to learn about breakfast in France and to speak about it in french.

Task: You have to talk and have conversation about food while you eat it.

Tools/Setting: You will be flying to France to have breakfast with a fluent french speaker. You can use any technology, and your french speaking student to learn.

The conclusion of this lesson is a written reflection and short discussion about the experience. Students will be asked to reflect on what it was like in their group and what group they would like to be in and why.


A Long but Satisfying Days Work

December 7, 2012, by

Civic Engagement is a four week term at GCE where we form into groups,work together on difficult projects and use the GCE goals through out our project. My group was the gratitude group, which was convenient because I learned a lot more about gratitude. I also learned that no matter the task as long as you have a good group you will be able to get anything done in any amount of time. I’m so proud to be able to show people the hard work we put into the video.

December 6th 2012, was by far the longest day I’ve had this entire term. The day started off as any other day; Our group gather in a room together and began discussing what was still left to be done. We had a lot still left to be done. In my opinion I feel like our group had the most work to be done, we had to use Rotoscope in our micro-documentary. For those who dont know what Rotoscoping is; its a type of live animation where we trace over video footage, frame by frame. This is a tedious project that involves lot of time with the same people and staring at a computer. Our group had decided since we have so much left to do we need to stay late and work. So we stayed until eight, staring at a computer making sure the image traced was perfect and detailed. “When I close my eyes all I see are images I traced.” We all were having this problem especially at the end of the day.

I dont think I would have been able to do this project with any other group of people. Its such a frustrating process and we worked as a team to help each other get through it while having fun and laughing a lot at the same time. I’m glad I got the chance to work with the people in this group. Its sad that this project is coming to the end, even though I wanted to pull my brains out the entire time, I would do this project again if I could have the same group of people. I wonder if I will have to Rotoscope in College? I sure hope not, I learned that I’m not good at drawing straight lines and tracing things, and that I loose concentration so easily. Overall I enjoyed this project, I worked so hard on this video and the hard work payed off and now I will have something I can look back on and be proud that I had the chance to help create it.

Trainee Testimonials

July 1, 2012, by

Please enjoy a few words of feedback from our wonderful trainees.  These two teachers work at CICS Northtown, and we are extremely grateful to partner with them.

  • Outside of the [Global Peace (gp)] course, I just want to send my encouragement to you and the gce family to continue to experiment, and load the rest of your curriculum with WHATs and HOWs that adhere to the gp model of unit design.  It’s clear that your team has been doing great work.  It’s fascinating to think about classes being planned this way.  For example, within my school i think about how many new opportunities for integration would open up outside of my course through the arteries of this rather simple, thoughtful design.  The nature of this unit structure is so conducive to that specific kind of collaborative work that deepens student learning, but often doesn’t happen or is merely tangential.  The model also demands a certain degree of differentiation in order for a teacher to activate it correctly.  It really seems both obvious and miraculous, like, why haven’t we been planning this way?  With a frame like this for units, I think teachers across content areas, given enough time for planning, could really, really, really do amazing things in their classrooms. i’m extremely excited by the gp format and i feel that it’s also administrator-friendly, a point that shouldn’t need to be made but i think does; it reflects the mission of any high school today, but is also so permeable that it allows for an inflow of rigorous, skills-based activity.  Thinking about the verticality of the unit structure in terms of skills-building/ACT, and not just focusing on its horizons (integration, etc.) is also really interesting.  That challenge of blending it and making sure to tease out skills/ACT/standards, with this model already in place, could produce some of the most valuable content and activities for the WHATs/HOWs without feeling like a separate, onerous weight to the students as they learn. you should call the design of the gp class the uprise unit structure.  That’s what it feels like – i’ve been reclining and am now getting up.  Or, that i’m actually in revolt.  In either case, ascending.  By which i mean, the students will. Having said this, i haven’t actually taught your wonderful curriculum.  I am eager to see how it feels in practice with our students, what we are going to have learned by the end. Hopefully, there’s an uprising. Thanks for this discovery and this training.

  • This workshop has increased my interest in the GCE Model for Learning in that I now have a visual roadmap of how to plan purposeful courses, units and lessons. The structure makes me excited to not only teach the Global Peace Course but also to see how I can incorporate the model into my Writing Course at Northtown. Diving into the lessons and allowing us to see how the components fit together and then giving micro teaching opportunities was invaluable. I believe this curriculum allows students to be the natural learners they were meant to be. Providing purpose, a roadmap and activities that allow them to discover answers to questions along the way opens up unlimited possibilities for the student learning experience. The structure teaches them how to be forever learners and letting one question lead them on an exploration that might take them to yet another question. It is a continuous learning cycle with necessary skills built in.  How do I now take all of this to plan what I need for CICS? I want to really aspire to live up to the possibility of this model and course.

Blended Learning

June 29, 2012, by

Yesterday, we spent a good deal of time and thought on Blended Learning, it pros, cons, limitations, and possibilities to maximize learning.  Please share in the ideas below:


How does BL improve (for students) organization of course?

  • website lets you go deep, zoom in and out
  • gives autonomy to student to understand structure and org of course –can explore what doing on own
  • entirely transparent
  • less overwhelming visually–can decided what level of detail to look into
  • syllabus different as flat, status doc –doesn’t provide as much organizationally

How BL enhance use of embedding resources?

  • link to sources
  • collect online and offline sources in same place
  • tidiness and simplicity, access from one place
  • kids need training to use the site…

How BL enhance network of learners

  • read others comments on blog posts– comment on comments– sets up a different kind of dialogue
  • create portfolio of learning
  • graduates return to site, take it with them into other learning community–resources available to other people
  • other teachers sharing lessons/activities, etc, as well as comments on what has worked and why, etc.
  • free open source material– no proprietary software–doesn’t have to be expensive to have high tech

How BL helps to offer examples of excellence?

  • embedded in site– in same format
  • more transparent


  • want everyone to be advocate
  • front-end parent with information… info is always right here
  • parents can always check on students work
  • curriculum design always open to see
  • administrators see what happening; students access it; teachers make it user-friendly

‘What if’ (contingencies to keep kids caught up):

  • communicate same info to kids, parents, admin
  • save time
  • bridge absences, homebound, snow days, etc

Teaching for multiple intelligence:

  • video, audio, movement, hands- experience—tech helps us address multiple intelligence
  • using tools we have at our discretion — more tools and sharper tools–wider array helps us be more effective
  • we each don’t have access to all tools–but we can build them…
  • we may not have Hans Rosling on staff, but do have him on TED…

Effective Teaching

June 26, 2012, by

In our final training session today, we discussed evaluation.  We asked and talked about the purpose of assessment and effective vs ineffective strategies.  We told a few funny stories and laughed about our short-comings.  But one thing that isn’t funny is that there is often a disconnect between what we evaluate, in terms of student work, and how we use the information to become better teachers, and better people.

Participants in GCE’s Educator Workshop answered the following prompt as comments to this blog:

  • What takeaways will you immediately apply to your teaching craft? How will you know if you’re effective/successful?

Please feel free to share your own thoughts too.


T3 & Inquiry based learning

June 25, 2012, by

This week, we are conducting a GCE Educator Institute, Train-the-Trainer Workshop. The purposes are three-fold:

  1. Clarify and discuss the goals of GCE’s Model for Learning which apply to both formal and informal environments: educating global citizens
  2. Train public and private educators to deliver the curriculum in a range of formats from electives to clubs to summer immersion programs (also available is training to develop full school models)
  3. Build GCE’s Global Network: learning circles of students, educators, and partners — corporate, non-profit, and civic — who collaborate in person and online.

The purpose of our Tuesday morning session is to explore the essence of Inquiry-Based Learning and the contexts in which it is most effectively employed. Participants, educators from four schools — Global Citzenship HS, Chicago International CS Northtown, Young Women’s Leadership CS, and Glenbrook South HS — share their understanding of IBL in two ways, both of which contribute to GCE’s practice and examination of Inquiry and Project based learning, blended learning, City2Classroom* programs, and MDG & CCSS alignment:

  1. Thoughts and definitions about IBL posted as comments to this blog.
  2. No fewer than 3 examples of appropriate scenarios in which IBL optimizes student learning, also posted as comments to this blog.
Please enjoy and contribute as well.
Thank you,

Field Experience at Sandbox

May 25, 2012, by

For a field experience, our Student Enterprise class went to Sandbox Industries. Sandbox Industries is a foundry that supports start-up businesses. The purpose of our visit was to gain experience by presenting the progress we’ve made on our individual business plans. During the presentations, we discussed the key points of our business: why we created it, what the plan is, and how the business will function. Here is the SlideRocket presentation I used to explain my business, Catalyst Outreach:

From this field experience, I learned a lot from the Q & A with Sandbox Industries employees, including Nick Rosa. We heard helpful advice about work ethic: you should love what you do, don’t go to work only to leave. I thought this advice connected well with our businesses because they are aligned with the Millennium Development goals, so our motivation comes from impacting the world.

After I finished my presentation, I considered what I can do in the future to improve my business plan. Regarding the presentation itself, I can work on communicating my mission in a way that creates an impact in a short time. My business plan will improve when I think of responses to tackle “killer” questions (questions that will signal a significant problem with your plan if you can’t answer it). I also need to think about how I can improve perceived barriers. As I revise my business plan, I’ll be thinking about it from the side of the client. This field experience provided us with memorable advice to finish the year strong.

Sandbox FE Blog GL

May 25, 2012, by

For student enterprise we got the chance to present our business plans to some employees at SandBox.

Sandbox is an organization in which they create, invest and explore new business ideas. Sandbox represents a new model of business development. One that helps upuncoming entrepreneurs and is redefining the way great ideas are transformed into successul companies.

One thing I learned from sandbox was how possible my business was to create.  Hearing how the people at Sandbox thought my business was something their company would be interested in made me really want to make this dream possible. SandBox gave me confidence that my business is not just a school project but that it could be so much more and do great things.

I could improve on my business presentation by making sure to add more pictures, and a graph explaining the financing parts. I want to make sure I incorporate the 3 areas to which my organization travels.

Sandbox gave me ideas in which I can improve my business. One of the ideas they gave me was to work more on the financial aspects of the business and the cost of how much the trip would actually be. They also suggested I worked on how I planned to market my business.

Field Experience at Shark Tank

May 11, 2012, by

For Student Enterprise, we went to the Embassy Suites where a casting call for Shark Tank was held. Shark Tank is a television series that features a panel of “Sharks” (wealthy investors) who consider investment requests from entrepreneurs for their business or product. The casting call is the chance for an entrepreneur to apply for his/her chance to be on Shark Tank. We got the opportunity to interview entrepreneurs and practice networking.

The Enterprise course is at a stage where it is important to investigate and explore entrepreneurial ideas and concepts to further deepen our knowledge of business plans. As we are writing our own business plans, we are discovering how to overcome the challenges that develop along the way. The entrepreneurs we spoke to at Shark Tank shared their useful experiences with us.

I recall speaking to two entrepreneurs who provided quality answers to my questions. The first, Laura Ramsey, was there to represent The Clear Bag Store as their director of sales and marketing. The Clear Bag Store sells clear bags and accessories for work, school, and travel. The business has been active for three years now and applied to Shark Tank because of a growing demand for their products. When asked about how she felt about being at the casting call, Laura Ramsey noted that she was excited because, if a person is willing to take the risk to start their business, then pitching an idea to Shark Tank is worth all the risk. The second business founders I spoke to were from Door 2 Door Global. Door 2 Door Global provides aid in transportation for children, matured loved ones, those with disabilities, and many others who request the assistance. There is a strong sense of purpose within the business to provide care for people who require an unique sense of safety. I found that it was very helpful to speak with people who believed in their business’s mission and were willing to take any risk.

The time we spent interviewing people at the casting call helped each student to develop their business plan in a different way. For me, I enjoyed the experience of networking and asking questions to entrepreneurs with more experience. Meanwhile, the writing of my business plan that is aligned with a Millennium Development Goal continues to progress. What I learned from this field experience will give me a guide to direct my business.


Catalysts at Orbit Media

May 4, 2012, by

For a field experience, the GCE Catalysts went to Orbit Media Studios. We went to direct questions to professionals on what web design and development entails. We met the CEO, Todd Gettelfinger, whose responsibilities include ensuring customer satisfaction and financial management. He wants clients to find value in every dollar they spend with Orbit. Our class wanted to get his outlook on the web design and development industry. It is a field that changes as technology changes. Orbit Media’s history reflects their ability to keep up with the innovation. The group started with comic design, flash (a multimedia platform), and games. The next phase was when they started to work with a variety of media: print, video, and web development.

Orbit Media now works to provide web services to start-up or existing businesses. They have been active for 11 years now. With 30 people working in the studio, they have completed 700 projects. They work with a diversity of clients from General Aviation Mobile to the Independent Publishers Group. To satisfy their clients, they maintain direct contact to understand their mission. Knowing what the business wants to do informs the look and feel of the website Orbit Media will create. They work in higher-end web design, meaning that they can provide services such as e-commerce and custom applications. Todd Gettelfinger explained that Orbit Media focuses on serving Chicago-based businesses because they want to be known as Chicago’s number one website creators. Orbit is currently in a “manage growth” phase, meaning that they have to plan a way to grow at a pace they can handle. Our class benefited from learning about the experience of being involved with web design and development.

We also met other members of the Orbit Media team. Amanda Gant, the marketing and relationships manager, provided insight on the importance of getting information from clients. Meeting and constant communication has to happen to ensure that clients feel their message being expressed on a website. Mary Fran Wiley, a web designer, introduced us to her process of creating a unique look for clients. “Discover, design, develop, and deploy” are the steps she takes to make sure the design is attractive to clients and users. We learned that the most important thing for a designer to do is ask about the client’s brand book. The answers they provide inform the images and styles designers set for the website. The design isn’t the only thing clients ask Orbit to individualize. Function is another feature that needs special attention. For this job, Sam Ward, a web developer, uses coding to make the function of the website match the client’s need. An important phrase mentioned in the meeting was that in website creation there must be mutual respect for each other’s jobs. Then, the function and design will synchronize to make an enjoyable web experience.

Meeting with Orbit Media had a positive impact on our learning as beginning designers and developers. Recently, we have been discussing how our website should look and function. Learning from the expertise of Orbit gave us guidance to focus our vision. As our website aims to raise awareness for environmental sustainability, we see that there many opportunities to create a unique look. We definitely look forward to incorporating what we learned into our website.