Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicago Through Three Lenses

Boy, have we been busy on Chicago!
Monday students came for an hour to do more research on their Chicago topics. Students were given time to put together presentations from Friday's field trip exploring the Geology of Michigan Ave. and "looking for the soul" of Chicago via architecture.

Tuesday we heard presentations from students on Chicago architecture and continued to work on research. In class research today for a primary source on a historical Chicago event to prepare with a partner some materials to teach others what this event reveals about Chicago and how it impacts the U.S. as a whole.

After presentations, students broke into Junior and Senior sections.

Juniors: History lesson
Short history lesson - timeline of events post-fire 1871 to present.

Seniors: English lesson- writing techniques --how to integrate quotes into your paper

Groups switched teachers after about 1 hour, so they had benefit of history and English instruction today.

Chicago Through 3 Lenses:

Student presentations on:

Today, Lens #1 Chicago, City of Really Great Parties

1893 Columbian Exposition

1934 World's Fair - Century of Progress

1968 Democratic Nation Convention

Lens #2 - Change Starts Here

1877 Great Railroad Strike
1984 Pullman Strike
1966 Chicago Freedom Movement

Next Monday: Lens# 3

Haymarket Riot 1886
Race Riots of 1919
1929 St. Valenine's Day Massacre
1969 Fred Hampton and the Black Panthers

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Geology of Michigan Avenue - Friday Field Trip

The mixed architecture of downtown Chicago includes a variety of building stones. These provide conveniently located and accessible "urban outcrops" The rocks used in Chicago architecture come from all over the world and represent a wide variety of rock types. Each group of students will observe buildings on Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago and observe limestone, dolomite, basalt granite gabbro, brano-diorite, marble travertine and serpentine.

Part I. Buildings of significance for study of geology:
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington
Crowne Fountain, Millenium Park
Aon Building, 200 E. Randolph
Carbide and Carbon building, 230 N. Michigan Ave
343 N. Michigan Ave
Wrigley Building, 410 N. Michigan Ave
Tribune Building, 435 N. Michigan Ave
Woman's Athletic Club 626 N. Michigan Ave
Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station
John Hancock Center, 875 N. Michigan

In the rain on Friday, students worked in small groups on a walking tour of these buildings and are responsible for studying one buildin in-depth and reporting back to the class using a photo journal/powerpoint presentation.

Part II. Architectural and Photo Reflection Tour

What architectural features and styles seem to dominate the downtown area? What does Chicago's downtown reveal about our relationship with nature? What attitudes about wealth, consumption and progress are revealed through downtown Chicago's architecture and layout? What is distinctly Chicago about Chicago?

Using your background in local geology, Chicago history, architecture and Chicago poetry and literature make some connections as you explore:

The Rookery
Board of Trade Building
Reliance Building
The Monadnock Block
Marina City
Inland Steel Building
The Marquette

What a marvelous experience; I loved my role as a chaperone!

Friday 350 Event Hosted by Environmental Club

Co-head of environmental club is an IGSS student, Jesse hosted a 350 event after school on Friday with live music and students urging folks to call their representatives and senators to support Green legislation. This event kicks off a world-wide Saturday demonstrations Saturday to call for urgent action on climate change.

Saturday events were being coordinated by a group called, whose name refers to the parts per million of carbon dioxide it considers the safe upper limit for our atmosphere. More than 5,400 rallies and demonstrations were scheduled to take place around the world, all of them centered on the number 350.

CNN reports:
"The number of 350 ppm originally came from a NASA research team headed by American climate scientist James Hansen, which surveyed both real-time climate observations and emerging paleo-climatic data in January 2008, according to

It concluded that atmosphere containing carbon dioxide above 350 ppm couldn't support life on earth as we know it".

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Our Neighborhood" Literature Circles Today

It is every group member's responsibility to be current with all group determined reading assignments and uphold their group responsibility. Here are the descriptions of roles within the Literature circle:

Group Leader: summarizes work keeps everyone on schedule and organizes all sheets

Passage Selector
: find 3 key passages for each assignment; complement what group leader has done --complete passage selector sheet

Word Specialist: look for interesting and important words and word usage in your book.--complete word specialist sheet

Chicago Historian: research on a significant location mentioned in each reading assignment; provide images and historical information; keep your eyes open for interesting references in the book

Discussion Leader: lead a discussion on each section of the book and prepare aseries of factual and inferential questions.

Meeting Dates: 10/22; 10/29; 11/5; and 11/12.

Science Lab: Room 102 --Prepare for Geology of Michigan Avenue Trip - Rock Cycle

Field Trip tomorrow to Chicago!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Continuing Library Research today on Chicago Unit

Science - Las Vegas Rock Cycle game

Students will be going to 11 stations to learn about individual parts of the Rock cycle and to determine length of time in each cycle:

Compaction and Cementation
High Temperature and Pressing
Sediments Igneous Rocks
To the Surface
Metamorphic Rock
Sedimentary Rock
Cooling and Hardening
Weathering and Erosion

Library Research continues
Working Bibliographies and thesis statements are due today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Geology of Chicago & Chicago Research

Science Lesson:

***Glacial Geology of Chicago

***Quaternary Geology of Illinois
"The landscape of Illinois is the product of its most recent past, the Quaternary Period, roughly the last 2 to 2.5 million years. This period of geologic time, in which we live today, has been characterized by alternating glacial and interglacial episodes reflecting Earth's climate flip-flops between cooler and warmer intervals. During the Quaternary Period, over 90% of Illinois was glaciated, and the remaining 10% of the state was affected by glacier meltwater, dust storms, and a climate more frigid than that of today."

15,000 - 20,000 years ago was the last time a glacier moved through Illinois.

See: Why we study glacial and quaternary geology.

Review: What is a moraine? Unconsolidated material which glaciers pick up (debris) --it's a mile thick---. During warming trend, glacier starts to melt and no longer has the power and strength to move the material. Moraines are these deposits of glacial material that has been dumped.

Assignment: Turn in Geology/Natural History of Illinois Summaries by Monday

First Quarter assessments delivered for Science
1) Infectious Disease Lab - group activity
2) TB Essay and handwashing/bacterial growth lab.
3) Visible Light Lab
4) Cosmic Object/Electromagnet Spectrum Visual Presentation

Write a brief reflective statement about yourself and your IGSS experience. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a student? Your accomplishments thus far? your challenges. Individual conferences are next week Wednesday Oct 21.

Seniors & Juniors work on framing a thesis for Chicago research projects.
"How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One" -- Indiana Univ.
Practice working in groups to develop thesis statements.

Monday Oct 19th - more library work; thesis statements due & preliminary bibliographies due on Tuesday. Neighborhood maps due next Tuesday as well!

Brief Reading Quiz - early Chicago history; explanation of scoring.

Town Hall meeting today!
Committee work today:
Mix CD --sharing via Facebook
IGSS movie day - Ferris Bueller's Day Off next Wed. during conferences
IGSS service project--
Advisery/PR visits --junior/senior pairs will sign up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Northshore Geology Field Trip presentations

Each of 3 student groups visited 2 locations on the Northshore and presented their findings. I was unable to attend the trip, so I thoroughly enjoyed the video presentations:

Students shared findings with other groups to complete packets of questions/information.

Winnetka Grand Canyon - using a topographic map, create a vertical profile of one of the ravines. See "R" is for Ravines for more information.

Tower Beach - visually document the topography

Glencoe Beach - How are bluffs formed? What is a moraine and how are they formed?

Southern Winnetka
- Using the topographic map calculate the approximate gradient of the Highland Park moraine in southern Winnetka.
Gradient = slope = rise/run

Skokie Lagoons Collect/document something representative of this region and visually document your experience. What is a lagoon? What environmental crises occurred in the 1970s at the lagoons and how was it addressed? Where and in which direction does the water flow?

Wilmette Sand spit
The spit was created thousands of years ago when Lake Chicago was at a high water mark (60 ft. higher than Lake Michigan today). Longshore currents swept around the tip of the Highland Park moraine and deposited sediment beyond it, called a sandspit. Visually document the sandspit and the dune field on the grounds of Westmoreland Country Club.

Walking the Beach - Gilson Park
: identify and document a sand dune; collect a sample of granite rocks (contains pink), basalt rocks (all black) and a white rock (dolomite). What are Petoskey stones and how did they form?

Continue with Paradigm Shift presentations.

Library research:
Chicago as an archetypal American city and "culture factory"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Library Research Today!

For the "My Neighborhood" Unit: Juniors will be exploring Chicago as the "most American of American cities, research the city historically, politically, economically and demographically.

see: Chicago - Quintessential American City for unit resources.

Seniors will be looking at how Chicago influenced American arts, architecture, music, dance, sports...researching all cultural aspects.
see: Chicago as a Cultural Factory

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chicago Lit Circles will be formed

Chicago book choices include:

Dybek, Stuart. The Coast of Chicago: Stories
Ferber, Edna So Big
Kotlowitz, Alex. Never a City So Real
Langer, Adam. Crossing California
Lombardo, Billy. The Logic of the Rose: Chicago Stories
Niffenegger, Audrey. The Time Traveler's Wife
Paretsky, Sara. Hardball

Illinois Geology - Glacial Geology of Chicago and vicinity
Interpret geologic maps and develop a geologic history of Illinois:

Geologists are said to be "story tellers". Using the maps and info provided, tell the story of Illinois as would be written by a geologist. Use as much information and detail from the maps that have been provided. Please cite at least three of the readings/resources.

Writing tips: Common wrong turns
on essays for Sirens of Titan: Reflections on in-class essays
You slipped into a summary of the book for either part or for the entire essay. Here, you lost contact with the prompt. Why?

You need to directly respond to the prompt, "someone up there likes me"...

You made a point about the very end of the book without mentioning that the very end is a delusion. Why?

The prompt asked you to reflect on the overall message of the book. You didn't why?

You tended to figure out what you wanted to say as you went. Did you choose to write without making some sort of outline. Why?

Did you make another sort of mistake? Why did you make this mistake?

Poetry Slam

Class poets on light and life and nature: vote for the poem you like best.

From the Google Power Meter Blog

"Google PowerMeter is not yet available to the public since we're testing it out with Googlers first. But we're building partnerships with utilities and independent device manufacturers to gradually roll this out in pilot programs. Once we've had a chance to kick the tires, we'll make the tool more widely available."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Google Power Meter

Googlers talk about our prototype product that will allow you to see detailed home energy information right on your computer.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Today in IGSS

Recap Orienteering Field Trip with video/pics/stories:
Highlights from Northshore orienteering:
Wilmette Historcial Society --learning about Skokie Lagoons, a CCC project during the Great Depression; Martin Luther King Memorial in Winnetka, oldest Jeweler in Wilmette; Kenilworth Water tower; Frank Lloyd Wright inspired houses; Kerrigan Plumbing in Wilmette; Roemer Park built from donated farm land in 1953; Crow Island woods; 1837 Schmidt-Burnham log house, Centennial Park in Winnetka, Indian Hill Golf Club; Wagner Farm in Glenview - interview with Todd, 8th generation farmer from Iowa; interview with Mr. Mort Balaban house builder on the northshore; Winnetka Ravines; Glencoe Beach; Wilmette Historical Society; Tower Rd. Beach Water Filtration Plant; Plaza del Lago.

Continuing Paradigm Shift presentations:

Space Travel - a clash of science and religion
Is Obama's policy on cutting funding to NASA so that he can focus on domestic issues a prudent policy?

Darwin - clash of science and religion
Natural selection skit: Does Darwin believe in God? How has Darwin changed science forever?

Science Lab: North Shore Geology: Introduction

Early Chicago History Readings ---due next Tuesday the 13th.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Geocaching and Orienteering Mon Oct 5th

Suburban Orienteering on Monday periods 5-9.Those of you biking, don't forget your bike & helmet on Monday. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.Very exciting to launch "My Neighborhood" unit.
Complete Journal Entry #3 (summarize your findings) on Monday.

Tracy Kidder author event: Wed. Oct 7th - next week 7:30 pm $10 donation to Partners in Health
Winnetka Congregational Church
630 Lincoln Ave
Winnetka, IL 60093

His new book is:Strength in What Remains is about Deo, a young
medical student who fled the genocidal civil war in Burundi in 1994 for the
uncertainty of New York City. Against absurd odds--he arrived with little money
and less English and slept in Central Park while delivering groceries for
starvation wages--his own ambition and a few kind New Yorkers led him to
Columbia University and, beyond that, to medical school and American
citizenship. Writing with the same modest but dogged empathy that made his
recent Mountains Beyond Mountains (about Deo's colleague and mentor, Dr. Paul Farmer) amodern classic, Tracy Kidder follows Deo back to Burundi, where he recalls the horrors of his narrow escape from the war and begins to build a medical clinic where none had been before.

I can arrange to get tickets and meet you there. If someone absolutely needs a ride let me know.
J. Gressel

Paradigm Shift Presentations Today:
Monotheism - How has monotheism shaped our country?
How has photography changed our world? Our perceptions have shifted. Does photography dilute storytelling or enhance it?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Paradigm Shifts That Rocked our World: Presentations

First Presentation - Freudian Psychoanalysis - explanation of Id, Ego, and Superego; lesson with newscast demonstrating pre and post Freudian thinking.

Second Presentation - Nationalism
War games - make flag, gang sign/symbol, song/chant, reasons for attacking, choosing a country to attack
Film - The Wave - extremism
Film - examples of historical nationalism

Third Presentation: Genetics
simulation, video - Gattica clip & discussion.
1) How does genetics chang your perception of what we are?
2) Does genetic engineering limit human potential or expand it?
3) How did the discovery of genetics change your view of a human's place in the universe?
4) Would you be comfortable living in a world with human genetic engineering?

Discussion: The Five Eyes essay by C.T. Shen
How would the Bodhisattva answer the questions Who am I? Where am I? and What am I for?

New Trier Organic Garden