From the Perspective of Chicago Semester Student Teachers

Monday, October 26, 2015

Keys to the City and VIP Lounges

Jacob Ward – Franklin Fine Arts

Greetings and salutations again, dear reader!  Here’s the skinny on what’s been happening this week in the life of Jacob Ward!

At Franklin Fine Arts:
My first session of edTPA filming has gone off without a hitch!  The students really delved into a crazy good discussion about how we view each other based on our clothing and have really embraced the project of painting on jeans.
Today I chaperoned a field trip of Drama students to the Chicago History Museum, which is conveniently within walking distance of the school.  Why would drama students be going to the Chicago History Museum?  Good question!  Franklin has a system called “The Big Show” where one of the arts has the main focus of that year and pretty much calls the shots.  It’s on a yearly rotation and this year is the Drama big show.  The Drama teacher has commissioned a Franklin parent/playwright to write a play about The Great Chicago Fire, Streeterville, & The World’s Fair.  So what better place to learn the history of Chicago and get time period appropriate design ideas than the History Museum?

In Chicago:

MY PARENTS CAME TO VISIT THIS WEEKEND!!!  After a 10-hour train ride from Ohio, my parents geared up for a whirlwind tour of Chicago by purchasing a 3-day Ventra card (which is a good idea for any visitor to the city, skip driving and go with public transit) and an evening dinner of Chicago deep dish pizza at Lou Malnatis.

Luckily for everyone, this weekend was also Open House Chicago.  This is an event where certain venues open up to the public, some of which are hardly ever open to outsiders on any other day.  Some things we saw:

·      The Stony Island Arts Bank:  a reclaimed bank used to store John J. Johnson’s massive book collection, art, glass slides of art from the Art Institute, and more!  Recently featured on 9-Gag, finding this place was a minor victory for me but sadly they did not allow visitors into the vaults below the bank… bummer.

·      Zap Props:  Located in an unmarked building in literally the middle of nowhere is the largest supplier of props for film, television, theatre, and restaurants in the Midwest.  Never open to the general public, this space has been featured on American Pickers several times and is one of the coolest buildings ever to exist.  It has everything!

·      CAH Headquarters:  Unless invited, the doors into the workspace of the people behind one of America’s most popular card games stay shut.  But they graciously opened up for the open house and I couldn’t be any more excited.  Also got some free brand-spanking new card games out of it, which is nice.

·       Lincoln Square:  We explored and ate our way around this area stopping at Gene’s Sausage Shop & Luella’s Southern Home Cooking (They have the best fried chicken in Chicago!)

·      Sedgewick Studios: Home to several artists who have sculptures around the city, this private workshop has all kinds of cool doodads, metal working gear, and sculptures in progress within its blast-proof walls.

·      The Oriental Theatre and The House of Blues: The Oriental’s auditorium and the VIP Room reserved for the high-ups and club members of the House of Blues offered some of the more “woah…this is pretty sweet!” moments of the weekend.  If you ever get a chance to see the VIP at the HoB, go!

Until next time, peace out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Open Studios and Roller Coaster Crashes

Greetings and salutations again, dear reader!  Here’s the skinny on what’s been happening this week in the life of Jacob Ward!

At Franklin Fine Arts:
The students are starting to move into their new projects!!! Kindergarteners are working on mini Monet waterlily ponds, 2nd & 4th graders are starting their final Romero Britto pieces, 6th graders are starting a Dale Chihuly project, 7th graders will be working with glass fusion, and the 8th graders will be working on my edTPA painted jeans project.

For those who don’t know, edTPA is the Teacher Performance Assessment and is one of the criteria needed to receive your teaching license for Ohio & Illinois.  This is, as the title says, based and graded on teacher performance and is broken up into three parts: Planning the lessons, Commentary on the filmed lessons, and Assessment of student work & lesson as a whole.  The Pearson Exams (one of the other criteria to get licensure) are based on knowledge and are over information in your content area and educational theory.  Pearson exams and TPA prove a person has the brains and brawn, respectively, that a teacher needs in order to teach.

In Chicago:
This week has picked up a little bit even though I’ve still been bogged down with edTPA preparation.  Thursday evening’s fine arts event was a visit to the Chicago Symphony Center to hear US Premier of Detlev Glanert’s Brahms-Fantasie and Johannes Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 77 & Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op.68.  BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!  
Friday night was spent exploring Pilsen with my cooperating teacher where we saw the National Museum of Mexican Art, Hector Duartes’ house, and various artist’s studios that were open to the public that evening.  A pit stop at Honky Tonks BBQ proved to be extremely delicious (especially the candied bacon… NOM!) The good things just keep going and going…

Saturday evening was spent seeing one of the greatest shows I’ve ever seen, Ride the Cyclone at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  The set and the projections were amazing, the story was funny and touching, the acting, singing, and music were phenomenal.  I hope that it gets picked up to move to Broadway just so I can get a cast recording… that’s how good this show was!  AND just to show how small the world really is, a friend I did theater with back in Ohio is friends with one of the actors in Cyclone and she’ll be coming to Chicago to see the show so we’re all going to hang out and it’s going to be awesome!  For people who want to see the show, Chicago Shakes has a special deal of $20 tickets for people under 35 so take advantage of it people and see Ride the Cyclone!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gas Masks and Head Bobs

by Jacob Ward, Franklin Fine Arts Center

Greetings and salutations again, dear reader!  Here’s the skinny on what’s been happening this week in the life of Jacob Ward!

At Franklin Fine Arts:
This week my students K-4 started working on brightly colored projects inspired by Brazilian artist, Romero Britto (whose name now has a specific head bob that goes with it when spoken to help Kindergarten  remember his name).  The older groups are continuing to wrap up their Barbara Probst photography projects.  Since Franklin’s current building was built in the 1920s and has artifacts in the hallways like a fallout shelter sign, it was hard to not take advantage of one group’s gas mask for a side photo-shoot with the sign.

As assistant assistant coach for the cross country team, The Franklin Flyers, I helped get the team on their feet for their big meet on Wednesday where several students received medals.  I look forward to seeing where they go from here!

Saturday was Franklin’s annual International Picnic where we celebrated being “One Franklin”.  Every major nationality, as well as those specific to Franklin’s students and the food establishments in the neighborhood, were represented in the buffet line.  The food was absolutely amazing!!!  The special performance of the day was Franklin’s 7th & 8th grade Rock Band and let me tell you, these kids rocked out like there was no tomorrow!

In Chicago:
This week has been slow on the adventure side but just as fast paced as ever!  Getting ready for observations, prepping lesson plans, planning for edTPA, and fighting off a cold have taken the majority of my time BUT I still managed to clear my schedule to go see this week’s Chicago Semester fine arts event, August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at the Court Theater.  It was AMAAAAAAAAAZING!!!  Even if I wasn’t a theater person I still would have loved it!  And that is my advice to future CS students: go to the events!  You’re paying for them, so do them… even if you don’t love it, it’s still a worthwhile experience in the end.