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Education Blog

Goodbye Boring PowerPoints: Multimedia in the Classroom
Last fall, I spent some time observing in a high school classroom on the North side of Chicago. During one of my visits, the teacher (aka “Mr. M”) led his class of energetic sophomores to the computer lab, a large room filled with sleek new monitors that definitely outshone the ones at my graduate university. The computer lab was familiar territory for these students, who frequently headed to the lab to complete various English assignments, such as typing up stories using vocabulary words or... Continue Reading >>
Ophelia's iPod
One of my favorite parts of CHF's Classics in Context program is when all of the teachers gather together after lunch to discuss and brainstorm just how they'll use the Classics books in their curriculum. Since this year's series focuses on the 2011 Festival theme of "Technology," the ideas have been digitally-infused investigations. At our last session, after two captivating hours talking with Brazilian novelist and General Counsel to Brazil Joao Almino about his 1994 book Samba-enredo,... Continue Reading >>
CFE Grant Opportunity!
CHF Education is always happy to share news and opportunities from our partner organizations. This just in from The Chicago Foundation for Education: Have you successfully implemented a Teaching Method in your classroom that you would like to share with others? Have you and a colleague introduced an effective strategy with your student population that other CPS educators might be interested in learning? If so, then you (or you & a teacher friend!) should apply. The Chicago Foundation... Continue Reading >>
Man vs. Machine
This week may mark the most important match yet in the battle of man vs. machine.  This past Monday was the first of three episodes of Jeopardy! to pit two all-time Jeopardy! champs against IBM's powerful question-answering computer, "Watson."  Watson may not exactly be Artificial Intelligence, but he represents the first breakthrough in overcoming a big human/machine communication barrier: so called "natural language," the way people really speak, rather than information tailored for input into... Continue Reading >>
The Man Who Planted Trees: A Call to Action
A little over three weeks ago, Jewish people all over the world celebrated the New Year of the Trees, or in Hebrew, Tu B’Shevat.  Tu B’Shevat occurs on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Shevat, marking the renewal of a tree’s life as we approach the early spring months.  This holiday promotes an appreciation for trees and our environment, and encourages people to care about the natural resources around them. I remember going to my synagogue with my family as a young child on Tu B’Shevat.  Families... Continue Reading >>
Human Rights with Susan Gzesh
If you enjoyed past CHF presenter Susan Gzesh’s discussion, Human Vulnerability—Human Rights, I would recommend taking a trip to Northwestern University this weekend.  From Thursday, January 20th through Sunday, January 23rd, the Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights will hold its 8th annual conference in which Northwestern undergraduate students work to bring student delegates, scholars, activists, and policy-makers from around the world to address a specific topic concerning human... Continue Reading >>
Making Music at CHF
by Rachel Levin, CHF Programming Intern Rachel is a senior at Northwestern University, majoring in English Literature, with a minor in Voice. I grew up in quite a unique environment. My parents, Juilliard trained musicians turned lawyer and artist manager, constantly exposed my brother and me to the wonderful notes composed by the likes of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and many more. This early musical influence encouraged and sustained my interests in playing the violin,... Continue Reading >>
Online Research: New Approaches to Teaching and Learning
Every summer, the Chicago Humanities Festival presents the Summer Institute for Teachers (SIT) as part of our year-round, professional-development offerings for teachers. In 2010, we designed the two-day Institute to address issues that many teachers had raised with our staff during our informal discussions at Classics in Context, Festival events, and SIT 2009; namely, how to address the thorny world of online research. So many of you told us that you were looking for guidance in teaching good... Continue Reading >>
Classics in Context: The 2011 Season!
This past year at Classics in Context we were treated to an engaging history of humor in the Spanish Lanuguage with Professor Mauricio Tenorio and a of the life and work of Juan Jose Arreola with special guest Professor Nelly Palafox, as well as turning a critical eye toward Arreola’s satirical work in both English and in Spanish.   We explored the monstrosity of Victor Frankenstein’s creation with Professor Heather Keenleyside, and discussed the creature in the context of the “Last of his Race”... Continue Reading >>
World Aids Day: Paul Farmer highlighted in the New York Times
Generally speaking, the topic of AIDS or HIV are not really opted for in casual discussion. With the exception of World AIDS Day, conversations about the virus, the search for a cure, and the ongoing role it plays in our international public health policies, may lie mostly dormant. For me, it took finding out that someone I knew was infected to start talking and researching the issue. My concern led me to realize how many individuals are actively, and vocally, committed to the cause.   The fight... Continue Reading >>
CHF Education in the news!
Medill News highlights teacher and enthusiastic CHF fan Peggy Hall-Heineman's inclusion of the Festival in her Von Steuben curriculum.'s students were wild about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's program. Which events have you and your students loved? Continue Reading >>
The Political Classroom
In the spirit of elections, what better time than now would it be to explore political matters in the classroom? We have dozens of study guides and lesson plans in our education library archives available for your use! Nothing is more topical, it seems, then one of our most recent lesson plans: “The Promise: US Presidents in Times of Crisis,” featuring Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter. Not only does the plan... Continue Reading >>
Teacher tickets
Here are a few that the CHF Education Team thinks are a perfect fit for your classroom (and for which you can still nab tickets!) Basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar (,  writer Jennifer Finney Boylan's personal story on being transgendered (, Raynard Kington on the state of health disparities in America... Continue Reading >>
Top 10 of 2010 Teacher Programs: Where will you be?
There’s an unmistakable energy in the air. CHF’s The Body Festival is here! Starting with October’s Hyde Park Day we began hearing which programs you couldn’t wait to see. Now that the November Festival is upon us, we wanted to share the Top 10 programs that will have the most educators and students in their audiences. From the perennially popular Ourselves as Others See Us panel of international journalists to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard, there’s plenty to spark your classroom... Continue Reading >>
Festival starts with a grand jeté!
What an amazing evening and program presentation by Edward Villella! I mean, I got to learn about dance, military, the body and movement, arts entrepreneurship and even how to deal with difficult (but loving) parents all in one lecture! I must admit, it was a fantastic way to gain education and enjoyment at the same time. As a trained dancer in various styles and disciplines (including ballet), I completely connected with him on diverse levels, specifically as a performing artist, choreographer... Continue Reading >>
Online Resources
We here at CHF Education are always looking online for resources for teachers that we think are exceptional or cool or, ideally, both. The New York Times's Learning Network is one that we've had a lot of fun with lately. What are some of your must-visit sites? Continue Reading >>
Meet & Greet
CHF Education will be hitting the town this week. Tonight from 4 – 7 pm teachers participating in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Spotlight on Chicago (77 E. Randolph Street) can swing by our table and nab a copy of the 2010 Teachers’ Guide to the 2010 Festival and get a sneak peek at the Classics in Context 2011 schedule. This Saturday our team will be at Whitney Young Magnet High School (1431 W. Jackson Boulevard) for the Chicago Foundation for Education’s (CFE) 22nd Annual Teachers as Leaders... Continue Reading >>
Welcome Back Educators!
Our mission at the Chicago Humanities Festival has always been to offer the most exciting and engaging programs for Chicago-area teachers and educators. Since the launch of the new CHF website last August, where we were able to provide our general audiences with easier searching and more audio and video from past Festival programs, we've known that we wanted (and needed!) to match that quality on our education page. And, I think, we've done it! We're excited to share with you our new... Continue Reading >>
CHF Youth Advisory Council
CHF's Youth Advisory Council is looking for new members for the 2010-11 school year. Council members weigh in with ideas for CHF programs, promote the spring and fall festivals, and gain an understanding of arts and nonprofit administration. The council is open to students who will be in grades 9-12 during the 2010-11 year. The commitment is approximately 1 hour per month, September through May, and students can receive school or community service credit for time served on the council. ... Continue Reading >>
Empowering the Student Scholar
CHF's dynamic collection of audio and video recordings from the past 21 years is a remarkable resource for young scholars and teachers. With more than 200 lectures and panel discussions on the web, CHF provides tremendous primary source materials that encourage student researchers to discover new perspectives and dvelop essential critical skills that will prepare them for college and beyond. CHF has also developed lesson plans that help you bring past CHF presenters into your classroom... Continue Reading >>