Wood Crafts (K-8, taught by DeeAnn, Heba, Jessica & Becky)
Wood Crafts is your opportunity to work with wood and be creative! Each week, we will choose something to build using wood. Students will have the freedom to design their creations and decorate them according to their own creativity. Creating is the highest form of critical thinking according to Bloom’s Taxonomy and this class will give students many opportunities to challenge themselves in this capacity. Depending on the weekly activity, students may work collaboratively in groups or alone. Wood Crafts is great for students who learn through doing and enjoy math.
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Mathematical Art (Grades K-5, taught by Lauren)
In this class we will create different art projects using mathematical and geometric ideas. Projects will include tessellations, 3D pictures, scale maps, and drawings with compasses.
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math art

Creative Writing & Contemporary Literature (Grades 4-8, facilitated by Russell)
In this creative writing workshop designed for older students, we will craft and constructively critique our own poetry and short stories while learning about literary techniques and devices to hone and present our unique voices and visions on the page. We’ll read some contemporary and classic work as conversation inspiration and special guest writers and publishers will visit the class to provide insight and perspective! This time around, we’ll add readings and analyses of contemporary writers writing right now (many of whom will chime in with their own words)!
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Yoga (Grades K-8, taught by Terri, Erin & Heba)
Yoga is beneficial to kids in many ways. Children encounter emotional, social, and physical challenges or conflicts, a dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines, and physical postures can be incredibly valuable for them. Yoga is something children can practice anywhere. The breathing, the concentration, the poses, and the way kids learn to act or react to situations, will lead to constant self-discovery and inquisitiveness.
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Spanish (Grades K-8, Lauren & DeeAnn)
In this class we will learn vocabulary, songs and activities in Spanish. We will emphasize conversation practice and speaking and listening as a foundation for later language study. No previous Spanish experience is necessary but we will accommodate a variety of levels. Our group will be combined for some activities while the older students will work in a separate group with one teacher for some more advanced reading, writing, and conversation activities.

Winning Words
The Chicago Free School is partnering with the University of Chicago’s Civic Knowledge Project to present Winning Words, an elective that merges writing, theatre, and discussion with philosophy to sharpen critical thinking! From their website:

“With Winning Words, young people on Chicago’s South Side are introduced to the joys and wonders of philosophy and provided with greater educational opportunities for practicing considered self-expression, reasonable and cooperative conversation, collaborative inquiry, and thoughtful self-examination. They practice the arts of philosophical dialogue and the famous Socratic method, along with public speaking and reading, dramatic performance, and other verbal arts drawn from the humanities. And they do this in ways that are engaging and inspiring—fostering the sense of wonder that is at the root of true wisdom, intellectual growth, and ethical reflection.”

The wildly successful philosophy-based discussion class is run by guest teachers who present different scenarios that let us think about our values, beliefs, and identities. We also play games that get us thinking about deeper ideas and concepts in our everyday lives. To supplement Winning Words, older students also have a break-out debate class to talk about values, beliefs, and identities, but we’ll also take on tough social issues, taking stances and presenting points of view in speeches, writing, and discussions. We’ll learn about the forms and structure of argument and logic, too.
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Computer Programming(Grades 4-8, taught by Lauren)
In this class we will learn computer programming using a variety of computer languages designed for students, such as Scratch and Logo. No previous knowledge of programming is required. Students will work at their own pace on independent projects in addition to group activities.
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Ancient Egypt – (Grades K-3, taught by Lauren)
In this class we will learn about mummies, pharaohs, and pyramids.  We will read about ancient Egypt, build our own pyramids, and practice writing using hieroglyphics.  We will also learn about scientific and mathematical discoveries from ancient Egypt that impacted history.
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Beading and Jewelry Making (Grades K-8, taught by DeeAnn & Heba)
In this hands-on class we will learn to do intricate bead work and detailed wire wrapping to create one of a kind jewelry pieces! The children will use fine motor skills to string small beads onto wire, math skills to form bead patterns, and social and emotional skills to collaborate and share ideas. We will learn how to use beading tools like pliers and wire cutters to crimp and cut. We will create things like necklaces, bracelets, earrings and sun catchers. I encourage all students to give this class a try! From making gifts for others to experimenting with wire wrapping stones, children will learn something new about the art of beading and jewelry making. All that choose to enroll are asked commit to each class with enthusiasm and an open mind.
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Comic Book History and Drawing (Grades K-8, taught by Russell)
This popular all-ages elective is all about the fascinating and fun history of comic books, but also a hands-on art class! We will draw upon (pun intended) the histories of comic books, from ancient hieroglyphics to serialized newspaper strips to superheroes to biographies and creative nonfiction to draw our own comics! Art meets history on the page in this class, and it’s taught by a real-life comic book nerd who uses the infinity symbol in the title because he liked it when Marvel Comics used to do that!
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Weather, Climate, and Climate Change (Grades 3-8, taught by Lauren)
Have you ever wondered about weird weather?  In this class we will learn about the natural forces that cause weather patterns like heat waves, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, hail, and fog.  We will spend time outside making detailed weather observations and collecting data to learn about our local climate and compare our measurements to historical averages and patterns.  We will learn about climate change, its potential future impacts, and what scientists and citizens can do to protect our environment.

Engineering(Grades 3-8, taught by Lauren)
In this class students will solve engineering challenges by designing and building projects such as bridges and gliders, using readily found materials.  We will work on challenges such as an egg drop contest and a moat-crossing vehicle.  Students can also undertake independent projects.
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engineering elective

The Chicago Free School Radio Show (Grades 3-8, taught by Russell)
Democracy on the air! This show will be about having conversations about issues both in and out of school, developing our own rules and styles for creating interesting and fun discussions, and learning about Podcasting. This popular elective is about running our own show, produced, directed by, starring, and sound effected by the students! Segments so far have included Free School News, music reviews, sports, tech report, comedy skits, and interviews about the paranormal. We’ll continue developing our own rules and styles for creating interesting and fun discussions, and learning about Podcasting so we can broadcast our show on the internet! The only limits for our show are the limits of our imaginations. All of our podcasts can be accessed here.

Art History and Art Making! (Grades K-8, taught by DeeAnn)
In this elective we will study 12 different artists’ work and become inspired to create art in the same way each artist did. From painting, sculpture and even performance art, we will use our imaginations to explore and have fun. This class is open to 15 students K-8.
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All About Animals (Grades K-2, taught by Lauren)
In this class we will learn about different species, families, and classes in the animal kingdom, including mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and amphibians. We will spend time outside observing animals in our local environment and recording our observations.  We will learn about the unique features of different types of animals and how each animal has a unique place in a ecosystem, as well as the things that all animals need such as food, water, and air. We will learn about the habits of animals including what they eat, how they care for their families, and how they live in shelters.  We will also invite guest speakers to share their knowledge of animals with us.
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Sports and Games (Grades K-3, taught by DeeAnn)
Come play with us! Together we will explore games like soccer, flag football, four square and even checkers! Learn how to cooperate and work as a team.
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Biking (Grades 3-8, taught by Heba)
Bikes represent fun, freedom, and fresh air — everything that’s good about being a kid and we’re offering it at CFS! Students will help choose a route, learn about bicycle safety and ride during this elective. Helmets are a must!
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World Geography & History (Grades 3-8, taught by Russell)
This is a world geography class with so much more! Through readings, presentations, projects, trivia games, and discussions, we’ll learn where the world’s 195 (or 196, depending on who you’re asking…) countries are and select the places that interest us most to put together immersive explorations of their histories, languages, peoples, climate/topographical facts, and beyond. It’s not such a small world after all!
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Are Birds Dinosaurs? (Grades K-4, taught by Joe)
This class will feature hands-on learning about both birds and dinosaurs. We’ll study their bone structures, eating habits, feather features, and more in an effort to understand the evolutionary connection between birds and dinosaurs — and to answer the question, did you eat a dinosaur last night for dinner?
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Kidpreneur (Kid Entrepreneur) (Grades 3-8, taught by Ms. Mo)
Teaching children about business at a young age is important for the future of business as a whole. When kids are taught the specific lessons of money management and organizational skills, they can not only apply their skills towards building a business for themselves, but they can also apply the skills they have learned to their personal lives. This class will model business behavior, encourage creativity, embrace failure, foster curiosity, and be FUN!
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Ramps and Marbles (Grades K-5, taught by Lauren)
It’s a great marble race! In this class we will think like engineers to build our own giant marble ramps using blocks, wooden ramps, tubes, and other items. Students will challenge themselves to build larger, more elaborate, and more exciting marble runs based on the principles of physics. We will practice teamwork, cooperation, and persistence to make our marble ramps successful.
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Sewing (Grades K-5, taught by Waew)
Have you ever wondered how clothes, bags, pillow cases, and curtains are made? In this class we’ll learn about textiles, and how to make simple patterns. Sewing isn’t just about fabrics, needles, and threads. We’ll learn to use a measuring tape and ruler to measure sizes and create shapes. We’ll exercise our imaginations along with fine motor skills, and safety when using tools. We’ll turn scrap fabrics into something fabulous either by hand or a sewing machine!
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Architecture of Houses (Grades 3-8, taught by Joe)
In this elective we will learn about the different styles and famous architects that have influenced the way houses are designed. Starting from tours in the neighborhood and extending to examples from across Chicago and across the world, we will learn how to identify architectural elements, compare the different styles that we see, and analyze why these styles were used in our community. By the end of the elective, students will design their own dream house using what they learned.
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Plogging (Grades 3-8, taught by Heba)
Plogging started in Sweden in 2016 and is making its way to CFS! We’ll be taking care of our health while helping the environment as we pick up liter while we jog. We will PLOG! Students must be wearing gym shoes to join and will wear plastic gloves for protection.
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We are Puppetmasters! (Grades K-8, taught by Ms. Mo)
Learn to create your very own puppets and puppet theaters. We will create hand puppets, stick puppets, string puppets, finger puppets and shadow puppets. Students will develop a script and have their puppets act out the story they created. We will put on a puppet show for our class and community.
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Literacy and Legos (Grades K-3, taught by DeeAnn)
Join us for building and exploring. In this class we will read books about engineering and use them to inspire our creations. We will also be constructing our own books about the awesome towers, buildings and creations we make! Lego Duplos, small Legos and other building materials will be explored.
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Makerspace Percussion (Grades 2-8, taught by Joe)
During the course of this elective students will have the chance to make all manner of percussion instruments using everyday objects — flower pots, coffee containers, balloons, packing tape … and whatever else our imagination allows us to discover! We will learn techniques for playing these instruments in ensemble, which will require cooperation, careful listening, self-control, and a willingness to learn new rhythms and ways of writing music. We will have a performance at the end of the elective to showcase our creations and percussion techniques!
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Elections and the Constitution (Grades 4-8, taught by Lauren)
This class is all about democracy. With the election campaign season heating up, we will take this opportunity to learn about the constitution and the history to voting rights through the lens of current events. We will read the news and study the sections of the constitution that connect to current news stories. We will find out about the elections, the candidates, and their platforms. We will study the history of voting rights and the activists who have worked to establish and protect the right to vote. And we will go out into the community to help people in Chicago register to vote!
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