The Urban Project Created by Mandy Siegel Fall 2009 The Current Events that Shaped my Chicago Experience
The Big Move On August 26 th I made “the big move” from zip code 60026 to 60626. It took 25 minutes to drive the 14.2 miles to my new condo; located just South of the Chicago/Evanston border. It was official, I had a Chicago address. I was one resident of nearly three million. As a new resident of Chicago I decided it was time for me to pick up a new habit; I started to read the daily paper. Not only did I read the paper but I also caught the 6:00AM news each morning on NBC5. While I was only moving a short drive away from my suburban home I took advantage of the opportunity by opening up my eyes to current events. The following slides describe the current events that shaped my semester.
While I enjoyed the sites and scenes of Chicago that were new to me, I took advantage of the time I had to revisit classic favorites. One of these classic favorites is Millennium Park. The picture above shows the skyline behind and reflected in the “the bean.” I have edited this photo so that the skyline can be easily noticed in the background and in the bean. This photograph depicts the setting for many of the events I discovered this semester. Pictured to the left is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The outdoor concert venue is framed by beautiful stainless steel ribbons. The photograph has been altered to show the fantastic structure. The one-of-a-kind sound system makes it a unique venue for free concerts and the Grant Park Music Festival. While I resided in Rogers Park the Pavilion hosted a Gourmet Food Show, “ Millennium Park honors and builds on several proud Chicago traditions at once-beautiful architecture, landscaped and protected parklands, and the ongoing celebration of the arts.” -Mayor Richard M. Daley Millennium Park
With family in Rogers Park and Evanston I was confidant that I knew what I was getting myself into. When I casually mentioned the cross streets near my apartment my friends and family would cringe. While Rogers Park is a lovely neighborhood, rich with diversity, my cross street were known as a rough area all over town. It was clear that I was living in an area where many people struggled financially. The area is also well known for crime and drug trafficking. Frequently I would see people loitering and arguing in the streets. I was comforted, however, by the consistent police presence. I informed them of the Urban Project, and let them know why we were living in the area. They offered safety tips and reassurance. The neighborhood has certainly shaped up in recent years. The Howard “L” station was recently revamped. Mayor Daley cut the ribbon to open the new station in March. Plants from Gale Elementary School line the tracks of the new station. Rough Part of Town
Trouble Brewing in Lake Michigan I’ve loved Lake Michigan all of my life so living a short walk from the beach was definitely a highlight of my experience. The beautiful beaches along Chicago served as fantastic therapy throughout my stay. Nothing can ease the tension of a long day in class quite like the sounds of waves hitting the shore. Chicago has worked hard creating barriers to keep the invasive Asian Carp out of Lake Michigan. Despite the efforts the city has made there is trace of Asian Carp DNA in the Lake. These fish can weigh up to 100 lbs. and grow to 4 feet in length. These fish could change the entire ecosystem in the lake. The efforts to keep the Asian Carp from thriving in Lake Michigan continue. The above picture was taken from Oak Street Beach, a well known beach downtown.
Howard Street Park Ashland Avenue dead ends about a block from my condo where a large park lays. The park stretches from Jonquil to Howard Street. There is a basketball court and a playground nearby. The Howard Area Community Center borders the park. This photograph was taken during a music festival at the park. Some local bands gathered and played a free concert for neighborhood residents. The park provides a great place for families to take their children for exercise and for teens to meet in a safe and fairly supervised area. There is almost always police presence in the park.
Chicago 2016 The looming decision of the 2016 Olympic location made Chicago an exciting place to be. Art work created by Chicago 2016 supporters is pictured below. The thought of hosting the world for this competitive event sparked controversy throughout the city. Mayor Daley backed the bid in hopes of bringing new revenue and job opportunities to the city. On the other hand, protestors said that the predicted budget was unrealistic. People believed that the Olympics would cost tax payers much more than they were being told. Financial guru’s also projected that the number of jobs Daley promised was far more than what people should actually expect.
I tuned my TV to NBC 5 at 1:30 AM to catch the Copenhagen coverage of the final decision. People gathered together at 7 AM to watch the coverage live from the streets of Chicago. Some wore orange to show their support while others picketed in protest of the event. Oprah, Obama, Daley, and other prominent Chicago figures went to Copenhagen to support the bid. Though Rio ultimately received the bid, it was exciting to tune into the decision and see the hype throughout the city.
A City Known for it’s Corruption Chicagoans are no strangers to political corruption. While I resided in the city tragedy struck. In November police found the body of Michael Scott, Chicago Board of Education President, on the side of the North Branch Chicago River. The death was ruled as suicide shortly after the body was discovered. While Michael Scott was a prominent city figure, he clearly had skeletons in his closet. Some fishy real estate investments had come to surface and investigations followed.
CTA Troubles Chicago Transit Authority made frequent headlines. The system is struggling with piles of debt. The potential of fare increases from $2.25 to $3.25 has Chicagoans PO’ed, to say the least. A stroller was caught in a closing train car door. The baby was fine, but the stroller was not recovered from the door until 5 stops after it became stuck. Finally safety issues around “L” stations made headlines as well. These places seem to be crime hot s spots. One incident involved the murder of two men only 4 “L” stops from Howard. Just after I wrote this page I found out Eric Utech had been killed by a Purple Line train. Eric was a 42 year old elementary art teacher at Hoffman School in Glenview and a Rogers Park resident. He inspired so many while he was alive; my brother, sister, and mother included. He will be missed by so many. R.I.P Eric.
STONE SCHOLASTIC ACADEMY I have been placed at Stone Scholastic Academy in second grade room 110! My classroom has 31 students from various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. There are three second grade classrooms at Stone; each containing at least 29 students. Stone Scholastic Academy is a Magnet School in Rogers Park. Stone is well known as a high performing school in CPS. Stone prides itself on its curriculum enhancing programs; calm classroom, Spanish, theater, and more. The school is made up of almost 600 students. The racial/ethnic backgrounds of the students is very diverse; 25% White, 20% African American, 27% Asian/ Pacific Islander, 19% Hispanic, 7% Multi Racial, and .32% Native American.
In these photographs my students are hard at work creating their own pictographs that show the data from a survey we took as a class. The students enjoy working in groups and have become very good at it. I have been very surprised to see how manageable centers, group work, and other activities have been even though there are so many students. The More the Merrier When I began my placement I was hesitant to incorporate centers and group work because of the large group. I thought that transitions and set up would be too chaotic. I quickly got over that and discovered that my management was the key to success with the large group.
Current Events in CPS CPS is in the process of changing their Magnet and Charter school enrollment practices. In previous years acceptance has been based on keeping a certain racial ratio. Now the practice is switching to meet a certain socio-economic ratio. Currently, sibling enrollment is based upon a lottery. With the new policies it will be easier for siblings to attend the same school. This takes a lot of pressure off of parents who can not get there kids to two different schools in the morning. In the past principals had an allotment of seats reserved for their discretion. Principals with not have this discretion anymore.
Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier The photo to the left show the museums new fort exhibit. There are several beautiful forts created out of everyday home objects. Children can move sheets, blankets, and furniture around to recreate the forts. The quote below was painted on the exhibit wall. The Chicago Children’s Museum is a great place for hands-on field trips. The photo to the right shows Urban Project students altering a digital image with their shadows. The museum has great places for studies of community, electricity, safety, water, archeology and much more. Each exhibit contains hands-on activities that engage students and gets their brains working!
The Art Institute Welcomes Educators The Art Institute welcomed the Urban Project with open arms! Upon our trip there we all received free educator passes to the museum. A guide led us to a resource room that was free to all educators. The room contained a wealth of resources for lesson planning, including artifacts, slides, and posters that can be copied or borrowed for classroom use. We also went on a tour of new space that has been created specifically for use on field trips.
Chicago History Museum Chicago’s rich history can be explored at the Chicago History Museum on LaSalle Street. The artifacts and exhibits of historic Chicago events helped me to visualize what the city looked like over 100 years ago. Pictured to the left is a poster from the Columbian Exposition of 1893. The exposition brought phenomenal temporary architecture, the worlds first Ferris wheel, exhibits from all over the world, beautiful parks, and the beginning of the “L” to Chicago. The photograph to the shows me on an old fashioned bike. The scene in front of me is what LaSalle Street looked like 100 years ago. There were great opportunities for students to compare Chicago past to Chicago present. Other great exhibits included former Chicago prominent figure, Honore Palmer’s, wardrobe, Walter Payton’s Jersey, dioramas of past events, and an Abraham Lincoln exhibit.
Enjoying the Weather Bicycles were a great way to get around when the weather was cooperative. Beautiful bike paths North and South of my condo. There were runners and bikers all along the lakefront in Chicago and Evanston. Swimming in the lake was a great way to wake up and stay active for a few warm weeks. It was a gorgeous ride up to Oak Street Beach. Riding North takes you through North Westerns campus and downtown Evanston. I even rode my bike to school on professional development days.
Take me out to the Ball Game What better way to spend the day than outside at the cubs game! Wrigley Field is a Chicago icon since it opened in 1914. The score board at Wrigley Field is the only one in Major League Baseball that is still manually operated. The board was put up in 1937 and to this day has not been struck by a batted ball. The field is known for the ivy that lines the wall in the outfield. Chicago sports fans gathered together and sang “Take me out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch. The picture of Harry Carrey’s famous thick-framed glasses above a press box serves as a tribute to the man who led the city in song for years. If you’re at the game you have to get a hot dog! Make sure you don’t throw ketchup on that dog though. Ketchup has no place on a Chicago hot dog!
Great Eating Chicago is packed with great restaurants and diners. The photos here are taken at Palace Grill on the West Side. Palace Grill is right next to a well known hockey rink, and there’s a chance you may run into a Black Hawks player there. I spent each morning at Jacks Restaurant and Diner. Each morning I gathered with locals for a cup of coffee before making my way to the “L”. It was a great place to read the Sun Times and discuss the current events and the news in sports. The Fish Keg is a restaurant on Howard Street. The Fish Keg has been serving fried seafood out of the same building for over 30 years. This quickly became one of my favorite after-school spots. In order to get away from the TV and focus on studying I often made my way to Kaffein, a nearby café.