Lab School teachers are themselves lifelong learners, interested in learning for its own sake, as well as for the good it brings us individually and as members of communities. This page is designed to be a bulletin board providing not only information about specific events but also a forum for discussion of professional development activities.
The university community offers opportunities to collaborate with people who are advancing knowledge in their fields. Here is a report on activities that took place during prior school years. Do not hesitate to contact Andrea Martonffy or Catie Bell if are interested in working with someone "across campus."
Schools-University of Chicago Collaborations Summary
Lab has enjoyed another very productive year
of many and varied collaborations with the faculty and facilities of the
University. Twenty-four students—our
largest number in at least six years—have taken a total of 39 university
courses in a wide range of departments and subjects. These
include courses in several levels of calculus, Honors physics and chemistry, statistics,
linguistics, and modern languages (Arabic, Japanese, Korean and French), in addition
to Sign Language, and an array of history and social sciences offerings that speak
to the wonderful breadth of interests of our students – courses with titles
like Britain's Industrial Revolution, Folklore, America in Civil War, Self,
Culture, and Society, The Family, and Where Are the Greeks?
between the Laboratory Schools and the University hit the ground running on the
First Day of school last fall when twenty professors and graduate students in fields
from Computational Neuroscience to Psychology gave generously of their time and
expertise and presented a series of workshops for students and faculty on
Learning and the Brain. Presentations
on Brain Anatomy and Evolution, the Birth of the Mind, Turning Thought into
Action, How Your Brain Makes Memories, and Peering Inside the Neocortex were
among the programs one could attend. Dr.
Daniel Margoliash of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy was our
plenary speaker. A perfect way to begin
a new academic year!
Science Summer Links
that began six years ago and places twelve Lab seniors in science laboratories
on campus for 6-7 week summer internships with various professors continues to
thrive. In addition, the Booth Summer
Links program that we piloted with eleven students in the summers of 2010 and
2011 will grow this summer to include similar paid internships for thirteen or fourteen
Lab juniors and seniors who will work with professors of economics, business,
and law, as well as with private businesses such as Groupon and Morningstar,
and organizations like the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. We are continuing to explore internships in
new fields such as art and editing, as we prepare this report.
It is gratifying to see how collaborations
once begun often continue to grow…
Professor Sian Beilock first came to Lab to do a presentation for one of
our Professional Development Days about five years ago. Afterwards, she worked with Lab students to
collect data for her research on controlling stress. Her recent book, Choke, is, in part, the product of that research. When UHigh's Physical Education teachers
decided to design a new elective course, they turned to Professor Beilock for
guidance; the result is "The Mental Game", a course designed to help
students to develop techniques to control stressful personal and academic
situations. They taught it for the first
time last fall. Professor Beilock also
met with both the Parents Association and the UHigh student body to discuss her
research at gatherings in fall and winter quarter this year.
Biology teachers Dan Jones and Dan Calleri
have also begun an ongoing collaboration with Professor Urs Schmidt-Ott
(Organismal Biology) on a pilot study to provide his lab with potential
protocols and data on egg production in the Black Soldier Fly. They are working, as well, with Professor
Michael Coates on a project that involves phylogenetic studies of fish
evolution, taxonomy and genetic relationships. Both professors –as well as
Professor Barry Aprison (Human Genetics)-- have met with all six sections of
Lab's Introduction to Biology course to discuss their research.
In winter quarter,
World Languages Chair Suzanne Baum, with the help of Professor Anastasia
Ginnakidou of the Department of Linguistics, hosted a symposium at Lab on
bilingualism. A number of Lab teachers
subsequently attended the presentation of Professor Ellen Bialystok on
"Reshaping the Mind: The Benefits of Bilingualism" sponsored by the
Linguistics Department. Lab teachers
and their students attended a number of programs sponsored by The Center for
International Studies and the Center for Middle East Studies this year, as
In addition to
these major collaborations, the class visits with university faculty that so
markedly enrich our courses continue to be frequent. Professor John Cochrane spoke to Chris
Janus's Economics classes on the sovereign debt crisis and Professor Linda
Darragh (Booth) on social entrepreneurship.
Professor Bruce Leiter (Law School) met with Andrea Martonffy's AT
European history class to discuss Friedrich Nietzsche, and, –in preparation for Halloween-- Professor Jim
Lastra of the Committee of Cinema and Media Studies spoke to Vicki Schneider's
eighth graders about the silent film series Les
Vampires. Professors David
Bevington (English) and Jamie Redfield (Committee on Social Thought) were
frequent visitors to Darlene McCampbell's Shakespeare class in the fall.
Of course, our frequent trips to campus –to
the Oriental Institute, The Smart Museum, Court Theater, and to Regenstein and
the new Mansueto Library – also continue.
Cindy Jurisson made arrangements for all of her Early World History
students –and members of their families –to attend Court's brilliant one-man
adaptation of The Iliad in winter
Debbie Davis's third grade class
participated in the "Art in Focus" series that included three visits
to the Smart Museum over the course of the year. Students from Elizabeth Roche's NS group to
Linda Cohn's 7th and 8th grade art students, and UHigh
students in Early World History classes have spent considerable time at the
Oriental Institute this year.
Certainly the most
colorful ongoing collaboration to report is art teacher Philip Matsikas's work
with the University's annual Revels production. This year he created a carnival float for
Math professor Paul Sally, and produced more than two hundred square feet of
painted tarps to represent the Seminary Bookstore and Woodlawn Tap.
As I completed this
report (in the late Spring of 2012), a group of twenty-five students in the
first year of The University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP) were
observing classes in Nursery-Kindergarten, and Lower and Middle Schools. More evidence that our collaborations with
the University are alive and well.
Links internship programs that ran in 2012 placed two dozen U-High juniors and
seniors in the labs of science, business, public policy and law professors, as
well as with private businesses and in the offices of the University of Chicago
Press. Look for an update on the Summer
Links experiences of Lab students and information on other summer
collaborations with the university in a few weeks….
Lab Schools-University of Chicago Collaborations
Fall and Winter Quarters: 2011-2012
Here begins what we hope will be an ongoing listing of some of the connections that Lab teachers have made with faculty and facilities at the University of Chicago. We post it here both to keep you informed about things that go on in Lab classrooms that you would otherwise be unlikely to know about, and also to spark an idea or two for ways that you might wish to utilize some of the rich university resources that are available to us.
Please remember to contact Andrea Martonffy or Catie Bell if you would like help setting up a visit with a professor on campus or arranging any other kind of collaboration. Please also be sure to email Andrea with information about connections that you have set up yourself –so that we can post them here and let other teachers about them.
- High School Collaborations:
Brenda Coffield, Meghan Janda, Tom Piane, Diane Taylor and Pete Miller of Lab's Physical Education Department consulted University of Chicago Professor of Psychology Sian Beilock during the development of their new elective course, "The Mental Game" that they taught for the first time this fall. Professor Beilock's recent book, Choke, provided the basis for many of the lessons in the course that is designed to help students to develop techniques to control stressful personal and academic situations. A good deal of the research for Choke was conducted with Lab students.
Sian Beilock also spoke with the Parents Association on January 9th and with the entire student body of University High in an assembly in February on techniques to employ to control one's performance in stressful situations.
During fall and winter quarter of this academic year, twenty juniors and seniors at Lab took a record number of 30 courses at the University of Chicago. In math and the sciences, these included courses in several levels of calculus, statistics, honors physics, and honors chemistry. Language courses included various levels of Arabic, Japanese, Korean, and French Language and Literature, as well as courses in linguistics and sign language. Among the wide range of history and social science courses were studies of Civil War America, Britain's Industrial Revolution, Folklore, the Ancient Greeks, Self, Culture, and Society, and The Family.
Biology teachers Dan Jones and Dan Calleri began an ongoing collaboration in fall quarter with Professor Urs Schmidt-Ott from Organismal Biology on a pilot study to provide Professor Schmidt-Ott's lab with potential protocols and data regarding egg production in the Black Soldier Fly. On Professor Urs' recommendation they are also collaborating with Professor Michael Coates from the same department on a project that involves phylogenetic studies of fish evolution, taxonomy, morphology, and genetic relationships. Over the past two quarters Professors Schmidt-Ott and Coates have met with all six sections of Lab's Introduction to Biology sections to discuss their projects. Professor Barry Aprison has also visited all of Dan Jones's, Daniel Calleri's and Sharon Housinger's biology courses and James Traniello of Boston University has met with Lab's biology students about field testing of evolutionary ecology, ethology, and epigenetic concepts.
World Language Department Chair, Suzanne Baum, hosted a symposium at Lab on bilingualism on February 22nd with the help of University of Chicago Professor Anastasia Ginnakidou of the Department of Linguistics. In addition, Nadine Da Vito, professor of French at the University and coordinator of the Romance Languages Department has arranged to allow Suzanne's French 5 courses to Skype with our partner school in Martinique.
Law Professor Brian Leiter visited Andrea Martonffy's AT Modern European History class in winter quarter to discuss the controversial thinker, Friedrich Nietzsche. All Modern Euro classes are preparing yearlong projects on Late Modernity (c. 1870-1914) and gleaned some interesting new interpretations of his work to incorporate into the project.
In fall quarter, Darlene McCampbell's Shakespeare classes hosted visits with English Professor Emeritus David Bevington, and Professor Jamie Redfield (Committee on Social Thought) –frequent visitors to Darlene's classes-- to discuss the works they were reading.
-Middle, Lower School, and N-K:
In an especially colorful example of the reciprocal nature of many Lab-U of Chicago collaborations, once again this year Lab's art teacher Philip Matzikas did extensive work for the University's annual Revels Production. He created a carnival float for math professor Paul Sally, and produced more than two hundred square feet of painted tarps to represent the Seminary Bookstore and Woodlawn Tap.
Visual artist and art teacher Linda Cohn has been subbing at Lab for three years and incorporated an extensive tour of the Oriental Institute for seventh and eighth graders who were doing projects on Egyptian art. Linda was an archaeological renderer for the O.I.'s Epigraphic Survey Project at Chicago House in Luxor where she documented temple walls for historic preservation at Medinet Habu, a Middle Kingdom temple. Linda is currently subbing for Gina Alicea who is on medical leave and, once again, she is undertaking a project on Egypt for third and fourth graders.
In preparation for Halloween, Professor Jim Lastra of the Committee of Cinema and Media Studies at the University spoke (in English) to Vicki Schneider's eighth grade class about the silent film series Les Vampires.
Debby Davis's third grade class is participating in the Smart Museum's "Art in Focus" series. They attended an art workshop at the Hyde Park Art Center and will visit the museum three times over the course of the year. They deeply appreciated a box full of art supplies for the classroom that they received from the HPAC.
Elizabeth Roche's N/K class visited the Oriental Institute at the end of last year.
Looking for ideas? In an interesting collaboration that didn't quite work out, we were reminded that sometimes a good collaborator is right in front of you –unrecognized. Donna McFarlane was intrigued by a report of studies by Professor Jean Decety (Department of Psychology) that found that rats can be very empathetic. Her second graders are reading Robert C. O'Brien's Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh and a visit by Professor Decety seemed a natural. Unfortunately, though, both Professor Decety and the researcher with whom he worked will be out of the country for a while. So…what to do? Ask for help from a pair of UHigh students who have either had rat pets for over a decade or who worked in Professor Decety's lab last summer. Two Lab juniors will be visiting Donna's classes in the spring to talk about their observations about empathy in rats.
If you are looking for a really knowledgeable middle or high school student to share experiences and information with your class about a topic you are studying, let us know, and we will try to find one for you.