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Through the Chicago Inquiries program, the Chicago History Museum in collaboration with 826CHI, partners with ten Chicago public schools over the entire school year to support 6-8th grade educators in implementing inquiry-based teaching methods while learning about Chicago history. This free program offers access to 8 English/Spanish articles with accompanying fully developed lesson plans that focus on the development of inquiry skills. The program also offers teacher professional development, museum visits, research workshops with museum professionals, writing workshops provided by our program partner 826CHI, and culminates in a family event at the Museum that features students’ work. Its curricular approach centers examples of civic engagement, particularly that of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Women, LGBTQ Chicagoans, Chicagoans with Disabilities, and labor movements in the City of Chicago. These narratives engage students in connecting with their local histories to support their knowledge of the past to understand the present to plan for a future for a Chicago that encompasses everyone’s stories.


Program Components

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS

Educators must participate in three educator workshops, eligible for Illinois State Board of Education CPDU credits, which will introduce them to program content and enhance their lessons plans.

LITERARY RESOURCES

Educators are given access to eighteen culturally relevant nonfiction, bilingual (English/Spanish) articles that focus on three historical units: Indigenous Populations of Checagou, Establishing Chicago, and Chicago Neighborhoods.

IN-SCHOOL STUDENT WORKSHOPS

Museum educators conduct workshops at each school.

  • The first visit engages students in an analysis of artifacts from our teaching collection.
  • The next three visits are conducted with local Chicago artists to engage students in interpreting history through art. (The students create art that is displayed in a pop-up exhibit during Chicago Literacies Family Day.)

PARENT WORKSHOPS

Museum educators conduct workshops at each school to provide parents with activities and information on how to support literacy at home.

CLASSROOM FIELD TRIPS

A field trip to the Museum includes an activity that engages students by connecting the Museum’s collection to what they are learning in the classroom. (Educators are given transportation funds to attend the Museum with their students.)

CHICAGO LITERACIES FAMILY DAY

Upon completion of the program, students and their families are invited for a special visit to the Museum that includes Spanish-speaking interpreters stationed throughout the Museum to engage with museum content, special performances from local Chicago musicians, and raffle prize giveaways.

Participation Expectations

In participating in the Chicago History Museum’s (CHM) Chicago Literacies program, you agree to the following:

  • Participate in all professional development opportunities provided
  • Integrate the curricular resources and activities into your instruction
  • Assist Museum educators in coordinating parent workshops, Museum and classroom visits
  • Bring students on a field trip to the Museum in coordination with curricular resources
  • Assist Museum educators in the execution of Chicago Literacies Family Day event
  • Assist Museum educators in evaluating the program

Upon your participation, you will receive the following from CHM:

  • A curricular toolkit that includes bilingual (English/Spanish), nonfiction texts and literacy activities
  • ISBE continuing education credits
  • Bus transportation for students to visit the Museum (limit 1 bus per teacher)
  • Bus transportation for students’ families to visit the Museum during Family Day (There will be a limited number of buses per school, assigned to each school on a first come, first served basis.)
  • In-school classroom support leading up to culmination of program
  • A stipend at the conclusion of the program

Chicago Inquiries Application

We will be accepting applications for the 20212022 school year between June 22, 2021, and August 31, 2021.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the program, please contact Ema Pinto, Chicago Learning Collaborative elementary coordinator, at [email protected] or 312.799.2047.

This program is made possible by the Polk Bros. Foundation.


Interested in participating in the Chicago Inquiries program? Contact our program coordinator.

Want to support the Chicago Inquiries program? This program would not be possible without the generous support of our community. Please consider donating today.

Want to get involved? See our volunteer and internship opportunities


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