Annual Instructional Theme

Annual Instructional Theme

Every year, Chicago Friends School chooses an annual instructional theme. This theme provides a common thread for instruction throughout the year, opportunities to collaborate across classrooms, and inspiration for field trips and service projects.

Recent instructional themes

2017–2018: Circles

Important ideas in the Circles theme include:

  • Circles of belonging — communities
  • Circles of responsibility, power, and authority — government and civics
  • Circles in space – planets and orbits
  • Nightly circles — day and night, moon phases
  • The cycle of the year — seasons in nature
  • Biogeochemical cycles — water cycle, carbon cycle

A proposed list of field trips related to the Circles theme is:

  • The Adler Planetarium
  • The alderman’s local office and City Hall
  • Loyola Beach and Nature Preserve
  • The Museum of Broadcast Communications
  • Montrose Harbor Bird Sanctuary
  • The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

2016–2017: Trash and Treasure

Important ideas in the Trash and Treasure theme included:

  • What we need to live and where we get it — food, shelter, and material goods
  • Water and food consumption, waste, and reclamation
  • Global transport of goods — where our everyday goods really come from
  • The idea of “treasure” in American history and how things that people treasured spurred settlement
  • What money is for and how we use it
  • Personal trash and treasure — what we value and why we value it

Field trips related to the Trash and Treasure theme included:

  • A local farm and orchard
  • The Field Museum
  • The Naper Settlement
  • The local supermarket
  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum
  • mHUB, a local manufacturing hub

2015–2016: Chicago

Important ideas in the Chicago theme included:

  • Chicago history from pre-European settlement until today
  • Immigration and the Great Migration
  • Urban infrastructure
  • Architecture
  • Jazz and the blues
  • Neighborhood economics
  • City government

Field trips related to the Chicago theme included:

  • Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
  • Swedish American Museum
  • The DuSable Museum of African American History
  • The Green Mill jazz club
  • Chicago History Museum
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation
  • The Pullman Historic District

Other sections in Program & Curriculum


Classroom and School Culture


Engaged Learning

A Day at Chicago Friends School

Before and After School

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