On weekday mornings throughout the school year, we host classes from Chicago schools for lively, writing-based Field Trips at our writing center. Teachers may choose from a wide range of programs, such as Storytelling & Bookmaking which focuses on plot and character development, or "I Remember...," in which teenage students transform powerful memories into reflective prose.
Please note: This program is no longer "first come, first served." The 826CHI team will carefully evaluate each application and select schools based on our priority enrollment criteria, outlined in the application form. This shift in registration approach supports our mission of expanding arts access and equity across the city of Chicago
About 826CHI Field Trips
We invite classrooms of students in grades 1 through 12 to join us for writing-based Field Trips of all kinds. Field Trips run throughout the academic year on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 10am until 12:15pm, and are available for one class of students at a time. All Field Trips are free and available to teachers in the Chicago Public Schools system.
Though our Field Trips focus on a variety of writing skills and genres, they are all designed to be collaborative, playful, empowering, imaginative, and to encourage students to share their experiences and ideas in their own, unique voices.
Storytelling & Bookmaking
Designed to ignite a spark of enthusiasm for writing and introduce the basics of storytelling, our Storytelling & Bookmaking (STBM) Field Trip challenges students to pen a brand new, totally-original story as a group, with the aid of 826CHI's volunteer writing coaches. While students decide on characters and plot points, a volunteer types the story and projects it onto a large screen. Students track the story as it's written and make corrections as needed while also watching a talented local artist bring their tale to life through illustration. As the story reaches a natural climax, students are invited to finish the story in their unique, individual ways. At the end, each student leaves with their very own book—and the title of Officially Published Author.
Recommended for Grades 1-4.
The "older sibling" of Storytelling & Bookmaking (STBM), Small Group STBM expands upon the basic elements of storytelling, invites students to unleash their imaginations, and focuses on inspiring creative collaboration. Students work in small groups (with the aid of 826CHI volunteer writing coaches) to pen completely original stories. At the outset, each group will determine one "pillar" of the story—protagonist, sidekick, antagonist, and setting—then each group works to combine those elements in their own, unique way to create a brand-new story. Students' ideas are collected and typed on the spot by an 826CHI volunteer then copied, collated, and bound into books for each young writer—now an Officially Published Author—to take home.
Recommended for Grades 5-8.
One of 826CHI's favorite tools for combating writers' block and inspiring creativity, the Images & Imagination Field Trip guides students through the adventure of writing original stories, using clippings from National Geographic magazines as their only guide. 826CHI's volunteer writing coaches support students as they make collages of their images and develop clever, imaginative stories based on them. These stories can go a multitude of directions depending on which pictures are chosen and how they are interpreted, and also creates space for students with a variety of learning differences to participate fully, at their own level of readiness. At the end, students take home their collages, notes/outlines/story drafts, and teachers will receive follow-up resources to continue working on these masterpieces back in the classroom.
Recommended for Grades 5 and up.
Memoirs are a wonderful avenue through which young people can discover and express their experiences, thoughts, and opinions. Beginning with an activity called "I Remember...", this program challenges students to identify an impactful memory and expand it into narrative prose—focusing especially on sensory detail, plot and character development, and dialogue. This lesson plan, which weaves introspection and reflection into the fabric of basic elements of story, has also been used to kickstart essays for college applications. Following the trip, teachers and students are invited to put finishing touches on their masterpieces and submit them to 826CHI for publication, in accordance with 826CHI's In-House Publishing Policy.
Recommended for Grades 8 and up.