After-School Writing Lab meets four days a week in person at our Wicker Park location. Our caring and supportive volunteers and facilitators will provide individualized assistance with ELA and writing-based homework, writing skills, and literacy enrichment to first through eighth graders. Students will also sharpen their writing skills with a guided reading and creative writing activities. Students will have their writing published in a bilingual chapbook and celebrated by the 826CHI community.
Field Trips will begin in October 2022! Field trips will be hosted on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings at our Wicker Park location. Field Trips are tuition-free and offered to Chicago Public School classes in grades one through twelve. Each Field Trip opportunity focuses on a variety of writing skills and writing experiences.
Each of our eight different Field Trip experiences is designed to be project-based, collaborative, playful, empowering, imaginative, and to encourage students to share their ideas in their own unique voices.
If you want your classrooms to join for a Field Trip, apply here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for questions!
Spoken Word Poetry (NEW!)
Students will learn about the history of spoken word poetry and its deep roots in Chicago. They will also apply poetic elements to their own original poems individually and as a group and get the chance to share out loud. This Field Trip is great for students who are expressive and enjoy spoken word poetry. This is a great addition for classrooms preparing for, culminating, or in the middle of a poetry unit.
Lights, Camera, Action! Your students will turn into actors, directors, and playwrights in this field trip! Students will learn the theatrical way of creating characters, plots, and settings in order to learn the moving parts of a play. These theatrical troupes will write a mini play and perform it for the class. This Field Trip is great for students who enjoy getting quirky and doing kinesthetic activities!
Students will be taken on a poetry adventure and be tasked with writing a series of poems to help Secret Agent Admiral Moody feel better after they became overwhelmed by all the work going on around the secret publishing house. Their mission will be to write these emotion-centered poems for Admiral Moody - topics like What is Your Happy? What Turns Your Frown Upside Down? What Do Feelings Sound Like? What Makes You Feel Calm When You're Overwhelmed? This Field Trip is great for building empathy and self-awareness into the classroom.
Young authors work in small groups to pen completely original stories. At the outset, each group determines one “pillar” of the story--protagonist, sidekick, antagonist, and setting--then works to combine those elements into their own, unique tale. Each student will receive a copy of their group’s book, as a published author. This Field Trip is perfect for building deeper connections among students in the classroom.
One of 826CHI’s favorite tools for combating writer's block and inspiring creativity, this lesson uses collage art and the promptings of volunteer writing coaches to guide students through the journey of writing an original story. This Field Trip is ideal for overcoming writers block and for students tackling personal statements or scholarship essays. This Field Trip helps share effective, tangible, and memorable skills into the writing process and helps make writing feel more fun for students who may not be a fan of writing.
Because we believe in the inherent value and power of each student’s experience, this lesson is designed to bring impactful memories to the page. Through a series of short exercises designed to tap into memory and identity, students explore their voices, perspectives, and experiences through writing. This Field Trip is ideal for those students struggling to find their original voices and is a great accompanying activity for students in the personal statement and scholarship essay process.
Similar to our Memoir Field Trip, students will be asked to reflect on their experiences in Chicago through a variety of generative writing activities. Students will be challenged to counter the negative narrative that is often told about Chicago by writing their truth about the city that they call home. This Field Trip is great for any student who is a fan of Chicago music and those who love Chicago and want to build deeper and more authentic connections with their city.
This exciting workshop transforms students into storytelling scientists. Combining their knowledge gained from lessons on both DNA and plot development, students will create their own superhero, followed by their own comic book story addressing the origins of their superhero. The field trip culminates in a DNA extraction experiment where students will learn how to extract the DNA from a strawberry and will be able to see the DNA inside of it. This Field Trip is perfect for both the ELA classroom as well as the science classroom! This Field Trip is ideal for those students who may not see themselves as writers (yet!) and great for teachers who want to push their students to explore their creative voices a bit further.
Fall & Spring Workshops
826CHI works in collaboration with after-school programs and community-based organizations to offer creative writing workshops to students in neighborhoods across Chicago. These workshops, which explore writing and another area of study, include:
All of our workshops are Common Core Standards-aligned.
Do you work with students who would benefit from two or three session writing workshops in your space or ours? Have an idea for a workshop? Contact Natasha for more info at email@example.com.
Teen Writers Studio The Teen Writers Studio (TWS) is a space for rising writers (9th-12th graders) and leaders to meet, write, and work collaboratively. Sessions are designed around writing/editing skills along with social time. Teens are also divided into cohorts.
The Teaching Artist cohort meets monthly to learn skills towards facilitating writing workshops, the basic tenants of arts education, and teaching philosophies. The Communications/Publications cohort meets monthly to learn from writing industry professionals about all the things that go into having a book published, putting on literary events, and the overall literary landscape.
In addition to attending the Tuesday meetings, TWS members complete a 20-hour service requirement over the course of the school year by volunteering in 826CHI's After School Writing Lab program and/or other opportunities provided by the program. We also will have a slew of guest authors, artists, and cultural practitioners that will inform our writing and learning.
Each spring, TWS students produce a chapbook, which they share and celebrate at a release party with friends, family, and 826CHI’s community. Purchase 2020-2021's publication, Rising Shadows, at the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply.
Registration for Teen Writer's Studio will be announced soon!
Built to meet the needs of educators, our In-School Partnerships program brings the 826CHI education team into classrooms and community centers across the city to work with students. 826CHI staff, volunteers, and Teaching Artists support teachers' existing curricula and/or collaborate on new ideas. If you are a classroom teacher or community-based educator looking to partner with 826CHI, please share your project idea with us by applying today.
If you have questions, email Asia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At 826CHI, our project-based approach to teaching writing affirms all student voices as valuable and brilliant. We publish more than 100 unique volumes of books each year and our programs almost always end
with a finished product for students to keep and share.
Students’ work is featured in Chicago Public Library branches across the city, shelved in their school libraries, prominently displayed in our writing lab to inspire future student-authors, and sold in our storefront, the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co.
Published dozens of times each year as the culmination of smaller, multi-week projects.
Each year 826CHI partners with CPS classrooms on an extended writing project which culminates in a specially designed and beautifully bound book.
Published once every two years. Each volume of this anthology features republished favorites from students of all ages, from across our programs. Also includes pieces by Chicago writers between the ages of 6 and 18, through an open call for submissions.
Published at the end of each two-hour creative writing session, students in the Storytelling & Bookmaking program take home copies of the original story they wrote together as a class.
Purchase copies at The Secret Agent Supply or check out of your local Chicago library branch.
Wherever you are, you can bring the 826 spirit and methodology to your community with 826 Digital. 826 Digital is an online platform that hosts a collection of engaging, adaptable, standards-based resources designed to captivate young writers and empower their educators.
826 Digital was created by teachers for teachers; it hosts an ever-expanding collection of lessons, projects, writing prompts, and student writing that brings an unconventional and engaging approach to teaching writing.