What is a Lesson Lab?

A Lesson Lab is an informal gathering of CPS teachers in an arts discipline—theatre, dance, music, visual art, or media arts—who want to share lesson plans and teaching ideas. Hosted by teachers at their schools, these lively, grassroots gatherings are a great place to meet other arts teachers, share your best practices, problem-solve with peers around challenges in your classroom, and maybe do some creating of your own!

Upcoming Lesson Labs


April 11, 2018:
Learn the basics of Adobe’s Character Animator and its potential in the classroom, including the creation of digital puppets. General knowledge of Photoshop is encouraged but not required.

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 11th, 2018, 4:30pm-6:00pm

Location: Frederick Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, 5039 N Kimball Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Participants may park in the school lot (to the right of the main entrance) or on the street, and enter the building through Door B. Please have identification ready. The Lesson Lab will be in Room 322.

Host: Juan Zayas, Media Arts/Visual Arts Teacher, Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center

RSVP here.

April 25, 2018:
Are you searching for more Spanish-language folk music for your classroom? Do you teach music to native Spanish speakers? Are you looking to incorporate multicultural materials in a relevant way? This Lab will focus on utilizing Spanish-language music to create engaging, student-centered lesson plans. Participants will leave with classroom-ready activities inspired by Orff and Kodaly pedagogies. At the end of the Lab there will be time for participants to share any primary-source (public domain) Spanish folksong materials they might have in their collections.

Date and Time: Wednesday, April 25th, 2018, 4:30pm-6:30pm

Location: William P. Nixon Elementary School, 2121 N Keeler Ave, Chicago, IL 60639
The lab will be held in the Music Room (room 002). Participants can park in the school lot and enter through the main entrance (with the planter box) on Keeler Ave.

Host: Ms. A. Brown, Music Teacher, Nixon Elementary

RSVP here.

Want to host a Lesson Lab?

Any CPS arts teacher is welcome to propose a Lesson Lab to be held at their school. Just fill out this Google form or email cpsarts@cps.edu.

Lesson Lab Resources

Download valuable presentations and handouts from previous Lesson Labs.

Kiln Operation Basics
Created by Gina Szulkowski (Steinmetz College Prep) and Haydee Lopez (Kelly High School)

Media Arts: Thorp TV
Created by Maximilian Vikhter (OA Thorp Scholastic Academy)

I Just Received a Bunch of Guitars … Now What Do I Do?
Created by John Perryman (Andrew Jackson Language Academy)

Arts and Technology: Lesson Plan Swap-and-Share
Created by Frank Cademartori, Lana Bjornson, and Mike Gleason (CICS-Irving Park)

Graffiti: Street Art in the Classroom
Created by Alex Mendez (Inter-American Magnet School)