One student thought the film class was just watching movies. Another thought they were going to build explosives in the underwater robotics class. Others chatted up new friends, greeted old friends. It was all part of a full Orientation Day at Teen Learning Lab of Greater Chicago.

tll pov orient lee gesture
At top, a remote-operated vehicle built for exploring coral reefs off the Dominican Republic is on display in the Underwater Robotics orientation. Above, instructor Lee Ferdinand introduces the students to visual literacy in the film study class.

Students meet with the instructors of the film study & filmmaking class and the underwater robotics class. After an ice breaker to learn everyone’s name, the students tackled the demands of the student code of conduct. In small groups, they discussed scenarios that addressed bullying behavior in private, online chat groups and avoiding using phones and laptops as a distraction to themselves and others.

Parents and siblings arrived for a potluck supper, where they could meet each other, make new friends and renew friendships. Families had driven from the south side and north side of Chicago, northern and northwestern Cook County, and Lake County. It was a chance to be reminded about Teen Learning Lab’s special focus on independent learning and student-motivated projects.

Looking forward to an amazing year with a group of amazing teens!!