Students in Mr. Van Loon’s AP Literature class participate in weekly “fishbowl” discussions. In a fishbowl, a group of eight to ten students lead the class in a discussion of the week’s reading. This week, students discussed the first section of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

“I like the ‘fishbowl’ format because it puts the students in control of the discussion,” said Mr. Van Loon. “My students frequently surprise and impress me with the details of their discussions.”

As students in the inner circle debate the meaning and details from the text, students in the outer circle record their questions and monitor their adherence to agreed-upon discussion rules and norms. All students are required to read the section of the text prior to the discussion, but the students in the inner “fishbowl” must be prepared with text-dependent questions to demonstrate their proficient understanding of the selection.

“We’re reading a book about a book,” said senior Argenis Hernandez. “It’s self-referential.”

“Did you notice that Hitchhiker’s Guide has the conventions of a reference book?” asked senior Alexandra Villalpando.

“In Chapter 7, we learn that Vogon poetry is the third worst in the galaxy,” said senior Jessica Robinson. “What does that really mean? And why is Earth poetry considered the worst?”

For Mr. Van Loon, the fishbowl is a chance to make sure that every voice in the classroom is heard.

“I rotate the fishbowl groups every week, so every student has a chance to participate each month,” said Van Loon. “The fishbowl also gives me insight into how well they’re grasping the material, and how I should adjust my instruction.”

This quarter, students in PE II are focusing on making changes in our lives through frequent physical activity. We decided to step outside of the traditional team sports and focus more on exposing students to different activities that will encourage lifetime fitness changes and introduce them to something new.  PE classes are currently working on team handball, a sport that encourages working together to create offensive and defensive strategies.

On the first day of introducing handball, students expressed uncertainty about trying the unfamiliar sport.  But after listening to the simple rules and the concept of the game, the sophomores really got into it. They were able to transfer skills from other sports to create successful strategies for handball competition. In the end, many enjoyed learning a new activity and the refreshing change of pace.


Human trafficking is a global issue impacting all races, colors, and creeds.  It is crucial that society sees the global impact of human trafficking, and understands the conditions that support this practice.  Students in English IV are studying various forms of human trafficking such as forced labor, sex trafficking, bonded labor, debt bondage among migrant laborers, and involuntary domestic servitude, affecting both adults and children.  On the literary side, they are reading the book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beach, which focuses on child soldiers and the dramatic events happening to them.  Through the book, students are exploring how setting and environment influence who a person becomes, and to what extent.  These are questions that seniors are not only going to be facing in the book this quarter, but also in life as they get ready to graduate from high school. 

City Year's Spring Break Camp is a fun and educational three-day
 getaway for freshmen that City Year Chicago runs during the spring school vacations. We provide a safe, engaging place for Clemente
freshmen to go who may not otherwise have opportunities to learn and socialize when school is out. During the camp, corps members from Clemente, Chicago Vocational Career Academy and Al Raby School for Community and Environment will lead teams of students through programming that is both academic and enriching.

This year's spring program "Express Yourself," runs from Tuesday,
April 15th through Thursday April 16th, from 9am to 12pm. The three
days challenge students to think and plan creatively and then move
through the creation process itself! Tuesday's programming will
include poetry writing and a crash course in the basics of
photography and social media through Instagram. Wednesday will
challenge students to balance a large budget for their dream home and then think critically about reality TV and consider how they might design the pilot episode of their very own show. Finally, students will experiment with the basic principles of flight as the build balloon rockets to escape the zombie apocalypse! With a little humor and an open mind, Clemente students will be ready to have fun learning with the support of City Year.

If you are a parent interested in having your freshman student attend the Spring Break Camp, call (219) 381-6029 and ask for Team Leader Melissa Georgiou. Verbal or written permission is necessary
before a student attends the camp programming.