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Lillstreet Art Center
Make pajaki chandeliers at a Lillstreet retreat.

Social media is a blur of back-to-school pics this week (put your best face forward with our tricks here), which has got us thinking: Shouldn’t we be learning something new, too?

Luckily, we’ll never be going back to junior high Social Studies--these days our class schedule is full of electives that line up with our grown-up goals. 

Write the Great American Novel Getting a slow start on that book you’ve been meaning to crank out? Jump-start your creative juices by first learning the art of “flash fiction,” writing a great story in 1,000 words or less. September 19 from 6 to 8 p.m.; registration $25; 858 N. Ashland Ave.;

Start a Family Tree We’ve been obsessed with the Newberry Library ever since this major literary moment. The cultural gem also happens to have one of the best genealogy research collections in the country, and its three-hour crash course will show you how to dig into your relatives’ history. September 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; registration $65; 60 W. Walton St.; 312-943-9090 or

Make Pajaki Chandeliers Pronounced “pie-yonky,” pajaki is a paper-based folk art form that will get a colorful, contemporary twist during a full-day Lillstreet Loft retreat that also includes a 75-minute yoga class and a healthy lunch. November 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; registration $120; 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave.; 773-769-4226 or

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