Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Want to travel for FREE? (Professional Development Opportunitites)

Anyone that knows me, knows that I LOVE to travel! I especially love to travel for free! Who wouldn't? During my summers "off" I spend a lot of my time traveling to various professional development opportunities. Today I want to share some of those with you in case you are interested in trying some of them out in the future! I will list the ones that I have been on, as well as some that I have not, but have heard great things about!

1. Colonial Williamsburg- 

My personal favorite! I always dreamed of going to Williamsburg as a child due to my collecting of all things Felicity from American Girl (a doll and book series that they sold based in the Colonial time frame.) After my first year teaching, I learned that my great state of Oklahoma has a foundation that would pay for me to go to Williamsburg and go through their Teacher Institute! Heck yeah!! Here is a link to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence that offers scholarships for Oklahoma 5th grade teachers. I was sooo excited. I attended the Teacher Institute in 2011.... you can read more about that here.  It is such a phenomenal learning experience that totally changed the way that I teach history in my classroom. You get to stay in colonial homes from the 18th century, immerse yourself in colonial history, and feel like you have been taken back in time. The Teacher Institute is a week long and includes your room, 3 meals a day, teacher materials, evening tours, and admission to the historical area and Jamestown/Yorktown. There are often scholarship opportunities that will also cover the cost of your flights. You can find more information here: Williamsburg Teacher Institute.

2. Mount Vernon-
The Mount Vernon Teacher Institute was also a fabulous experience! I spent a week learning about all things George Washington. I wrote a seperate blog post here about my experience there. At this institute, you spend the entire week staying at Mount Vernon! You can walk around on the grounds even after it closes, which was amazing! We even got up early one morning to watch the sun rise of the Potomac River. They include your room, board, and teaching materials. What a special experience! I came away with so many neat lesson ideas and things about Washington that I never knew! Once again, my state offers a scholarship... but many other states do as well. Here is a link to their website that has what specific states offer scholarship opportunities, including a stipend for flights.  

3. Gilder Lehrman-
This one I have not been on YET! I have been accepted into the John and Abigail Adams Seminar. I will be in Amherst, MA for a week in July to study their letters to one another the impact they had on history. That is just one of many, many different seminars they offer. I would love to attend the one on Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution, or James Madison in the future!  A hint with getting into these institutes: apply to become an Affiliate School! It only takes a short amount of time and it increases your chances of being accepted into their summer institutes. Here is a link to a list of all summer institutes and how to apply. These seminars include room, board, seminar sessions all day, and a stipend for flights. I will definitely be blogging about my experience while there! 

4. National Endowment for the Humanities-
I have not been to one of these, but have heard great things about them. They offer various summer seminars on topics like: the Underground Railroad, Thomas Jefferson, the Industrial Revolution, etc. Here is a link to all of their seminars and information on applying. They offer a stipend to cover expenses like room, board, flights, etc. They often offer rooms at the university the seminar is being offered at for a discounted price. 

5. Fund for Teachers-
This grant opportunity is completely customizable. Individual teachers can write grants for up to $5,000 and teacher teams of 2 or more can write for $10,000. This money can go towards: room, board, flights, admission to museums or exhibits,etc. Teachers write them for trips all around the world! Nearly all states offer opportunities for these grants. Here is link to their website with more information about each state's offers. 

6. Jamestown Teacher Institute-
A week-long institute on Jamestown and the American Revolution. Meals, room, materials, and travel stipend are included. This is on my list of ones to apply for ASAP!

Others that do not provide transportation, but would be awesome experiences:

-Plimoth Plantation
 They offer a variety of day-long and week-long trainings about the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people around Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II.
-Smithsonian Department of Education
A variety of free workshops on many topics aavailable. Would be especially awesome if you live near DC or were going to be there for a while.

-Ford's Theater
 They have a few different programs available for Teaching American History Grant recipients. Looks like some good ones on a variety of topics related to Lincoln.

-Dolphin Island
They offer science workshops that are free all along the Gulf Coast. They include topics like: climate change, reefs, and marine science.

So, do you have any that you would add to my list? I would love to hear all about any that you have attended and recommend!

1 comment:

Think, Wonder, and Teach said...

OH! I have never heard of any of these opportunities but I would love to do it! I am headed to NASA in Houston for professional development this summer. So excited!

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