Summer Learning: Teacher Institutes Worth Attending

It is my hope that my student teachers never stop learning. I, myself, spent the first ten years of my teaching career attending as many interesting and exciting teaching institutes as I could (sometimes 4 in one summer). Many of these summer institutes have helped shape the teacher that I am today.

Below I have listed some of my top summer teacher institutes for teachers of any content area, even as summer draws to a close, bookmark these so that you can begin making plans for next summer.

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Each and summer the National Gallery selects a topic in art to teach content area literacy and art together. This past year the topic was French Impressionism, the year I attended the topic was Mythology.  150 educators are selected to attend this highly sought after summer institute which immerses its participants in art history, lectures, music, and hands-on activities.  Plus, you get to spend a week in Washington, DC visiting every single museum possible.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, OH

So, you want to be a rock and roll teacher.  This week long institute is taught by rock and roll historians, writers, educators, and rock artists themselves.  During the day participants attend lectures and participate in small group discussions.  By night, you are attending concerts and hanging out late in the museum.

Facing History and Ourselves, New York and Boston

Facing History is an amazing organization with an abundance of resources to teach about topics such as genocide, the Holocaust and Human Behavior.  I have been working with Facing History since 1997 when I began teaching in New York City.  Facing History offers an incredibly in-depth curriculum to teach about the Holocaust, racism, and genocide in world history.

Library of Congress, Washington, DC

The Library of Congress hosts a five day summer institute for teachers focusing on using primary documents in the classroom using the Library of Congress’ resources.

Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Summer Institute, New York City

I have attended five different summer institutes with the TCRWP.  This workshop has its participants practice the writing and reader’s workshop methods.  Each day begins with a key note speaker who might be a famed children’s or young adult writer or a published educator.  In recent years, the Institute has also focused on teaching literacy in the content areas, tapping into the need to teach reading in Social Studies, Science, and even Math.

Project Look Sharp, Ithaca, NY

Project Look Sharp out of Ithaca College offers a one week institute on teaching media literacy.  Media Literacy impacts all teachers and this hands on workshop offers curriculum ideas and teaching practices to help encourage students to be critical of all media.

Lincoln Center Institute, New York City

What better way to spend the summer than than to hang out a Lincoln Center for a week and be surrounded by ballet, opera, theater, sculpture, and music.  Teachers learn visual thinking strategies to integrate arts across the content area.  Participants also attend plays, readings, concerts, what ever is playing at Lincoln Center at the time.

MOMA Summer Institute, New York City

Learn from the staff and collections of MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. There are so many amazing museums in New York City, together at this collaborative teacher institute, learn how to develop techniques for integrating the study of visual images into your classrooms.

The Supreme Court Summer Institute, Washington, DC

Spend six days reviewing current cases and participating in activities related to the US Supreme Court. Applicants must teach or supervise secondary social studies or law-related education.  Cases include current and historical cases.


There are hundreds of other summer Institutes that I have not mentioned, it is best to check out your local museums about their educational programs and offerings.  Most of these institutes have a limited number of seats and applications go online between December and February.  Be sure to check out these sites so that you don’t miss out.

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