What is Your 2014 Summer Learning Plan?

Noah shares several fully-funded professional learning and travel opportunities for summer 2014.

Now that 2014 is here, it’s time to start making summer plans! I’m not talking about that long-awaited beach vacation or camping trip. Free from the pressures of lesson planning and grading, summer is when I often experience my most meaningful and enjoyable professional development. Over the years, I have taken advantage of several fully-funded professional learning and travel opportunities.

Some of my favorites include:

Teachers for Global Classrooms: After completing an online course in the fall on best practices in global education, teacher fellows travel internationally during the spring or summer. There are also two symposiums in Washington DC during the program. I travelled to Brazil in July 2012. You can read about my experience on my travel blog. After completing the program, participants become eligible for $1,000 grants to support classroom projects. To apply, you must be a middle or high school teacher with at least five years of experience. Application deadline: March 11.

Federal Trials and Great Debates in U.S. History: If you teach U.S. History or Government, definitely check this program out. Participants spend a week in Washington DC studying three landmark federal trials. You meet with prominent history professors and federal judges who explain the background of the cases. There is a field trip to the Supreme Court (I witnessed Justice Stevens’ last session in June 2010). And last month, I actually used a lesson plan that I co-created during my week in DC in my American Government class. My students examined Olmstead v. U.S. (Olmstead was an alcohol bootlegger in Seattle during the prohibition years) and made connections between wiretapping in the 1920s to NSA surveillance today. Application deadline: March 1.

Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminars: In the summer of 2011, I spent a week at Columbia University participating in a seminar on Cold War culture and politics with Professor Alan Brinkley. It was fun to be back on a college campus, sleeping in a dorm (private room), and eating in the cafeteria (better than I remembered). The mornings were rich with history and the afternoons and evenings were free to explore the city. There are 39 different seminars to choose from in 2014. And you don’t have to be a history teacher to apply. The seminars are open to full-time K-12 teachers and librarians. Application deadline: February 14. 

While I don’t plan to apply for any programs this summer, I have my eyes on a few for future years. Here are some at the top of my list (in order of application deadline):

Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program: Spend a week aboard the ship National Geographic Explorer learning about geo-literacy. HURRY! Application deadline: January 5.

Japan-U.S. Teacher Exchange for Education and Sustainable Development (ESD): A two-way exchange for teachers interested in sustainable development, which includes joint conferences with Japanese and U.S. educators in both Tokyo and San Francisco. Application deadline: January 14.

Transatlantic Outreach Program: A two-week study tour of Germany. Application deadline: February 3.

NEW ADDITION: Fulbright-Hays Seminars AbroadSpend four weeks learning about history, culture, and economic development in China. Application deadline: February 5.

Keizai Koho Center Teacher Fellowship: A ten-day study tour of Japan for middle and high school social studies teachers. Application deadline: February 15.

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for Teachers: The National Endowment for the Humanities offers tuition-free workshops all over the country. They also have longer summer seminars (3-5 weeks) on a variety of interesting topics, some of which take place in Europe. Application deadline: March 4.

So, what are you waiting for? Start working on your applications today!  If I missed any free summer programs for teachers that you would recommend, please add them in the comments.

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