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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  • SandyMerz

    My Favorite Events

    My favorite summer learning events are:




    I’ve never attended, but get more tempted every year because of the rave reviews to particpate in: CAMP PLUG AND PLAY 9.0 – maybe this summer.

    All are sponsored by the Arizona K12 Center

  • Susie Highley

    More summer opps

    Also free (with stipend to help defray travel/housing) National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Programs. Another wide-ranging, fascinating line up this summer (and of course, the ones I want have conflicts)  Deadlines mainly March 4

    ISTE Convention in Atlanta June 28-July 1.  Costs $$, but probably the most influential conference I’ve attended. I’ve been the past five years, and the connections created and maintained are very important to me and my teaching. (Can’t attend this year, because I’m obligated to go to ALA in Vegas at same time)

    I’ll be going to at least one edCamp, edcampIndy (TBD) and a very special nErDcamp July 6-7 in Michigan dealing with children’s literature. By definition, edCamps are free.

    There’s a fabulous conference in Evansville, IN July 8-10 (not free) with great presenters and speakers. I’ve seen Yong Zhao, Eric Sheninger, Adam Bellow, Leslie FIsher and others the past two years. (I”ll be driving from Michigann to Evansville that week)

    The past two years our state DOE has offered numerous workshops for free or minimal cost.  I went to about 5 of them last year, and they plan to repeat it this year.

    With our wind chill around -30 or so, summer sounds good!

  • Susie Highley

    one more..

    Library of Congress Summer Institutes.  I have several friends who have attended these, and they say they are very worthwhile.  Application Deadline:  March 24

  • BillIvey

    In the EdCamp spirit…

    … I’m working on helping set up a gathering of educators from a middle school listserve to which I belong. We’ve had three in the past – basically, choosing a venue, and then working out together once we’re there who’s interesting in presenting or facilitating or learning what. They’ve been so much fun, learning communities with an emphasis on both the “learning” and the “community.”

  • LaVaun Freeman

    Summer opportunities

    I had no idea of how many opportunities there are that are cost effective for teachers to participate in during the summer.  In the summer, I usually teach summer school.  They are cutting back on the grade levels that can receive summer school privledges in my district. I will probably research an EdCamp for the summer this year.  I will also continue to check posted  blogs for information that benefit my students so I can participate in that learning experience.

  • CherylSuliteanu

    too much of a good thing?

    Noah, thank you so much for all this information. I’d click a link, and think “OH! This one would be awesome!” then a new one, “WOW – this would be perfect.” And this went on throughout all the sites that you listed… how does one choose?! 

    Wouldn’t it be great if all of us who decided to take one of these opportunities, compiled a group wiki of what we’ve experienced? I think that would make a great learning opportunity for all of us, as well as a great homage/thank you to those institutions for offering such extraordinary opportunities for us to enhance our instruction.

    What do you think?

  • Gary L. Gilardi


    What better place to learn about Unionism, Leadership, Professional Development and much more, in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains, on the campus of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.   Each August, hundreds of teachers, paras, and higher education staff converge on the campus and spend 5 days immensed in training, earning Professional Development and college credits, in some cases.  I am fortunate to be a presenter in the New President’s Academy.   Workshops include grievance training, ByLaws, negotiations, Treasurer’s Track, New Evaluation System, legal issues and more.  Professonal Development includes all classroom subjects, grade levels, technology, the Arts and musuems.  The social networking in the evening is priceless.   I wish you could all experience it!!

  • wjtolley

    Choices Program at Brown & AP Reading

    First let me second the support for the NEH seminars, I attended one in 2009 and it was brilliant. 

    Two others I would like to suggest are:

    1. The Choices Program at Brown, deadline March 17th. Great program on developing PBL, deliberation-based units on controversial global issues in the classroom. This year’s seminar is on Modern Turkey, mine two years ago was on Human Rights. Great staff, facilities and peers. 
    2. AP reading. Although we all have philosophical questions about standardized testing, if you are teaching an AP course, attending the yearly reading is the best training you can get. The networking and crowdsourcing opportunities are also unequaled. Get 800-1500 subject area experts into a building and some hotels or dorms for 5 days, and you are going to see synergy. Fully paid, fully fed, and nerdish drinking and carousing sessions all night. Ultimate takeaway: you will never see so many ideas and materials traded so fast among so many. The Reading is an isolation-killer.