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Teacher Institute Programs

Online Programs

Week-Long Onsite Sessions

Three-Day Onsite Seminars



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Online Programs



Once a month, join Colonial Williamsburg for informal educator chats where teachers can engage with Teacher Institute staff and Master teachers, hear from experts in the field, explore digital resources, and network with fellow educators. These sessions will take place on Zoom and are limited to 100 participants each. Registration is free and on a first-come, first-served basis. 


At no point in history have Americans been of one mind. Individual citizens have always argued passionately and with conviction for what they believe is the best course of action. Consequently, an undercurrent of tension and conflict is not only historically present, but also expected. Join us for this five-day webinar to explore American values in tension and how they have—and have not—changed over time. Each session will explore one pair of values, such as Unity and Diversity, the historic events shaped by those values, and how these tensions have been balanced historically and through today. These sessions will take place on Zoom and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Teachers of all grade levels are welcome; however, materials and strategies will be more applicable to those teaching at the upper elementary school level and above. Be sure to register for all five sessions to complete the series.

Online Courses

Teaching about Race and Slavery in the Colonial and American Revolutionary Periods

This 5-day online course focuses on teaching about race and slavery during the colonial and American Revolutionary War periods, with a primary focus on African American history. It is designed primarily for upper elementary and middle school teachers. The course includes daily asynchronous readings, activities, and discussion board posts as well as a live synchronous meeting for 2 hours each day. Each live meeting includes review, reflection, and discussion of the asynchronous assignments, as well as an opportunity to interact with a Colonial Williamsburg character interpreter, content expert, or Master Teacher. This course will be held in Blackboard.

Building Inquiry and Analysis Skills by Engaging with Primary Sources

This 5-day online course focuses on teaching with a variety of primary source mediums, with an emphasis on student engagement, critical thinking skills and meaning making. It is designed for teachers of all grade levels. The course will include daily asynchronous readings, activities, discussion board posts, review and reflection, and synchronous Q&A with presenters. This course will be held in Blackboard.

Week-Long Onsite Sessions

Elementary School (for educators in grades 3–6)

A Multifaceted American Heritage: Colonization, Conflict, and Compromise (1607–1781)

What were the rights, roles, responsibilities, influence, and agency of the different populations living in colonial Virginia? How did social levels, gender, and ethnicity impact every aspect of society? Participants will explore daily life in the territories of the American colonies from the period of British colonization to the American Revolution. During this course, teachers will be immersed in hands-on activities, primary sources, and teaching strategies that highlight the stories of the diverse peoples living in Virginia during this time period.

Secondary School (for educators in grades 7–12)

Evolving Perspectives on American Identity: Resistance, Revolution, and Reform (1607–1870)

Can the American identity be defined? How does American society mediate conflict and consensus amongst various cultures? What will the American identity become in the future? During this course, participants will examine how the concept of an American identity began and continues to evolve and transform with each new generation of Americans. Through inquiry-based analysis of primary sources and exploring the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area, teachers examine how that identity influenced citizens to shape and change the Republic through the 1870s.

Three-Day Onsite Seminars

Resilience, Agency, and Resistance: The African American Experience (1607–1781)

This seminar explores the lives, roles, and perspectives of free and enslaved Black individuals in the Americas. Participants will pursue a deeper understanding of the diversity of the experiences of free and enslaved Black individuals from the period of British Colonization through the American Revolution. Participants will investigate primary sources, interact with interpreters and tradespeople, and learn how to use culturally responsive teaching strategies to effectively incorporate diverse narratives into curriculum.

STEAM to the Past, Design for the Future

This seminar explores the interdisciplinary links between eighteenth-century history and STEAM in the daily lives of American Indians, British colonists, and free and enslaved Blacks. Participants will compare the experiences of the three diverse groups of people, specifically applied to STEAM—the sciences, technology, engineering, art, and math. Participants will engage with historical interpreters, investigate applied science principles such as design and engineering, chemistry, transportation, and energy, and combine these experiences into dynamic classroom lesson ideas that incorporate primary sources, collaboration, inquiry, and problem solving.

Agents of Change: Civic Engagement, Past and Present

This seminar explores the stories of civic leaders, civic participation, and civil disobedience across diverse perspectives in eighteenth-century Virginia. Participants will engage with historical interpreters, analyze primary sources, and gain teaching strategies that connect the past to the present in meaningful ways to inspire civic action.

Other Workshops

For Elementary and Secondary Teachers

In this one-day workshop in your district, a Colonial Williamsburg educator inspires teachers with interactive, media-rich strategies that link American history and active 21st-century civic engagement.

Customized Group Workshops in Williamsburg

The Colonial Williamsburg Professional Development staff can customize arrangements for your teacher group's (of 15 or more) visit to Colonial Williamsburg. Not only can we help you with the educational portion of your visit, but we can also make arrangements for Colonial Williamsburg lodging, meals, and local transportation. For more information or a price quotation on a customized teacher professional development program, please email teacherdevelopment@cwf.org.