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Online Courses



The Great Debate: Balancing Values in Tension

Monday, July 29 – Friday, Aug. 2, 2024 | 4-6:00 p.m. EDT

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 course to explore American values in tension and how they have—and have not—changed over time. Each live session will explore a 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.

U.S. Constitution: The Origin Story

September 12, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

Join the Bob and Marion Wilson Teacher Institute team as we guide you through a deep dive into the multiple documents that influenced the U.S Constitution, including the Iroquois Great Law of Peace. You will examine a range of primary sources that shaped U.S. democracy and discuss with your peers how to apply this content in your classrooms. Participants will receive a certificate for 1.5 professional development hours for attending this session.

Author Interview with Jordan Taylor

September 26, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

Join us for a lively discussion of Jordan Taylor’s new book, Misinformation Nation: Foreign News and the Politics of Truth in Revolutionary America. Taylor’s work examines how early Americans created, spread, and circulated news and their fears about whether the information they found was fact or fiction. During this session, Taylor will share his exciting research and you’ll discuss with peers how this research informs your classroom experience. Participants who read Taylor's book and participate in the discussion will receive a certificate for 6.0 professional development hours.

Uncovering the Bray School

October 22, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

Join the Bob and Marion Wilson Teacher Institute team and Colonial Williamsburg’s archaeology team to discuss the discovery of the Bray School building. During the 1760s and the early 1770s, many of Williamsburg’s enslaved and free Black children attended the Bray School. Previously thought to have been lost to history, researchers discovered the original building on the campus of William & Mary in 2020. Discuss this important discovery with archaeology, hear lessons learned about preserving history, and leave with materials you can teach in your classroom tomorrow. Participants will receive a certificate for 1.5 professional development hours for attending this session.

Author Interview with Lindsay Chervinsky

October 22, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

In her book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, author Lindsay Chervinsky shares how George Washington created one of the most power bodies in the federal government – the presidential cabinet. Although the U.S. Constitution did not create this group, Washington slowly developed a cabinet of advisors throughout his first administration. His decision to do so had far-reaching consequences and evolved along with the federal government. Join us for a lively discussion with Lindsay Chervinsky, to learn about her research process and how this scholarship connects to the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution.

Debunking Myths and Misunderstandings Through Maps

November 5, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

When was the last time you used a paper map to get somewhere? Although we rely on GPS technologies today, in the colonial era (and most of history), maps were essential to understand and navigate the world. Beyond providing directions, maps often reflected how colonists viewed the world and their inherent biases. Join us for this exciting program in our new “Well, Actually...” series to learn tips to incorporate maps as primary sources into your classroom instruction and how historic maps can help your students identify and understand bias in documents. Participants will receive a certificate for 1.5 professional development hours for attending this session.

Slavery, Resistance, and the Hope for Freedom

November 14, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

Do you struggle with effectively teaching the history of slavery in the elementary classroom? Then join us for a facilitated discussion where interpreter Debbie Canty-Downs will share engaging resources and best practices for teaching this history to younger students. Too often the stories of enslaved people are overlooked, yet sharing these individual stories is one of the best ways to teach the intricacies of this history while also cultivating historical empathy. In this program you will discover stories to share with your students and leave with a better understanding of approaching complex history with your students. Participants will receive a certificate for 1.5 professional development hours for attending this session.

Debunking the Twelve Myths About Christmas

December 5, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

Did you ever wonder where the tradition of Christmas trees and Santa Claus started? How has the celebration of Christmas changed or stayed the same since America’s founding? Join educators from Colonial Williamsburg and Monticello for this fun “Well, Actually...” session as we address myths about celebrating Christmas in early America. Then follow us on a dive into colonial holiday traditions that many still share today. We’ll conclude with time for you to ask questions about other myths and discuss with your peers how to apply this content in your classrooms. Participants will receive a certificate for 1.5 professional development hours for attending this session.

What Are Teachers Saying About the Bob and Marion Wilson Teacher Institute?

December 17, 2024 | 7 p.m. EDT

Grab your beverage of choice and join us for a fun roundtable discussion as we chat about all things Teacher Institute with alumni from past programs. Learn more about the onsite experience, how to apply, and the scholarships that could cover your costs! Participants will receive a certificate for 1.0 professional development hours for attending this session.

Onsite Residential

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

Intended for educators in grades 3-6

Sunday - Friday
June 23 - June 28, 2024 | July 7 - July 12, 2024
July 21 - July 26, 2024 | July 28 - August 2, 2024

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 period.

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

Intended for educators in grades 7-12

Sunday - Friday
June 9 - June 14, 2024 | June 16 - June 21, 2024 | June 23 - June 28, 2024
July 21 - July 26, 2024 | July 28 - August 2, 2024.

Can the American identity be defined? How does American society mediate conflict and consensus among 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, teachers will examine how that identity influenced citizens to shape and change the Republic through the 1870s.

STEAM to the Past, Design for the Future

Intended for educators in grades 3-8

Sunday - Friday
June 16 - June 21, 2024 | July 21 - July 26, 2024

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 Black individuals. 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

Intended for educators in grades 3–8

Sunday - Friday
July 7 - July 12, 2024 | July 28 - August 2, 2024

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.

Resilience, Agency, and Resistance:
The African American Experience

Intended for educators in grades 3–8

Sunday - Friday
June 9 - June 14, 2024 | July 14 - July 19, 2024

This seminar explores the lives, roles, and perspectives of free and enslaved Black people 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.

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.