Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Summer School for Educators: The Big List of Programs

A list of programs nationwide to help you get started on your search for a workshop, conference, or institute.

October 18, 2006

This list accompanies an article published in 2006. Programs and program schedules may have changed. If you know of a great summer workshop, conference, institute, or other adventure that's not on this list, or you have revised information about a listed item, please let us know in the comment section below.

Here's a list of programs nationwide to help you get started on your search for a summer workshop, conference, or institute. Each listing includes the course title, location, sponsoring organization, dates, contact and Web site information, and a brief description. Be sure to check the links to the sites of the host organizations for other offerings held on different dates.

AL | AK | AZ | AR | CA | CO | CT | DE | FL | GA | HI | ID | IN | IA | KS | KY | LA | ME | MD | MA | MI | MN | MS | MO | MT | NE | NV | NH | NJ | NM | NY | NC | ND | OH | OK | OR | PA | RI | SC | SD | TN | TX | UT | VT | VA | WA | DC | WV | WI | WY


Beaches, Birds, and Barrier Islands

  • Dauphin Island Sea Lab
  • Dauphin Island (and Barrier Islands)
  • June 25-29 and July 9-13
  • 251/861-7515
  • Dolphin Island Sea Lab Discovery Hall Programs

In this five-day tour of the islands of the Gulf Coast -- Petit Bois, Gaillard, and Dauphin islands -- teachers watch birds, comb beaches, and participate in other activities.

Alabama Community Scholars Institute

This program, held at the University of North Alabama, trains people in conducting research and fieldwork about the state's traditional culture and folk traditions.


Alaska Phenomena Geology Teachers Institute

This program examines the physical geology in Alaska and gas and oil field stratigraphy. Field trips to glaciers and other geologic phenomena are included.


Summer Dance Workshop

In cooperation with the University of Arizona's School of Dance, the intensive workshop offers training for all levels in ballet technique, pointe, jazz, and modern dance, and special courses such as tap and choreography.


Learning-center volunteering

Heifer Ranch, home to a global village representing various regions in need, welcomes volunteers to its "living classroom." From tending livestock (hence the organization's name) to planting and nurturing organic gardens to learning about sustainability through firsthand experience, Heifer helpers discover practical ways to combat the causes of poverty.


DirtBike School

These dusty (or muddy) and thrill-packed courses cover riding basics and techniques as well as lessons in risk management in controlled and off-road environments.

Paragliding Lessons

  • Airtime of San Francisco
  • various locations in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • 650/343-9463

Aspiring paragliders float like a butterfly through the northern California sky and learn to launch, land, and everything in between.

Salsa Instruction

  • InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel
  • San Francisco
  • Wednesday nights, ongoing
  • 415/392-3434

Get sweaty and sultry at the top-floor lounge of a hotel, where dancers groove to Latin jazz on Wednesday evenings. A good bet for enthusiasts nationwide, however, is the Miami Salsa Congress (August 2-6), which includes workshops with international instructors. (Visit

Books and Reading Strategies for Bilingual Students in Grades K-8

  • Barahona Center at California State University San Marcos
  • San Marcos
  • June 26-28
  • 760/750-4070

This conference focuses on reading, selecting, and using appropriate literature to teach reading strategies to bilingual students.

Summer Poetry

Designed for both beginners and published poets, the program offers a wide range of participation opportunities such as small-group workshops and readings with distinguished faculty and visiting poets.

Digital Media for the Classroom

This digital boot camp shows K-12 teachers in all fields how to transform their work area into a twenty-first-century classroom and integrate Adobe and iLife programs into lessons.

Building Remotely Operated Vehicles

Teachers learn the basic skills needed to work with students to design and build an ROV to compete in the MATE Center's national and regional competitions.

Teachers at Sea

K-12 teachers earn graduate credits from the University of Nevada in Reno for this sixty-five-day voyage along the Pacific Rim. Participants meet in San Diego and depart from Ensenada, Mexico.


The Great Plains: America's Crossroads

Though a vast, seemingly featureless sea of grass, the Great Plains was a landscape where cultures collided. The workshop focuses on the nineteenth century and examines the region's topography, early anthropology and its homesteading era, as well as its subsequent social evolution.

Professional Learning Communities at Work Institute

Educators learn how to apply the concepts of the Professional Learning Community model in their own schools at this institute hosted by education authors Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Rebecca DuFour.


Introducing James Joyce

Fifteen scholars visit this seminar at Connecticut College to discuss four works of James Joyce, including A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Check out for other NEH seminars.


Jewelry Making

  • Delaware Art Museum
  • Wilmington
  • June 28-July 26
  • 302/571-9590

Beginners learn the basics: sawing, filing, soldering, polishing, setting stone, and using metal. Intermediate-level students work with metal, epoxy resin, and found objects.


Summer Research Internship

Research interns learn current lab techniques from working scientists and examine contemporary issues in basic biomedical research.


Summer Institute for AP Computer Science Teachers

In three programs, educators learn Java technology in preparation to teach Advanced Placement Computer Science A and AB. All Java topics required for each course are covered through lectures and hands-on lab activities.


Coral Reef Ecology of Hawaii Program

K-8 teachers explore the south Kona coastline in kayak and snorkeling expeditions and park visits and combine studies in Western science and Hawaiian culture. Late applicants are welcome to contact the center to check for availability.


Viewing Earth and Space Through Art and Science

  • Herrett Center for the Arts & Science (location)
  • Wright Center for Science Education, Tufts University (sponsor)
  • Twin Falls
  • July 10-14
  • 617/627-5394

Fusing astronomy and earth science, the workshop teaches how imaging tools are used to measure or view objects deep in space and in the earth. (Email instructor Donna Young to check availability.)


International Studies Summer Institute

Teachers of grades 7-12 apply critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to international issues, such as trade, populations at risk, and environmental change.


Publication Advising: Yearbooks and Newspapers/Newsmagazines

  • University of Iowa
  • Iowa City
  • June 26-30
  • 319/335-3455

Learn current trends and essential skills in yearbook and publication design and production in a world-famous writing environment.

Visiting-Teacher Test-Development Program

Working with ACT staff, secondary school teachers review, evaluate, and develop test materials and make recommendations for improvements.


Summer Institute for School Library Media Specialists

Open to librarians, content teachers, and administrators, the institute provides current information related to school libraries, resources, and information-literacy instruction.


Institute for Arts in Education

Participants dive into creative writing, dance, drama, music, and art activities under the guidance of professional artists and learn how to fuse the arts fields across their curricula.


Biotechnology Education for Students and Teachers Summer Enrichment Program

  • Louisiana State University Agricultural Center
  • Baton Rouge
  • June 5-July 14

Six state high school science teachers -- each accompanied by a student of his or her choice -- participate in this biotechnology-education program.


Introduction to Whales, Porpoises, and Seals

Through lectures, slide presentations, and aquatic field trips in the waters off the coast of Maine, participants observe the marine mammals common to the New England region.

Photography Teachers' Workshop

  • The Workshops
  • Rockport
  • August 6-12
  • 1-877/577-7700

High school photography teachers explore issues, problems, and pleasures of the field and focus on the art of critique, teaching methods, the wet and digital darkroom processes, and possible assignments.


Movie Production Workshop

  • American Film Institute
  • Silver Spring (Montgomery College)
  • July 8-30
  • 301/650-1407

In groups, aspiring filmmakers pitch an idea and write, shoot, and edit short narrative projects, working with professional actors and crews and shooting on a schedule and a budget.


Summer Institute on Writing, Reading, and Teaching

This program offers courses on the teaching of writing and reading on the enchanting, historic island off of Cape Cod.

Balzac and Zola: Esthetics and Ethics in the Novel

  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Dartmouth (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth)
  • July 10-28
  • 508/999-8336

This seminar studies the literary portrayal of the individual as a social and historical being. Check out for other NEH seminars.

New Teachers Program at MTA Summer Conference

Designed for newbies, the two program tracks network teachers with other state educators and covers topics for success inside and outside of the classroom.


Lincoln Center Institute National Educator Workshop

With its rigorous approach to aesthetic education, the institute offers opportunities to dance, paint, produce music, and improvise in theater. Check for other workshop locations.


Teaching and Learning Pragmatics

Speaking and using a foreign tongue in the vernacular way native speakers do is important. To help you get there, and in turn help your students, this course covers sociocultural aspects of language learning, use, and teaching.


Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute

The institute networks local schools with the commission to teach them how to integrate arts instruction.

Civil Rights Education Summit

The conference, McComb Legacies: Reclaiming Our Past for a Brighter Future, emphasizes the importance of teaching the history and lessons learned from the civil rights movement.


Connecting the Zoo to You

K-6 teachers tour the grounds, meet the staff, and develop interdisciplinary lessons on art, botany, math, geography, and conservation based on hands-on activities.

We the People Summer Institute

K-12 teachers mingle with top constitutional scholars and other civic and government teachers, train to teach the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and participate in simulated congressional hearings.


Summer Intensive

In a breathtaking location for learning the craft of photography, students learn techniques among natural surroundings with both digital and film SLR cameras and both color and black-and-white photography.

Summer Conference for Place-Based Learning

The conference explores how teachers can engage high school students in discussions of nature and place by gathering research about the areas students live.


Summer Programs, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Anatomy

The program offers intensive courses in human embryology, cell biology, human gross anatomy, and medical neuroscience, all of which are equivalent to first-year medical school courses.


Radio & TV Voice-Over Workshop

Work with a professional voice-over coach and expose yourself to the workings of a competitive but lucrative industry.


Art Educators Summer Institute

Middle and high school art teachers choose two fine arts workshops and gain access to state-of-the-art digital-imaging equipment and the state's only college art library.


Artist Teacher Institute

Offering up to seventy-two credit hours of professional-development credit, ATI brings together teachers, administrators, and master artists in an interactive environment of studio activities.

Institutes for New Teachers

Separate institutes in science and math include small-group workshops with expert instructors for new teachers of grades 6-12.


Borderlands Writing Project

Teachers take part in workshops in writing instruction and critical literacy, in preparation for teaching a diverse student population in the border areas of southern New Mexico.


Picturing a Nation: Teaching with American Art and Material Culture

Those interested in magazine, book, and electronic publishing are exposed to current industry issues, real publishing experience, and extensive networking and career-placement support.

Summer Design Institute

Top artists and K-12 teachers share strategies to stimulate students in the process of design. Educators also visit design studios throughout the city to learn how to show students how design impacts our daily lives.


Documentary Video Institute

Students work in small production teams and shoot, edit, and screen short documentaries based on fieldwork conducted in the local community. Participants have access to editing software and sound equipment and also discuss ethics and community outreach.

Cherokee History and Culture Institute

Combining academic learning with real experiences and classroom discussions with the Cherokee community, the course covers archaeology, folklore, history, and linguistics.


Our Nanoworld

K-12 educators are introduced to the cutting-edge industries of nanoscience and nanotechnology.


Elevate! Using Hip-Hop to Educate

Participants engage in forward-thinking discussions about hip-hop and popular music, art, and culture.

Opera Theatre and Music Festival

  • University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (sponsor)
  • Lucca, Italy (location)
  • June 11-July 15
  • 513/556-5662

Serious opera buffs audition through the College-Conservatory of Music for spots in seven programs -- which include production, conducting, and orchestral and chamber music -- then, if they're selected, take off to participate in the festival in Tuscan city of Lucca.


Dino Daze

Participants interact with paleontologists, use microscopes to learn about dinosaur growth, create art projects, and engage in demonstrations and "Jurassic Jeopardy."


Japanese Teacher-Training Institute

  • Portland, Oregon (Portland State University, Oregon)
  • Alliance for Language Learning and Educational Exchange
  • June 26-August 18
  • 978/424-4047

Four- or eight-week intensive programs provide tools for current and new teachers of Japanese language, with an emphasis on an effective methodology for teaching Japanese to North American learners.


Science and a Sense of Place

Do students know that rocks, trees, and parks contain clues about the type of environment they come from? Teachers explore ways to help their classes interpret these clues about their locales and develop curricula about the places where students live.


Poverty and Prosperity

The seminar, held at Brown University, explores the historical, economic, and philosophical foundations of a free society. Check the IHS site for other courses.


Colonial Charleston Teacher Workshop

The workshop explores the history of Charleston and the South Carolina Lowcountry in the late colonial period through the study of material culture and objects from the museum's collection.


Data Collection Technology Workshop

The course offers training in data-collection technology for science and math educators and focuses on the integration of computers and tools such as Texas Instruments calculators and Palm-powered handhelds.


Applied Music Program

Offers all levels of instruction in brass, woodwinds, percussion, strings, and piano.


Texas Mathworks Teacher Institute

After training in the teaching of prealgebra and algebra, educators develop their own summer math camps for middle school students in their school districts.

Back to Top


Utah Writing Project

  • Utah State University
  • Cedar City and Brigham City
  • June 12-July 7, June 19-July 14
  • 435/797-2723

K-16 teachers work in response groups, discuss current research, and study approaches to teaching writing. Each participant presents a demonstration of an effective classroom approach to writing instruction.


Meditation for Musicians

Situated at a wooded mountain retreat, musicians of all levels of study relax and recharge in meditation and music workshops.


Biodiversity Monitoring Institute

Teachers learn the skills to teach the scientific principles of biodiversity monitoring through visits to natural "laboratories" in forests and parks. They then develop inquiry-based lessons about local and global environments.

The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson

Stroll the grounds of Monticello, take some time to look at Jefferson's manuscripts, or listen to lectures on the Louisiana Purchase, the Constitution, and the expansion into the West.

Institutes on Multicultural Education for Teachers and Administrators

Teachers and administrators learn about the cultural issues of the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as various topics on multicultural education and curricula.

Back to Top


Shipboard Education Program

  • Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority
  • West Coast
  • 800/200-5239

Sail away on weeklong voyages on the Lady Washington, test your mettle on the Tall Masts Ropes Course, or design a boat on a computer and build your creation in the shop. Tall ship expeditions travel up and down the West Coast. Avast, me hearties!

Caring for Chimpanzees

Through close observation of chimpanzees, participants observe how primates function in their habitat and collaborate with leaders in chimpanzee communication who work to maintain the health and well-being of these creatures in captivity.

The Guatemala Experience

Spanish-language students fly to the historic city of Antigua Guatemala to polish their speaking skills and immerse themselves in Guatemalan culture.


Teaching Shakespeare Institute

Twenty-five secondary-level teachers study Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Tempest, and Shakespeare's sonnets and receive a $3,000 stipend and the option of living in the dorms of Georgetown University.


Potomac Stream Samplers Workshop

Teachers and students living in the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay watersheds work with local organizations and learn to sample water quality and collect and analyze data from the waters and the surrounding forest environment.


Arabic and Persian Immersion Program

Participants communicate only in either Arabic or Persian for two months of intensive study. Students absorb their chosen culture by studying films and current media in their chosen language and tasting the culture's culinary pleasures in a language-controlled setting in a small town along the Mississippi River.

Back to Top


Goethe Summer Course

The course focuses on student-centered instruction in German; workshops are conducted completely in that language. All participants work in groups to produce classroom material.


Return to the main article.

Share This Story

  • email icon

Filed Under

  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Follow Edutopia

  • facebook icon
  • twitter icon
  • instagram icon
  • youtube icon
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
George Lucas Educational Foundation
Edutopia is an initiative of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Edutopia®, the EDU Logo™ and Lucas Education Research Logo® are trademarks or registered trademarks of the George Lucas Educational Foundation in the U.S. and other countries.