George Lucas Educational Foundation

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.
Cheri Lucas
Former editorial assistant for Edutopia.
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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Summer Research Internship

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

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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.

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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.

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Viewing Earth and Space Through Art and Science

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.)

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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.

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Publication Advising: Yearbooks and Newspapers/Newsmagazines

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.

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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.

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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.

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Biotechnology Education for Students and Teachers Summer Enrichment Program

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

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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

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.

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Movie Production Workshop

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Radio & TV Voice-Over Workshop

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Picturing a Nation: Teaching with American Art and Material Culture

  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Brooklyn
  • July 10-14
  • 718/501-6230
  • This institute is for those who want to incorporate artifacts of American art into their classroom and uses the American Identities exhibition at the Luce Center for American Art as a basis for their curriculum.

    Columbia Publishing Course

    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.

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    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.

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    Our Nanoworld

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

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    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

    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.

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    Dino Daze

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Applied Music Program

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

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    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.

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    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.

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    Meditation for Musicians

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

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    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.

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    Shipboard Education Program

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    An abridged version of this directory was also published in Edutopia magazine's June 2006 issue.

    Return to the main article.

Comments (5) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Brooke Lehrer's picture

Good Afternoon,

Since you are an educator in the New York school system, I wanted to send you an email to make you aware of an educator retreat at Garrison Institute for Contemplation and Education. There is a teacher event coming up in August that I thought you may be interested in attending, or could pass on to other educators.

I am trying to the best of my ability to get the word out to as many educators as possible since this retreat should be amazing!

I pasted some information below so you could get a better idea of the education retreat.

"The Garrison Institute CARE retreat"

The CARE retreat offers teachers a training program that focuses on how the teacher teaches, rather than what he or she teaches. Further, an emphasis on mindfulness practice helps teachers establish a supportive classroom environment, as well as to reduce stress, making teachers more fully engaged and aware in the classroom.

You can check out the CARE program on Garrison's website:

Again, my goal is to get this message out to as many teachers as I can! I have enclosed some additional information below if you would like to read about the upcoming CARE retreat.

Summer Retreat for Teachers at the Garrison Institute

August 14-19, 2010

Garrison Institute Presents:

Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE)

Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions. The demands placed upon the teacher, both academic and emotional, can also make it one of the most stressful. CARE is a unique program designed to help teachers reduce stress and enliven their teaching by promoting awareness, presence, compassion, reflection, and inspiration - the inner resources they need to help students flourish, socially, emotionally, and academically.

Cutting-edge neuroscience confirms that practicing mindfulness facilitates awareness and self-regulation and develops the capacity for a calm, focused mind -- a mind with the openness, responsiveness and sensitivity for optimal teaching, guiding, and learning. For teachers, these resources can provide the inner strength to be powerfully present and emotionally responsive. As a result, teachers become effective guides, and influential models of healthy social and emotional behavior.

The CARE program is typically presented in four all day sessions spread out over four to five weeks. Intersession coaching via phone and internet supports teachers practice and apply new skills. The program involves a blend of instruction and experiential activities including time for reflection and discussion. Teachers who have completed the program say they found it relaxing, enjoyable and inspiring. The Garrison Institute works with schools to develop sustainability and ongoing support for teachers.

Based upon our most current understanding of the neuroscience of emotion, CARE introduces emotion skills instruction to promote understanding, recognition and regulation of emotion. To reduce stress, and to promote awareness and presence applied to teaching, CARE introduces mindfulness activities beginning with short periods of silent reflection and extending to activities that bring mindfulness to role-plays of challenging situations teachers often encounter. Through these activities, teachers learn to bring greater calm, mindfulness and awareness into the classroom to enhance their relationships with their students, their classroom management, and curricular implementation. Finally, CARE promotes empathy and compassion through caring practice and mindful listening.

To register or request information, please

contact the registrar at

or 845.424.4800, x106.



Brooke Lehrer
Education Intern
Garrison Institute
PO Box 532
Garrison, NY 10524
ph: 845-424-4800 ext. 108
fax: 845-424-4900

Kristen Poppleton's picture
Kristen Poppleton
K-12 Education Program Manager Will Steger Foundation

Thursday, August 12th 8:30 am-4:30 pm (Location: St. Paul, MN - University of Minnesota) or available as an online webinar.

In partnership with academic and civic partners the we will host our 5th annual Summer Institute on Climate Change Education on Thursday August 12th, 2010. This year we will look back on our last five years of climate change education outreach and curriculum development and take time to "Go Back to the Basics." Our keynote speaker is Dr. Naomi Oreskes, a renowned expert on the history of climate science, with Minnesota climatologist Mark Seeley.

The institute will include:
*A presentation from explorer Will Steger on the urgency of global warming and the critical need for international cooperation on climate change solutions
*An overview of Will Steger Foundation's newly updated Lesson Plans and Educator Resources for grades 3-12
*An overview of and the resources available online
*Small group sessions focused on climate change basics, how to address climate change skeptics, and effective models of teaching climate change
*Resources to equip educators with the skills necessary to empower student learning and leadership on the topic.

Applications available online at, or call 612-278-7147 to have one sent to you today.

Suzie Boss's picture
Suzie Boss
Journalist and PBL advocate

Buck Institute for Education hosts a series of summer workshops (from 1 to 3 days) on project-based learning.
Where: BIE headquarters, Novato, CA
More details:
Interested in service learning +PBL? Join me for Aug. 5 session!

Max Miller's picture
Max Miller
Parent of 2 in Tucson

I found the Hawaii program particularly interesting, and you can't beat the location. I stayed on longer and spent some time with my wife at the Kailua Kona Hotel, and there's a reason they call this place paradise.

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