Each year, there will be three historical lectures presented by noted historians. The sessions are open to all K-12 grade teachers and community members. After the lecture, teachers will work with colleagues to design classroom lessons which apply historical information from the lectures.
Each summer institute consists of 10 full days of professional development activities, which include content instruction by university professors, teacher leader facilitated workshops, and cultural institution presentations. Each day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends by 3:30 p.m. Activities utilize primary source materials or objects relating to the themes being studied. Also, a focus on standards, teaching reading and writing strategies, historical thinking and support for English Learners will be part of the institute course of study. Participants will conduct primary source research that will be used to create original lessons and units. Each summer, participants will take a field trip. The field trips will be to local, state and national historical sites.
Lesson Study is a structured process in which a group of teachers identify an instructional problem, plan a lesson using primary resources, teach the lesson (one member of the group teaches the lesson while the others observe), evaluate and revise the lesson. Then another teacher teaches the modified lesson and the cycle continues.
Through collaboration and an emphasis on lesson revision, the insights of several teachers are brought to bear on the problems of effectively teaching challenging historical concepts. Lesson Study methodology is widely used in Japan and has been credited for the shift from “teaching as telling” to “teaching for understanding” in Japanese mathematics and science classrooms. Cohort I participants will apply the "Lesson Study" process to develop, teach, analyze, and refine American History lessons in classrooms.