Teach-it-Forward Application

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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History invites local (DC, MD, VA, DE) educators with a passion for teaching social studies and facilitating adult learning to join us for the Teach-it-Forward Institute. The goal of the Institute is to familiarize participants with the Museum’s resources and teaching strategies, and to prepare them to share lessons learned with fellow educators. This program is free, and breakfast and lunch will be provided.

In session one, participants will go behind-the-scenes, working closely with museum educators, curators, archivists, and theater staff to develop content knowledge, explore resources, and learn hands-on and multidisciplinary skill building activities that are immediately applicable to standards based teaching. There will also be opportunities for research at the Museum for secondary educators. Approximately five months later, participants will return for session two in which they will learn methods for sharing this content with fellow educators, develop their own workshop, and explore an exhibit with a curator. After session two, participants can continue to receive support and guidance as they conduct professional development workshops in their home districts.

For elementary educators, session one will be conducted over the course of two days, August 4 and August 5, 2014. Session two will be on January 10, 2015.  
For secondary educators, session one will be conducted over the course of two days, August 7 and August 8, 2014. Session two will be on January 24, 2015. 


We are accepting applicants on a rolling basis until May 12, 2014. Space is limited, so please apply early. To apply, click next at the bottom of this page and complete the application (estimated time for completion: 10 to 20 minutes). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

All educators are eligible to apply.  Our last cohort included art teachers, literature teachers, media specialists, librarians, science teachers, coaches, and special education teachers--just to name a few.

This program is funded through the A. James Clark Excellence in History Teaching Program and a Smithsonian Youth Access Grant. Click on this link to read a blog post about last year's program.

Participants will also receive:
-Hands on teaching materials
-A certificate of completion

-A Smithsonian membership
-A membership in the alumni list and online community group

What Are Teachers Saying about It?
Survey responses from 1000+ teachers indicate that the program cleared one of the most important hurdles of professional development and outreach: getting teachers excited. Overall, 95% of the attendees said the workshops met their goals…An overwhelming majority of teachers felt more confident in getting students excited about history (97%), using objects and primary sources (98%), and locating resources online (96%)—and more energized (98%) and valued as history teachers (92%). Positive findings were consistent across grade levels, and included not just social studies teachers but also English, science, and art teachers, librarians, and other resource teachers.
(Excerpt from report by Rockman et al, an independent evaluator, about the Institute and our on the road version, the Let’s Do History Tour)
A few comments about the Institute from participants:

  • I felt this program gave us not only resources but ideas on how to use them. In addition, we were given support and feedback to help us develop our lesson plans.
  • It helps so much to see how you can develop higher order thinking skills and integrate Common Core into all areas of the curriculum.
  • This training was one of the most fun and impactful experiences I’ve had as an educator.
  • The opportunity to network with other teachers outside my district was beneficial.
  • It offered very practical and useful ideas for integrating primary sources and artifacts into teaching!
  • It was fun, engaging and well designed. It wasn’t just sit-and-get, but a mix of museum tours, drama, and lessons.