Professional Development Opportunities

NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Summer Teacher Workshops
“Inventing America: Lowell and the Industrial Revolution “

The Tsongas Industrial History Center invites educators from across the U.S. to Lowell, MA, for “Inventing America: Lowell and the Industrial Revolution,” a week-long summer workshop funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The “Inventing America” workshops combine scholarly presentations with on-site investigations of the canals, mills, worker housing, and exhibits of Lowell National Historical Park.  In addition to Lowell’s landmark resources, we will use drama, historical fiction, hands-on simulations, and field studies at Old Sturbridge Village, Walden Pond, and Concord, MA, to bring history to life.

  • Who: K-12 teachers (public & private), administrators, and school personnel
  • When: June 26– July 1July 17 - 22, 2016 (choose one week)
  • Where: Tsongas Industrial History Center, Boott Cotton Mills, Lowell, MA
  • Deadline for applications is March 1, 2016
  • Housing available at UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center
  • $1,200.00 stipend paid toward expenses. 
  • CEUs/PDPs and graduate credit available through UMass Lowell.

For more information and application instructions, visit our website at or contact Ellen Anstey, Tsongas Industrial History Center, Boott Cotton Mills, 115 John St., Lowell, MA  01852  Phone: 978-970-5080

Demon Times: Temperance, Immigration, and Progressivism in an American City
Come learn about America’s Demon Times! This one-week workshop, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will consider Temperance, immigration, and the Progressive movement in American history and culture. Teachers will experience landmarks of the temperance movement and the immigrant experience in late 19th and early 20th century America by exploring Columbus and nearby Westerville, Ohio. Westerville was the home of the Anti-Saloon League, a major temperance organization that explicitly warned against the influence of alcohol, Catholics, and immigrants. Columbus was home to a large German immigrant population, with an attendant brewing industry. This small town and nearby city are emblematic of America in the Progressive Era. Participants will receive a $1,200 stipend to help cover the cost of travel and lodging. Workshop dates: July 10-15 or July 24-29, 2016. Application deadline: March 1, 2016. Learn more at

2016 APA TOPSS Charles T. Blair-Broeker Excellence in Teaching Award
This award provides an opportunity for APA’s Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) to recognize outstanding teachers in psychology. There will be up to three annual awards. Winners will receive a framed certificate, engraved award, cash prize of $500, and a free TOPSS membership or renewal for the 2017 membership year. Additionally, Worth Publishers is generously donating a $500 credit to Bedford Freeman & Worth Publishers and a copy of the “High School Psychology Video Anthology DVD” to each of the winning teachers. The application deadline is: March 15, 2016.  Click here for more details: 
2016 TOPSS Essay Competition for High School Psychology Students
Students are asked to write an essay of no more than 3,000 words that addresses the topic of racial bias and that provides information concerning cognitive and social factors that contribute to the problem. Students should also address how implicit bias has informed our understanding of racial biases. In addition, each essay should use existing psychological research to examine how this problem specifically impacts the criminal justice system. Four winners will be selected for this year’s competition, each of whom will receive a $250 award. Go here to get the full essay question and competition rules and guidelines. The deadline for submission is March 15, 2016.
2016 APA/Clark University Workshop for High School Teachers
The 12th annual APA/Clark workshop will be held July 20-22, 2016, at Clark University in Worcester, MA. Presenters will include Alan Feldman of Glen Rock High School, Glen Rock, New Jersey, and Virginia Welle of Chippewa Falls High School, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; the keynote address and faculty presenters from the Clark University psychology department will be announced by the spring.  There is no registration fee and room and board are provided.  In addition, all participants will receive travel stipends up to $150 and limited travel scholarships are available based upon need.  The workshop is limited to 25 teachers. The application deadline is April 15, 2016. For more information and to apply online, go here.

Social Studies News

Kansas Fifth Graders Get Creative for Native American History 
Fifth-graders at a Kansas elementary school will finish up their six-week study of Native American history and culture by creating model villages that will showcase the lives of US tribes. The students, with younger schoolmates, visited a tepee loaned to the school and learned about how many Native Americans were forced to attend boarding schools, and about such topics as colonialism and westward expansion.

Why It's Time for New Teachers to Get Social
Social media can help teachers grow during their first years in the classroom, Brad Currie, K-8 supervisor of instruction and dean of students in a New Jersey school district, writes in this blog post. He highlights how new teachers can use Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites to engage in professional development.

How to spark personalized learning with idea books 
Fourth- and fifth-grade students in one Minnesota school are experiencing personalized learning by keeping digital query books, media specialist Cathy Knutson explains in this blog post. Knutson notes that students aren't used to developing and acting on their own ideas in school, and writes that the books take the pressure off to come up with "great" ideas.

Teaching the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework: Exploring Inquiry-Based Instruction
An indispensable guide for teachers implementing the C3 Framework, this new book from NCSS Publications consists of model lessons contributed by 15 of the best social studies curricular organizations. Each lesson encompasses the whole of the C3 Inquiry Arc from questioning to action. There are lessons for all grade bands from K-2 to 9-12, and the 15 lessons cover the range of C3 disciplines. Learn more and order the book.

Technology helps extend reach of international-studies class 
Students in an international-studies class at an Illinois school are using videoconferencing to connect with peers 7,000 miles away in Norway. Participating students call themselves "keypals" -- the modern-day version of pen pals. In a recent lesson, students talked about their favorite holidays and foods.

Ohio teacher uses technology to engage students in geography 
Ohio social studies teacher Ryan Evart is using technology, such as Geographic Information Systems, to engage his students while they cover geography in class. During the GIS lesson, students worked in teams on a project in which they placed icons over buildings and viewed images of the locations while using Google Earth on their iPads. "We can drop ourselves in India or China, and that is nothing that we could think about doing five years ago," Evarts said.

NCSS webinar series -- Get Digital with Discovery Education and NCSS 
Are you looking for more digital sources for your Social Studies class? If so, you may benefit from this webinar series being presented by Discovery Education's Dan Byerly, in conjunction with NCSS. In this three part series, we will focus on: Unlocking the C3 Framework with Digital Resources: What is Social Studies Inquiry in the Digital Age? Five Keys to Digital Social Studies: How can I use digital tools to enhance Social Studies instruction and develop strong thinkers, readers, and writers? Reflections from the Classroom: How are teachers across the country using digital resources in their classrooms?

History teacher develops civic course for N.J. high school 
First-year African-American studies and U.S. history teacher Jerell Blakeley has helped create an elective course to encourage civic engagement among 10th- through 12th-graders in a Trenton, N.J., high school. Other districts have expressed interest in the class, which will cover local government and civic journalism. Political figures will be guest speakers, and the course will be taught by a fellow teacher.

Ind. high-school students interview local WWII veterans for film 
After being asked by the Marshall County Historical Society Museum to create a film for visitors, Indiana high-school students are working on a documentary about more than 40 local World War II veterans' experiences, which they hope to complete by Christmas. "The kids really started getting the idea that this isn't about school anymore. This isn't about grades or assignments," said Jeff Corso, social studies facilitator. "They're making history."