Fellowship applications are now available for Oklahoma fifth- and eighth-grade teachers interested in attending the 2020 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute next summer in the restored capital city of 18th-century Virginia. The fifth-grade institute is scheduled June 6-12, and the eighth-grade institute is scheduled June 13-19, 2020.


The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence coordinates the selection of Oklahoma teachers to participate in the renowned teacher institute. Applications are available on the foundation’s website at www.ofe.org. Completed applications must be submitted by Feb. 1, 2020.


The fellowships cover all program activities, airfare, lodging and most meals. Each teacher also receives a $300 stipend for classroom materials. While in Colonial Williamsburg – the world’s largest living history museum – Oklahoma teachers will have the opportunity to meet character interpreters of 18th-century people and be immersed in early American history through hands-on activities and reenactments of historic events. Participants also will meet daily with a Master Teacher to discuss interactive teaching techniques and develop creative lesson ideas based on their experiences.


“No textbook can replace the inspiration and knowledge gained by walking in the footsteps of early Americans, both famous and ordinary,” said Teacher Institute alumna Linda Goodnight of Wewoka. “Visualizing George Washington and his troops at Surrender Field, debating in the very courtroom where Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry pled the cause of liberty, and learning to make rope by hand in Jamestown colony will ignite my teaching – and my students – forever.


“The Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute is by far the finest, most comprehensive teacher training I have ever attended,” Goodnight added. “I am a better American and a better teacher because of it.”


Oklahoma’s fifth-grade teacher institute is open to fifth-grade social studies/history teachers and resource teachers, such as school librarians or gifted-talented teachers, who plan to teach U.S. history in their schools in 2019-2020. Their sessions will focus on the daily life of colonial Virginians and the transition from subject to citizen that occurred during the Revolutionary War period. Teachers will be immersed in content and hands-on activities that highlight the stories of the people who lived and worked in 18th-century Williamsburg.


Oklahoma eighth-grade classroom teachers who will teach U.S. history as part of their social studies curriculum can apply for fellowships to attend the Teacher Institute’s program for secondary teachers. Their sessions will examine how the concept of American identity began in the colonial period and continues to evolve and transform with each generation. Through inquiry-based analysis of primary sources, teachers will explore how that identity influenced American citizens to shape and change the Republic through the 1860s.


The fellowships are available to public and private school teachers. Participants are asked to share materials, skills and experiences with fellow teachers through two workshops or in-service programs upon their return from the institute.


The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has coordinated Oklahoma’s participation in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute since 1993. The program is made possible through the leadership and support of the late Oklahoma City businessman Edward C. Joullian III, who was an active supporter and former board member of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Joullian was also a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, a nonprofit organization that recognizes and encourages academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. Joullian’s family, along with a group of loyal donors, continues to support the fellowship program, which has served more than 880 Oklahoma teachers.


For more information, visit the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence website at www.ofe.org or call Brenda Wheelock at 405- 236-0006, Ext. 11.


Oklahoma fifth-grade teachers meet a historical interpreter portraying James Madison during the 2019 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute. Applications are now available on the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence website at www.ofe.org for Oklahoma fifth- and eighth-grade teachers to apply for summer 2020 teacher institute fellowships.