Destin teacher attends Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute

Special to GateHouse Media Florida
Leah McGill attended a concert at the Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in Colonial Williamsburg, which was established in 1674. General George Washington attended church there along with many other Founding Fathers. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

WILLIAMSBURG. VA. — Leah McGill, a fifth-grade teacher at Destin Middle School, recently completed an intense, week-long immersion in American history at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute.

The Teacher Institute was created to encourage history education and make it engaging for students. Now in its 30th year, the Teacher Institute helps prepare teachers to help students meet national and state history standards through hands-on immersion experiences in colonial history.

McGill has taught for 11 years at Destin Middle School and 13 years at Destin Elementary School. She holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in elementary education from University of Southern Mississippi.

The Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute provides participants with interactive teaching techniques and skills to become mentor teachers who can assist their peers and other educators to develop active learning classrooms and make history exciting for their students.

During week-long sessions on location in Colonial Williamsburg and the surrounding area, participants engage in an interdisciplinary approach to teaching social studies with American history as the focus. Teachers have the opportunity to exchange ideas with historians, meet character interpreters and explore engaging instructional strategies for use in the classroom. Throughout each day, teachers work collaboratively with Colonial Williamsburg staff and master teachers to examine interactive teaching techniques and develop instructional materials that improve instruction, raise literacy levels, enhance thinking skills, and bring history to life in the classroom. Participating teachers agree to conduct in-service training sessions following their attendance at Teacher Institute in order to share their experience with other teachers. Teachers also are required to develop lesson plans that to implement in the classroom.

Colonial Williamsburg builds on a nearly 70-year educational outreach tradition by exploring new technologies, expanding successful initiatives and offering new ventures to fulfill its educational mission. Teacher Institute was developed to improve the quality of American history education in the nations’ schools and insure that every student gains an understanding of the principles behind our system of government.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history.