Free courses for teachers


Two UNC School of Education doctoral students, Hillary Parkhouse and Ariel Tichnor-Wagner, are offering online courses through LEARN NC to help teachers become more globally competent. Teachers are trying to find more ways to connect their classrooms and their students to the ever-growing, ever-changing world, as well as facing the reality that one in five students in the US are immigrants. Parkhouse and Tichnor-Wagner are offering a free online series of workshops in two-parts: Preparing to Teach for Global Competence and Globally Competent Teaching in Action. Below are the course descriptions and a link to find out more information.

Preparing to Teach for Global Competence: (July 30- August 26)

This course focuses on developing the dispositions and knowledge that characterize globally competent teachers. Specifically, teachers will learn how to interact with a self-reflection tool (The Globally Competent Teaching Continuum) to advance in the following areas:

  • Empathy and valuing multiple perspectives
  • Commitment to promoting equity worldwide
  • Understanding the way the world is interconnected
  • Understanding global world conditions and current events
  • Understanding intercultural communication
  • Experiential understanding of multiple cultures

For more information or to enroll in the course, please contact Tichnor-Wagner at

Globally Competent Teaching in Action: (September 3- September 30)

This course will assist teachers in enhancing their abilities to develop students’ global competence through the use of The Globally Competent Teaching Continuum. The course will focus on the following skills:

  • creating a classroom environment that values diversity and global engagement
  • integrating learning experiences for students that promote content-aligned investigations of the world
  • facilitating intercultural and international conversations that promote active listening, critical thinking, and perspective recognition
  • developing local, national, and international partnerships that provide real world contexts for global learning opportunities
  • developing and using appropriate methods of inquiry to assess students’ global competence development.

For more information or to enroll in the course, please contact Hillary Parkhouse at

“Using artifacts as a bridge to the past” — a new online course

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and LEARN NC announce a new partnership to bring museum skills to the classroom.

The partnership has developed an online course to help teachers learn how to use historical artifacts in their classrooms. This instructor-led, media-rich social studies methods course centers on best practice teaching strategies, drawing on Colonial Williamsburg’s 25 years of successful teacher professional development at the world’s largest living history museum.

As a national advocate for history and social studies education, Colonial Williamsburg meets the needs of professional educators with classroom, blended and online learning. Since 1990, more than 18,000 teachers have participated in Colonial Williamsburg professional development training, including the summer Teacher Institute, on-site and off-site programs, and video conferences.

“Using Artifacts as a Bridge to the Past” employs the resources of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and its collections, related digital media and history methods. The course models hands-on interpretation and analysis of artifacts with students through videos, course readings, digital media, discussions and electronic postings.

Participants will work individually and as a learning community to construct an archive of related classroom resources and will also earn continuing education credits. The course is designed so that teachers can apply the techniques of artifact or object analysis immediately in their classroom instruction. More than two dozen teachers nationwide contributed to the development of “Using Artifacts as a Bridge to the Past” as beta testers with additional contributions from the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. To register for this course, go to

This new partnership between Colonial Williamsburg and LEARN NC is the first online course the museum has designed that merges effective museum skills with interactive history education methods to support teachers in meeting curricular objectives. Facilitated by Colonial Williamsburg staff educators, these courses help teachers bring history to life in their classrooms. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg’s developing distance learning programming for teachers, go to

SENCER Summer Institute

The National Science Foundation funded Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities (SENCER) courses and programs connect STEM content to local, national, and global challenges. Students, teachers, and faculty report that the SENCER approach makes science more accessible, real, and relevant. The program for the Institute will include all-Institute plenary sessions, workshops on effective pedagogies, examples of successful campus and community applications, and opportunities to meet formal and informal educators, administrators, students, and others from across the country interested in contributing to a civically engaged society and the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

UNC Asheville has made special provisions for local Western North Carolina teachers to attend a one-day workshop on August 1, 2014 to enjoy networking opportunities with colleagues from across the country at a private reception, poster presentations, and collaborate on innovative ways to adapt SENCER learning into curriculum. UNC Asheville faculty and others from across the country, educators, and students will be available as resources to assist in making suggestions about the integration of SENCER into curriculum development. More information about the SENCER approach may be found at Lunch is included in this full-day workshop as is participation in a networking reception where teachers will meet colleagues from across the nation who are effectively utilizing the SENCER model.

August 1, 2014 Itinerary
8:00AM – 5:00PM

  • Plenary Address by SENCER Faculty and Students from the U.S. Military Academy
  • Concurrent Sessions
  • Workshop Sessions
  • Complimentary Lunch
  • Team and Group Consultations
  • Poster Presentations

Networking Reception 5:00PM – 6:00PM

The first 15 applicants will have their $100.00 registration fee covered by the SENCER Center for Innovation South. This local-only option is available at Select the “SSI 2014 Local Primary/Secondary Educator – Friday-only” registration option, when prompted. That registration, which must be submitted by June 15, requires a code: SENCER14LocalEducator.

For more information, please contact Susan Reiser.

National PE Institute and NC Health & Wellness Fellows

The primary purpose of the National Physical Education Institute (July 28-30, 2014 in Asheville, NC) is to provide participants with tools, strategies, and information on how to develop a K-12 curriculum aligned with student assessment. By attending this conference you will:

  • Gain valuable insight as to how to align the written, taught, and tested curriculum;
  • Learn from others who have implemented data-driven assessment practices; and
  • See how others have been linking curriculum with sound K-12 assessment practices!

For the past two years, hundreds of K-12 Physical Education teachers from over 40 states
and 6 countries have gathered to make the National PE Institute a resounding success. See the National PE Institute website for more information about keynote speakers and to register. All of the National PE Institute Keynotes will be live-streamed as a free professional outreach activity for K-12 physical education teachers.

This year, the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness will be offering 15 Fellowships to K-12 North Carolina physical education teachers worth up to $750 to cover the expenses associated with registration ($250), travel and lodging.

Individuals selected as Fellows will be expected to:

  • Learn Twitter and Social Media Basics and assist PE Institute participants at the “Twitter & Social Media Help Desk,”
  • Provide on-going mentoring assistance throughout the school year with follow-up PE Institute Twitter Chats, webinars, and other social media events;
  • Respond to designated NCCHW surveys to measure the impact of the PE Institute on teaching/students;
  • Write personal “True PE Stories” to chronicle the impact of social media and lessons learned at the National PE Institute on a periodic basis (ex: several times a year); and
  • Serve as National PE Institute “Ambassadors” as needed.

Applications are due by 5:00PM, Friday, June 20, 2014. See the 2014 PEI Fellows Program Application for selection criteria and submission process information.

Freedom Roads workshop

Workshops for Teachers, Museum Professionals, and Pre-Professional Students
Guilford College, Greensboro, Friday, June 13, 2014
Halifax State Historic Site, Halifax, Monday, August 4, 2014

This summer, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources is offering two all-day workshops for K–12 teachers (CEUs are available), museum professionals, and pre-professionals.* Each session will examine the history, culture, and legacy of the Underground Railroad and the quest for freedom in North Carolina.

The Freedom Roads workshops will

  • enhance content knowledge about the efforts of enslaved people in North Carolina in seeking freedom
  • dispel myths and historical inaccuracies about the Underground Railroad and other avenues for seeking freedom
  • provide a professional, working atmosphere for enhancing the ability to create useful classroom resources

The Ultimate Goal:  To provide a venue where classroom teachers, museum professionals, and pre-professionals can network, learn, and work collaboratively to create new and innovative ways for informing students and museum/ site visitors about the history, culture, and legacy of the Underground Railroad and the efforts of enslaved people in North Carolina who sought out freedom

Pre-Workshop Activity:  Each teacher and museum professional will be expected to have completed short online activities via LEARN NC prior to attending the workshop. (Log-in and password information will be sent after registration; Continuing Education Units are offered.)

$30     Full Daily Registration (includes refreshments, lunch, and parking)
$10     Community Registration (includes keynote speech and lunch)
Register online  or  download this Freedom Roads registration form (PDF)


Questions:  For more information about the Freedom Roads project, contact Schree Chavdarov at the North Carolina Arts Council, 919-807-6516 or

The 2014 Local Government Seminar

Every day, local government touches the lives of North Carolinians and provides the services essential for functional communities, growing businesses, and healthy families. It is local government that supplies water to our faucets, collects our trash, moves traffic through our downtowns, and cuts the grass in our parks and ball fields. It is also local government that delivers care and counseling to those facing difficult times and responds with qualified personnel to life’s emergencies.

Generously Supported by the North Carolina City and County Management Association, the 2014 Local Government Seminar will be held July 28 and 29, 2014 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Participants in this seminar will learn first-hand the role of local government in North Carolina and then explore pedagogical strategies for teaching young people about how local government in North Carolina works. Highlights of the seminar will include: meeting with elected and appointed local government officials and staff, “behind-the-scenes” field trips to various city and county facilities, and much more!

Participants will receive:

  • Lesson plans aligned to the NC Essential Standards
  • 1.5 renewal credits
  • A FREE, single occupancy hotel room for the evening of July 28 (for participants residing more than 50 miles from the training location)
  • Meals — lunch and dinner on 7/28; continental breakfast and lunch on 7/29; snacks throughout.
  • One-on-one access to various elected and unelected officials and city and county staff.
  • “Special Access” field trips to various sites around the city and county.

Please download this PDF for registration information.

Appreciation for Betty Debnam

Betty Debnam, Carolina graduate, educator, and the creator of the award-winning Mini Page, is profiled in the latest edition of Carolina Connections, an online newsletter that highlights private giving to UNC. The complete archive of The Minipage was generously donated to the UNC Libraries by Ms. Debnam and is freely available online. LEARN NC has educator-created lesson plans that use Mini Page topics such as women in history, Buffalo Soldiers, black cowboys, flowers and pollination, the elections, and much more. Recently, LEARN NC offered a three-week online professional development course designed for K-12 educators that taught them how to use the Mini Page to enhance their instruction and students’ learning. Pre-service teachers at the UNC School of Education have also been learning about the Mini Page and the value of its use in teaching.

April news from the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium

The North Carolina Civic Education Consortium, a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Program in the Humanities and Human Values, works with schools, governments, and community organizations to prepare North Carolina’s young people to be active, responsible citizens. Each month the Consortium delivers an email newsletter with news and opportunities for civic engagement.

The NC Civic Education Consortium is featuring a lesson plan about African Americans in World War II in this edition of their newsletter. “Hero Abroad, Second Class Citizen at Home: John Seagraves, African-Americans & World War II” teaches students about the accomplishments and difficulties faced by African Americans during the Second World War. Students will read excerpts from Uncommon Hero: The John Seagraves Story about an African American sailor who served aboard the U.S.S. North Carolina during the war. NC CEC will raffle off two copies of this book to current K-12 educators, administrators, and curriculum coordinators. Copies of the book can also be purchased.

In addition to lesson plans, NC CEC offers professional development opportunities for educators.

“Hold These Truths”: Reflection on Japanese internment during World War II
Only a few spaces remain for this two day event, April 25-26 at the Chapel Hill Public Library. For information, visit the Consortium website.
Hidden histories: What your NC history textbook left out
This professional development series for middle and high school educators is “designed to deepen educator knowledge of less-known state and national history.” Visit the Consortium website for more information on these three summer workshops to be held at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.
“Adventures in Ideas” seminars
A series of seminars is being offered this spring for a general audience. Seminars run Friday evening and Saturday morning or all day Saturday. Visit the Consortium website for more information and to register.

These are just a few of the wonderful professional development seminars and workshops that the Consortium offers. Check out their newsletter to learn about more opportunities.

Astronomy in April

Coming Wednesday, April 2, at 7 PM, to a Computer near You!

UNC-TV’s science stories that you see on such series as North Carolina Science Now and QUEST always capture the imagination, but here’s an event that’s out of this world. Next month, the skies of our state play host to a few special astronomical events—including a total lunar eclipse. As part of the annual North Carolina Science Festival, join us online for a special interactive opportunity to screen astronomy-based UNC-TV Science programs, interact with the producers and get more information about the upcoming lunar eclipse direct from the experts! Whether stargazing novice or long-time astronomy buff, dive into the cosmos Wednesday, April 2, starting at 7 PM. It all happens for free in OVEE, an online, real-time screening and chat forum designed specifically for public media, that you can access from anywhere with an internet connection! Visit for more details and to link up to this lively online screening event!

Wikipedia edit-a-thon: African American history in North Carolina

On March 30, the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library will host its second Wikipedia edit-a-thon. Participants will meet in Wilson Library and use collection materials to create, update, and improve articles about people, places, events, and organizations associated with African American history in North Carolina.

Everyone is welcome, even if you’ve never edited Wikipedia before. Staff will be on hand to help you find books and articles on topics that interest you, and to help you with Wikipedia edits.

Refreshments will be provided and tours of Wilson Library will be given throughout the event.

The event is open from 1:00pm to 4:30pm. Feel free to arrive and leave whenever it suits you.

Please bring a laptop if possible.

For more details and to RSVP visit their Facebook event or Wikipedia page.