Teaching American History In South Carolina Summer Institutes

Our grant has ended and all Summer Institutes have concluded. Below you will find links to our 2010 sessions, criteria for acceptance and completion, and a list of the benefits received for completing each summer institute.

General Information

The Teaching American History In South Crolina Project Summer Institutes began in the summer of 2002 and ended 2010. Each summer institute consisted of 10 full days of professional development activities that included content instruction by a master scholar, master teacher workshops, and cultural institution presentations. Each day began at 8:30 a.m. and ended by 4:00 p.m. All activities utilized local primary source materials or objects relating to the themes being studied. Participants conducted primary source research that was used to create lessons.

Summer Institute Locations

Class took place at a variety of local historic sites, museums, libraries, and repositories in the greater Florence, Clemson, and Columbia areas. For each day of class a new location was chosen. Class location was selected to correlate with the content of the master scholar's session. Each summer institute featured local cultural institutions. For instance, on the day when the master scholar discussed the American Revolution, the Upstate class explored Cowpens National Battlefield or Historic Brattonsville. Or, on the day when the master scholar discussed cotton farming the Pee Dee Institute visited the Cotton Museum in Bishopville. The Midlands class visited the South Carolina State Museum to see their collections from both the homefront and the front lines on the day when the master scholar discussed World War II.

Housing was not provided; participants commuted daily to institute sessions.


Summer Institutes were open to all South Carolina Teachers. Elementary and Middle School Teachers from districts in the Pee Dee, Upstate, and Midlands were encouraged to apply. Enrollment for each institute was limited to 25 teachers. Participants were selected according to their professional development needs. Considerations were: content knowledge, curriculum alignment, innovative teaching strategies, and assessment practices that improved student interest and learning in American History.

First priority was given to teachers in the partnering school districts of Darlington, Florence One, Florence Three, Kershaw, Oconee, Pickens, and Richland Two.

Summer Institute Sessions

Teachers developed a portfolio featuring one lesson based on an outline generated during the summer institute and one additional project related to the use of primary source materials or cultural institutions in the classroom. TAHSC graduate assistants provided research support and helped identify primary sources for lessons and projects. Benchmark meetings took place in the fall (usually in the month of October) for teachers to turn in draft lessons for review. The completed lesson, project, and a reflective essaywere due the following February when teachers from all three summer institutes came together to share their experiences at a Midyear Retreat. Graduate credit for completing the course took effect in the following Spring. Learn more about the portfolio assignment.

Participants Received

  • A $600 stipend.
  • 3 hours of graduate credit (awarded the following Spring AFTER summer institute).
  • Opportunity to create new lesson plans using primary sources.
  • Mentoring network of historians, teachers and cultural institution staff.
  • Research assistance from Public History graduate students
  • Opportunity for reflection and feedback on lessons and teaching strategies.
The benefits listed above were contingent upon attending summer institutes and completing all course requirements.

What past participants said about TAHSC Summer Institutes

“Everything was great! I can’t wait to use all the wonderful information I have received in my classroom!  This class has really motivated me!”

“I think the ideas we generated were wonderful. I can't wait to use them in my class.”

“I learned that I don't really know what I thought I knew about U.S. history.”

“I have really enjoyed this class.  I hope that I can do this next summer.  I have learned so much & can’t wait to use this in my classroom.”

Links to Summer Institute Photo Galleries

Click here to see photos from the 2006 summer institutes! Click here to see photos from the 2005 summer institutes! Lowcountry Teachers at the Avery Research Center