Teacher on professional development trip, Chris Preperato, Teachinghistory.org Creating a learning experience that meets the group's needs [...] »


Teaching at professional development, Chris Preperato, Teachinghistory.org Sustaining momentum and connecting it to the classroom [...] »




Callie Hawkins: Good planning means being realistic and knowing how much is possible for a group to do well in a day.

Lara Marks Finder: You don't want to do so much that you're overwhelmed and you can't really process and enjoy the experience.

Maggie Crawford: So be reasonable about the things that you want to see.

Heather Paisley-Jones: Be aware that it can take a very long time to get places in this town.

Stephen Wesson: The buildings have different security requirements; the Library's buildings are within a security perimeter that makes it very difficult to get close in a bus, for instance. So that'll take extra time as well.

Suzannah Niepold: Communication is key, whenever you're planning a trip to DC.

Briana Zavadil White: The best groups are the ones that come prepared. They're the ones where I've had conversations with the project director, who has then had conversations with the teachers. So all parties involved know exactly what we're getting into.

David Rosenbaum: Get ahold of us weeks—in fact I would encourage months—prior to their visits so there are choices on the calendar.

Maggie Crawford: Try to talk to a person who is actually in the education department where you are going to take your workshops.

Lara Marks Finder: And I would say, be as clear as you can with the museum that you're visiting with about what you're looking for and what your expectations are. The museums are very flexible about what they can give to you; they have all sorts of programs they can adapt to your needs.

Suzannah Niepold: We can bring teacher and student groups in earlier. It's a huge boon to bring them in earlier, we get the galleries all to ourselves.

Mary Hendrickse: It's also good to let us know what other museums you're going to.

Talia Mosconi: We're very familiar with other sites in DC and we can easily integrate what they've learned in their previous visits to other sites.

Briana Zavadil White: I am telling you right now, when you go to Lincoln's cottage you are going to get the craziest goosebumps as you go through that house. It is absolutely amazing.

Courtney Speaker: A lot of times educators from one institution [are] a really good starting point to get ideas on another site or another person to contact.

Nancy Hayward : We can do anything you want us to do. But we need from you what your expectations are and what you want your teachers to walk away with.

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe." Planning in advance is vital to the success of a professional development experience, especially when coordinating with several museums and cultural organizations. Most content providers offer special programs for educators or with enough notice can tailor an existing program to meet a group’s needs.