Summer Learning: Teachers Attend History Institute
James McCrobie (BMS) & Germaine Marshall (MMHS) Study at Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute
Posted on 08/12/2016
This is the image for the news article titled James McCrobie (BMS) & Germaine Marshall (MMHS) Study at Colonial Williamsburg Teacher InstituteWilliamsburg, Va. – James N. McCrobie, a 6th, 7th, and 8th -grade history teacher at Bennett Middle School in Fruitland, and Germaine Marshall, an 8th-grade history teacher at Mardela Middle and High School, completed an intense, six-day immersion in American history at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute this summer.

The Teacher Institute was created to encourage history education and make it engaging for students. Now in its 27th year, the Teacher Institute helps prepare teachers to help students meet national and state history standards through hands-on immersion experiences in Colonial history.

McCrobie said the institute provided an outstanding opportunity to learn by doing. “I have experienced too many workshops where the presenter is just standing at the front of the room, presenting on PowerPoint. As adults, we tend to like this style because it does not require much of us. However, just like students, it does not mean we are learning anything. This week’s experiences in combination have been amazing! Not only were we provided with amazing lesson ideas, but we were out and about experiencing the lessons. When we go back to the classroom, those experiences will allow us to explain and design the best experiences as a result of actually participating ourselves.”

McCrobie has taught for six years at Bennett Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Science/ Secondary Education from Frostburg State University and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Towson University.

Marshall said she enjoyed the opportunity to explore the development of America through events at Williamsburg, to learn more about the back stories of everyday early Americans, and to develop new ways to challenge students to look beyond the lessons and texts to truly understand history. The institute gave her the chance to consider what it means to be an American, and the key role she plays as a teacher. “It hit me at Yorktown. It’s our job to continue to build these future citizens. They need to understand the past. People have to get involved now. The founding fathers got involved, they were ordinary people who got involved.”

Marshall has been a history teacher at Mardela Middle and High since 2014. Prior to that she worked as a reading teacher or elementary teacher in a number of Wicomico schools, including Wicomico Middle, Bennett Middle, Pemberton Elementary, Pinehurst Elementary, Westside Intermediate and Beaver Run Elementary. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury University.

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 six-day 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 become part of the story in The Revolutionary City. 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 60-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. The program began in 1990 with 44 fifth-grade teachers from two southern California school districts. Today, more than 8,500 teachers from all 50 states and three foreign countries have participated since the inception of the Teacher Institute.

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. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. To learn more about Teacher Institute, visit