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2012 Soar Student
Major/minor: Art Education
Hometown: West Oneonta, N.Y.
Project: Constructivist Art Education Theories in Practice: Summer Art Camp for Children
Project advisor: Dr. Kristin Baxter
Project details: One purpose of this SOAR project was to research, develop, plan and implement a week-long summer art camp, based on Constructivist theories, for children entering grades three through six from the Lehigh Valley area. On Friday, July 27t, there was an art show for parents, displaying the art works that the children created throughout the week. Another purpose of the SOAR project was to involve art education students in the preparation of a manuscript that will be submitted to Teachers College Press for possible publication. The lessons created during the SOAR project will provide empirical data that will support the theoretical foundation previously described.
Why I wanted to participate in SOAR: I saw the SOAR program as an opportunity for me to bridge the gap between my class work and my dream job as an educator. I was able to use a lesson plan that I wrote for an education class as my starting point – a foundation I was familiar with and ready to expand. This opportunity to run an art summer camp for elementary students allowed me to see first-hand the artistic development of children. Organizing the camp also put me in several real-life experiences that I never would have understood from only an assigned reading in the classroom. I was responsible for creating, preparing, and teaching over a year’s worth of art lessons – something that would not have been possible without this program.
Results: The kids had a blast! They all want to come back to camp next year. Working with the seventeen children, I learned so much more about teaching than I ever could have as a student in the classroom. In addition, having an actual class allowed me to test the lessons I had on paper with a real world experience. After running through each lesson with a class, I know from experience how to better manage time, behavior, and materials.
Future plans: I would like to continue with my education and earn teaching certificates for both art education K-12 and general elementary education in Pennsylvania and in New York. I am hoping to have the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland, teach within the Department of Defense school system in Germany, and take a road trip across the United States to Oregon, Michigan, and Georgia.