FSU Art Education summer camp provides valuable experience for future teachers  

Children create works of art under the guidance of graduate students during the department of Art Education's Summer Art Camp.
Children create works of art under the guidance of graduate students during the department of Art Education's summer art camp.

Florida State University’s Department of Art Education presents its annual summer camp program this June, welcoming 120 young people to campus where they will engage in independent, inquiry-driven artmaking.

The camp is held as part of a class for students of the department’s five-year direct-entry pathway program, which enables art education students to earn an accelerated master’s degree and become eligible for teacher certification. Graduate students will guide kids as they explore a range of mediums including sculpture, printmaking, mixed media collage and watercolor.

“We created this annual summer camp to ensure that our graduate students in the accelerated program still have the opportunity to put their lesson plans into practice with large groups of students from a variety of age groups,” said Sara Scott Shields, course instructor and chair of the Department of Art Education. “I’m so proud of the work our students put into this camp each year and of the positive impact we’re able to have on the community.”

Students participating in the pathway program create a series of lesson plans to teach during the camp and work closely with their classmates, Shields and two doctoral student advisers to pilot the activities and ensure they are well-suited for a variety of age groups.

Student Maile Santora’s planned activity, for example, will invite the campers to explore color gradients by choosing a color to mix with black and white and create with unorthodox materials like masking tape and bubble wrap. Later, the campers will cut and collage these textured papers to create “other worldly” creatures.

“This program allows us to gain important field experience with larger groups of children,” Santora said. “This class has given us the opportunity to plan and troubleshoot our lessons as a group and to differentiate them for different age groups and abilities.”

Thanks to world-class instruction and hands-on opportunities like this summer camp, students leave the pathway program ready to serve as art teachers throughout the state of Florida and beyond.

“As a more quiet, reserved student, I had a hard time in public school, so as an art teacher, I am hoping to create an environment where all students can thrive,” said pathway program student Michelle Zheng. “The pathway program is giving me the skills and experience I need to make that happen.”

For more information about the Department of Art Education’s direct-entry pathway program, visit ArtEd.fsu.edu/Programs.