The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee College of Education worked with students in Susan Ambriosio’s fifth grade art class at Emma E. Booker Elementary to create original works of art entitled “What I Can Be With a College Degree”.
A reception introducing the display will be held in the USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on February 22nd.
“What I Can Be with a College Degree” is a collaborative effort to promote the value of higher education among students that are culturally, linguistically, racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse. It grew out of the College of Education’s Partnerships for Arts Integrated Teaching (PAInT) Center, which infuses the arts into all teacher preparation. Emma E. Booker Elementary School serves as a host for USFSM’s teacher candidates completing their internships. The Educator’s Alliance at USFSM encourages future educators to work with diverse students and encourage their growth and success through professional development and community service.
To prepare for the display, students were assigned homework researching different state universities to see what college degrees were offered and which would interest them. They researched how long it would take to acquire that degree, what clothes they would wear in that profession, what tools they would use and what type of salary they would earn once they were working in that field. Each student had a photo of his or her face taken, which was converted into a computerized line drawing that personalizes each work of art and helped the young artists focus on the professions rather than their drawing skills. Teacher Susan Ambrioso said “This project encouraged Emma E. Booker fifth graders to think about college and professions in which they may be interested. They came upon the realization that college was a possibility rather something that was out of their grasp and it wasn’t that far in the future. They also figured out that some professions require a college degree and some need a special training route instead.”
“Latavia’s” self-portrait shows that she could become a teacher. “Rose” drew herself as a labor and delivery nurse. There are several veterinarians, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers and fashion designers in the group, as well. Through bright colors and imaginative settings, the children depicted their aspirations for the future.
“This was a special initiative because it gave us the opportunity to see the potential these students have and to encourage their dreams,” said USFSM College of Education student Bailey Leonard, currently a student teacher at Tatum Ridge Elementary. “As educators, one of our goals is to help every child reach their potential in life and to help them succeed. We really got to see that connection being made!”
The project also reinforced how important arts integration is in the classroom. “It gives children a chance to express themselves in not just a pencil and paper kind of way,” Leonard said.