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Camp Paw Print Benefits Future Educators
As Well As Youngsters

children with university student
A group of elementary age students are attending college this summer at Sam Houston State University.

Well, sort of.

They are enrolled in Camp Paw Print, a two-week program from July 9 through July 20, coordinated by university students majoring in elementary education and held in the Teacher Education Center on campus.

This is Camp Paw Print's third year of existence. Each camp has featured a different theme, and "Waltz Across Texas" is the designation for 2001. Previous years have seen themes relating to Hawaii and the Olympic games in Australia.

SHSU students who are preparing to student teach in the fall are teaching elements of mathematics, science, social studies, reading, writing, art, music, movement, and even cooking to the youngsters.

The best part, according to Bill Edgington, assistant professor of education, is that the learning is so much fun for everyone involved.

"The camp provides a wonderful opportunity for our university students to plan lessons for children in grades one through six," said Edgington. "Our students teach the classes, which means they have to plan age-appropriate, TEKS-oriented lessons, including decorations, visual aids and materials."

Edgington explained that TEKS stands for Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, which are curriculum guidelines mandated by the Texas Education Agency and the state legislature.

"It is vital that our students are familiar with the TEKS in planning lessons in all content areas," he said.

The university students are enrolled this summer in an elementary education methods class. Camp Paw Print allows education students to interact with school age children, something that traditionally takes place only during the school year.

Along with Edgington, professors John Huber, Kimberly Arp and Terry Contant are supervising the SHSU education students.

The rooms where the children spend their time at Camp Paw Print are decorated to highlight all things "Texas." A huge paper oil derrick is placed in the center of an even larger outline of the state. On a board nearby are facts about Spindletop and the significance of oil in the state's economy.

The Space Cowboys room is dedicated to science. Pictures and information about Texas plants, animals, insects, and aquatic life are placed throughout the room.

The art center features branding designs that the elementary students were able to create for their own imaginary ranches. The First Bank of Texas offers math lessons dealing with money.

Snacks are provided every day at the village's Road Kill Café, with menu items such as "Center Line Bovine," "The Chicken That Didn't Cross The Road," "Guess That Mess," and "Awesome Possum."

The Rio Grande runs through the center of the room, and students must swim across the imaginary water when it is time to change activities. Instead of a traditional classroom electronic bell to notify everyone that it's time to change, students are alerted by the sound of a cowbell.

The popular camp has increased in enrollment every year. According to Edgington, the original group had approximately 25 elementary students two years ago. This year, almost 60 children are participating.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Julia May
July 16, 2001
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