WARREN, NJ - On May 11, at the Board of Education meeting, Mount Horeb 5th graders treated Board members to an art lesson, while presenting their “Cartoon Project.”   Art teacher Susan Sage introduced the project as one that the students look forward to each spring since starting their Kindergarten journey. “This lesson is the pinnacle of their art education at Mount Horeb. I teach this lesson, which I learned as a junior in high school, because I know that my students can do it,” said Sage.

Using a PowerPoint presentation to begin, the students walked the Board members through the stages of their learning experience. While fifth graders are able to select cartoon characters of their choice, the presenters had decided upon two characters for the Board, Snoopy and Peppa Pig, in advance. Since measurement is such a critical component, the students emphasized the importance of the grid measurements being precise, thus utilizing mathematics. Similar to what is done in the class when the children add the increments together and check their peers, at the meeting they walked around helping each Board member label the coordinates and prepare their grids.
Sage explained how she always makes an analogy to the game of Battleship as it reinforces coordinates. The coordinates enable the students to draw with extreme accuracy. Having each square labeled with a number and letter, the children are able to draw using spatial relationships. Often, students have a difficult time “trusting" the grid because cartoon characters have exaggerated features. Students question if following it exactly is correct. However, once they realize that the cartoon characters do not follow the rules of proportion they can “let go” and draw.
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The Board members were  able to do just that as they followed the assignment and drew a basic outline of their cartoon subjects. Luckily, the students had chosen simple two-dimensional characters with easier shapes so the members of the Board would be able to understand the concepts quickly.
Drawing the outline, understanding shape and lines, and grasping the difference between positive and negative space is only the beginning of the project. Color mixing and blending is the second phase of the lesson. Students learned how to figure out how to mix colors with accuracy, allowing them to become masters of deciphering which colors are used to make more complex colors. The colors are then applied to either create texture or smoothness. Last, they outline the characters with colored pencils with even thickness.
“I had the opportunity to observe Mrs. Sage in a lesson prior to this presentation, and noticed how comfortable the students were in trying something new, and taking risks.  A solid foundation is clear,” added Superintendent Tami Crader. The presentation showcased a lot of skills that are taught in sequence as part of Mt. Horeb’s art curriculum. The student volunteers were successful in their demonstration and all of the Board members, in addition to erasing and redrawing, were smiling and appreciating their experience. Warren Township Schools… Shining Brighter Every Day.