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Art at Hillcrest

Hillcrest Art


Cassandra Brown

Art News

We extend art beyond the walls of the art room with a program that I call "Artists of the Month".  I encourage children to always be creative, and not just for the short forty minutes that I have them in class.  To help promote the arts at home, I have two bulletin boards near the main office dedicated to showing off student art work created at home all year round.  If your child is interested in being recognized in the arts, have them create art work at home and bring it to me at Hillcrest School :) Make sure your child's full name and teacher's name is on each work of art.  I will then announce who the artists of the month are over the loudspeaker and present them with a certificate. I also take their picture and post it in the Hillcrest Highlights for all to see! It is an exciting program, and I hope you can all participate:)


Thank you,

Cassandra Brown


Timeline for Art Projects K-3




September – October

  • Observing details – play “I Spy” and learn to see the world around them.

  • Create self-portraits incorporating the full body inspired by Henri Rousseau

  • Learn the Primary colors: red, yellow and blue and create a collage inspired by  Piet Mondrian

  • Look at the basic geometric shapes and create a multimedia picture inspired by Wassily Kandinsky

  • Work on cutting different shapes from a square and incorporate planned patterns

  • Look at the different seasons and discover what colors go with each season; make an oil resist with leaves inspired by Claude Monet

November – December – January

  • Painting landscapes inspired by the Impressionist painters (Cezanne, van Gogh, Monet…)
    Learn to:

  • Use various brushes and brush techniques

  • Mix different colors such as the secondary colors and tints of colors

  • Work in layers by putting paint upon pain

  • Use tricks to paint objects, such as using a letter “Y” to make trees


February – March – April


  • Discover the very first artwork created by people by studying Cave art

  • Hear stories about the discovery of the Cave of Lascaux in France

  • Learn about texture and make texture rubbings

  • Look at how animals are made up of shapes and learn to draw animals using shapes

  • Make 3-D Clay pinch pots and clay animals

  • Look at how art can be functional by discovering Inuit Art

  • Learn why the Inuit people make masks

  • Make a mask incorporating symmetry and exaggerated facial features


May – June


  • Work on drawing by sketching lightly first

  • Make a sketch of a face putting in all the details

  • Put together a “Collage About Me”



First Grade


September – October

  • Discover how to make a Self-portrait appear to be in action by looking at mannequins and Winslow Homer’s “Snap the Whip”

  • Look at some of the basic Elements of Art:  Lines, Shapes and Colors

  • Work on mixing the Primary colors to make the secondary colors

  • Learn what and how to use the color wheel

  • Discover the trick ROYGBV to remember the order of the rainbow and to help remember what primary colors are needed to make the secondary colors, then make a painting inspired by Piet Mondrian

  • Review Geometric shapes and learn about freeform shapes and create a collage inspired by Henri Matisse

  • Look at and create patterns, learning the difference between planned and random


November – December

  • Learn about Book Making as an art form

  • Incorporate Computer Graphics and Printing to compile their own unique book

  • Learn about Symbols and develop their own “art language” using symbols inspired by Henri Matisse


January – February


  • Discover Atmospheric Perspective as a way to create depth in a picture

  • Look at how Henri Rousseau used a lot of overlapping to create depth, and then make their own paper layers

  • Look at various landscapes to see how a change in Value, where things look lighter when farther away, can create depth

  • Observe the world around them to see how a change in Size, where things look smaller when farther away, creates depth

  • Learn how to work from the top of the paper down, so things on the top are the farthest away

  • Look at Shadows in pictures and discover how to create shadows by looking at the location of the light source


March – April:  Unit of Study on Egyptian Art

  • Create 3-D Pottery using slabs, coils and the pinch method

  • Design a unique Canopic Jar with the purpose of holding something important to them

  • Design a Cartouche using ancient Hieroglyphics

  • Learn to draw Egyptian style; creating faces in profile, making the most important person the largest, tell a story with the picture, show both arms and legs


May – June: Unit of study on Asian Art

  • Look at some ancient weavings;  weave their own tatamis (woven mats)

  • Discover Chinese Ink Brush Painting

  • Learn how Chinese paintings are Nature oriented and simplistic, with only the most important details being used

  • Work on Observation Drawing/Sketching through a still-life


Second Grade


September – October

  • Look at creating action in a picture through various animated pictures and the dancers and racehorses created by Edgar Degas

  • Learn to use Chalk Pastels as a way to work quickly, create animation and blend colors

  • Use mannequins and live models to simulate the actions when creating their own pastel picture of action

November – January:  Unit of Study on Ancient Greek and Roman Art


  • Look at many ancient samples of Mosaics and the various materials that can be used to create a mosaic; make their own paper mosaic

  • Hear some of the ancient myths and make up their own unique myth that explains something mysterious or heralds a hero

  • Draw Action Figures inspired by stories and pictures from the very first Olympic Games held in Greece

  • Make 3-D Pottery:  plates and urns

  • Incorporate a story on the pottery

  • Utilize pattern designs for decoration

February – March  : Learn about Abstract Art

  • Create an abstract painting inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe

  • Learn about warm and cool colors and use them in the painting

  • Discover what and how to make Tints and shades

April – May: Unit on Native American Indian Art

  • Look at weavings from various tribes

  • Learn about different materials that can be used for looms and the terms Warp, weave and weft

  • Discover various ways to weave to create a multitude of patterns


  • Look at Still – lifes: Learn to do Observation drawing of realistic 3-D forms

  • Discover how to use pastels for Blending and shading

  • Use shadows to help make objects look realistic and 3-D

  • Learn tricks for drawing realistic objects using simple shapes



Dear Parents,

This is the beginning of a long and wonderful relationship.  My name is Cassandra Brown, and I will be your child’s art teacher from kindergarten through fifth grade, so I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about myself.  I have been teaching in the Morris School District since 1996. I received my B.A. degree in art education from Trenton State College (currently known as The College of NJ). I have also obtained my Master in the Art of Teaching through Marygrove College.  I am a fifth degree black belt in the Japanese martial art style Isshin-Ryu, and I also enjoy running, walking, hiking, swimming and camping with my husband, and three kids. In my “free” time I help at our church and create pottery, draw and paint murals.  At Trenton I participated in two intercollegiate women’s sports, field hockey and lacrosse.

          The arts are a very vital part of growing up and learning, since they stimulate intellectual development, as well as physical, emotional, aesthetic, moral, and spiritual growth.  To create a well-rounded art curriculum, my teaching style centers around a philosophy known as Discipline-Based Art Education (DBAE). DBAE incorporates four disciplines: art production, art history, art criticism and aesthetics.  The arts open up doors that no other subject can touch, by stretching the limits and testing the imagination. Abstract art allows for higher-level thinking, while realistic art tunes our observational skills. My goal as an art teacher is not only to teach your child about art history and techniques, but to teach your child about making decisions, about discovering who they are and what they are feeling, and finding ways to express those emotions.

          My belief is that every child should be successful in art, and although there will be some projects that fail; there is never a failure in the classroom.  Every project will teach him/her something new and bring him/her to another level. Their art is unique and special, just as your child is a unique individual.

           I encourage you to take your child to view the arts at museums, galleries, or theaters and join in the joy of exploration and appreciation.  It is never too late to get involved in the production of art (if you are not already), so also take some time to inspire your child by creating your own unique work of art!  There will be an art show at the end of the year, so I will not be sending many of the projects home until after the May art show. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call, visit or email anytime.  I would love to hear from you. You can also check out the website www.hillcrestschoolnj.org /classes and programs/art to see what we are doing.

My email address is cassandra.brown@msdk12.net

My phone number is (973) 292-2240 x 5102



                                                                                              Cassandra L. Brown

Art Specialist