by Ashley Heeney


Stow -- Fourth-graders and high school juniors worked together to bring original superheroes to life.

Stow-Munroe Falls High School juniors in Gretchen Kaine's honors art class met with Echo Hills fourth-graders Jan. 24 to unveil their projects.

"The elementary students brought superheroes to visual life, wrote stories about them, and sent them to Kaine's class where they were put into backgrounds based on the stories," said Echo Hills art teacher Barb Moser, who initiated the integrated lesson between visual and language arts.

Kaine said the idea sprung from a smaller project the teachers had completed.

"We partially painted postcards and sent them to other art teachers in the district to complete," said Kaine, adding that Moser "liked the idea" and wanted to apply it to the classroom.

"We talked about how superheroes do good things," said Moser. "I told the students their superheroes had to be positive."

Kaine said she received a package in the mail from Moser in December with original superhero cut-outs and accompanying story text the fourth graders had created.

Moser said her students worked on the projects in class for more than a month, and sent their projects away with anticipation of what would come back to them.

The high school students then worked on the projects for approximately two weeks. The result was a poster-sized story board of the fourth-graders' superhero, with a description and the juniors' accompanying visuals.

Fourth-grader Ashley Brown said she created "X-ray Vision Girl, who can see through buildings and save people in danger."

In Brown's story, "X-ray Vision Girl" saves someone from inside a burning gas station. Brown's text and superhero cut-out were received by junior Katie Byrd.

"X-ray vision also means seeing through colors. [The story] worked well, because I'm a color person and I think Ashley is, too," she said.

Moser said the project was "challenging" for the fourth-graders.

"They really struggled with ideas, but they stuck with it," she said. "We talked a lot about [drawing] bodies and proportions, too."

Moser and Kaine agreed they want to do the superhero project again next year.

"It allowed elementary and high school students to not only work on a creative project, but to meet and share their experiences," said Moser.

"Getting to meet a high-schooler is the best part of this," said fourth-grader Nathan Allen, whose powerful bowling-ball superhero was brought to life by junior Caitin Elmore.

"It was my favorite project this year," said Elmore of the collaboration. "It was fun."