New Table Hangy Thingies

My wonderful friend and colleague Sunny Lee Mowery, hooked me up with these awesome giant tubes that she used to make crayon table color mobile type things. When she mentioned on social media that she had some extra tubes, that is of course the first idea I had too! How perfect!

So they were really long tubes. And out of laziness and lack of resources (no saw) I was just going to leave them long. …and then I thought about how much more work it would be to paint and decorate a longer one, and how much more difficult it would be to hang it. So I made a trip to the local big box hardware store and bought a handsaw and and hacked those suckers in half:File_000 (2)That was not easy. But I got a good arm workout!

I took them outside laid them on a tarp and spray painted them. Again, I was feeling lazy… well really it was that I had a LOT of other stuff to accomplish and this felt like something I could shortcut. I even enlisted the help of a fellow teacher/friend from my school, Katy. (Thank you Katy!)File_000 (1)File_001 (2)

I was pretty into the little colorful sun shapes we were making on the tarp…File_008

File_001 (1)This is Ms. Katy who helped me. Yay Katy!! Thanks again!!

The following week, I had my student teacher for this fall, Mr. Romoero, help me decorate and hang them. BTW, I decided to not give them pointy tips and just call them pastels. (You know, b/c I am trying to conserve time here!) Mr. Romero wrote the colors in English and Spanish for me, and gave them a simple little swirl line.

I am pretty happy with the results and love color coding my room. Soon I will have my bins that will also match the color of the table. Colored tables, colored bins, colored pastel table identifier thingies… Rainbows everywhere!!! Below you can see a couple of them hanging in the room. Later on I will do a full room post showing how the room looks this year (not totally ready). File_002

End of the Year! Me, oh my! The time sure did fly!

So, I did not post on this nearly as much as I intended to this year because everything just got so super busy. As I sit here at my desk, while all my regularly scheduled classes are on field trips, I silently agree with myself that now is a great time for a little reflection, with more to come later.

It’s been a rough but productive year. The district had some issues with the substitute teacher service they shelled money out for, and many teachers were called upon repeatedly for coverage. All across the district this was happening. Some teachers got it worse than others. Some principals would cancel entire classes or specials periods to have teachers cover. Naturally this was frustrating and exhausting for many, especially when there is still so much that is expected to get done by us, but that time to get it done is taken away. So that had a lot of people on edge, including myself. Anytime my room phone would ring, I cringed.

I stayed late many days to get caught up. And by the time I got home, I was pooped. Yet still, I had to summon up the energy to organize and plan meetings for the Philadelphia Art Teacher Alliance. It’s a labor of love, though. I love what I do, and I love being able to connect with other people who love art education as well- teachers or advocates.

I look forward to spending my third year in the same school and second year in the same room next school year. My rapport with students will have grown, and I will be more equipped to meet their needs artistically and expressively…more holistically all around too, really. Being in the same room, will allow me more time to focus on refining my lessons, and weeding out the not so great ones. I also hope for better camaraderie with my colleagues in the school building. I LOVE my basement room, but feel a little left out at times… I know… boo hoo, call the wambulance. But seriously, I want to connect with them more, and connect my art lessons to what they are doing in their classrooms more.

Consider this my summer to do list:

-blog/reflect on each lesson.

-write new lessons

-plan field trips

-plan locations for PATA meetings

-reach out to local artists to come into my classroom

-write DonorsChoose project for adaptive art materials and for printmaking supplies


-visual verbal journal everyday

-refine student self-assessment sheet- one for all to use…or maybe k-2 and 3-8

– think of more stuff to do







Cool Jobs

On Tuesday, February 23, 7th grade students had the opportunity to go to an Arts related job fair called “Cool Jobs” put on by Fresh Artists. Students heard from a furniture designer who uses unconventional materials, a mural artist, an architect, and a culinary artist. It was so interesting to hear all the stories and we are so grateful to have been included in the fair. I hope some of my students feel inspired to pursue a career in the arts! And maybe next time we will get to see the shoe designer, photographer, print maker, and all the other exciting art jobs!!

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pARTners are making it happen!


Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with my pARTners* from Methacton High School. Mrs. Ferenchak & Ms. McCauely are the cosponsors of their NAHS and have worked with their students to help provide some supplies for the Nebinger art room. I am very grateful for their contribution! They plan to continue fundraising, which of course, I am continually grateful and super ecstatic for.

It was so nice to meet with the students and learn a little about them, all while enjoying my favorite bagel in the whole world at Panera Bread. I wish the seniors much luck in college!!

Sidenote- After we parted ways, I went to the Container Store…because it was right there…It was my first time. Oh. My. Gawd. I was in color coded organization heaven! Anyone who knows me well, knows I love to organize my art room. This place will break my wallet for sure. So many ways to organize!!

*pARTners is a pilot program started with the PAEA (Pennsylvania Art Education Association) and PATA (Philadelphia Art Teachers Alliance). This amazing program was developed by Robin Brewer to help support teachers in settings where they have little to know budget (such as the SDP). In this pilot program, teachers with a National Art Honors Society in the suburbs were paired with a teacher from the School District of Philadelphia who is also active in PATA.

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Art Partners Finale

We finished up our time with our resident artist Donna Backues recently. It was an amazing few months, where every Friday Donna would come in and work with my 6th-7th grade studio art students (a pull out class for extra art). For 90 minutes each session, students worked intensively with Donna to complete a collaborative Batik piece, which is now on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art until the end of January. In March it will be on display with the Young Artists show at the School District of Philadelphia’s headquarters at 440 N. Broad St.

The experience of working with a resident artist was fantastic and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to bring this to my students. I am certain they learned a lot from Donna, as did I, and they gained a tremendous amount of creative growth from the experience.

We completed our time with Donna with a final trip to the PMA to see our work on display and to enjoy some lovely cake! Thank you Donna for all your hard work, and thank you Philadelphia Museum of Art for the experience. We are quite proud of the Nebinger art work on display!

Art, art, everywhere…

I have not posted in a while. Sorry. It’s been super busy y’all! I got a lot of art hung up recently. It’s all in Nebinger’s auditorium “gallery” space. Endless white walls for me to hang on.

Here you see the kindergarten “Birds of a Color” or “For the Birds” project… whichever title you prefer. They mixed their own secondary colors and learned a few different ways to draw birds, all after watching Pixar’s “For the Birds”.
These are the third grade pop art portraits done in primary colors.   Below are 1st grader’s row home cityscapes, inspired by the colors and lines in the landscapes of Ted Harrison. If you are not familiar with his work, look it up. Total eye candy for kids and adults alike.
These are the 6th grade “Half-a-Selfie” portraits. Pretty self explanatory. We did a lot of prep to learn how to draw the face. I feel like a lot of them were still very uncomfortable with this though, but for it only being their second year having a formal art class (or any art at all), I think they did pretty good! Now if we could just get them to focus more and less with the talking. 😉  Here we have the 5th grade “Minecraft Me” pixelated portraits made from 1″ squares of paint chips donated by Fresh Artist and Behr paints. These were  A LOT of work to do, but I think they are quite interesting to see! 

Feel free to get in touch with me about any of the lessons. Some I found inspiration from other lessons on the web, some are classics, and some are inspired by friends. 🙂

Come check out Nebinger’s art again soon!!!

A tree for the seasons…

I did this once a long while ago when I taught elementary in Delaware. I made a tree and changed its leaves, decoration, and animals for each season. I decided to do that here at Nebinger this year since I have a big ok basement hallway to play around with.


This is just the start of it… Hard to find the extra time to work on this. I need more leaves for the “ground” to represent the falling of the leaves in autumn. The leaves up there now were made by the lower grade autistic support classes.

We will change it to no leaves during winter (maybe keep some on the ground) and add snow and snowflakes. Maybe even some snowy owls.

So many exciting things!

A lot is going on at Nebinger in the art world!


We had a fantastic field trip to the PMA…My middle school studio art students…

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I really like this photo 🙂


Lots of observational drawing and discussion on art

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Here is a list poem the students collaborated on with our guide, Rebecca:

Three Musicians – How are there 4 People?
cold soulless eyes
a music book
a mask
3 people
different shapes
a band
it looks like they love music
a desk
hat and glasses
all different colors
stained glass
in the hallway
forest green
I see the light while they’re playing
Tiki guy
a bright smile

This group of students will have work on display at the PMA in January, as they are part of the Delphi Art Partners.

In addition to that, I went to Fresh Artists today and was pleased to see one of our students art on permanent display in their outdoor space. 🙂 The art to the right is Nebinger work! 🙂


Roy’s work, pictured above is also on display at the Comcast Building on Market Street. His classmate Robert also has a piece in that show! These kids get better art cred than me!

The surprise in the closet

…so I published this on July 30th as a ‘page’ by mistake… trying to get used to wordpress… “I was all like where the heck is my post???!!” So I have to delete the page and repost as an actual blog post. Womp Womp.

I went to school today. It’s still summer break, but I am moving classrooms to the basement classroom and the movers came today. The basement classroom was the old classroom YEARS ago. This is the second year the school has had art in about 11-15 years. I can’t seem to get a real number, so it is somewhere around there…Anyway, I went to help move and start straightening out the room and whatever and whatnot… The room has been a Pre-K room for the last 15 years or so (again, not sure on numbers), and I was not able to peek around in the room before moving because I did not want to step on any toes as the Pre-K teacher also had to change rooms. I didn’t want to get in her way…blah blah blah…

Soooooo, today I go in the room…

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It’s great. Nice size. Has a bathroom and AC! Didn’t have that before. (BTW- Carpets and play kitchen island are not mine.)

So you see that brown door in the first pic?? That is a huge storage closet…in all my excitement I didn’t take a photo of the actual closet… but guess what is in that closet??? That not even my principal knew about, nor the building engineer…

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That my friends, is some kind of old kiln that I know nothing about!!!!! That boss mover man pointed it out. A kiln! Shut the front door! A kiln. So, what kind is it? How do I use it?

It is ventilated to the outside. It is in a separate room. It is all set up and ready to go with the wiring, just gotta make sure it works. (I have another art teacher friend who I am pretty sure can help with that.) Sorry the picture does not give more info. The teacher had it hidden between two storage cabinets, that I can’t move until all her stuff is out of the closet. So, yeah. If anyone out there is reading this. Help a gal out will ya?? 😀

I’m so excited. I gotta get these kids some clay. Now to write a DonorsChoose for that!!!

Where does the time go??

I had such great aspirations of writing a blog post every other day, but it’s just not happening right now… I am glad I moved my blog off of Tumblr. I hope WordPress proves to be better. At least now it will be easier to move it to blogspot/blogger (whatever it’s called now) if this doesn’t work out. I want to buy my domain, but I will wait to see if I like this host or not…Don’t know if that matters. Oh well.

Anyway, I wanted to write more and reflect on the lessons I did and write about the lessons I want to do, but frankly, there is just no time to do that. I am really gonna have to shove my ideas together last minute like I always do. And somehow, like always, everything comes together and works out. So with this post I will share some photos of a few projects we did this year. Let me go ahead and upload them, and maybe I will talk about whether or not I liked the project and if we will do it again. 🙂

5th grade name mandala- marker

5th grade name mandala- marker

1st grade Pop Art, Jasper Johns inspired Name Design- crayon resist

1st grade Pop Art, Jasper Johns inspired Name Design- crayon resist

2nd grade, black glue line flower still lif- crayon resist

2nd grade, black glue line flower still lif- crayon resist

Kindergarten, paper roller coaster sculptures

Kindergarten, paper roller coaster sculptures

Kindergarten, Eric Carle inspired painted paper and cut paper collage- tempera paint

Kindergarten, Eric Carle inspired painted paper and cut paper collage- tempera paint

Kindergarten, Van Gogh inspired sunflowers- Oil pastel with water color

Kindergarten, Van Gogh inspired sunflowers- Oil pastel with water color

1st grade symmetrical masks inspired by Tribal African Masks- cut paper

1st grade symmetrical masks inspired by Tribal African Masks- cut paper

1st grade Modigliani portraits- oil pastel

1st grade Modigliani portraits- oil pastel

6th grade- surreal 1pt perspective bedrooms- color pencil

6th grade- surreal 1pt perspective bedrooms- color pencil

7th grade- Op art color wheel- color pencil

7th grade- Op art color wheel- color pencil

7th grade-

7th grade- “All about me”- water color

Flowers traced on plexi with sharpie painted with acrylic....(student teacher taught lesson)

Flowers traced on plexi with sharpie painted with acrylic….(student teacher taught lesson)


8th grade, Matisse inspired- cut paper

4th grade- Stacked name design- markers

4th grade- Stacked name design- markers

4th grade- op art inspired hand design- color pencil

4th grade- op art inspired hand design- color pencil

kindergarten- circles and loops- crayons

kindergarten- circles and loops- crayons

Kindergarten- Robert Frost poem inspired image...Cut/torn/painted paper

Kindergarten- Robert Frost poem inspired image…Cut/torn/painted paper

Kindergarten- gyotaku printing and bubble wrap printing- tempera paint

Kindergarten- gyotaku printing and bubble wrap printing- tempera paint

1st grade- glue line pumpkin drawing- chalk

1st grade- glue line pumpkin drawing- chalk

kindergarten- Mondrian inspired- crayon

kindergarten- Mondrian inspired- crayon

3rd grade- Kandinsky inspired composition- tempera paint

3rd grade- Kandinsky inspired composition- tempera paint

4th grade- Adaptive art lesson for Autistic Support student

4th grade- Adaptive art lesson for Autistic Support student

Okay… so I am realizing I have way more images of the kindergarten work. Let me explain. One of the kindergarten classes got to take art twice. Lucky them! We have art on rotation at my school. Quarterly that is- every quarter I get a new group, and sometimes it just works out that a class will get to repeat a special. So not only did kindergarten get to repeat art but they also tend to move through the projects super duper fast, hence lots of kinder art up above. I realize a goal of mine is to get them to be a little more thoughtful, but also to try and expose the other grades to more art without harming the process of their working habits and flow. There was some sculptural work done this year too. My student teacher did it, but I realize I did not take photos with my personal camera. They are on artsonia. BUT, that too is a goal of mine- to get more 3-dimensional work in each class and grade level. I was very apprehensive this year due to space limitations (storage), resources, not knowing the students and their abilities, and room climate, but this year will be different. Not everyone will be working in clay, and those who get clay won’t even be working in “real” clay, but still they will be exposed to the basics. So yeah. Good to have goals….let’s hope I can realize them. So dang ambitious. Ugh. Gives me anxiety.

Alright now. Looking at these projects… right off the bat- not doing the Kandinsky one again, unless I find a better version of it. I just don’t get enough of the students’ voice in it. Maybe we could do a mini version of it to learn about him and the elements of art, but I refuse to spend the time we did on those pieces to get such mechanical reproductions. I want to see more expressive work coming from my little darlins. On that note, as hypocritical as it sounds, I will keep my Mondrian, simply because it is an easy and fail safe project to do with the younger ones especially when teaching the primary colors. There are lots of other ways to do the Mondrian lesson though, and I may explore those options…

The “All about me Lesson” I borrowed from a friend. I loved the idea of it for the past two years, but I think I am done with it now. I may adapt it to something new… maybe. I’m not sure yet. I last used it to teach 8 different watercolor techniques to my 8th graders. Might try something with that, do away with the analogous color scheme, because frankly, they are still just grasping what the elements are and how to use the color wheel (last year was their very first year having art). So, yeah, baby steps.

I will still do Op art, maybe not the same ones, but the kids love those lessons. I know I need to scaffold the instructions better for all learners though. More goals. lol.

I’m keeping everything else. A few edits here and there of course as any good teacher would do. 🙂 I look forward to adding a lot more lessons and stressing myself out to the nth degree with all the extra work I will be giving myself. But I am sure the students will make some awesome stuff. Check in with me in a few months and see how I feel about it then. haha.