The Salamander Room


Slithery, slimy, and inspired by literature

Lesson Summary

During day one of this lesson, kindergarten students listened to a reading of the book, The Salamander Room, by Anne Mazer. They then created a thinking map as a class to brainstorm what salamanders need to survive, what things other animals might need, and the things kindergarteners need to survive. The terms habitat and survival  were introduced.

Following a guided drawing lesson, students drew their own salamanders, and using the letter “s” to guide them, connected the sound of the letter “s” with the word “salamander”. After completing a practice drawing, students again followed a guided drawing lesson and created a final drawing, which was outlined in Sharpie marker. Students viewed images of real salamanders and identified some of the different patterns found on their bodies. Using this as a guide, students added patterns to their own salamanders with brightly-colored and sparkly oil pastels. Finally, students water colored over the top of their patterns.

On day two of the lesson, students created habitats for their salamanders to live in. As a class, we reviewed the thinking map created previously, and considered what colors we might use to represent dirt, grass, leaves, water, and rocks. Pre-ripped paper in a variety of colors and textures was provided to the students to create beautiful collage backgrounds, and using glue sticks, students adhered the papers to their artwork. Once they completed their collage, students salamanders were returned to them. These were cut out and then glued on top of the collage.

Grade Level

Art Standards

Interdisciplinary Standards



Thinking Map

Students will create a thinking map as a class to brainstorm what salamanders need to survive. Using clues from the book, The Salamander Room, by Anne Mazer, they will name several items and provide, “how they know” responses.

Guided Drawing

Students will successfully follow the teacher’s directions and demonstration to create a salamander drawing with a head, tail, body, and four legs. Students will also use the letter, “s” to guide the shape of their drawing, and connect the sound of the letter “s” to the word “salamander”.


Students will add at least one pattern to the body of their salamander, with a pattern that repeats at least three times.


Students will use ripped paper to create a collage representing the habitat of salamanders. They will use glue sticks to successfully adhere papers to their artwork, covering at least two-thirds of the paper.

Big Ideas


The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer depicts a natural environment recreated in a child’s room and allows children to imagine nature coming into their own bedrooms.


Students will discuss what a salamander needs to survive, using the world created for him by the little boy as a reference. This will translate into what the students need for their own survival.

Lesson Supports

Learning Standards

New York State Visual Art and Other Standards Met in this Lesson

Visual Art Standards Met in this Lesson

Snowstorm Sew-fest

What do you do when you just put your baby down for a nap and your husband is on a pub crawl in the middle of a blizzard? You sew plastic bags into quilt and drink a giant mug of hot chocolate, of course. What a silly question.

Working on a piece that grapples with the idea of a divided life. It’s something I have felt acutely since my sweet boy came along: the pull toward my art and the struggle to find the time, energy, and head space it demands while taking care of my family.


Booking Making in Brooklyn

Last Wednesday night I took a crack at teaching adults in my first book making class. Over the course of the four hour course, students cut, covered and bound an original book using traditional stab binding techniques. With beautiful papers selected at The Paper Source, each student chose their own color palette which included a cover paper, binding tape, thread, and interior paper.

After briefly discussing the tools of book binding and the general process, students got started cutting their paper and boards to size. Exterior papers were glued to the book board, and then bookmakers tape was used to complete front cover. Students used awls to pierce holes through the book boards and papers and then began the process of binding their books using linen thread. It required patience and strong fingers, but with a good sense of humor and a little stick-to-it-ness, all students completed their books!

Each student’s book turned out beautifully and matched her personal style. It was a wonderful learning experience for everyone and we had a great time chatting, binding, cutting, and listening to some good tunes. I will certainly be offering this class again, so stay tuned for details.


Third Thursday | July 2013

Once again, I had the great privilege of exhibiting my work as a part of the Third Thursday Art Walk, sponsored by Art in the Public Eye. This time, my work was shown at Samantha’s Cafe located in downtown Glens Falls. The retro, industrial space was a perfect match for some of my newest work, a ceiling installation using sewn squares of grocery bags, and a hanging, stand-alone sculpture consisting of a chicken-wire substructure and shaved wax exterior. I also exhibited some painted works hailing back to my college days, as well as a few mixed media drawings from 2012.

The folks at Samantha’s, Jennifer Kraft and Liz Wilcox were incredibly helpful and supportive during my installation. They made the whole process from beginning to end a great experience. I cannot emphasize enough, just how much those who support the arts through exhibition matter to the entire artistic process. Without great people like Liz, Jen, and Kathy, we artists wouldn’t have nearly the exposure or opportunity to show our work.

Thanks again to all those that made it out to the show, and to those that supported me through the making of these works. Your encouragement and presence make it all worthwhile!



Third Thursday | May 2013

Life’s been a-movin’ and a-shakin’ in my world and May brought with it some fantastic new opportunities. I had the privilege of being the featured artist for May’s Third Thursday Art Walk hosted at Elevation Pilates in downtown Glens Falls. With an incredible turnout of new faces, friends, and family coming out to support my work and that of the other exhibiting artists, it was a night to celebrate. Thank you to all who made it possible, especially Kathy Porcell, owner of Elevation Pilates, and to my friends and family who traveled from afar to help with set up and take down. I couldn’t have done it without you!


Interview with APE

This past Friday, I had the privilege to meet with Caitlin and Tom of Snarky Aadvark Films for an interview session sponsored by Art in the Public Eye. The very first film in a series highlighting the Third Thursday Art Walk Featured Artists, I felt like a star being interviewed for an ArtNow spot on PBS! I had a great time talking about my work and the local art scene, and Caitlin did an incredible job editing my (never) brief commentary 🙂 Thanks to all involved for a wonderful experience!

Third Thursday Featured Artist



I am very happy to announce that I have been selected as the featured artist for the Third Thursday Art Walk in Glens Falls for the month of May, sponsored by Art in the Public Eye! I am thrilled and honored to be chosen and can’t wait to show my work at Elevation Pilates, located at 19 Ridge Street in Glens Falls. I’ll be showing a variety of sculptures created over the last twelve months, and  prints will be available to order during the opening as well as by phone or email. If you can’t make it to the show and are interested in ordering prints or purchasing one of my pieces, please don’t hesitate to contact me! See you on May 16th, 2013 from 5-9pm.