Art teacher named Anne Arundel's best

November 17, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Coordination is the key for Kris Phebus.

While her hand-eye coordination allows her to show her artistic talents, her coordination of art activities at Arnold Elementary School has earned her the county's art teacher of the year award.

"She's not just an art teacher, she's a teacher of children," James Seamon, the school principal, said yesterday.

"She just does a wonderful job of coordinating the art activities with the curriculum," he added. "That was her goal from day one, to make art activities school activities."

But Mrs. Phebus' fervor for art didn't stop at Arnold.

Last year, each county art teacher was to design a yearlong lesson plan for art classes that coordinated with the county's curriculum. Mrs. Phebus' plan was chosen as the model for the county.

At Arnold, she designs the art projects around the other subjects students are studying.

For example, the fifth grade classes are studying world explorers. In Mrs. Phebus' class, their papier-mache ships were drying on racks.

The fourth grade classes are studying Kenya, so she had them make African masks by gluing different beans and rice to construction paper. Another class is making animals found in Kenya out of papier-mache, and yet another will make kente cloth designs.

Yesterday, a class of fourth graders was working with papier-mache and clay to make elves that will be displayed at the school's PTA holiday breakfast in December. One of the elves will be displayed at the Board of Education headquarters in Annapolis.

It may have been that year-long lesson plan that got Mrs. Phebus the nomination from her supervisor Elizabeth Grimaldis, who is the art coordinator for the county, but Mrs. Phebus said it is her love for children that makes her a good teacher.

"I just love being with kids and seeing their excitement about things," said Mrs. Phebus, 42.

"They're just wide-eyed about everything. It's just a gratifying feeling to be able to mold people into something they're going to be in the future," she said.

To her students, Mrs. Phebus is a good teacher because she's helpful.

"Sometimes she gives us suggestions on what we can do, and since she's done that, I've gotten my work in the Glen Burnie mall five times," said 9-year-old Amanda Batdorf.

Roshae Smith, 9, another fourth grader, agreed, adding that Mrs. Phebus has the patience other adults may lack.

"She doesn't yell at us," she said.

Jennifer Ord, also 9, said she likes her teacher's imagination.

"Other teachers do things that most people do, but she likes to do things differently," she said.

In her personal art work, Mrs. Phebus says she prefers working with fabrics and fibers, but acknowledges she has little time to do that.

"Right now my art work is raising my children," two of whom attend Arnold Elementary, she said.

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