Wednesday, September 4, 2013

No-No Board and the Colored Pencil Test

A while back I did a post comparing Prang markers to's post will compare Prang colored pencils to Crayola's.

Yesterday was our first staff development day, and luckily our administration gave us quite a bit of time to work in our classrooms, which was a relief because I still have a lot to do!  Luckily, I crossed off quite a bit on my checklist (only to find that there was more stuff to do that I overlooked...go figure!), including putting away the remaining supplies in the high school room, cleaning out the last supply cabinet that I hadn't touched yet, and finishing up my No-No Board in my elementary room.

The night before, I pulled out the colored pencils to finish making the pictures for my board.  In case you haven't seen a No-No Board before, I just want to say that the idea is not mine...I found the idea over at Mr. E's blog.  Now, I've noticed there tends to be a bit of a debate whenever one of these shows up in a teachers classroom, but I think it will complement my craftsmanship rubric pretty well.  (Phyl did a post a while back about the controversial No-No Board as well...)

I concentrate in all grades on these drawing ideas ("Y" trees, using a horizon line, etc.).  Don't get me wrong, this is not here to squelch creativity, but particularly with the older students, they should be moving past these drawing cliches.  Unless a project or assignment calls for these "stereotypes" (like's okay to have words in your art!), I'd be more impressed if students were more creative and more mature in their depictions, which is what I aim for.  If you check out my craftsmanship rubric, you'll notice that the things on the No-No board correspond with the craftsmanship rubric descriptors.

Ok, enough of that...onto the colored pencils!

The first thing you'll be likely to notice is that the Prang pencils are thicker and more of a triangular shape...

Next are the colors.  Crayola has two greens, red-orange and a white, compared to the Prang which has a magenta, gold and silver.  I think you get a broader range of colors with the Prang, which is nice, especially with having the gold and silver...not having a white is the only drawback, especially if you like to do projects on dark paper.

Just for fun, I decided to pull out some of my own personal colored pencils, which also happen to be by Prang!  I bought these colored pencils years ago at an Office Max and I can't find them anymore, so I wanted to see how similar the Prang colored pencils were that I got in the mail.
The only colored pencil I'm missing from my personal ones is a black...I used that sucker till it was gone!  At the bottom of the page I did a quick value scale, Prang on top, Crayola on bottom.

Finally, I decided to see how the colored pencils would blend together.  Crayola -is on the left, Prang on the right.

 So, here are my findings:

-thinner pencil & lead = easier to break
-thin pencils are harder for small hands to control
+thin pencils fit into most pencil sharpeners
-does not come with a pencil sharpener
-harder lead makes for harder blending
+comes with a white
$2.59 at Office Depot
$1.95 at Walmart (though current school sale puts them at 97 cents)

+thicker pencil and lead = sturdier
+thick pencils make it easier for younger students to hold and control
-thicker pencils that don't fit into all pencil sharpeners
+comes with a pencil sharpener in the package
+medium lead makes for easier blending
+comes with gold and silver
$1.96 at Walmart
$1.97 at

My Personal Prang Ticonderogas
+thin pencils with a thicker lead (fit into pencil sharpeners, less chance of breakage)
+soft lead makes for excellent blending (no streaky coloring!)

All in all, I'd say the Prang colored pencils are a pretty good deal.  Crayola is a good one to go with if you catch them on sale, but otherwise the price is comparable.  Once I go through the stock-pile of colored pencils I currently have in the next year or so, I may consider purchasing some of these Prangs for my younger elementary kids.  Now, if I could find the Prang Ticonderogas at a decent price, I'd definitely buy them for my high school students!  This year I am trying out Sarget colored pencils with them...


  1. DEBATE?!?!? WHAT...THERE IS NO DEBATE?!?!? :) ha ha I've been using the No-No-Board about 16 yrs now LOUD & PROUD! I hope it is as helpful for you as it is for me. It really is how you approach it!! My kids laugh and laugh!!! I had a high schooler come visit me the other day...he looked at the no no board and started laughing. He said he thought of me every time he saw a stick person. :)

    1. Hehe...I like the idea of the No-No Board. I know the kids are going to laugh at the naked stick figure...they always laugh when I tell them they're people need clothes in their pictures! I think my biggest pet peeve I get in artwork (usually in the free draw assignments) are the hearts and peace signs...ugh! I hate the arrows with words, and not using a horizon line the most. The others I can overlook with the younger students but I definitely want to encourage them to become more advanced!

  2. Hi! I have been reading your blog now for the pat 6 months, and I want you to know I think you rock! I am fascinated with how much endless time you seem to find. I really enjoy your blog because it is so thorough, creative and you share everything! I am fascinated by how quickly you create things for your room, and then find the time to blog about it and actually post it! I wish my coworkers were as creative and sharing as you... You go girl! Keep up the awesome blog. You are my new Art Ed hero.

    1. Wow, thanks for the kind words! I'm glad this blog is being enjoyed by so many! I have the feeling there will be a slow-down on posts, though, as I get closer to my "D-day", but hopefully not for long! I'm hoping to start a more student-ran blog, specific to my high school classes, once school starts. It'll be a blog ran off of our school website host but I'll be sure to have a link on this blog. Hopefully I can entice the high school students to write blog posts for a little extra credit (hmmm, and a little bit of Common Core writing too!).

  3. Ah, the no-no... This is one topic where my good friend Mr.E (and you, too) and I agree to disagree. Though I am not the nasty vehement critic he had post that awful comment, nor would I ever be. I say, if it works for you, great! It just doesn't work for me.

    But since you've already read my post, I don't need to explain my reasoning!

    Have a great start to your school year!

    1. But one thing I never mentioned in my post, and neglected to mention above - the day I referred to in my post, where I drove to work and saw a glorious sky filled with colorful clouds, I actually took a picture of that sky with my Canon PowerShot, driving up the Northway at 70mph. (Shhhh don't tell anyone!) I was going to use it to say 'SEE? All clouds are NOT white!' But I figured I had already opened up a big enough can of worms...

    2. I teach my kids that clouds are not always white also...but see..that is in the demo/talk I give about the no no board! :)

    3. Hehe...ah, debate! lol The kids noticed it right away when they walked a lot of chuckles with the "no naked stick figures" one!

  4. This wouldn't be any fun if we were all the same! Love it!