I had third graders learn a new way to draw trees - now, I'm not a big proponent of teaching kids HOW to draw something - but I also know that getting kids to draw two sides of the branch instead of just one wasn't going to happen spontaniously.
So, first I projected a picture of a winter tree and traced sections of it on the board for the kids - making sure to really drive the point that we are drawing the outside of the branches, not just the middle.
Next I showed students a pattern on my traced tree. There is a "V" and that v grows longer into branches. (see picture).
We continued this pattern till we had a tree.
I explained to students that this pattern may make sense in their brains, but when they go to draw, it might be more difficult than they expected. Most students poo-poo this and think "I got this Ms. Novak - it's EASY" and then when it comes to paper and pencil it is more "Uhh Ms Novak - I need help."
I have students practice trees on some scrap paper till they get the hang of it - then I let them pick out a color of construction paper and start on their final.
Last but not least, MY FAVORITE PART!!!! -- If students wish they may add some glue to the snowy parts of their trees/ground and add some white/clear glitter! I know many art teachers and custodians HATE glitter -- I happen to love it. I love how it sticks to everything and travels through the whole school. It makes me feel like there are little art fairies bringing joy to all.
Despite the fact that I tell kids 'how' to draw a tree - they all end up as unique as the students that draw them. Short of giving up on the project EVERYONE succeeds, because - well, all trees look different, no two trees look exactly the same so there is no "my tree doesn't look like a tree".
Yay! High success!