My first grade line project was inspired by snakes! I figured that since snakes' bodies are long and skinny like lines and lines are a common design feature, they would be a perfect place to start!
First we reviewed lines (the usual list, draw on board, draw in the air) and then I showed the students how they could draw the outline of a snake. I suggested starting with the head in one of the corners to make sure there was plenty of room, drawing one side with just a couple curves, and then drawing the other side to connect the head and the tail. We talked about how the second side drawn was an "echo" of the first line. I didn't restrict the students to a certain shape or number of curves, I just told them that the more curves they put in, the more confusing it could be to finish the body, but they were welcome to try. I had to spend a lot of time on how to draw the outline of the body or we ended up with the snake equivalent of stick figures which don't allow for designs on the body! I asked the students to draw REALLY BIG to fill in the space, that's something we continue to work on in every grade. I also told the students that the head needed to be a little wider than the body or we would end up with worms instead of snakes. :)
After the body of the snake was drawn, the students used crayons to trace over the pencil lines on the outside of the body and to draw lots of different kinds of lines down the snake's body. I just told them instead of straight stripes, we were going to make imaginary snakes with unique designs. I showed the students how to press hard with the crayon to get a nice, solid line since we would be painting over it in the next class to create a wax resist. We finished up with crayon in the second class period. About half of the students finished early and were asked to "free draw" with lines and shapes or make designs with shape tiles. The other half really needed the extra time to finish their lines.
In the third class period, we reviewed proper painting techniques and care of the paintbrush and paint trays. The students had a lot of fun painting their snakes with watercolor and still think it's like magic when the resist starts to work! I didn't give the students any restrictions on colors, just told them to think about what colors they wanted before they started. (I pointed out that a purple snake on a purple background might not show up very much.)
Here are some results, the rest can be seen in our Artsonia gallery.