During the last week of school, I try to go outside with as many of the classes as possible. It's a nice change of pace, it keeps the art room from getting too torn up since at that point I've been trying to prepare for summer shutdown, and it's an incentive for positive behavior at the end of the school year. Most of my classes earned outside art. Some of the classes painted with water, some drew with sidewalk chalk (some with no specified assignment and some that needed more structure with a challenge), and some of my 2nd and 3rd grade classes practiced observing and drawing trees. I was still seeing "broccoli trees" from a lot of students in this age group and I realized that most had probably never really observed a tree.
I did a quick demo, talking about the structure of the tree with big trunk, medium branches, and small twigs, then talked about how I was looking at the actual lines and shapes in front of me instead of drawing what was in my head. The students used pencils and thin markers on 9x12 inch paper clipped to some discount clipboards I ordered a few years ago- a great purchase! They've come in really handy for making art outside the classroom.
Check out my students' work! I wish I had thought to do a "before" tree drawing so you could see the improvements that I saw!