The second project that I assigned my middle schoolers was to use oil pastel to create large scale, expressive, drawings of sunflowers. I presented a brief lesson on the appearnce of sunflowers in art history and focused mainly on Van Gogh's expressive use of line, mark making, and color. I had some real sunflowers in the classroom that the students arranged and then photographed as they wished. I encouraged them to create dynamic compositions, make good use of cropping, play with the scale of the flowers, and attempt to create some movement in their pieces. When they were happy with their refernce image, they jumped right in and started drawing their flowers on black paper.
I was really amazed at how some of these turned out! My high schoolers are constantly surprised that these were done by middle schoolers!