First start off with a 11" x 17" white construction paper. We used rulers (math) to frame out an 1" border. We discussed Grant Wood, where he is from, what he created, and his painting "American Gothic".
We then discussed facial and body proportion. They were to draw themselves and someone they know and admire. They could draw an animal instead of a person, if an animal was their best friend. They needed to add a background that was significant to them.
Here are some wonderful examples:
At a football game
In their backyard
At the aquarium
Hanging near the hammock with friends
"Dreaming of cheese"
Inside with his birds and mom
At the beach
Bringing his fish outside for some sunlight
Spending time with her Gerbal
Out taking a walk with her cat.