Give students various animal images as inspiration. (I have an animal “Fact File” binder with fold-out pages of hundreds of animals. I tell them to have their animal in mind when I call their table up to get their image, and if someone has already chosen their specific one, there are always similar animals available. We study animals a lot with 2nd grade so usually they already know which one they want to choose, and depending on whether we have started the animal studies, they may have already used this fact file.) Have them choose their favorite, and study the shapes that make up the animal’s body, as well as the colors, patterns, and textures that cover the animal. Then they will draw an outline of the animal with white pencil on black construction paper, and cut out the silhouette. Finally, they draw and color the animal’s surface “covering” (skin, fur, scales, feathers, etc) to cover a piece of white paper. Then they use a glue stick to attach the silhouette to the patterned background.
I made a sample with Sharpie instead of cut black paper (the fumes get to be too much, especially for little ones) and when my students saw the finished product, they thought it was great! I have not yet used this sub lesson but I hope to soon.