Kindergarten recently worked on patterns, and I thought that owls would be a cute project for them to use their patterns on. This started out as a guided drawing, but once every student had a basic owl shape, they got to draw whatever patterns they wanted. They used crayons first, and then watercolor on top. I love the look of watercolor resist, and it's fun for the kindergartners to learn that technique!
As an artist, the idea of a guided drawing sometimes really turns me off. Students should be free to be expressive and creative. Cookie cutter projects where every student's project is the same are crafts, not art, and my students do real art.
However, I have found that starting out with a guided drawing can be good for young students (K and 1st) as long as there is lots of freedom later on. First of all, it gives students who are good at following directions (but not necessarily artsy) a chance to shine and be proud of themselves. Secondly, you can't think outside of the box if you don't have a box to start with! Those are my main two reasons to justify a guided drawing. At the end of the lesson, I noticed that no two owls are even remotely similar, so I think this lesson was a success!