Many of my art lessons are inspired by children's picture books and Mo Willems is one of my favorite current children's authors! I remember the first time I saw his book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! I couldn't stop laughing as I read the story and admired Willems' expressive illustrations (I was a library clerk still in college earning my Art degree back then!). I even checked it out so I could bring it home and read it to my family. Most of them were less impressed than I, but luckily my first graders always share my enthusiasm for these silly books!
Day one we read the book Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and then drew our own pigeons with black crayon following Mo Willems' directions from his Let's Draw the Pigeon! handout (just Google "Let's Draw the Pigeon! and it should pop right up). This year, we colored with crayons so we could immediately cut out our cute pigeons, but I've also done this lesson using oil pastel and tempera to make the pigeons. I asked all of the first graders to finish the sentence "Don't let the Pigeon..." with a rule or expectation from Art or Music class. As they were coloring and cutting, I buzzed around the room to record their sentences.