Crazy Pattern Leaves (1st)

This lesson is 100% inspired by an image I found on Pinterest from 'Art Projects for Kids.'
I started out by talking to my first graders about pattern and how we can create patterns in our artwork using the elements of art! After drawing a few examples on the board, students went back to their seats and we drew the outline of our leaves step-by-step.
First students drew a diagonal line across their paper (not touching the paper's edges) using a black crayon.
Then we stopped drawing for a second to examine a fake leaf I have in my classroom. We looked closely at it's details and noticed little lines inside of the leaf.

Me: What are those lines that you see on the inside of the leaf?
Student: The stem?
Me: No.. not the stem. The stem is at the bottom of the leaf. Remember when we looked at that?
Other Student: It's a stem!
Me: Nope.. still not the stem. :)
**5 minutes later and after MANY answers - most of which are "the stem?!"**
The lines are veins! Do you see those blue/green lines on your arms? Those are your veins! And inside our bodies veins carry blood from our hearts all around our body to keep us alive. Do leaves have blood? Nooooo. But they do need pathways for nutrients to travel!

After our little chat.. I then demonstrate how to draw veins by drawing "V" shapes on top of the diagonal line we already drew. After drawing the first "V" near the top.. we went "at least 3 finger spaces down" and drew another one.. and another.. and so on.
Once the veins were done being drawn I told my students that we needed to draw the outside shape of the leaf.. so we were going to take our crayons "on a walk around the block." I told them that the crayon lives at the point where the last "V" touches the diagonal line (on the bottom). So the crayon starts at that point.. then wanders around our other lines. While drawing my example I pretend to be the crayon walking around the neighborhood.
"Do do do do do... walking around. Wonder what's down here (as we go into the first space between the 2 V's)? Oh nothing.. keep walking." Then we continue on until we finish up and "return home." Naturally in some of the "cul-de-sacs" (the spaces between the V's) there are zombies, ghosts, etc. Pretty much anything that will detour the crayon.
Then I tell students to take their crayons on a walk! The room then fills with silly talk all while my wonderful first graders draw their lines like experts.
If someone were to walk in.. they'd probably think I was crazy.. but when you're in a room with kids less than this many **holding up 10 fingers** all day.. you gotta do something to entertain yourself.
**Funny story.. my principal came in for my formal evaluation during this lesson.** :)
Once my students were done drawing their outlines.. I had them extend their vein lines out to their outline to separate the inside of the leaf into many little shapes. Then I asked my students to draw as many different patterns as they would like inside each section.
Students who finished up their drawings early were given another smaller sheet of paper and asked to draw another pattern leaf for me to keep for my pattern tree display (pictures below).
The next day they came in students painted their leaves with pan watercolor paints. And TADA!

The results I got from their project were pretty mixed. Some kids did an amazing job with their patterns.. but then muddied their artwork with the paint. I'm thinking next time I'd like to try liquid watercolors (which is what Kathy from Art Projects for Kids said she did -- I should have listened).

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