One of the things I like best about this lesson is that it's hard. It's really hard for some kids. Good. The most difficult aspect of the lesson is drawing an animal in such a way that it looks like it has been carved into a totem pole. Negative space is essentially nonexistent. I tell my students that they need to use about 98% of their paper. It really forces students to entirely re-think the way they have drawn animals for their entire lives. It makes them learn!
I've been dealing with combined classes with 4th grade this year and I was initially concerned that it would negatively impact the quality of student work. For this project, it absolutely didn't. Students have produced more high level work this year than any previous year. The stress of teaching 34 kids at once has apparently paid off. Enjoy the work!