I love cardinals- we don't have them where I live, but I think they're such a pretty winter bird and I do quite a few art lessons using them as the theme. This is a fairly straightforward collage lesson using strips of torn construction paper. I talk to the students about the art element 'texture' and how we achieve that in this lesson by tearing the paper (rough edge) as opposed to cutting it (smooth edge) with scissors.
I start with gathering all my scraps of red paper- I have a couple of different shades of red- one is slightly pinky. Having a variety of reds make the collage look more interesting. You also need scraps of black and orange paper plus glue sticks.
I put photos of cardinals up on my large flat screen TV in my room so students can see the general shape of them. They draw their bird nice and large, in pencil, on 12 x 18" red construction paper.
Cut this out.
Then rip/tear lots of strips of paper. Leave the face blank for now. Fill in the body and the wing (in my sample below I used the pinky red for the wing). We started out by using glue stick to glue down the paper, then moved onto using white glue as it went a bit faster. But some kids used waaaay too much white glue, so looking back, I would stick with glue sticks.
Once the body is filled in, tear strips of black for the face and
then add an eye and fill the beak with orange paper.
I hole punched my bird and added yarn as I wanted to display these
by hanging them in a small display room I have attached to my art room.
below: a close up of the collage
For an extra detail, I collected some thin twigs and hot glued these to the beak and
then hot-glued on some 'berries (aka: small red pom poms).
Grade 4 and 5 student work
My display- I was going for an Anthropologie-type feel!