Animals are always a safe bet for kids. They seem to love all animals are fascinated by them. I figure this is an easy way to incorporate science and non-fiction books. After reading this book five times, I knew so much about pandas- you would think I had an obsession! The kids retain this stuff at crazy rates, as well.
I started the first few days with a step-by-step panda I found online. The kids were struggling, but got it with a lot of guidance. It just felt like it was out of their "zone," though, so I found an easier one. You would be amazed at how well some books break down animals. The book I finally settled on made it very simple and doable for them.
Once they got the panda drawn, which took about 15 minutes, they cut him out. They are still perfecting their cutting skills in first grade, Going in between toes and such is still pretty hard for them. They glued him to a piece of construction paper. I kept this one pretty small. The green paper is only 9x12. It's hard enough to get them to draw things big enough to fill that, let alone a full piece of construction paper.
I they had time, they added the bamboo in the background. I showed them some pictures of bamboo and pointed out the lines in between each section of the stalks. So, they just glued rectangles on top of each other with a sliver of space in between.
I really love doing how-to drawings with them, because it gives them so much confidence for drawing in the future. Obviously observation drawing is more "Accurate," but you have to start somewhere! And they wont know where to start if they can't located simple shapes inside a complex object/animal.