Every year I do a cardinal lesson with the first grade, as the cardinal is Virginia's state bird (and they're super easy for the kids draw!). This year, they used simple, geometric shapes to draw the cardinals - ovals and triangles. Then they painted the birds with tempera, drew on details with oil pastels, and rubbed a chalk pastel of their choice for the background. I think they came out very springy!
My lessons will often have the same theme, but I like to change how I implement them from year to year. Here are a few first grade cardinals from past years: