First... I dare you to look at this image and not smile:) It's so darn cute!
One of the major changes I did for this project was bring them to the lab to get their image. In the past I have asked kids to bring in an image. Many of them would not bring in any image and some images just didn't work well for this project. This way I can be there to tell them yes or no. Also, I taught the 7th grade students to search for a black line image rather to keep it simple, because the main skill here was using a grid... not drawing a complex image. This helped a ton.
I had kids cut the image out and place it on a uniformed 1 inch grid. Last time I taught this I had kids measure out a grid and use what ever units worked well for their image. This time I gave them a pre made grid. They cut it out, placed it on and drew the lines over the image again. This created a more consistent class for instruction.
I had the kids make their grid exactly the same as the small grid only 2 inches by 2 inches. This means they added an 'ABC' line at the top, and a '1, 2 ,3' line on the side. They later cut this grid off before turning in the project.
Finally, while in the lab the first day I had them research line designs. This was helpful as well. They were prepared to draw out their whole project when it was time.
Again, I made the concept of this project was the principle of art- Emphasis, and I feel this project works well for that concept. Please view other student examples on my flickr account. (click here).
UPDATE: Great suggestion from Jen Carlisle
created a grid using the table feature in windows office and then printed them onto transparencies... It saves so much time and I know that at least one of my students grids will be right. They just lay right over the image. Some students beg to keep theirs and others give them back.