My fifth graders have also spent the last month studying Dr. Seuss and his 'Secret Art'. We chose to focus on the book, 'The Lorax'. I challenged the students to create a painting based on the landscape in the book. They could choose to paint the landscape before it was polluted by the Once-ler or after. When we read the book, I asked the students to watch for a shift in colors. As the book progresses there is a dramatic shift in the colors of the sky and grass that I feel gets lost in the film version.
In the paintings students had to create tints or shades that would be appropriate with the mood they were creating in their landscape. Many 'before pollution' paintings would include more tints, and the 'after or during pollution' paintings would have more shades. Students were also asked to show perspective (whether through the use of trees, roads, buildings or streams) and to create 3 cardboard details that would be painted and glued into the landscape to add a 3D effect. Paintings were finished by outlining and adding cross hatching.
Before students began I gave them a rubric that included what elements they needed to have to get what score. At our school we grade (for 3-5th grade) students on concept, creativity and craftsmanship. Students can receive a score of proficient, basic or minimal.
Here's an example of the rubric I gave them. I had students fill out the rubric and grade themselves when they completed their work, then I graded their work and recorded it on the same rubric. This helps the students not only know my expectations, but it gives them the opportunity to evaluate their own work. And when I hand the art and the rubrics back they can look over the scores from me and compare to see how close they were to the grades they gaves themselves.