Third-graders often study the Nutcracker in music class, so a good cross-curriculum connection is to have them make mixed media nutcrackers in art class.
This project begins with a basic outline tracer that students use on heavy oak-tag. Next, the students add all their own details in pencil, concentrating on patterns and embellishments that are typical of traditional nutcrackers (have visual aides available) and of their own designs. Then every pencil line is traced over in black Sharpie before markers are used to carefully color everything in. I didn't have skin-tone markers, so colored pencils were used for the faces and hands. Once coloring is complete, students cut out their nutcrackers and use the scrap paper to fashion a hat that is also colored. The beard and hair (white fiber fill or black yarn) are hot-glued on by the teacher(me). I also glued on the hats at the same time. Then the students get to have a lot of fun "blinging" their designs with glitter, sequins, glitter glue, and ribbons. They used Elmer's glue and left their finished projects to dry in the drying rack, which they nick-named the "tanning bed." It takes about two classes, maybe three, to complete this project.
Student display and my demonstration example.