This project has become one of my absolute favorites for 4th grade. I think I tend to say that a lot. From the online response to previous versions of this project, I think a lot of my readers and pinners like this one as well.
I think this is the third year I had students do their final artwork entirely with construction paper. The first few years I designed this as a painting project, but I wasn't getting the overall success I wanted. I switched it over to collage and, BAZINGA, success! The results from students this year are the best I've ever seen from this project. My 4th graders are an exceptionally talented group this year.
The toughest parts of this project for kids to grasp are stylizing their chosen animal and filling the vast majority of their paper. I try to get them to think like they are actually carving it out of wood like a real totem pole. The sketching phase takes longer because of this, but it pays off with the final results.
**Note about accessing my plans**
If you click on one of the links above, it will take you to the file in Google Drive. Feel free to download my lessons for free for your own use. Please don't ask to "share" the file because I have already allowed access and I can't allow further access without enabling everyone to edit my files. I can't do that for obvious reasons. If you click on "File" once you've clicked on the link, you can go down to "Download As..." and select the file type you'd like to download. After that, you can make changes and tailor it to your own classroom use.