The great part about teaching the kids to make a bare tree is that they can do it all using the uppercase y (Y) and lowercase y (y). This takes the stress off the kids that are even the MOST intimidated about drawing in the first place (because these trees are ALWAYS successful!!!!)
I did this with a 12x12 sheet of white paper. Using crayon, I had the kids draw a HUGE uppercase Y on their paper. This would be the trunk and the main branches. We thickened them up a bit. Then, using smaller and smaller Y's we filled up the tree branches with sticks and twigs. They LOVED this and of course I did too, but they needed some color.
I showed the kids some examples of stained glass and how the thick black leading between the pieces of glass made the colors pop. I told them that their trees reminded me of some stained glass. Of course then they all wanted to make their project a bit more colorful! We added watercolor paint to each large section and they were amazed at how the crayon created a "fence" and didn't allow the paint to cross over.
This is a great, colorful fall project that the students are proud of!
(Side note- you could also do this for winter, with cool colors of paint between the branches!)