I snapped this photo of my student wrapping up her self-portrait drawn using a grid. She works really hard and it shows. She is also fast and was the first one finished and I was so excited I posted it my Art Teacher PLN. It got lots of "likes" (214 and counting), some comments and questions. And then maybe some follow-up posts about having success (or not) teaching drawing with a grid. Briefly, here's why I think this class has had success (or how I've learned from past mistakes...).
Along the way we've built a positive culture and practiced frequent formal and informal empathic critiques. I have taught Art I for about 10 years - the most significant change from year 1 to now would be the added projects reinforcing the skills covered in the Betty Edwards book. Expanding on the concept of positive/negative space, discussing Notan and creating these fun works with Contrast-o is an example. The additional projects keep things fresh, always changing and much more engaging for the students and me!
And one final thought....students need to be taught how to use a ruler and draw the grid. No matter how frustrating it may seem to any art teacher reading this - if they don't know how to when they reach your class, it is up to you to teach them. It is not intuitive and it's not their fault.