Well, in this case it is after and before. A few years ago I read the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by B Edwards and ever since then I like to begin with this hand lesson with my Art 1 students. Art 1 students are usually freshman and sophomores, a few are upperclassmen. I have them do a pre-instruction drawing of a hand (pictured right above). I then take them through the steps of blind contour drawing and then modified contour drawing. Once the students see the difference in their work, they become more confident with their drawing abilities.
When I was a middle school art teacher I also began the school year with this project and touched on it throughout the year. I do believe it made for better projects and prepared the students for high school art.
I hope your new school year is going well.