Sunday, January 29, 2017

Family Tree Fun



I'm a big fan of creating family trees with my students, but I can never find a really good one that I can use with multiple types of students, so I always end up with at least 10 different photocopies of 10 different family trees. So I made my own.
It looks good enough for kids, but I've used it with teens and even adults and the graphic didn't feel cartoonish.
You can find it here - Family Tree

I'll also share with you 5 things you can do with it.

1. With really small kids (pre-starters, starters, movers) you can ask them to start from YOU and then write the name of mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandparents. I would suggest to have a spare copy you, the teacher, work on. You illustrate and monitor they are writing the right names. Be careful, if they can't remember or they need extra boxes because their parents are divorced and remarried, be super flexible. Remember you're not doing a census for the government.

2. Again with small kids, you can ask them to start from YOU and then draw mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandparents. If they can't ask them to draw a symbol of the person. I had a really sweet little girl who had never met her grandma who passed away before she was born. She drew a bunch of flowers because her grandma had had a garden full of flowers that her grandpa still kept. Useless to say I almost started crying.
This drawing activity can also be a continuation of the activity above if you make sure they write on the dotted line and still have space for drawing.

3. With older children, teens and such, I've asked them to write the names of close relatives, like above, followed by a short list (4-5) of personality adjectives that characterise those individuals. Then they had to explain in pairs why they had chosen those adjectives by giving examples, explaining and telling anecdotes. Pairs could be changed several times. This works for adults as well.

4. A variation of the exercise above is to ask them to write the opposite of the adjectives (written in red) they want to use and then have them in pairs work to figure out the correct adjectives. Then they would proceed to have the discussion described above. I usually use this variation after I have done the activity from point 3 a couple of times and I want to recycle and make the activity a little bit more challenging. This works for adults as well.

5. Older teens (like legal age teens) and adults. Set it as homework. They must fill in the family tree with names and adjectives. They must also find a photo or some photos that show all the people in the family tree. In pairs, they exchange photos, describe each individual using both physical description and the personality adjectives they have already written. The partner has to guess who is who.
This can be modified by giving each student a list of 3 or 6 names/personality adjectives/physical description adjectives they need to tick off of a list. That way, they will have a added purpose for listening.


Hope you have fun with it.


The Sound Eater

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