Hi. I teach first grade and My Family is part of our SS curriculum. I am teaching a unit on this right now and would like to have the kids create family trees at home as a homework assignment. (I try to have the kids do family projects about once a month and I like them to allign with our curriculum.) Does anyone have any good ideas for a family tree project? If you have assigned a similar project for your students and families, I would appreciate the directions that you sent home with your students for this project. Thanks for any help!
I downloaded a couple of cute family tree templates a few years ago. Just used Google. The kids along with their families filled in the names on the correct branch of the trees. I also let them color them using colored pencils. (4th grade so they were neat)
I have done them using construction paper. Green for the trees, red apples, brown trunks. The kids wrote faimily members names on the apples and glued them on the trees. I have also done this with wood and given as a gift. I painted the tree on a wooden plaque and glued on red wooden apples.
The apple tree project works well for blended or untraditional families since they aren't as precise as the ones with branches.
As a mom of adopted children, I am asking you to reconsider this activity. Especially if it gets into heritage. I, nor my children, should have to explain at school why they are not German/Irish like their parents are. Please consider a different type of family project, like writing or telling about their favorite family tradition, or interviewing a favorite family member. The choices are many. I, of course, am speaking personally, but I know I and my children really do not like the family tree projects. Thanks for considering an alternative.
I don't have any students in my class who are adopted, so I don't really have to worry about that being a problem. Also, part of our SS curriculum is understanding different family dynamics like adoption, foster families, step-families, etc. That's reality. I myself am adopted and was always happy to share this with people. It all depends on the person, I guess...
I'm sending home a piece of construction paper with each child tomorrow and they have 2 weeks to "transform" it to represent their family. I don't give much direction so that I don't limit their creativity. They can use photos, magazines, artwork, whatever! The only "rule" is that they are limited to the size of the paper so everyone's project will fit together. I give them 2 weeks so that the kids can show them as they come in. This is a great way to learn about their family without getting much into who is blood-related to who. My kids are good at keeping it straight but my head starts to spin when I hear how everyone who lives with them is related! I do this instead of a tree and I think it serves the purpose of learning about all these unique children and getting a peek into their lives!
I recently did this project in my class. The children loved it! I have a child who is adopted and she loved doing this project. Her adopted parents are her family. Therefore, this should not be a problem. Like babygirl mentioned "that's reality". My curriculum also focuses on understanding different family dynamics like adoption, foster families, step-families, etc.
The activity we did was in class. We finger painted trees and the children glued pictures they brought to school from home.
our guidance counselor always discourages this project for young children because not all homes are capable of doing this. Children in foster homes etc. Rather she has a done a tree and each branch is a person living in the home right now.
I just want to thank all of you who have helped me by giving me some ideas for this project. They are all great ideas and I plan on combining many of your ideas into my own.
That said, I am a little discouraged by this process. I posted a message asking for some ideas with a project that I am interested in doing with my students, but I receved a lot of opinions, rather than help. I understand many of your concerns with the idea of a family tree and children of adoptive and foster families, but you need to understand that I have been teaching for quite a few years and feel confident in making decisions about what to teach and what not to teach. I was not asking for a geneology project, just a simple family tree project. I am well aware of the family dynamics of my class and I am certain that none are adopted. This is the second year that I have had these students. (I looped from Kindergarten to 1st with them). Even if I did have students that were adopted, the fact is that this is a part of our SS curriculum and I'm going to teach the curriculum. This is life! We all come from different family dynamics.
In the future, please read the posts carefully before responding. If someone is asking for help, it would be great if you would only respond with helpful posts, not with your opinions. Thank you.
Again, thanks to all of you who had some great ideas about a family tree project. I am so appreciative!