Student family trees

This is a great activity for maximizing student speaking time. It’s an activity that you can do at the A1 level, but it remains interesting to students up through any level because they love learning about each other and talking about their families.

Bear in mind: If you think your students won’t like sharing, skip this one.

How it works

One student is invited to the whiteboard and handed a marker. This student is forbidden from speaking. (I’m not strict about this part.)

Another student has to turn their chair away from the board, so that they can’t see the whiteboard. This student’s family tree will be drawn.

The other students are responsible to help the student at the board draw the family tree. They take turns asking question of the student facing away from the board. Things like “Are you married?” “Do you have children?”

The rest of the group need to watch the family tree being drawn. If they think there is a mistake, they have to ask a clarifying question “Is Susie your sister or your daughter?”

Observations or off-topic comments are encouraged. “Only girls!” Or “your mother has seven children!” are the exact responses you want. (How often are A1 students able to say the things they want to say? Let them!)

The end of the game

At the end of the activity, the student who turned away from the whiteboard turns back around. They examine the family tree and tell the group if the family tree is accurate or not.

Before you erase the family tree, you can use it to review a few other fields of vocab, if you want to. “Where does Susie live?” “What is Johnny’s job? Does he like it?” “Is your grandmother still alive? How old is she?”

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