The following three lessons are prepared with the 6th grade student in mind. The educator may wish to adapt these plans to suit his/her individual needs.
Create A Family Tree
Students take great pride in their individuality especially now, as 6th graders, they are in the early adolescent stage of their lives.
To have students understand the position each family member has in the family structure. To realize that the family is an integral composition of their life.
To create with pen and paper a family tree. Students will utilize their own family photos or draw family member’s pictures. Each student will list family members on their tree in order of importance and the role each plays in relation to them.
Large construction paper, photos, glue, crayons or markers, rulers and pens/pencils.
Before passing out the materials, explain the project. This of course should be a culminating project after a lesson on “what is the family?” and all details should be stated clearly at the beginning of the project.
Children should bring in their baby photo, and/or photos of their family. They are placed at the “trunk” of the tree because this tree evolves from them. One side is the paternal (father’s side) and one side is maternal (mother’s side). Allow for variety .... grandmother may supplant “mother”, stepfather may fill in for “father” and so on. All close relatives should be on the tree and positioned the way the student sees them in relation to himself/herself.
Lesson #2 :
Viewing Slides of Paintings and a Critique
These slides will be available the teacher to borrow. I will have them at Roberto Clemente Middle School. However, if the teacher wishes to make her own slides or perhaps use the students’ photos to make up slides, that is a fine idea.
The slides on hand are various “family portraits” in American history.
To introduce students to a pictorial media and have them become familiar with the differences among families.
To enhance students’ awareness of self, and of others. To promote group sharing of ideas, critical thinking skills and oral participation. To involve students in an artistic overview of the subject matter.
Slides of families, various roles in the family, diverse families; pen/pencil and paper, slide projector and screen.
Pass out paper to your students. Tell them that, for now, all they need do is look carefully at the screen and then you’ll give them a few minutes after each slide to jot down something they liked about the slide, a comment, or any idea that “pops into their head” while viewing each slide. Tell them that you are not collecting these notes but there will be a critique session after viewing the slides.
Push for full classroom participation. Even the quiet child will have something to say. Guide them along with slide #1. Perhaps with how the mother looks, her hairdo, the fashion of the day, how she holds her baby, what the baby is wearing etc.
Create A Poem
This is a literary attempt to put into words, one’s feelings about a member of the family. After reading some childrens’ poetry, discuss with the class your plans for having them write their own poems about a sibling, mother, father, grandmother, aunt or uncle or even a family pet.
You will be amazed at the creative energy that poetry unleashes!
To have students read and understand poetry. To interpret feelings in a positive, humorous, and/or sensitive way. Students will write their own poems and read them aloud at a poetry fest in the room.
To initiate writing skills. To be able to compose a short poem dealing with a member of the family unit. To read aloud in front of their peers and participate in a sharing of common ideas.
Poems Children Will Sit Still For,
this is an excellent introduction to children’s poetry or if you prefer other children’s poems please use those. Read one or two on the first day, then on the second day, choose a student or two to read some more poems. Discuss those read. What are they feeling? What is the poet trying to tell us? etc. Then pass out paper and tell the students you are giving them 10 minutes to write down anything at all about a member of their family, for example a little brother or an older sister (usually sibling rivalry gets things off to a good start). Next, tell them to take what they jotted down and write it as a poem.
Select a day as a “poetry fest” day and each child will read aloud their poems. Then display them on the bulletin board. Reward—a pizza party for the entire room.
Role Play and Critique
To critique a television show and role play the characters in class.
To introduce roleplay to students. To have students become aware of positive and negative aspects of human behavior.
Students will view a T.V. show (i.e: The Cosby Show) and list in critique form the elements of the show. To have students write a short critique.
After reading the critiques which should be no longer than 1 page, the teacher will assign roles to each student. For example, if a problem arose at the Huxtable household—one student can portray Dr. Huxtable and how he would deal with that problem. Another student would take on the role of the child, the mother, the sister, etc. In reenacting the plot, students will be able to feel firsthand what the characters actually felt and in so doing can comment further on how the “problem” was handled and/or solved within the family unit.