Last year, I shared some successful activities I did with introducing family member vocab. This year, I couldn’t make those same plans happen. I’m in the middle of a move, so my out-of-school life has been pretty hectic lately. Also, because I was hoping that my move would be over by now, the props I used last year ended up getting put in storage, and they haven’t made it out yet.
So, new plan. I admit, this is not as excellent or as exciting as what I did last year, but it’s less prep and I think it was effective. We’re reading Brandon Brown quiere un perro right now in Spanish 1. We’re in chapter 2 at the moment, so the kids have seen mamá and hermana in the text. I thought that those two words were enough of an excuse to start talking about the rest of the family.
I gave all the kids a copy of this family tree from Woodward Spanish. I felt that it gave an appropriate number of good, basic family members, without being overwhelming. It was also the clearest and easiest-to-understand family tree that included vocabulary (not just names) that I could find in a few minutes of searching this morning. I took a few moments to explain how family trees work in English, because in my experience, some kids just don’t know, and I didn’t want someone getting mayor/menor mixed up and thinking that nieto was grandfather. I also told them that they are free to look up other family member words that they might want to use, if they want to.
Next, I did a simple activity in which I asked what the kids’ various family members’ names were. Lots of good reps of ¿Cómo se llama? – a phrase they have known since week one, but sometimes forget. It gave the kids some practice reading the family tree, and hopefully helped them make connections with their own life that will help the new words stick.
Finally, I had the kids get in pairs and visit one of the review games on the Woodward Spanish webpage on their Chromebooks. It gives a family tree with names (but no relation words), and asks a fill-in-the-blank question at the bottom. I set a timer for 3 minutes and gave the pair with the most points after 3 minutes a little prize (2 tickets each for our weekly raffle). I suggested that they keep the original family tree I gave them out while they played, and they were definitely referencing it.
I admit, this is definitely not the most exciting activity I’ve ever done, especially with my sleepy 1st period Spanish 1s. But the classes I have later on today are pretty competitive, so I think it will be a hit with them. I think it was a good introduction to family vocab, and should set us up pretty well to talk more about family in the coming days.