Grade: Elementary

#3676. Diversity of Families

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Tue Feb 14 07:58:22 PST 2006 by Meghan Webb (
Marshall University, Huntington, WV
Materials Required: basic
Activity Time: 45 minutes
Concepts Taught: Diversity of Families

I. Title of Lesson: Diversity of Families
Grade Level(s): 1-3

II. Rationale: Powerful Social Studies

This lesson plan is relevant and meaningful to the students because every child in the classroom has some type of a family--whether it is a parent, a relative, or a friend. This lesson plan will be integrative because it builds onto some of the curriculum that the children have already acquired--basic reading and writing. This lesson plan will be value-based because throughout the classroom discussions, children will be educated on the diversities of families in our classroom. This lesson plan will be challenging to the students because they will be expected to think, participate, and show interest in the discussions. Furthermore, this lesson plan will be active because it requires the students to think reflectively and to make connections between different types of families.

III. Objectives:
Students will be able to:
make connections to different types of families in the classroom
create a "School Family Tree" that builds on the diversity of the students in the classroom

1. The teacher will start out this activity by giving each student a piece of construction paper and a pencil.
2. The teacher will then prompt the students to start a 2 minute brainstorming/writing activity: use words or phrases to describe the word "family".
3. After all the students have completed this task, ask the students to put down their pencils.
4. Teacher may then start to read: Our School Family Poem. (Attached)
5. After reading the poem, ask the students to pick up their pencils and turn over their papers.
6. The teacher will then prompt the students into another brainstorming/writing activity session. The teacher will again challenge them to come up with even more words or phrases to describe the word "family".
Note: The purpose of asking the children to do the brainstorming/writing activity twice is to see if students can think critically and come up with a new meaning to the word "family" after hearing the poem.
7. Once the students have completed this task, ask the students to share their work including what they wrote about families and why they wrote it. Do they feel that it what they wrote applies to their family or someone else's family? What exactly defines a family?
8. Whenever the teacher feels that the children are beginning to make the necessary connections between the diversity of the word "family" he or she then needs to emphasize the fact that within "our school family" many people come from two parent families, single-parent families, extended families, blended families, or even another type of family.
9. The teacher will then pass out construction paper cutout parts of a tree to each student. Once, every student has received all parts of the tree including the trunk and the leaves, he or she can ask the students to print their full name on the tree trunk. The student can then label the leaves with the names of people in their biological family or school family. This activity is very important because when teachers build on the diversity found among their students, social studies is personal, relevant, and important.
10. To conclude this lesson, give the students a piece of writing paper and allow them to write a short essay of 1.) What they think a family is and 2.) Why they think families are important.
V. Homework:
Ask the students to bring in pictures of their biological or school families for show and tell. Also, ask the students to come up with one thing that they would like to share about their family to the class--this could be a tradition, funny story, etc.
VI. Evaluation:
The teacher can evaluate the effectiveness of this lesson by the group discussion participation and the completed family tree activity. The teacher can also evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson by reading the students brainstorming and essay papers describing what a family is and why they are important.

VII. Modifications for Diverse Learners:

If there were any students in my class that needed assistance, I would pay special attention to accommodating my lesson to their educational needs, as well as my regular students' educational needs. If required, I would work one-on-one with the student or assign the student with a "study buddy". I feel that in using these types of services, I will be providing the best possible and least restrictive learning environment for a child with a mild to moderate disability.

Our School Family
Our family comes
From many towns:
Our hair is straight,
Our hair is brown,
Our hair is curled,
Our eyes are blue,
Our skins are different
Colors, too.
We're girls and boys,
We're big and small,
We're young and old,
We're short and tall.
We're everything
That we can be
And still we are
A family.
We laugh and cry,
We work and play,
We help each other
Every day.
The world's a lovely
Place to be
Because we are
A family.