At the beginning of the year, getting to know our students is key to building relationships. Relationships are key to the success of our classroom. That’s what makes a family unit so important at the beginning of the year We get to know our students by exploring families and getting to know their families!
Families Unit: Turn And Talk
Since this family research project is done early in the year, we focus more on getting the kids to turn and talk and share. We do some drawing/writing but more of our focus is on talking, sharing, and creating class charts.
Families Unit: Class Charts
Each of the class charts is designed to spur conversation about various aspects of families and family dynamics.
We start by discussing who can be in a family. We kick off this activity by reading The Family Book by Todd Part and sharing who can be in a family.
The next day we discuss what families can do together.
We also discuss what families do that irritate us! This one is my favorite because it’s hilarious!
It’s also important that we share and discuss all types of families and how families are different! We compare and contrast different family types and who has siblings! This is also our introduction to Venn Diagrams. This works well because it’s a very concrete comparison that the students can grasp.
Families: Graphing Data
This families unit also makes for some great graphing questions!
This graph was a bit challenging, so we asked each student who lived in their house. We counted each person and that was the number they graphed. This made it more concrete for them.
For this graph, we not only graphed if we had a pet but we talked about our pets and how to care for them.
At the end of the unit, students drew a picture of their family and wrote/dictated something they like to do with their family.
We also did fingerprints as part of our families unit. This was a fun way to show that we are all unique and individuals even in our family!
Self Portrait Art Project
As part of our Family Research Project, the students make a self-portrait. As with all of our art projects, this is process art. That means the students receive the materials and do the work themselves. Nothing is done for them. I model a step and they do the step. This means each piece is truly unique and is a true self-portrait. We start with the body (students choose the color they want), then we add the head and facial features. Finally, we do the hair. For the hair, the students are encouraged to make the hair look like their hair. We talk about our different hair and ways we could make the hair and then do it independently.
For more on research projects, check out this post:
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