Learning About Families: Families Theme

Learning about families is a must 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!

Learning About Families: 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 and writing, but our focus is more on talking, sharing, and creating graphic organizers.

We start our family theme with the book And Tango Makes Three. I feel like this is an important place to start because I want my students to understand that all families are different and a family is a family, no matter who is in that family. When teaching about families, we must be inclusive of ALL family types. This is not negotiable. This means we discuss different families, we include books that show all types of families, and we are sure to create a safe space for our students to share about their families. Again, this is not negotiable.

This story is very personal to us because I read this book to my class to share with them that we were adopting a baby. It was a huge success, and because it’s a true story, it provides a great opportunity for discussing families.

learning about families with And Tango Makes Three

Learning About Families: Graphic Organizers

learning about families research project
learning about families writing and vocabulary

Each graphic organizer 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 Todd Part’s The Family Book and sharing who can be in a family. Then, the students draw their families.

learning about families all families are different
learning about families drawing and writing in kindergarten
learning about families building langauge

We also discuss what families do together, where families live and what families eat. These conversations are necessary but also sensitive. Make sure to guide the discussions and be aware of student feelings.

learning about families social studies curriculum

Learning About Families: How My Family Irritates Me

social studies learning about families

It’s also important to share and discuss all types of families and how they 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. This activity contains various labels so you can create a Venn Diagram if that works for the class dynamic. You can use the labels to create other graphic organizers to meet the needs of your class.

Learning About Families: Graphing Data

This family 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.

social studies curriculum for kindergarten

social studies lessons for learning about families

For this graph, we not only graphed if we had a pet, but we talked about our pets and how to care for them.

Learning About Families: Drawing Our Families

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 family unit. This was a fun way to show that we are all unique individuals, even in our family!

learning about families in the kindergarten classroom

Learning ABout Families: 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 student-centered 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) and then add the head and facial features. Students choose the colors for everything. Finally, we do the hair. For the hair, the students are encouraged to make the hair look like their hair. We talked about our different hair and ways we could make the hair and then do it independently.

Suggested Read Alouds

Here are some of the books we read and recommend for this research project: (click the image to see the list on Amazon or CLICK HERE!)

learning about families read alouds about families
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