For elementary school children, talking about families is an important part of making sense of the world and their relationship to it. Many students in primary grades are realizing for the first time that their family might look different from someone else’s. Older elementary students can become sensitive about describing these differences and are also frequently dealing with changing relationships within their own families as they develop a deeper understanding of themselves as individuals.
These lessons provide a framework that will help students talk about their own and others’ families in safe, caring ways. The lessons make use of artistic outlets and story-telling to help children both construct and learn language for asking about other families and talking about their own. The overarching goal of the lessons is to build classroom community by helping students see that where they come from is valued and respected, and that diverse families are a big part of what helps enrich our world.
Talking about our different families is one part of discussing and becoming comfortable with the richness of a diverse classroom. Other lessons around this theme include Quilting Our Diverse Classroom and Controversial Subjects in the Classroom.
There are also children’s books addressing issues involving different types of families, including but by no means limited to The Family Book by Todd Parr, In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen, and ABC: A Family Alphabet Book by Bobbie Combs.
Standard 1. Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
Standard 3. Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions.
Standard 8. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
Standard 9. Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.
Standard 10. Understands the characteristics and components of the media.
Standard 1. Understands and applies media, techniques and processes related to the visual arts.
Standard 5. Understands the characteristics and merits of one’s own artwork and the artwork of others.
Working With Others
Standard 1. Contributes to the overall effort of a group.
Standard 3. Works well with diverse individuals and in diverse situations.
Standard 4. Displays effective interpersonal communication skills.