Family Tree Dictation

In the Family Tree Dictation ESL activity, students have to draw a family tree based only on the description of their partner.

Students for Family Tree Dictation ESL Activity:2+Time for Family Tree Dictation ESL Activity:15-25 mins
Resources for Family Tree Dictation ESL Activity:

If they haven’t already done it in a previous activity (e.g. Family Tree), students will first need to draw their own family tree in their notebook.

Assign each student a partner who doesn’t already know their family tree. Sit the partners opposite each other.

  1. Students describe their family tree to their partner. The partner has to draw that family tree in their notebook.
  2. However, the partner cannot at any point look at the original family tree. They have to try and draw it using only what they hear.
  3. Encourage the student listening to use questions to ensure their information is complete. For example, Do you have any cousins?
  4. When they have finished, they compare the original tree and their drawing to see how similar they are.
  5. The students swap roles and repeat.
Target Language

The Family Tree Dictation ESL activity is a great way to practise speaking and listening with family vocabulary. It is ideal as an extension for beginner students after they draw their own family tree, and is often a better choice for adult students than the full Family Tree project.

For a similar activity in which students write the information instead of dictating it, try Family Tree Fill-In. They could do that activity instead of this one, or in addition to it, with a different partner.

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