The Family Tree ESL project is a well-known activity in which students create their own family tree and present it to the class.
You will need a piece of A3 paper for each student. You may also want to provide coloured pens and pencils.
Tip: With kids, set a homework activity beforehand to collect information (and photos) about their family.
- Students draw their family tree as a poster on the paper. As well as names, they could also include other information like age, place of birth, hobbies etc. Particularly with kids, encourage them to be artistic and include pictures/photos if they want to.
- Students present their finished family trees to the class, explaining relationships using the target language. Depending on their level, they should also give extra descriptive information about each person (nicknames etc.).
- As an extension, get students to ask and answer questions about the family tree that has just been presented.
The finished family trees could make a great wall display or take-home piece, especially for younger students.
Doing the Family Tree ESL project is designed for practising family vocabulary with beginner students. Students’ explanations should include language like My mum’s sister (my aunt) has two children. They are my cousins, Ricardo and Maria.
Doing a presentation like this is great for developing students’ confidence and fluency as it uses a subject they know well. You could also introduce vocabulary for describing people and sports and hobbies if you ask students to include that information.
Because of the artistic element, this project works especially well with kids. If you’re looking for something more adult-oriented, try My Family (in which students present a slideshow of family photos). And if just presenting a family tree is a little too basic, try Family Tree Dictation as an alternative.
Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.