Family Tree- English Template, Novice Mid

Please Note: Many of the activities on the Pathways Project OER Repository were created by upper-division students at Boise State University and serve as a foundation that our community of practice can build upon and refine. While they are polished, we welcome and encourage collaboration from language instructors to help modify grammar, syntax, and content where needed. Kindly contact with any suggestions and we will update the content in a timely manner.  — The Pathways Project

For an Spanish version of this activity, CLICK HERE

About the Boise State World Languages Resource Center (WLRC) Language Activity Repository

The activities provided by the Boise State World Languages Resource Center (WLRC) serve as foundational activities which can be adapted by any language and scaled up or down on the proficiency scale. Many of these activities offer an English Version that is “language-agnostic” to provide language instructors from around the country a platform to remix these instructional materials, infusing them with their target language and culture! The activities within the Pathways Project OER Repository seek to help students solidify their interpersonal speaking and interpretive skills through task-based situations or communicative activities. These activities should be facilitated in the target language for approximately 90% (or more), per the recommendation of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

How to use the WLRC Repository’s Activities:

1. Use the Activity as is:

Before you begin:

  • Most activities are 30 minutes in duration, unless otherwise specified.
  • Be sure to read through the activity description, and review the list of required materials. You will notice that the activity materials are also highlighted in yellow throughout the activity instructions.

If you have any suggestions about grammar, syntax, and content, please kindly contact

2. Remix for Your Language Classroom:

When you are ready to begin remixing the activity, in order to adapt it for the needs of your language classroom, simply click the blue “Remix This Resource” button at the top of your screen. This will then take you to a screen with a NEW, editable version of this activity. The text provided in purple is a suggestion of what you might say to your students in the target language, and may be altered for different levels and age groups. All activities have “NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do” statements, a warm-up, a main activity, and a wrap-up.

Many of the activities include printable cards and other instructional materials such as Google Slideshows. If you would like to make changes to these materials for your language, follow the instructions below:

  • Google Slideshows:
    • To begin, go to File -> Copy to create an editable version of the slideshow.
    • Once finished with your changes, please complete the following steps to share:
    • Click on Share
    • Who Has Access
    • Ensure link sharing is on and allow external access.
  • Materials Saved as PDF: Please email and we will provide you with an editable copy. Please allow up to two business days for a response. For YouTube videos and other websites, hyperlinks are provided. 

Family Tree


Students will be able to recognize family member classifications (i.e. abuela=grandma), describe family members, and accurately use vocabulary related to families. They will need to acquire information about another individual’s family and will practice describing their own family members. They will need to acquire information about a classmate’s family and they will practice describing that classmate’s family members.

Proficiency Level:

Novice Mid


Family, family tree, famous, famous families, family members, description, vocabulary 

NCSSFL-ACTFL World-Readiness Standards:

  • Standard 1.1 - Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Standard 1.2 - Students understand and interpret spoken and written (target language)  on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 1.3 - Students present information, concepts, and ideas in (target language)  to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 4.2 - Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons between (target culture) and their own.

Idaho State World Language Standards:

  • COMM 1.1: Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.
  • COMM 1.2 : Explain the relationship between cultural practices/behaviors and the perspectives that represent the target culture’s view of the world.
  • CLTR 1.1: Analyze the cultural practices/patterns of behavior accepted as the societal norm in the target culture.
  • CONN 1.2: Relate information studied in other subjects to the target language and culture.

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can ask and answer questions about the members of my family and ask about someone else's family
  • I can describe the characteristics of someone
  • In my own and other cultures, I can identify whom people consider to be part of their family 

Materials Needed:

To edit materials, make an editable copy, then edit the copy

Whiteboards & Markers

Famous Family Trees (find some that you like and print them off for your class) 

Google Slideshow 


  1. Begin by opening the Google Slideshow and introducing the Can-Do Statements

  2. Split your students into groups of 2-3 and give each group a famous family tree.
    “We are going to divide into groups of 2-3. Each group is going to have a family tree.” 

  3. Have the students in their groups/partners discuss the relationships of the family tree in Spanish. 
  4. “Please talk in Spanish. In your groups talk about the relationship of the family in the family tree you all have.”
  5. Example: "_______ is the mother of _____. 
  6. Have each group present the family tree to the entire lab. When presenting to the entire lab, have students choose three characters and describe them. 

    “Please present the family relationships of your family tree. Who is the mom of who? Who is the son or daughter of who? Also, you all should choose three people and describe them.”

    Example: “Marge is the mom of Maggie, Bart and Lisa. She is intelligent.” (The  Simpson Family)

Main Activity

1. Give each student a whiteboard and a marker. 
(Optional modification: This website has a user friendly family tree generator that would be a great option for use with laptops and doesn’t limit the space like a whiteboard would.)

2. Have the students work in partners. Make sure students interview each other and not just write out their own family tree. 

"You all are going to do an interview about your families. You are not going to write your own family tree, but you are going to write the family tree of your partner. You need to ask questions such as: Do you have a brother?”

3. Take time to model what you want the students to do with a student. 

For example, if I was this person (gesture to a student), I can ask them “How many brothers and sisters do you have? Do you have aunts and uncles?” And I am going to draw the family tree of my partner.

4. After 5-10 minutes (depending on the length of the activity), students will switch roles and create the family tree of the other partner. 
After some minutes, you all are going to change roles to do the family tree of the other partner.

5. After making the family tree of their partner, each person has to tell the group one thing about their partner's family. 

You have to share something about the family of your partner. For example, “My partner has 10 brothers and doesn’t have any cousins.”

6. Now, the students will turn to their partners again and ask about characteristics of their family members. For example, students can ask "What is your mom like?" 

Now, you need to talk about the characteristics of your family with your partner. For example, ask: “What is your mom like?” And the partner can answer: :My mom is very tall and brunette. She is also very nice and loves to run.

7. After taking turns describing different family members, the instructor can go around with each student and have them share one of the family members and their description.

Now I am going to ask each of you about one of the members of your family and you need to describe them. 

8. If time permits, the instructor can have the students ask them about their family and draw out their family tree as the students ask them questions. The instructor can also have students ask them to describe a family member. 
Now you all can ask me questions about my family and I am going to draw my family tree using your questions. After, you all can ask me questions about my family and I will describe them.


Ask students following discussion questions to talk about in their groups:

 In your culture, who do you consider part of your family?

 In other cultures, who do they consider part of their family?

End of lab:

• Read Can-Do statements once more and have students evaluate their confidence with a comprehension check
Examples of comprehension checks: 
     • Thumbs up/sideways/down
     • Emojis to represent how students feel about their Can-Do statements

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can ask and answer questions about the members of my family and ask about someone else's family
  • I can describe the characteristics of someone
  • In my own and other cultures, I can identify whom people consider to be part of their family 

Return to top