Recently I have been teaching one of my sixth grade classes about family. The first lesson I did was all about vocabulary – mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, and cousin. I hate doing simple rote memorization with my kids because they turn comatose and stop paying attention. So, for this class I came up with the following game that was effective and enjoyable.
First, I made a big family tree using four pieces of construction paper. I made it as simple as can be (i.e. only one uncle and aunt, one brother and sister, etc.). Then I made two sets of cutouts of different family members from flashcards I got off of mes-english.com. On the blackboard I hung up the family tree and on either side of it I hung up the sets of cutouts.
The game was simply a race. The kids lined up into two teams at the back of the room and when I called out a vocabulary word, they had to race to the board, find the right cutout, and stick it to its appropriate spot on the family tree using a magnet.
The kids really enjoyed the game, and even better, by the end of it they all had a good handle on the vocabulary. I find that any kind of race game works well in elementary school and this was no different.
Tips: You should mark gender on your family tree with different shapes. For males I used blue squares and for females I used red circles.
Decorate your family tree. It will get a laugh from the kids, which might get them excited for the game. I gave each person I different hairstyle.