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Unit 7: Family celebrations

Day Two: Describing family members


Students will be able to describe family members (using appropriate possessive constructions), tell their age and their name, and describe a characteristic.

Setting the Stage (5-10 minutes)

Teacher will describe the role of family life in the target language (TL) culture.

Input (15-20 minutes)

Teacher will show a series of pictures of a large family and describe each member by name, role in family, age and personal characteristic. Include stepfather, step-mother, step-brother, half-brother, etc.

Teacher will write on board or overhead transparency, in the TL as well as in the appropriate translation, possessives in context as they are used in the description. For example:

My brother…your brother…his brother…her brother…our brother…their brother
My sister…your sister…his sister…her sister…our sister…their sister
My brothers/sisters…your brothers/sisters, etc.

Teacher will check for comprehension and will make sure that students are engaged by asking yes/no, either/or, who/what/how-old, and what-is-he-or-she-like questions throughout the presentation. Teacher will point to appropriate possessives in asking these questions and in accepting the students' answers.

Guided Practice (20 minutes)

Students read, first silently then aloud with a partner, in the TL, a description of an extended family that the teacher has prepared ahead of time.

EXAMPLE (Teacher translates into TL and inserts names appropriate to TL culture)

--I love to look at family photos. Let's look at yours.

--Okay, that would be fun! Here's a photo of my grandparents. They are happy in this picture. They are celebrating 50 years of marriage. This is a photo of my father and mother. They are both 41 years old. My father is strict. My mother is really intelligent. Here's a photo of my uncle and aunt. My uncle is the brother of my mother. He is really funny. My aunt is his wife. She's really nice. The tall boy standing next to my aunt is their son. He is my cousin.

--Wow, he's really nice-looking!

--Yes, but he can be mean once in a while. The little girl holding the cat is their daughter. She is also my cousin. She's funny like her father.

--How old is she?

--I think she's around 9 in this picture. Here's a picture of me when I was little. I'm cute, don't you think? I think I was around two years old then. This is a picture of my older sister. She is 12 years old in this picture. Now, she's 18 years old.

--Do you get along with your sister?

--Most of the time. But once in a while she's difficult. Here's a picture of my aunt from my father's side. She's holding her cat. She also has two dogs. Do you have brothers or sisters?

--No, I'm the only child in my family.

--Ha, you are so lucky!

Students, with their partner, draw pictures as illustrations of the dialog they just read and write captions below their pictures. Finally, the student pairs share their illustrations and captions with other classmates.

Independent Practice (30 or more minutes)

Students go to the Internet and find two samples of popular or well-known families. Such families can be from television, from the movies, from cartoons, etc. Students download several illustrations of these families (e.g. the Simpsons, the Addams Family). Students write descriptions of each member of the family with common adjectives like:


Closure (2-5 minutes)

Students, with a classmate, talk about one unusual member of their family.

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