French Level 1, Activity 08: Mon arbre généalogique / Family Tree (Face-to-Face)

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Please Note: Many of our activities 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. 

Family Tree / Mon arbre généalogique


In this activity, students will have the opportunity to draw and share their family tree with the group and practice identifying the family members of specific trees. Students will also learn how to describe their family and their genealogy across multiple generations.

Semantic Topics

Family, family tree, mom, dad, brother, sister, la famille, arbre généalogique, mère, père, frère, sœur, conjugations of Être, conjugaisons du verbe Être


Family structure; immediate family: mother(s), father(s), brother(s), sister(s), guardian(s), etc., extended family:  (cousin(s), aunt(s), uncle(s), grandparent(s), etc.


Spending time together, "weekend en famille",  spending holidays and big events together, time at the table with family


Family is extremely important in French culture; many families make it a priority to make time for their families, to spend time with their families, and to help each other out as a family regardless of your family structure.

  • In American culture, youth is widely valued over age, a feat which can be noted through our beauty industry and the countless products created to keep us looking youthful. How might family relations look in a country where age is valued over youth?

NCSSFL-ACTFL World-Readiness Standards

  • Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations or correspondence in French to provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Standard 1.2: Students understand and interpret spoken and written French on a variety of topics.
  • Standard 2.1: Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the cultures of the francophone world

Idaho State Content Standards

  • COMM 1.1: Interact and negotiate meaning (spoken, signed, written conversation) to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions. 
  • COMM 2.1: Understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.
  • CLTR 1.1: Analyze the cultural practices/patterns of behavior accepted as the societal norm in the target culture.
  • CLTR 1.2: Explain the relationship between cultural practices/behaviors and the perspectives that represent the target culture’s view of the world.

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements

  • I can identify members of a family tree and describe their relationships. 
  • I can introduce my family members and their relationship to me. 
  • I can recognize peoples' names and titles when they are introduced.

Materials Needed

Would you like to make changes to the materials? Access the template below:


1. Begin by introducing the Can-Dos for today’s activity and laying out the “Family Tree Cards” on the table. 

Aujourd'hui nous allons parler de nos familles. Premièrement, nous allons identifier certains membres de famille sur l'arbre généalogique. Après, nous allons dessiner les arbres généalogiques de nos familles et les partager avec le groupe. (Today we are going to talk about our families. First, we are going to identify members of certain family trees. After, we will draw our family trees and share them with the group.)

2.  Choose one of the Family Tree Cards (we have provided an example of the Royal Family Tree, but you can find/create your own) and hold it up. Take the part of one of the members and ask the group questions about your family members. For example, if you are using the Royal Family Tree, say "If I am Charles, who is my wife? Who is Prince Harry?" 

Maintenant, je vais vous montrer une fiche et vous allez répondre aux questions. Si je suis Charles, qui est ma femme ? Qui est Prince Harry ? (Now, I am going to show you a card and you will answer the questions. If I am Charles, who is my wife ? Who is Prince Harry ?)

3. Continue doing this with other members of the family trees. You can also have students practice by choosing a Family Tree Card, taking a part of a family member and asking the group questions.

Main Activity

1. Give each student a white board and wet erase marker.
2.  Tell your students:

Maintenant, nous allons dessiner nos arbres généalogiques. Partagez au moins 7 personnes dans votre famille...même les animaux domestiques ! Vous pouvez dessiner votre arbre comme vous voulez. Voici des exemples. (Show your students a Family Tree Example that they can copy.) (Now we are going to draw our family trees. Share at least 7 people in your family ... even pets. You can draw your tree however you want. Here are some examples.) 

3. Give the students about 5 minutes to draw their family tree. (You may also choose to have students draw each other's trees. Instead of presenting their family, they could present their partner's family.

4. After, go around the group and have each student share their family tree.

5. Use this model for an example: 

  1. Introduce family tree.
    Voici mon arbre généalogique.
  2. Introduce grandparents.
    Mes grands-parents de la famille de mon père sont John et Margie. Mes grands-parents de la famille de ma mère sont William et Mary.
  3. Introduce parents
    Mes parents sont Jeff et Anne.
  4. Introduce yourself and siblings
    Je suis Sam. J'ai deux frères, Jacob et Anthony. J'ai une sœur qui s'appelle Julia.
  5. Introduce any other family members
    Ma tante s'appelle Molly et mon oncle s'appelle Steven. J'ai trois cousins, Catherine, Paul et Brian. Mon chien s'appelle Toby.

6. Continue going around and having the students share.


Ask the following questions to finish the activity: 

1. Qui est ton membre de famille préféré ? (Who are your family members?)

2. Décrivez tes membres de famille. (Describe your family members)

Cultural Notes

Much of family time in France is spent at the table. Gathering at the table and sharing a meal is a very important part of French culture, and very important in general to French families. Conversations and quality time between families is often spent at the table - whether that is between immediate families during the weekday after a day of work/school, or on the weekend/during holidays with extended family.

End of Activity:

  • Can-Do statement check-in... “Where are we?”
  • Read can-do statements and have students evaluate their confidence.
  • Encourage students to be honest in their self-evaluation
  • Pay attention, and try to use feedback for future activities!

NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements:

  • I can identify members of a family tree and describe their relationships. 
  • I can introduce my family members and their relationship to me. 
  • I can recognize peoples' names and titles when they are introduced.

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