Family Reunion Day

Here is a story we want you to imagine. At a recent family reunion, everyone sat around looking and talking about pictures in old photo albums. An uncle told everyone about how your class is using computers and the Internet to find pictures and information about what was happening in history at the time that many of the pictures were taken. Your relatives have asked that you use these new tools to serve as the "historian" for the family. They would like you to gather information about the history of your people before the next reunion.

When you brought this information to school, your teacher decided to use this for a class project so that each child could make his/her own family reunion presentation. As a class, you need to select the most important things to describe about families. Think about where people live, where their relatives lived, and what parts of people's lives are based on traditions from their ancestors and which are more a result of where they live today.

View Teacher Notes

The Task

Each person in the class should be prepared to give a report at the next family reunion about the history of his/her family and individual people in the family. To learn how to do this we will make up a class family and write about it as a group. We will write the words together on the computer and large screen TV after we find information on the Internet, talk to guests, read books, draw pictures, and create projects. What does a family need to live? What is part of their environment? Where can we find information about this? We need to include pictures and graphics to make our report more interesting for our relatives.

After we complete our class report, each student, or pair of students will create their own family report and present this report to the class before taking it to their family reunion.

The Process

Together, our class will....


  1. Decide on a family name for our class unit. Create the entire family with representatives from several generations. You may have children, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, and grandparents.
  2. List on the board all things that make up a feeling of family and home, including traditions like holidays, celebrations, and special foods. Also include the roles or jobs that different family members perform.
  3. Decide where the class family lives - are they in a city or in the country? What is the weather like? What kind of clothing does the family wear?
  4. Look at Internet sites that have family histories or information about the people in the class family. Explore areas that may have weather information, pictures of land, and other people who live in similar situations.
  5. Decide what words, pictures, etc. would be best to put in the family reunion report. Make sure you discuss the thinking process when you look for specific items of information.
  6. Write a whole class report that has at least:
    • five pictures from the Internet
    • three individually drawn pictures (Kid Pix Studio, hand draw, etc.)
    • oral or written family history to go along with the pictures
  7. Create a project or craft to show at the family reunion. This hands-on project might be to make clothing, food, toys, games, maps, dioramas, etc., that show something that is part of the class family's past.


Learning Advice

It will be important to consider all aspects of your classroom family's culture. You will need to include homes, location, customs, stories, food, and daily life. Imagine yourself living in this family and write, draw, and talk about what you would be saying if you were there at this instant.

It is important to give ...


This will be self evaluated, based on your individual effort. A sample rubric is included in the teacher section.


How could you add the information that you have just learned to your daily life to make you and others around you more aware of the diversity in our world?

What is our part in the world community?


With your class, talk about how your life today is similar to or different from the person you wrote about.

What or who helped you with this information the most?

If you did this again, what type of information would you like to find on the Internet?

Teacher Notes

Grade Level/Unit:

H/SS Content Standards:
2.1 Students differentiate between those things that happened long ago and yesterday by:
1.tracing the history of a family through the use of primary and secondary sources including artifacts, photographs, interviews, and documents


2.comparing and contrasting their daily lives with those of parents and grandparents
3.placing important events in their lives in the order in which they occurred

Your purpose is to model a whole class project, the research process and to give your class background in at least one culture. Students will then create their own project.

The class project will take four hours, the student projects the same amount, depending on class time available.

Lots of books and off-line resources should be used before beginning this lesson. Classroom visits by grandparents, tribal elders or other appropriate guests would enrich the learning experience. Videos and photographs as well as individual stories and fables will contribute to the project. Students will need writing and art materials, along with a computer for Kid PixÅ Studio or another similar graphic program for children.

Interdisciplinary Connection:
Your project might also include pictures and crafts or dances and songs which could be used to teach specific visual and performing arts by and about a historical period.

Adaptation for Special Needs:
Partnering students, videos, picture books, and cross age tutors will enhance this project for children with special needs. Also, using Kid Pix, children can speak their report rather than writing it.

Sample Rubric:
Three (3) will mean you have done ALL the work to the best of your ability.
Two (2) will mean you have done MOST of the work to the best of your ability.
One (1) will mean you have done NONE of the work to the best of your ability.

Did you do the very best that you could, finding at least one idea that was unique? Score: ____________
Did you work hard, enjoy the project, and feel good about what you completed? Score: ____________
Did you contribute your part of the project? Score: ____________
Did you finish your work on time? Score: ____________
Does your artwork fit into the project? Score: ____________

Overall score ____________

Written by: Raleigh Conner
School: Pacific Union School, Arcata, CA 95521