The Corner explores my family tree
Using Collecting Colour by Kylie Dunstan as a literary launching pad, this activity will see children and parents working together to construct their own family tree illustrating things they have learned from each member of their family.
‘Family’ and ‘Kinship’ is very important in Torres Strait Islander culture. It determines one’s identity, totem and role within the community. Bloodlines also determine land ownership and sea boundaries; each family member plays an important role in passing on and maintaining Torres Strait Islander culture.
Relationships, genealogy and family learning
Family tree template
A prototype of the finished product
Introduce and read the book Collecting Colour by Kylie Dunstan. In the book, Olive’s Mum and Aunty take Olive and her best friend Rose out to collect materials to weave baskets.
Explain the purpose of a family tree and show children the family tree activity and the finished prototype.
- Like Olive and Rose, what sort of things do you do with members of your family?
- Do you do things like gardening, cooking or play sports?
Step 2: Identifying family members and their roles
Using the family tree prototype, children can construct their own family tree drawing each member of their family – illustrating or writing down something they have done together.
Explain that all families are different in some way – you could have all brothers and no sisters, pets or even friends that make up your family. If you have boxes that don’t apply to your family you can leave them blank or include your friends, pets, aunties, uncles and cousins.
- What are things you have learned from members in your family?
- What about your Grandma, Grandpa, aunts or uncles?
Step 3: Decorate
Once all their family members have been drawn, ask children to complete their family tree by drawing their own tree around the boxes constructing their own tree trunk, leaves and branches.
- What is something your family can learn from you?
- Encourage children to decorate their charts by drawing branches, leaves and tree trunks.
- Ask children to extend their family tree, talking to their family about who came before them and what they learned from them.
Last updated: 8th July 2013
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