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Family Tree

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In this article, I'll talk about using Captur paddles to check students' understanding of the vocabulary of families and relatives. The article shows how you can create multiple-choice questions for materials that don't seem readily adaptable at first.

Many textbooks for English conversation contain some kind of family tree exercise or activity. This activity starts out with a blank family tree diagram.

First, copy the family tree diagram onto your board. The one in this picture is copied out of Out Front (Diem & Rabbinni, English Education Press), a book I'm using with two classes. This is Taro's family. In this diagram, circles are males, triangles are females, horizontal lines mean marriage, and vertical lines mean a parent/child relationship.

Tell your students to label their textbook's diagram with the right words for the family tree. (Alternatively, you could ask the students to copy the family tree off the board, especially if you've made changes to the one in their books.)

There are several ways to check their answers. I use more than one when I do this activity.

Which is Taro's wife?

Put Captur board magnets on four different people in the family tree diagram. Ask, "Which is Taro's ___?" Students answer by showing their Captur paddle. For example:

Teacher: Which is Taro's wife?


Teacher: Yes, the red one is his wife.

After the students answer, remove that magnet and put it onto a new person, so that there are always 4 options on the board.

Is that his nephew or his niece?

Put Captur board magnets off to the side of the diagram, and write a vocabulary word next to each one. For example:





Point to a person on the family tree diagram, and ask, "Who is this?" Students answer by showing their Captur paddle.


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  • Bill Pellowe said More...
    Ironically, the initial conversations... 6 years ago



May 21, 2016 at PanSIG Conference in Okinawa We're giving a demonstration of Captur paddles at the PanSIG conference in Okinawa. The conference dates are May 20-23, 2016; complete details are available on the PanSIG conference website.…