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This family reunions unit study is based on three books: When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, and Emma Jo’s Song by Faye Gibbons. If you can’t find all three books, it’s okay. Some of the lessons will work with any book about family reunions.
Thanks to Michelle Light and Suzanne Stewart for preparing this family reunions unit study.
Family Reunions Unit Study Lessons
Here are a few sample lessons from the family reunions unit study:
Social Studies: Family Reunions
Discuss family reunions with your student. A family reunion is an event where a family can all reunite (come together) and visit with one another all at one time.
Social Studies/Language Arts: Family Traditions
Family traditions are associated with practices and beliefs which are handed over from one generation to the next generation. Discuss some of your family traditions with your student. Do you know when the traditions were started? Who started the tradition or why? Make a book together about your current family traditions. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. What is your favorite place to go as a family.
2. What is your family’s favorite meal? The meal may be traditional for holidays, birthdays, or other special occasions.
3. What is a favorite book your family likes to read together? Why is it a book your family enjoys?
4. Describe two family traditions. They may include holidays, vacations, birthdays, or other celebrations.
Language Arts: Writing Family Stories
Write and illustrate some of your family stories.
The older relatives at the family reunion took turns telling stories about their lives to the children. Gramma told about the first time she saw a flying machine (airplane). Aunt Adah told about the first time she rode in a car. Aunt Ivah told about the time she saw a rattle snake.
Craft: Make a Family Photo Album
“Aunt Bertha had gone to the house and fetched all the family portrait albums.”
What to do: Cut paper to form a small book. Sew or staple the paper together so the pages turn easily. Help your child paste pictures of family members and themselves in the paper book. Be sure to help your child write the names of the people in the photographs underneath each picture. Show your child how to decorate the cover of their photo album.
Project Idea: Create a Family Cookbook
Let your student ask various relatives to submit family favorite recipes so that she can compile a family cookbook. This will be a treasured keepsake!
Social Studies: Family Tree
Help your student construct a family tree.
Geography: Map Your Relatives!
Where did the relatives in this story come from? (Virginia). Show your student where his relatives come from. Then, put markers on your map indicating where various family members live. You may even want to make markers (cut small circles from extra family photos) and add them to your map. You may even want to ask some relatives to send your student a letter or postcard.
Math: Count and Graph Your Relatives
Make a list of all the relatives you can think of (cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.). Then, create a graph to organize and record your data. Which category has the most? Least? You may want to make two graphs (one for paternal relatives and one for maternal relatives). Your student can then use the two graphs to compare the two sides of his family. On which side are there more uncles? Cousins?
You can grab a copy of the entire Family Reunions unit study in an easy-to-print file at the end of this post.
Family Reunions Unit Study Printables
A few printables are included in the family reunions unit study:
- Five Fast Facts: Fireflies
Use this page to record facts about fireflies. This goes with a lesson from When Lightning Comes in a Jar.
- Venn Diagram
Use this page to compare and contrast the two stories: When Lightning Comes in a Jar and Emma Jo’s Song.
- Family Tree
Use this page to make a family tree.
- My Family Count and Graph
Tally your family members and graph them on the page provided.
- Copywork Stationery
This goes with the poem found in the unit study.
How to Get Started with the Family Reunions Unit Study
Follow these simple instructions to get started with the family reunions unit study.
- Buy or borrow the books used in this study: When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, and Emma Jo’s Song by Faye Gibbons.
- Print the family reunions unit study.
- Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
- Choose and prepare the printables you want to use with your student.
- Enjoy a week of family-filled learning with your student.
Download Your Family Reunion Unit Study and Printables
Simply click on the image below to access your free copy of the Family Reunions unit study.
More Family Themed Resources
Try these other unit studies that have a strong family theme.