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5th & 6th Divorce Lesson

This is a lesson I adapted as part of my coursework in graduate school.

Grade Level:       5th & 6th (Small group)


Topic:                   Divorce


Materials:           Classroom with large amount of open space for family mapping

    Laminated cut-outs of “Family Members” – at least two adult women, two adult men, two

    boys, and two girls – with velcro attached to stick to velcro board

    Velcro board


    “Kinds of Families” worksheet



Objectives:        1. To help children understand that there are many types of families

   2. To help children identify some of the stressors involved in living in two homes

                      3. For counselor(s) to gain insight about problems or issues each child may be experiencing


Activities:          1. Introduction

   Say, “There are many different kinds of families in  our world.  Let’s see how many kinds we

   can think of”.  Ask children to volunteer what members make up one type of family. 

   Use laminated “Family Members” and velcro board to display these for the class.


               2. Family Mapping Activity

  Say, “Today we are going to learn about each of your families by doing an activity called

  Family Mapping.”  Explain generally what family mapping is to the group – the

  students will create a picture of what they’re family looks like using their fellow class

  members.  Ask for a volunteer to go first.  Walk this student through the process,

  asking questions such as, “Who are all the members of your family?”, “Where do all

  those members live?”, “Where would you put each of them in relation to yourself?”,

  “Where would you put them in relation to each other?”.  Use dolls if there are

  not enough students to be family members


 3. Discussion

 Once the student is satisfied with their family map, as  them questions such as:

A.         Is there anything you would change? (Student can physically make changes to family map)

B.         How does seeing the completed family map make you feel?  How did you feel while putting it together?

C.         Do you like living in your house, or would you rather live with your other parent? (How would this change the family map?)

D.         Are you feeling like you are a messenger between the two houses?

E.         Does one parent try to find out information about the other from you?  How does this feel?  What do you do?

                             F.   Who decided on this visitation schedule?  Does it seem fair? 

G.         Does one parent say bad or untrue things about the other parent?  What do you say?

H.         Is it hard for you to adjust to one house after spending time in the other?  Would the family map change if you were at the other house?

I.           How does your family share you on holidays?  How does that make you feel?

                            Repeat the process with each student.  Depending on the size of the group, this may

                            need to be done over two sessions.


4. Conclusion

Distribute the “Kinds of Families” worksheet.  Leader will read it aloud.  The group

members will reflect on the family map for each student and help each other identify

the types of family with whom they live.  More than one for each person may be

named (ex. “divorced” and “extended”).


** Alternative Activity:      

                           For younger children, use crayons and paper to draw families in two separate houses,
                           rather than doing family map.  Then, omit the closing activity.