Lesson 1: My French brothers and sisters (free lesson)

Using language detective skills to match pictures and text to identify the words for brother and sister, using this information to match pictures, write short descriptive phrases to go with pictures and carry out a gap-fill exercise, to explain the numbers of brothers and sisters.

Learning objective

  • To recognise and use phrases to say if I have a brother or sister

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Read carefully and show understanding of simple writing
  • Speak in sentences using familiar vocabulary


KS2 Framework:

  • Choose phrases to write in a gapped text or as captions (L5.3)
  • Understand and use negatives (KAL)

Success criteria

  • I can match a phrase or sentence to a picture
  • I can recognise how some words change in a sentence
  • I can read and draw a picture to show my understanding

Cross-curricular links

  • Nothing relevant to this lesson

Before the lesson


This unit is about families and some consideration should be given before the lesson to any sensitivities there may be in your class around family and family trees. It may be a good idea to set the scene with some circle talk about relationships. You may want to refer to the lessons in  Kapow Primary, RSE and PSHE, KS2, Years 5 and 6′.

There are ways to make the subject less personal, for example by relating it to the period of history that is being studied or the class book that the children are reading.



  • Teacher video: Brothers and sisters
Teacher video: Brothers and sisters


  • Presentation: Key vocabulary and pronunciation

Presentation: Key vocabulary and pronunciation

Play the audio files to hear the words spoken in French

Have ready

  • Presentation: Siblings (see Attention grabber and Main event)





  • Activity: Siblings detective work (see Classroom resources) – one per table or group – cut up, so that the pictures and phrases make separate cards
  • Activity: Siblings (see Classroom resources) – one per pupil

Download classroom resources

Activity: Sibilings detective work
icon download
Activity: Siblings
icon download

Teacher knowledge - language points

1. Typographic ligatures

The word for ‘sister’ in French is spelt sœur. The presentation of the ‘o’ and ‘e’, partly merged together is called a typographic ligature (or ‘e dans l’o‘). It indicates that the ‘o’ and the ‘e’ are not pronounced separately (as in the English word co-exist, but a single sound.

It is not always possible to render the œ in every font, so the o and e often appear separately, as they do in this lesson and in the activities.

Do point out the ‘e dans l’o‘ to the children in passing as the ligature does appear in some other words, but it is more a matter of interest at this stage.


2. An only child

Je suis un fils unique – I am an only child (if a male is speaking), or I am an only son

Je suis une fille unique – I am an only child (if a female is speaking), or I am an only daughter

Je suis un enfant unique – I am an only child (gender neutral)

Attention grabber

This lesson is about teaching the words for brother and sister and learning how to say how many brothers and sisters you have or that you don’t have any. Rather than directly telling the children the words for brother (un frère) or a sister (une soeur), give the children a chance to work it out for themselves using their language detective skills.

Hand out to each table or other group, a set of cards from the Activity: Sibilings detective work, the cards being cut up beforehand so that the picture cards and text cards are separate. Give the children a few minutes to sort through the cards and phrases and see if they can match them together. As suggested in the Teacher video, Brothers and sisters, you may want to stretch your more able pupils by leaving out some of the phrases and see if they can work out what the phrases should be.

Ask the class for their ‘top tips’ for working out which card goes with which phrase. They should be looking for things like:

  • Number words (un, deux – one, two).
  • Clues to gender (un/une – a, an).
  • They should remember j’ai – I have, from previous lessons.
  • They should be familiar with negative structures (je n’ai pas).
  • The children may remember the word frère from the song Frère Jaques.



Once the children have had a go at sorting for themselves, show slide 2 of the Presentation: Siblings.


Presentation: Siblings

Show on your interactive whiteboard

Slide 2 shows just the phrases from the activity.  Read out or play the audio file for each phrase in turn (and in order), and ask the children to hold up the correct picture. Click the mouse for the correct phrase to appear. Make sure the children understand each one in turn.

The cards are great for practising the phrases out loud, and the children will be able to come up with snap or memory or other matching games to practise with, which will give you time to focus on any children who may need some extra help.






Main event

Give each child a copy of the Activity: Siblings.

This worksheet progresses in difficulty from:

1. From reading a caption and drawing a picture to match.

2. To writing a sentence to match the picture.

3. An extension task involving a gap-fill activity that needs a little more thinking and logic.


The children can work in pairs or individually and any fast- finishers, can begin to write their own sentence and draw a matching picture about a real, imagined, fictional or historical family.

When ready, go through the answers as a class, using slide 3 of the Presentation: Siblings.


Wrapping up

Quick draw Chinese whispers

Seat the children in rows and whisper one of the phrases from the lesson to one child from each row or team. Explain that they need to whisper this phrase along the row and then the last person has to stand up and draw the correct picture on a mini whiteboard.

During the week

  • Start each day by sharing an example of a French word or phrase that we ‘borrow’ in English without a translation, for example ‘unique’, ‘croissant’, ‘rendezvous’, ‘RSVP’.
  • Depending on the children in your class and circumstances, ask the question during register, Tu as des frères et soeurs ? – Do you have brothers or sisters? – children respond with details about their family.

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Correctly completing the gaps to match the pictures.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Quickly noticing patterns in word order to help with understanding and independently building original phrases and using ‘detective’ skills for additional new language.


To hear how these words are pronounced in French, listen to the Presentation: Key vocabulary and pronunciation


  • J’ai un frère – I have a brother

  • J’ai une sœur – I have a sister

  • J’ai deux frères - I have two brothers

  • J’ai deux sœurs - I have two sisters

  • J’ai un frère et une sœur - I have a brother and a sister.

  • Je n’ai pas de frère – I haven’t got a brother

  • Je n’ai pas de sœur – I haven’t got a sister

  • Je n’ai pas de frère ou de sœur - I haven't got a brother or a sister

  • J’ai une sœur mais je n’ai pas de frère - I have a sister but I don't have a brother

  • Je suis fils unique – I am an only child (boy)

  • Je suis fille unique – I am an only child (girl)

Created by:
Belinda Dean,  
Languages specialist
Belinda is a French and Spanish teacher as well as a trainer for Network for Languages at Bath Spa University for the last seven years, delivering courses for teachers and PGCE students, and Expert Centre co-ordinator for the Global Learning…
Find out more
save content as pdf file
save content as word file