My Grandpa Marches on Anzac Day: Recognizing Anzac Day is an important part of my program each year and needs to be planned and delivered to young children with sensitivity. Using picture story books is the most appropriate way to encourage discussion.
This is a wonderful picture story book which I use every year. The wonderful illustrations inspire our display. This year two children drew a large portrait of an Anzac soldier with other students painting. We made poppies in our classroom with my student’s Grandparents or special friend who visited school last week. My students then placed their poppies with their special adult onto our display.
One Minute’s Silence: This picture story book is new to me. I decided to use this book as a mentor text for a piece of writing. The children were given the heading ‘In one minute’s silence … I’ve chosen a few to share here but each student’s response was very special!
These are rough drafts. My students are responsible for correcting their writing. If required, I will model back their whole piece of writing. Yes, it takes time, but the author needs to have control and ownership at all times.
My school is an International Baccalaureate (IB – Primary Years Program) school. Every year we commemorate ANZAC Day in Australia and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to link the Learner Profile and attributes of the IB authentically into our curriculum. I teach young learners so I’m always looking for picture story books to help my students understand what this day is about.
This year I’ve gone back to explicitly teaching the IB Learner Profile and attitudes. Reflecting with my students on the profile and attitudes when relevant has become part of our school day. N.B. I’m not teaching the Learner Profile and attitudes as I did five years ago when I segmented the Learner Profile into parts and focused on each part whilst trying to grasp what an IB curriculum is really about. If you are an IB teacher you’ll know what I mean. The Learner Profile was initially something to ‘hang my hat on’ back then as I unpacked the elements of a program of inquiry and what being an IB teacher meant. Now the Learner Profile and attributes are lived and naturally discussed by my students.
I’ve come along way as an IB teacher, because I now know what I don’t know and also now know the next part of my journey. Phew!
This year I started building a display with my students showing the Learner Profile and attitudes.
Photo 1– The beginning.
Photo 2– March
Sticky notes will now be used to record (as we’re learning) anything which relates to the Learner Profile and attributes. My students have started inquiring about ANZAC Day and our thoughts/new understandings will be placed on our display with connections made to the attitudes and profile.
Once again, I’m using the wonderful picture story book My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day by Catriona Hoy and Ben Johnson as my launch story. I’ve included prior student’s responses to this book in this post. Their Anzac portraits are beautiful.
This year our inspiration has once again come from this picture story book.
Activity: Two of my students have drawn the outline for our Anzac portrait inspired by the portrait photos in the book. Other students have painted our Anzac soldier. We haven’t finished and have just began our display which will include a grandparent’s precious items she acquired from a visit to Gallipoli.
Photo: The start of our display. A very large portrait (now in base colors) which will have a grey background and painted bright red poppies. My students and I aren’t quite sure how our portrait will come together but it will!
I’ll keep you posted.
Our children stop for one minute to pay respect to all involved in war. These young children listen to a poem read over the school speakers but what does it mean to them. Were my students in previous years connecting to the poem? I think not!
This year I wanted these young students to connect to what they were listening to and understand why they were buying poppies.
The Ode comes from For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon and was published in London in The Winnowing Fan: Poems of the Great War in 1914. This verse, which became the Ode for the Returned and Services League, has been used in association with commemoration services in Australia since 1921.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
My 6, 7 and 8 year old students listened to me read the Ode and then as a grade we unpacked the vocabulary. They shared their ideas about the meaning of the verse with each other and returned to their table groups to have another opportunity to talk about the meaning of the verse. Roaming and listening to their conversations was amazing. I never underestimate this age group. Their ability to think beyond their years when given the opportunity and material is amazing.
The task: A written response to explain what the Ode means to them.
My students are responsible for editing their writing. They have their ‘have a go’ spelling books, a spelling strategy that I encourage all teachers to use. The ‘have a go’ strategy book becomes a personal dictionary for my students.
I’ve included samples of my student’s responses (some are still editing) from each age groups and levels in the grade. Their perception and empathy is wonderful. Deep levels of comprehension: What do you think?
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.
Source: ANZAC Day – Australian War Memorial Website
Next week we have a public holiday for ANZAC day in Australia. Our Prep children have been learning about the significance of this day. They have read and discussed picture story books about ANZAC day. One famous story read to the children was Simpson and his donkey. The children drew a directed picture of Simpson. Basically the children copy each line I do on my paper which will form their picture. I use directional language for this task. Their pictures are very individual and stunning.
Prep (5 Year Olds) pastel pictures:
One of my students went home to teach her family how to draw Simpson. They were amazed! I love the way the student chose different colors for the background. Picture below: