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English Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 4

Harry and the Anzac Poppy

Read to the students Harry and the Anzac Poppy by John Lockyer [available from the National Library service].

  • What was the family secret?
  • Where was the western front?
  • What were the eggs that the plane might drop?
  • Which were sayings made up in the war eg. walking wounded, marching orders, single file. What do they mean?
  • What were the hardships described?
  • What do you notice about the illustrations?
  • Why do you think the illustrator used this technique?
  • What is the significance of the poppy?
  • How do you think Harry felt at the end of the story?

Teacher model:

  • A keyhole (RTF 410KB) response to the story
  • A Fact File based on the important events from the story

The Bantam and the Soldier

Read The Bantam and the Soldier by Jennifer Beck. Discuss the cover and the pictures. Read to the students the author's and illustrator's comments about their own families' experiences.
Following the reading ask the students:

  • Why was it called the Great War?
  • Why was the bantam alone?
  • Why did the other soldiers tease Arthur?
  • What made Arthur call his bantam Bertha?
  • What is a lucky mascot? Why do you think Bertha became their mascot?
  • What did Bertha give the soldiers?
  • How do you know that she gave them this?
  • Where did Arthur leave Bertha?

Teacher model a story map. Students complete a story map for the story.
Choose one of the characters from the story, for example the bantam. Brainstorm with the students the 'life of the bantam'. What might its story be? Teacher models diary writing. Refer to writing example.

Exploring similarities and differences

Discuss with the students what are the similarities/differences between stories. Students working in pairs select two of the stories and complete a Venn diagram

Share with other groups in a sharing circle.

Look at a picture(s) of a war memorial. What is it? Do we have one in .....? Where? Why do we have a memorial? Who made these memorials? What is the reason for having the memorials? What is written on a memorial? Are there other places that remember people who were in wars? eg. Roll of Honour at clubs, etc.
Arrange a visit to the local War Memorial and the RSA. Interview people about the war. Invite local war veterans from World War 2 to talk to the students.

Close Reading / Shared Reading

In 1934 M. Kemal Ataturk the Turkish leader wrote a tribute to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli:
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us. Where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... You mothers', who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away the tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace after having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.
How do you think this made the mothers of the fallen feel? New Zealanders who visit Turkey, especially Anzac Cove are made to feel very welcome. Even though they were enemies in the war, why do you think this is so now?

World War 1 songs

Listen to world_war1 (RTF 17KB) from World War 1. Compare the sentiments. Why are some songs cheerful? Do they make going to war sound exciting? Why? Look at other anti-war songs. What are their writers saying? Why do you think the songs are different? What were the reasons behind writing these songs.
Play Eric Bogle's anti-war song And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda. Listen to it several times.

Shared Reading

Use a copy of the words of And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda to help the children focus on the words. Read the song and discuss each verse. What is the author telling us in each verse, eg. what concepts is the author exploring?
 * Where did he sail?
 * Why was he sent there?
 * What happened in Suvla Bay?
 * Who were the people involved?
 * How long did he say he managed to stay alive?
 * What had happened to him?
 * When did it happen?
 * Why were the Johnny Turks fighting?
 * Why did the writer use Waltzing Matilda as part of his song?
Read the following poems:

Ode to the Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Read each verse and discuss the meaning.
 o Why is England compared to a mother?
 o What is the poet asking us to do?
 o Why do you think this poem is used in Anzac Day services?
Give the children copies of the poem. These can be placed in their reading or poetry book and illustrated. Discuss and find the meanings of weary, condemn, mourns, desolation, sorrow, mingle, comrades, immortal spheres, straight of limb etc.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

Read the poem and discuss what is the message. Ask students what pictures/images they see in their mind when they listen to the poem. How does it make them feel? Give the children copies of the poem. These can be placed in their reading or poetry book and illustrated. Examine the language used in the poem.

Look at the unusual words and discuss quarrel, foe, break faith, amid, etc.
Revisit the questions used in the thumbs up/thumbs down activity. Repeat the questions. Ask the students at the end of the unit if they have changed their minds about any of their earlier statements. If so, why? Do they think it is important to remember and commemorate Anzac Day? Why? Why not?

Assessment Task

Write a diary for a soldier at Gallipoli. Imagine you are a soldier at Gallipoli.
 * Decide on your age, where you are from, what made you enlist, what you did before the war.
 * How you felt when you sailed away.
 * Begin with day one - the landing.
 * Describe the shelling, the shooting, the reactions of others around you, digging the trenches
 * Describe your first impressions of Gallipoloi.
 * Describe your daily routine. What is your life like?
 * How do you feel about he war? How do you feel about your family at home?
 * How do you feel about life in the trenches, the Turks?
Brainstorm and share your ideas with a partner.
Write a draft diary about a week in your daily life.
Read and share your work with a friend. Edit, proof read and publish.

Published on: 21 May 2009