Monday, October 27, 2014

We stand on guard for thee…..

Planning for Remembrance Day ceremonies is underway in many Alberta schools. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the main concern in this planning process was in making the ceremony relevant. Unfortunately and sadly, in the past ten years, international and Canadian current events have reminded us once again of the need for, and the high cost of, maintaining peace abroad and at home.  The peace process, the history of our world wars and modern conflicts, as well as the changing nature of ‘war’ helps set the context for ‘remembering’.   

There are many resources that can help classroom teachers in preparing their students for Remembrance Day – and not just as a ceremony. Selecting these resources and planning for their best use in the classroom is made easier through the Remembers special edition page.

For example, Veterans Affairs Canada has excellent resources for educators, including downloadable videos, historical fact sheets, booklets and suggested activities for all grade levels -“provided to help ensure that the torch of Remembrance continues to burn brightly in the hearts of all Canadians.”  

The National Film Board provides Images of a Forgotten War - a rich and unique collection of more than 120 historical films, images and essays from WWI. 

Another resource, the Over the Top Interactive Game allows intermediate students to experience life in the trenches during the First World War. Part history and part adventure story, Over the Top allows players to determine the outcome of the story by making decisions at key moments.

Also for students is a CBC: A Wounded Soldier multimedia presentation - a series of photos of a Canadian soldier, Corporal Christopher Klodt and  audio clips of an interview completed after he was seriously injured in Afghanistan. It also includes comments from junior high students who had the opportunity to meet with Corporal Klodt.

Remembrance Day is an opportunity for teachers of young Canadians to connect to history with empathy and help students create an understanding of what it means to “keep our land glorious and free”.