Picturing the Past
 
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Activity, printable version


Short Answer Questions


Activities for use with any 'Stop'


Here are several activities appropriate for use with the whole site or with any specific 'Stop'.


1. Drama Activity

(Duration: Approximately four forty-minute periods)


This activity will help students practice finding new and different ways to communicate information, and help teachers evaluate comprehension.


  • Divide the class into groups of two to four; assign each group a 'Stop' based on the Guest Children website.
  • Ask students to make up their own dialogue about the story, using the themes provided
  • Students may use the characters of Anne and George or create their own
  • If students are unfamiliar with specific events, encourage the use of the extra information provided
  • Skits should be between one to three minutes in length, and can be performed following the lesson
  • The use of costumes and props is at the instructor’s discretion

Possible encounters the children could act out:


  • Meeting a conductor
  • Meeting a factory worker
  • Meeting a returning soldier
  • Meeting a group of Canadian children

2. Language Arts Writing Activity

(Homework assignment)


  • Students will choose any theme or topic from the Guest Children website, (e.g., evacuation of children from Britain, women performing war work)
  • They will write a short report (three or four paragraphs: introduction, description, significance, conclusion); reports should include a short description of the event or topic and discussion of its importance
  • Writing should be grammatically correct and show evidence of some secondary research (web-based or through books, depending on resources available)
  • Encourage students to use an information mapping chart, such as the one below, to organize information



3. Social Studies or Creative Writing Activity

(Duration: approximately three forty-minute periods)


a. As a class, discuss what the Guest Children would do if they stopped in your town today.


  • What would be the same as in 1940?
  • What would have been different?
  • What kinds of things would the Guest Children have been expected to do if they lived with a family in your town?


As more suggestions come up, write them on the board.



b. Ask students to research local history of the Second World War time period by interviewing older townspeople or anyone else with pertinent information.


  • Have students write collected information in a journal-style paragraph reflecting their acquired knowledge of their town.
  • Students may use the short interview script provided below.

Interview Questions


1. What kinds of things did people in (insert town name here) do during the Second World War?

a. Did some people join the armed forces?

b. Did some people work in factories to make things for the war?

c. Did some people grow food for the war effort?

d. Did some people send special things, like clothes, books, toys and money, to England?


2. Did Guest Children ever live in (insert town name here)?


3. What could a kid do here during the Second World War?


4. a. Are things very different in (insert town name here) now than they were in 1940?


b. Are any things the same as they were in 1940?


5. Do you remember the Second World War?


6. Did you even meet a Guest Child/ Were you a Guest Child?


4. Language Arts or Social Studies Activity

Media Awareness (Duration: approximately two forty-minute periods)


a. Look at the photographs that are attached to each section. Have students examine the photos you deem to be of particular interest, using the following questions:


  • What is happening in the picture?
  • Why do you think someone took the picture?
  • Who does it show?
  • What can we learn from pictures of the past?


b. Engage students in a comparison and analysis of publicity photos used in the Guest Children website with modern promotional images.




Compare and contrast using a Venn diagram, such as the one below:



5. Social Studies or Language Arts

(duration; 3-6 40 min periods)


Have students set up their own Guest Children museum. Brainstorm with the class about how they want the exhibits to look:


  • Should there be drawings, models and artefacts, or text?
  • What do they like to do at museums?
  • Have students create props for the exhibit (e.g. Guest Children ID tags, gas-mask boxes, passports, etc.)
  • Students should bring in objects that can be used in a museum setting (such as old clothing, suitcases, other relevant artefacts) – these items do not need to be from the 1940s era, but should appear similar to the objects in the story
  • Each 'Stop' can have its own exhibit, featuring the photographs from the site, along with reproductions and artefacts related to the themes - e.g. 'Stops' relating to military activities can includes badges (made from paper or clay), uniforms (or drawings of uniforms), etc.
  • Students can include murals in exhibit using newsprint
  • The simplicity or extensiveness of the museum is up to the instructor’s discretion –consisting solely of murals, drawings and photographs or using a mixture of artefacts, replicas, and text


When the exhibit is finished, ask the students to reflect on the experience:



  • Could they put everything they wanted into the exhibit?
  • What did they have to leave out?
  • What would they change if they had to do it over again?


Complete this activity with a “Gallery Opening”. Invite Guests, such as parents and Interviewees (if applicable). Have the children to present their work, and explain some of the process and what they have learned.



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