How To Teach ANZAC Day In Primary Schools
What is ANZAC day?
ANZAC Day is so much more than simply a 'day off' from work or school. ANZAC Day is a very important day for Australians and New Zealanders, and must be unique in that it is a National Day shared by two nations. This is a day that our kids should learn about, and understand the historical importance of. As we teach about ANZAC day every year, I thought I would share some Lesson ideas, classroom resources, and learning activities that have worked well in the past, and some ideas that I would love for you to try with your classroom this year.
This poem is definitely one to get the water works happening, so make sure to have tissues nearby. This poem shares about the significance of why we wear a poppy on ANZAC day, which I feel is important. Many people may wear the poppy for tradition, without knowing the meaning behind it. I have used this poem for my guided reading groups, discussing the meaning behind each verse.
It is written in such a way that children can get in to the mindset of the boy in the poem, and understand the emotions that would be held in this kind of conversation.
The lesson that was most impactful with this poem was when my top reading group practised reading this poem aloud, one student read a verse at a time. The students read with such feeling, that the meaning really came across.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum have made a series of videos, about a day in the life of a soldier. The videos are one soldier talking to the camera, explaining what has happened in that day. The content can be quite advanced, so these videos would be for the Year 5 and 6 classes. These videos could help with writing letters, as if your students are a soldier writing home. I have had my class writing letters, as soldiers, in the past, and these videos really help when planning what to write.
There are many great books to use for teaching ANZAC Day, but you may want a break from the books you have used in the past. Here is a list of ANZAC books that are different to ones I have used. This article also gives suggestions on what activities you can do while using the books.
I came across this wonderful website recently, and found a fun resources for an Anzac Maths Activity. This post shares about a game that WW2 soldiers would play, and gives step by step instructions. THEN, the post goes on to explain how you can play this game and include it in your Maths Lesson. I have not tried an ANZAC maths activity in the past, so I am excited to try this!
I have created a Pinterest Board with some ANZAC Art ideas that I have found. There are many more ANZAC art ideas out there, ranging for ability levels, but I have searched through many pages and boards to find some that I could do with my own class. Visual Art is not where my abilities lay, so these Art ideas are a huge help!
As you may know, I make Lesson Videos and Educational Resources for teachers to use in their classes. You can watch this Video that shares about the History behind ANZAC Day, and gives some activity ideas.
You can also download a FREE resource HERE. This resource is linked to the Lesson Video, for an exciting and engaging activity, that is already created for you. I would love to know what you think, comment below!
ANZAC Ideas for BYOD/ iPad Classrooms
Leading up to ANZAC day, I will be in a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ classroom. This means that there are many more creative outlets for the students to share their ANZAC learning. Here are some ideas that I will use within the BYOD Class:
Students can retell their diary entry using Puppet Pals. They can use the puppets that are installed in the App, or they could use a photo of their own faces, placed on a soldier's body.
On the Lifecards App, students can write their letter home as a soldier. There are different options of ‘paper’ that they can write on in the App, so they can choose one that would look like a letter from WWI.
Students could record themselves reading the poem ‘Why Wear a Poppy?’, and then find photos to match what has been said, to ultimately create an interesting video. This could also be done for the poem ‘In Flanders Field’.
On this App, students could create a comic strip, retelling a day in the life of a soldier. Similar to the above video idea, they could take one of the poems I have mentioned and build a comic strip story around it.
I hope that you have found this helpful, and that you and your class have great learning experiences leading up to ANZAC day. Please let me know how you used these resources by Commenting Below!