As a primary school teacher my aim during Remembrance week was to develop my class’s empathy. Facts and figure were important, but I wanted to deepen emotional literacy first and foremost…and this is where I share with you some of the most beautiful resources I have used or discovered recently, which will help you to create that vital connection.
Peter Jackson, director of Lord of the Rings, has breathed life into original WW1 film footage, adding colour and making movement smooth. The outcome, as he says:
‘They suddenly become real human beings, they’re not Charlie Chaplin…They’re real people with all the nuances and subtleties of human beings.’
The soldiers in the film sudden look like brothers, uncles and sons…
One of my favourite books to share, and the last few pages still give me goosebumps, is ‘War Game’ by Micheal Foreman. This is the story of the Christmas Day truce football match and the tragedy that eventually followed. The colour illustration version is the most powerful…
There is also an animated film that is equally beautiful, but I still find the words in the book deliver the message in a haunting style that elicits a physical response.
This works well alongside the stunning 2014 Sainbury’s Christmas advert…
For younger children, or to introduce the theme of remembrance poppies Cbeebies’ wordless animation is wonderful…
A local Leeds author – Hilary Robinson – has produced a lovely book ‘Where the Poppies now Grow’.
This picture book is aimed at children aged 4+ and the story of two young soldiers is told though a repeated narrative poem. She is also the author of another magical and haunting WW1 story book ‘A Story of Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan’. This trailer is so very haunting….
This book by Micheal Morpurgo shares letters from soldiers during the war…
Finally, I love this book ‘Archie’s War’ a funny and moving story of life during the First World War, told through the eyes of schoolboy Archie Albright.
IN FLANDERS FIELDS
In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.
Lt Col John McCrae