When planning this block, I was not sure how I was going to approach it. Neither my daughter, nor I really have much interest in war, tactical strategies, or even military planes or equipment. What she does love is animals, and it turns out that World War I had the most animals ever used in a war. Many of the books chosen were through this theme.
Like the Industrial Revolution, we used the book WWI for Kids as our main reference book and spine for this block. We had a handful of picture books, but for this block our Read Alouds really took the show. The first one, Ali Pasha by Michael Foreman, was not only a wonderful story that gave some high lights of the war, it was also beautifully written. I was able to take several passages and use them for analysis, spelling, and to illustrate several literary elements like a-story-within-a-story, imagery, and metaphors.
I had another WWI themed book picked to read with a theme of the carrier pigeons used in the war, The Night Flyers by Elizabeth McDavid Jones. We ran out of time to read this one during the block.
Our other two chapter books were set in the same time period, but centered about other events. Joshua’s Song by Joan Hiatt Harlowwas set in Boston during the time of the Spanish Influenza, and Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan is set in Russia during the Russian Revolution.
Though not the original plan, we used several graphs to process the information that we were learning. We used a time-sequence graph, a time line, a sorting exercise, and a Venn diagram. I’ve mentioned the time-sequence graph to keep up with who was entering the war and when. The time line was not for the particular events of the war, but more for contextualization with what other things were happening in the beginning of the twentieth century.
We also did a sorting exercises of countries to keep up with who was fighting whom. After her mapwork of the large alliances before the war began, I copied her work, and she cut the relevant countries out, and we ‘graphed’ them according to which side they fought – Central Powers or Allies. There were countries missing from our map (the USA and Japan) that I found outlines for and printed to add to our graph.
We ended with a Venn diagram. Though this did help in reviewing and discussing animal involvement of the war, my purpose was more to introduce and practice comparing and contrasting.
Below are the books that we used for this block. Each are linked with affiliate links (see note at the end of the post) so if you click on the book, it will take you to Amazon to see it’s summary.
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