April 18, 2017

Anzac Day Lessons

Although ANZAC Day often falls during the school holidays, as it does this year, I believe it's important to integrate meaningful discussions and lessons about Anzac day into the first week back at school. 

One of the easiest, and often most meaningful, ways to do this is through picture books. 

Here are my top 3 picture books for primary-aged children:

1. Anzac Ted - Belinda Landsberry

Anzac Ted is the powerful, poignant story of a little boy's teddy bear that was passed down to him from his grandfather. Battered, torn, missing an eye and an ear, he might look scary but he’s got an important story to tell.  Anzac Ted went to war, keeping soldiers company and giving them comfort. While he never won a medal, and now doesn’t even attract a single vote at the classroom 'Toy Show', if only everyone looked a little deeper:

‘They’d see a hero, plain as day
Who sits upon my bed.
A hero, who saved me and you.
His name … is Anzac Ted.’ 

2. Lest We Forget - Kerry Brown
'My granddad says there are two types of days: those you want to remember and those you want to forget ...'

Lest We Forget shows a parallel story of a young boy and his grandfather. When visiting his grandfather the boy thinks about the important days in his life: his first day of school, playing soccer with his team, the day his baby sister was born. Yet through the illustrations the reader sees a parallel story of the grandfather's experiences at war: wearing his brand-new soldier's uniform, with his fellow diggers in the field, looking at a photo of the baby he's never met. 

3. Anzac Biscuits - Phil Cummings

Rachel is in the kitchen, warm and safe. Her father is in the trenches, cold and afraid. When Rachel makes biscuits for her father, she adds the love, warmth and hope that he needs. 

This is a touching story of a family torn apart by war but brought together through the powerful simplicity of Anzac biscuits. Anzac Biscuits delicately entwines the desolation of life on the front line with the tenderness of life on the home front.

Another beautiful way to commemorate Anzac Day is through Art. While there are numerous artworks you can do, this is by far my favourite - due to its simplicity and symbolism. 

Using their thumbprints, students create the centre and petals of their poppies.  

Students then create the stems of their poppies by dipping cardboard pieces into green paint. 


This works beautifully as an individual artwork or as a whole class piece, where every student completes one poppy. 


Depending on your ability to access cooking equipment another lovely way to commemorate Anzac Day is to bake Anzac biscuits. Especially after reading the picture book 'Anzac Biscuits' students love being able to recreate the iconic treats. 

This can also be a great way to incorporate writing, as the students could make the biscuits (from verbal instructions), then write a recipe to take home to their families. 

Here is a quick and easy recipe by Monique Bowley:

I hope these ideas help you teach your students about Anzac Day 

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