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Caroline Pudner, a teacher and curriculum writer, based in South Yorkshire, explains why she loves Fallen Fields, a free and fully-resourced First World War project from Cornerstones.
As November 2018 marks the centenary of the end of The First World War, many children will take part in the Poppy Appeal and watch news stories covering the commemorations.
Unlike the Second World War, the First World War is not statutory in the primary national curriculum. However, it affected millions of lives, and its legacy remains, so I think it’s vital to teach children about it in some form. And in doing so, you’ll be covering those all-important enquiry skills and historical knowledge.
I’ve decided to mark this special anniversary using Fallen Fields, a special project aimed at Upper Key Stage 2 children. It is free and comes with a full set of stunning resources. You can teach it over 2 to 3 weeks, or condense it into a single commemorative day.
My first step before starting the project would be to send the handy knowledge organiser home with the children for them to read and come back with any questions. I’d also use the display materials provided to create a focal point for the topic and add any artefacts, books and photographs that the children bring in.
Fallen Fields has a four-stage structure: Engage, Develop, Innovate and Express, a tried-and-tested learning sequence that features in all Cornerstones projects.
It starts with a Memorable Experience, which could be holding a First World War day and sharing images and first-hand accounts of the outbreak of war.
During each stage, the children build up their knowledge of different aspects of the war, including why it broke out, life in the trenches, weapons of war, the home front and the significance of remembrance.
I particularly like the project’s cross-curricular approach – it helps children engage with the themes and make subject-specific progress.
Knowledge is important but to help children retain it, projects need to be engaging and meaningful.
Fallen Fields introduces children to significant leaders and the main events of the war, but it also covers the lives of individual soldiers and their families through diaries, accounts and letters.
And, if you want to test the children’s knowledge, a fun quiz is provided!
‘It helps children link the past and present’
Teaching history helps children understand how culture and society have developed over time and how the past influences our present. A key focus in Fallen Fields is to encourage children to reflect on the consequences of war and to explore the legacy of those who made great sacrifices.
Fallen Fields is one of over 80 Imaginative cross-curricular projects from the Cornerstones Curriculum. Find out more about this knowledge and skills-based primary curriculum and other helpful teaching resources at cornerstoneseducation.co.uk.
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