Learning is....
Planting a seed in our brain... learning to water, nurture and grow it.... so we can live on the fruit of our learning and plant more seeds.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Anzac Day Mulitple Intelligence Unit

Anzac Day is extremely important in New Zealand, and Australia.  Who else would celebrate/commemorate such a disasterous defeat, recognising it as the true birth of nationhood, an emergance from colonial imperialism.

Each year I do an Anzac unit in my class.  I try to mix it up each year.  Below is this year's unit based on Gardners Multiple Intelligences:

The focus of these activities mostly fell on Verbal-Linguistic and Visual-Spacial.  You will note that some text is highlighted in a different colour and underlined.  The text is hyperlinked to various websites to enable the students to complete the activities.  I've also included these hyperlinks in this blog for your interest.  The students also have a hard copy of this glued in their topic books and they save a digital copy in their folders so they can access the links.

You will note that the activities cover the New Zealand Land Wars (Rewi's Last Stand - this is local to our school as we drive past the Orakau Battle Site each time we go to town), World War 1 in Gallipoli and the Western Front (Eat Like an Anzac in WW1) and World War 2 in the Pacific and Crete.

I've tried to cover a variety of skills and activities in this unit.  The students were required to physically do activities, record voice, take photos, plot on maps, write letters and present their information in a variety of ways - digitally and with pen and paper.

With The Battle of Crete section the students went to an NZ History site where four veterans of Crete tell their stories.  My students were asked to listen and then script and record in Audacity (download for free by googling Audacity) with one student being an interviewer and the other the veteran.  It actually took a bit of talking and explaining to get them to understand that it wasn't all about the bombs and mates dying.  Some of them really got into the feel of an old man's voice as well.  Each pair improved on the last.  Sometimes it is cool to be last rather than first.

The Pacific War with Japan section focused on a group of men who we don't really know a lot about, and their fate, the coastwatchers stationed on Pacific Islands and about Papua New Guinea.  The NZ Herald had a great article about one coastwatcher, who did survive the Japanese invasion of many Pacific Islands and the subsequent beheading many coastwatchers suffered, and became a prisoner of war in Japan.  Apart from the research to find out what a coastwatcher is and a bit of comprehension from the article, the big skill here was to find a map of the Pacific and then work out where coastwatchers were stationed.  I try to use maps as often as possible.  Too many people don't know where places are (think of the Americans who think NZ has kangaroos or is in Scandanavia) so I endeavour to teach my students where in the world they are.

The section about Rewi's Last Stand was all about bringing in somewhere local that the children don't know much about, and the Land Wars that they also don't know much about.  Both the links in here go to different pages at nzhistory.net.nz, The Battle of Orakau and Rewi Manga Maniapoto.  There is the comprehension skills from reading about Rewi and doing a summary of the man, and also the focus of a timeline about the battle.  Again I have brought a map in, because it is amazing how many kids have know idea about their own district and where things lie.  Some of them just seem to hop in a car and go to sleep or play with a PSP!!  It's also a good exercise is getting them to spell those localities as well.

Eat Like an Anzac in WW1 has a lot in it... and more work came from this section that is not included.  The Scale of Rations activity was all about some IT skills of finding a picture, copy and paste (some of my kids needed this practise) and how to use the space.  I wanted it done in A3... amazing how many did it in A4 - so they had to make the adjustments.... another good lesson in following instructions and some more IT skills.


These pictures show what some of my students did to complete this activity.

Have you ever eaten hard tack?  Well, I recommend having your dentist on speed dial!!  This is the third time I have done the Anzac lunch, where we ate a meal similar to what the soldiers at Gallipoli would have eaten, minus the flies!!

That's hard tack with jam, rice and bully beef (aka canned corned beef) and tea made with a bit of sugar and milk powder.  Next time I may include canned peas.  We made the hard tack ourselves.  The recipe can be found at the Australian War Memorial education site.

The hard tack before cooking.
From this piece of work we also did a spot of persuasive writing with the idea being Could I eat like an Anzac at Gallipoli for eight months?  Believe me, not many of the kids enjoyed eating the bully beef.  It tastes like cat food!!!  I may talk about this piece of work in another blog, but here is a teaser below.


We make Anzac Biscuits every year in my class.  They are too yummy not to make them!!  We use the recipe from the Edmonds Cookbook, like all good Kiwis.  I have talked about the process of this activity in another blog, because the whole focus of this activity was for the children to communicate how to make the biscuits in PhotoStory 3 to someone who does not have the recipe.  Read the other blog (Using PhotoStory 3 in class) to know more.

The final activity involves getting the children to think about what the ladies at the homefront did for the men at the frontline - knitting, food..... and how letters are so important, particularly as it was the main form of communication at the time.  So they read the letters Alister Robison wrote home and they also went to another nzhistory.net.nz site where it talks about the ladies and their work at the homefront for the soldiers at the front.  They had to write a letter to Alister like he was a member of their own family in 1916, and they had to hand write to publish.  I wanted them to include details of what was being sent to Alister because they needed to know that the army didn't provide everything, that the families also contributed so much to the soldiers to make the frontline more bareable.

For the students who were in my class last year, this built on what they had learned previously.  Below is a taster of what I asked my students to do last year.



The top left picture is the homework I set for the week that encompassed Anzac Day.  In that homework I wanted the children to share baking Anzac Biscuits with their family at home, find out what Anzac Day means to their family with a family discussion, find an article in the newspaper (or online) about Anzac Day to share with the class and research about a member of their own family who has served in the NZ armed forces (hopefully finding out something they didn't know before and talking to some elders in their family).

The Postcard activity in the middle aims to get the child to put themselves in the situation of being at Galipolli and writing a letter home explaining the conditions and daily life.

The other three (top right and the two at the bottom) are examples of fourteen inquiries I set up to give students a choice.  It mixs up the Gardner's Multiple Intelligences with DeBono's Thinking Hats to provide the students with a range of research, thinking, creating and processing challenges.

Also, see my previous blog about Anzac Poppies and Medals, as we did those last year too.


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  2. Thank you soooo much for sharing your Anzac activities on your blog. I wish more people were as generous in sharing their ideas. I'm sure going to be from now on. Thanks again

  3. thank you for your ideas. Much appreciated

  4. i love what you've done and my students are enjoying it. Do you have anything similar for introducing informative text?

    1. Hi there. Thanks for your comment. I do not have anything specific on introducing informative text in blog form. But if you go to https://melulater.blogspot.co.nz/2015/04/modelling-books-how-i-use-these-to-plan.html you will see how I have taught a variety of genre.
      Generally though, when I do informative text, I will start with something like the PM readers at Orange through to Gold that focus on different animals. Together we will read one text. From that we will take notes together, brainstorming information on what each animal eats, how it behaves, where it lives and other useful/interesting information. Then, together, we will write an informative text in our own words.
      Then I will get the children to choose the book they want. I scaffold them through the note-taking/brainstorming and into the writing phase, including teaching them that each idea they are covering is a new paragraph. I hope that helps a bit.