Hi everyone, welcome back to my blog! It feels like it has been a long time since I have posted, but I’ve just been really busy with our latest project, The Great War Exhibit. The end goal for this project was to present our artifact from the WWI box we received, while playing our video, at a local exhibition in our school library.
The driving question for this project was, How might we use artifacts and film to show the significance of WWI?
During our our project, this question didn’t actually come to mind a lot. I felt we were learning so much I didn’t really stop to think if I could answer it. Now during my reflection though, I have stopped to think about it, and I do think that I could answer. When making a film, especially a documentary, you have to have proof to back up your information. The artifacts that we used,
are the proof in our video that helps to back up the information we’re giving out. The artifacts themselves can also all tell a story, and a lot of the artifacts would likely tell a different side of the story. So the artifacts we use, help us gain a perspective on the war, which allows us to understand importance and significance of the events that happened.
During this project we did a lot of learning and a lot of building our knowledge before we actually started creating our video. One activity we did that I really found help me understand WWI better was, Canadian battles Iron Chef protocol. We did this activity later in the project which is part of why I found it so helpful. Up until the point we did this, we had not learned about a lot of the battles. The battles were a really important part of the war and something that would be really helpful to included in our videos. The Iron Chef protocol is where we create a short powerpoint in a group and present it to another, the group getting presented to acts out a famous judges reaction. In my group I chose to create the slide on the battle of Passchendaele. This battle was one of the most brutal battles, where they had a huge amount of losses. I found it really helpful to learn about this battle, while it may not connect directly to my soldier or be a significant part of my artifact. This battle taught me about how brutal parts of the war was, which was a big part of what I talked about during my video. I talked about how my artifact, a piece of barbed wire lets us have a glimpse into the brutality the soldiers faced. This battle taught me about other types of struggles soldiers faced and the rough conditions they fought through.
As well as doing group projects and reading information we were given, we also had to find our own information. This was the harder part, WAY harder in some ways. A lot of the big research I did was on my soldier, Ernest Aaron. I started by choosing a soldier off this Canadian website. I wanted to find a soldier that had an injury that could possibly relate to barbed wire, this is why Ernest Aaron was a great choice, he had suffered a fracture to his left ankle the year he joined the war. It didn’t give a cause to the fracture, which allows us to make educated guesses as to what could have happened. All the documents on Ernest Aaron are original and are written in cursive, this made it really difficult for me to read. Especially when I was trying to choose a soldier, as I just wanted to be able to skim through the documents and look for information that I felt would suit my story. As I kept reading through documents I got better at reading and understanding what was written. It was really nice to be able to have all this basic information in one place, but when I wanted to know more about Ernest I had to go find my own websites. Thankfully I was able to find websites from his hometown where they gave small bits of information I didn’t know. Any information I was able to find was really helpful during the project, a lot of the time it is the small seemingly small details that help make the story.
With all of the information we found and all the research we did, we completed milestones. One milestone where I felt everything start to click for me was milestone 4, clips and videos storyboard. At this point in the project I had gathered most of my information, it was all kind of just sitting in my brain, or written down in notes. There was a lot of parts of my story that felt separate or disconnected from each other. Even after doing our screenplay, the paragraphs felt like they separated my story into different blocks. When I started to create my storyboard, I felt all my work come together and the storyline blended in my head. Not in a confusing I don’t know what goes where, but in the way that it felt fluid and I could clearly see and understand what was happening. I think having photos to look at, all laid out in order helped me to grasp the story in a visual way. I was able to give my video the visual aspect that all videos have.
After all the work we put into learning about WWI, our exhibition finally arrived! We would be set up around the library where, students from grade 8 to 10 would walk around and visit each artifact. Before the students would come, we had to prepare a short elevator pitch. Something that would keep them interested but teach them at the same time. This is harder than it may seem as lots of students aren’t that interested in learning a lot about WWI, just the cool artifacts we have. I used this to help with my pitch, talking about how my artifact was original and this very piece was used in the war. Overall I felt the exhibition went very well, I’m so glad we were able to do it in person, I find presenting to a live audience is way more engaging and you can get a read on how the person is feeling about what they are learning. Unfortunately we weren’t able to have guests from out of the school, but we were able to make a short livestream and post it on instagram.
During this project I learned about the significance of barbed wire, Canada during the war, Ernest Aaron, and how we can use artifacts and video to show the significance of all that. Each small part of the war, even ones seemingly insignificant like the soldier Ernest Aaron, are part of something bigger than them. Something that is significant to the war, and that likely had an impact events that took place.
“At eleven o’clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible War that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars.”
-David Lloyd George, British prime minister