I’m not sure if you guys remember what my all time favourite unit was, but I do and it was studying the First World War. Which means, that’s what we’ve covered so far in grade 10. Meaning it was inevitable that by continuing along the history timeline and eventually beginning to learn about World War Two.
This is PLP though, so it’s not just going to be memorizing the sequence of significant events and battles that took place, we were going to put a twist on it. Our grade 10 cohort would be designing, creating, and publishing a website. This would focus on not only the facts of war, but on all of the perspectives of the countries that were involved, how they differed from others, and how they were similar.
In order to grasp a better understanding of what perspective really is, we did another novel study. The choices of course were based in WWII, and there were three options of books to read. I chose to read All The Light We Cannot See by Antony Doerr. Not only would we be having weekly book clubs about our chosen novels, we would also be analyzing it front, back, upside down, and sideways in order to get a thorough understanding of our novels. Why did we need to know this book inside and out? It’s fairly hard to write a professional style book review if you don’t, and this is exactly what we’d be doing. This review then had to be formatted into a blog post.
This book allowed me to practice putting myself in different perspectives, which would be very useful throughout this whole unit. Sadly I wasn’t able to use either of these perspectives for my own project because I was assigned to study Great Britain. Covering this country with me as well was Kyle, and Ryan. In order to curate enough information on this power country, we split up all of the research and imported what we found into a Google Doc. This would be the easiest way for us to share information in live time and then evenly distribute what needed to be done. To help with what topics needed to be covered, our teacher assigned us seven different research topics that were mandatory, giving us an idea of what should be included in the website.
- Pre-War information (before 1939)
- Beginning of the war
- Military technology
- Timeline of WWII for our country
- Significant battles and the role our country played
- Post war information
- Soldier details
I would be covering pre-war, most of the significant battles, and post war information. We chose these topics ourselves and the reason I wanted them is it would give me a chance to research the battles that I’m most fascinated by, specifically The Blitz. This was the battle where the German Luftwaffe bombed London for 57 consecutive nights. And because this project is all about perspective, we had to cover the moral of the British during times like this, which was always surprisingly high, despite the tragic events. The reasoning behind this was Winston Churchill. If you want to read a bit more about how he did just this, you can read my paragraph all about him here.
If you bothered to read that, you would’ve noticed that there was a citation at the bottom, as there should be for every research paragraph, or website. This brings me to another key aspect of this major project, citations. These are what stop people from vomiting plagiarism because it gives the professor, teacher, boss, or whoever it is you have to hand it in to, the place where you got all of your information. You can probably see why this is a very important thing to implement into a project that is about 99% research. We’ve done some work on them before with Mr. Featherstone, who was our humanities teacher last year. This year was a much needed reminder on what they are and how to do them. If you’re like me and a majority of my class, you should check out this website, it’s the only reason any of us made it through this unit.
That part of the unit I was not a huge fan of, but I must say there was a point of our studies that I will never forget. This was when our class was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview and record a WWII veteran. Most people nowadays have never, and most likely will never have the chance to do. We had prepared questions beforehand and emailed them to him previously to his visit so he had an idea of what he was in for.
Helmut Lemke was a soldier who’d fought for the Germans withchurches, but to everyone’s dismay, WWII began when Poland was invaded by Hitler and his army. It was also a very unique story of how he himself joined the Nazi party and then fought on the Russian Front where he was wounded and then later escaped to Western Germany.
after we’d conducted the interview, we were to turn a portion of it into a podcast. I’ve always been interested in how the Nazi armies were run and how you were selected to join in. Because of this it just too perfect when Helmut told us step by step how he eventually ended up being involved in the war.
Back to the final product. We had all of the components, so it was time to put it all together. All of the research, citations, book reviews, Helmut Lemke information, everything we’d learned, all had to be formatted and then put onto the website. We would be creating this website through Weebly, which proved to be a bigger pain that we’d previously thought. If it’s just one person editing the website at a time it’s super simple and works great, but because it was our entire class that needed to work on it, it just would not work. People were accidentally undoing others’ work, and one time someone even published the website without realizing it. We eventually came to the decision to have time slots in class that you could sign up for in order to edit your group’s page. This is how Great Britain’s turned out:
If you’re interested in visiting the rest of our class’ website, you can visit it just below.
Usually for our final product, we submit it in Showbie and receive critique and feedback form our teacher. This still happened, but Ms. Maxwell also informed us that she called in her history teacher from when she went to Seycove to watch us give presentations about our country and our website pages. Mrs. Kathleen Barter is a World War expert, so this was fairly nerve wracking, even though I knew Great Britain inside and out, what if I got a date wrong? What if I couldn’t remember the name a battle? Thank god none of this happened, but she did give us feedback that said to incorporate a paragraph that was dedicated specifically to Great Britain’s perspective, instead of just the facts about the war.
All in all I loved this project. It was original, engaging, and is a topic I’ve had interest in for years. Multi-layered and very in depth, yet for a project that was supposed to be focusing on the perspectives of each fighting country it was quite heavy on the facts of war instead of how each nation viewed the war. I did however learn a lot more about World War Two and got to experience several first hand sources which I was very lucky to do and will surely never forget.