The Great War Actually Really Sucked

The years leading up to the First World War, tensions were running high in Europe. The arms race was high in the minds of govt officials, and it was just a matter of time until war broke out. The tipping point was when Franz Ferdinand, the archduke of Austria, was assassinated by the Serbians. This created a domino effect, and the First World War began.

Image by Tamara S.L.

To start this unit off, we had spring break. Ha, no. We had homework over spring break. TBH, it wasn’t that hard. We just had to read a book. There were three options, and I chose ‘Generals Die in Bed’ by Charles Yale Harrison. It was a really good read. I definitely would recommend. Anyways, we didn’t read these books for fun. We created book reports. But these weren’t regular book reports. These were creative book reports. We had a bunch of different options on how to do this, including movie trailers, drawings, and songs. I chose to do poetry. But like, I went a bit crazy with this. I made an entire book with images to fit with each poem. I had a lot of fun with to. Here’s the book. L

Once we’d finished the book, we started getting closer towards our big project. But then there was this big disruption called OTTAWA! We went with Encounters with Canada on a week long trip where we learned all about Canada’s involvement in WW1. The main event we focused was The Battle of Vimy Ridge. This battle was the first time all of the Canadian regiments fought together. The Canadian’s took the Ridge in a span of a few days. My great grandfather actually fought during this battle! Anyways, the trip was super cool and I made a lot of friends!

When we got back, we continued to learn about Canada’s involvement in the war. One of the ways we did this was by reading a graphic novel called Shattered Ground. Shattered Ground is an online interactive story about a boy who finds his great grandfathers First World War journal. As he reads the journey, we find our about the journey he took through the war. It’s super cool. While we were reading, we also had to complete chapter summaries. It was a good way to reflect on each chapter. 

So at this point, we were just waiting for our main project to begin. We knew our driving question, which was ‘How Did World War 1 effect Canada’s identity?’. We started with a brainstorming session. We made a list of questions about WW1. There were questions like ‘What were the requirements of the medical professionals that helped during the war?’, and ‘How did conscription change the fate of the war, at least for Canada?’. Then, we got into groups and answer some of the questions. 

Next, from these questions, the teacher came up with 22 different topics. We each chose one, and got to researching. This was when we finally got to know what the project was. We were to create a comic book about Canada’s part in WW1. The topic I chose was Conscription. 

I chose conscription as my topic for a few reasons. First of all, I though conscription was awful. This was the govt forcing people to fight. But as I looked into it, I realized that it seemed to almost be a ploy to get Borden’s govt re-elected. And anyways, only 24,000 conscripts actually made it to France. 

So I made the first draft. It was interesting. I worked really hard on it. 

I got a lot of critique. So I went back, and continued to edit and revise. The second draft was a lot better. 

Then we had a huge group critique session. I got a lot of awesome critique from this, and was able to make my last, best draft. Then we had to present. 

In PLP, we like to present for an audience. So, our teacher contacted a local school, and we got to go present for a bunch of grade 6 and 7 students. It was a really cool experience, and I got to talk to a bunch of kids who are going into PLP next year. 

All in all, this was a really cool project. I learned so much about my great grandfather, and about Canada as a whole. I also learned a bunch about taking critique, which is something I still have to work on. Canada is so awesome, and I feel so lucky to live in this amazing country!

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