I find Remembrance Day a tricky topic to address with my little first graders. They have a hard time connecting to and understanding the topic. War is also a very scary idea for many of them.
Here are a few of the books that I use every year to help my Firsties understand why we have Remembrance Day.
"A Poppy Is to Remember" by Heather Patterson explains why we have Remembrance Day and what the poppy represents. It has simple text and lots of pictures.
"Playing War" by Kathy Beckwith is an amazing story. It really brings to light the fact that not all children get to grow up in peace like we do. In the story a group of children are playing war using sticks as guns and pine cones as bombs. A new child to the neighbourhood hesitates to play, but when he does, he picks up one pine cone (bomb). When another boy asks him why he only has one, he tells him that he only needs one. He then explains what war was like where he used to live.
I also use a number of different poems. They can be found on this great website put out by the government of Manitoba. Click HERE to take a closer look.
This is the poem that we are presenting at our Remembrance Day Assembly this year.
We also painted landscapes of Flanders Fields. I was inspired by Art Room with a View's: Poppy Fields. Click HERE to see the pin.
The students were really excited about this activity. It involved a lot of steps, but they were so happy with their final products. Although we are still learning to use water colours properly, their landscapes are amazing!