Each year as Remembrance Day draws near, teachers think about how they would like to approach this topic with their class. What worked one year won’t necessarily work the next. Last year, we had a virtual assembly and students reflected privately about the day. This year, we are fortunate to have an in-person assembly where students from K-8 will participate by either reading a poem, playing an instrument or even orchestrating the event. Members from the band will play and the choir will sing. To me, coming together as a school is such a meaningful experience and although we do not do it that often, when we do it means that much more.
In my class this year, I decided against the colouring of a poppy to put together for the class wreath. Instead, students read a variety of Remembrance Day poems and selected the one word that stood out to them the most. They then would write that word on their poppy numerous times. It was very hard for some students to think of a word that represented a poppy. Maybe they wear one or colour one each year but do not know what the symbol actually represents. Here are some of the words my students came up with: respect, brave, remember, saviour, peace, fearless, hero, strong, hope, and honour. These poppies will be hung on our class wreath and I hope a few students stop to read the words within them and think about why they were chosen.
I also did an activity where I posed a few thinking questions to the class and asked them to reflect on the answers. Feel free to use these questions with your class either this year or next. These were the questions I posed along with some student answers:
- What is Remembrance Day?
- Remembrance day is so important the people who fought for us were brave and had the courage I’m so thankful they gave us the peace even if they didn’t wanna do it they still did.
- Remembrance day is a day where we honour the soldiers that fought for us.
- How can we remember our fallen soldiers?
- We can respect the soldiers by taking a moment of silence.
- By being respectful during the Remembrance Day ceremony.
- Why did people fight in the war?
- They wanted to represent their country and to feel proud to be Canadian
- They had to
Those are just a few of the many answers my grade 7 & 8 students came up with.
Each Monday, students make a goal for the week in my class and I wanted to share one of my student’s goals this week. He wrote, “To be respectful on Remembrance Day.” I asked him to share with the class why he chose that goal for the week. He shared that each year, he feels that he doesn’t pay attention or respect the ceremony and this year he really wants to do his best to do that. I think it was a very mature goal to select and I look forward to seeing if he writes yes or no next Monday as it is up to each student to share if they felt they met their goal or not.
I look forward to hearing any suggestions or any new ideas for Remembrance Day activities that I could try with my class next year.