Unique and Engaging Anzac Day Teaching Ideas for Your Classroom
Anzac Day Activity: Research Local War Memorials
With Anzac Day being commemorated across year levels in schools, I wanted to highlight resources and experiences that are a bit out of the ordinary. If this is a topic that is not new for your students, the last thing you want is to have eye rolls and sighs of “We’ve done this before!”
The best way to ensure that your students are captivated with their Anzac Day learning is to make it personal. For a lot of your students, someone in their family tree or whakapapa actually went to war and fought as an ANZAC soldier. In addition, for those who don’t have a descendant who served during wartime, many from their town and city will have went to war.
Across Australia and New Zealand, in small towns through to large cities, war memorials were erected as a way to remember those who served and died during the Great War (World War One). In New Zealand, without counting the many honours boards and plaques in schools and churches, there are well over 500 public memorials to the soldiers of World War One. In Australia, the number of war memorials is in the thousands!
One Anzac Day activity for your class is to research your local war memorial. In New Zealand, you can find a database of war memorials here. Click on a particular war memorial and you can see information and photos to provide a history of the local memorial. In Australia, you can find out more about your state/territory war memorials here and more information about local war memorials can be found here.
Ideas for researching local war memorials:
- Film a news story explaining the history of your war memorial. Research the content and storyboard the news story before filming and editing it.
- Look at a range of war memorials and look at common features. Design your own war memorial for part of New Zealand or Australia that does not have one. You can find out more about the features of the New Zealand war memorials here.
- Look at the names that feature on your war memorial statue role of honour. Choose a name to research and see if someone in your community is able to tell you more about the person.
- Leave a comment below if you have other ideas for how you could create Anzac Day activities based around your local war memorial.
Anzac Day Activity: Search for a soldier
Following on from the ideas above, a way to really personalise the ANZAC story is to follow the life of one of those who fought in World War One. Both Australia and New Zealand have registers where you can search for, and research, a soldier.
For the Australia database, click here.
For the New Zealand database, click here.
These databases provide information (when available) about when and how long they served, where they were posted, whether or not they survived, and if they were awarded decorations. Some of the database entries include photos and other personal information about the individuals.
Ideas for researching local war memorials:
- Research a family member or someone from your community who served in the military during wartime.
- Write a diary entry from the perspective of a soldier found on the database. Use information from their database entry as a starting point.
- A great idea from TKI is to “investigate soldiers or medics who were part of your staff or school community during the First World War. Create an oral history for the school by recording the stories the students find.”
- Use the idea of ‘walking in the steps of an ANZAC soldier’ as an inquiry entry point, and have students co-construct what they want to research.
Anzac Day Activity: Take a virtual trip to Gallipoli
A wonderful website that was put together to celebrate 100 years of ANZAC Day commemorations is Ngā Tapuwae – New Zealand First World War Trails. This website helps people understand at a deeper level what really took place for the soldiers at Gallipoli. I highly recommend putting some time aside to have a look at this wonderful resource; your students will love exploring Gallipoli virtually right from your classroom!
Another interesting visual resource for understanding Gallipoli is the set of panoramic photos found on the NZ History website. See a 360-degree view of areas such as the Anzac Cove Commemorative Site and the Chunuk Bair memorials.
I haven’t forgotten Australian classrooms either! Did you know you can take part in a virtual excursion to explore some of the exhibits at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra? Click here for more information.
Learn more about the battle of Gallipoli through this short video below: running time: 4 minutes 46.
Digital Anzac Day Activities
Here are three other Anzac Day activities that would work great in a home setting. Click on each image to go to the resource.
Save time with our Anzac Day Activities
We really are blessed with a LOT of great information and activities for ANZAC Day via the Internet. This is fantastic, but it can also be quite overwhelming for a teacher who is time-poor. We have a range of Anzac Day literacy and social studies resources tailor-made for New Zealand and Australian classrooms.
Our Anzac Day Literacy and Social Studies bundle features a range of reading, writing and creative thinking resources. Watch the video below and click here to see more. These activities are suitable for both New Zealand and Australian classrooms.
We have also added a great new bundle full of activities aimed at Year 3 and 4 students. This features reading, writing, and creative thinking resources. Watch the video below and click here to see more.
Our most popular Anzac Day resource is our Anzac Day Scavenger Hunt puzzle. Students hunt for clues in fact cards to complete each of their puzzle pieces. These create an awesome puzzle poster that makes an attractive display. Students can work by themselves or in pairs or small groups. When you purchase this resource, it comes with both a New Zealand and an Australian version. Watch the video below and click here to see more.
You can also find our full range of Anzac Day resources in our TPT store here.
Did you say Freebie?
Have you downloaded our Anzac Day Prior Knowledge poppy yet? We put this together to help you to clearly assess your students’ prior knowledge of Anzac Day. The purpose of this resource is to discover and present your students’ prior knowledge about ANZAC Day.
Sign up below to our newsletter to receive our Prior Knowledge Poppy as a free download. We will also email you later with another free resource to bring Anzac Day into your classroom.
Click here to read Part One of our Anzac Day series: How to Introduce Anzac Day in your Classroom.
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Onwards and upwards,