While previous wars had newspapers and political cartoons. World War 1 is probably the first war to have a newspaper made for just the soldiers (if you know otherwise I’d love to hear it). It was such a novel concept this even became a Horrible History sketch. Of course, we had to use comics for our World War 1 writing assignments. It’s a nice bit of cross-curricular history lessons.
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Our inspiration for our World War 1 writing assignments
Archie’s War Scrapbook* was also our spine for this hands on World War 1 unit. It is the scrapbook of Archie, a student in England during World War 1. He humorously illustrates all of the key events in World War 1, and provides commentary from the point of view of a young child. Like many books of this style, there are random elements that have been “taped” or put in envelopes for you to take out.
I love how the book looks like it’s illustrated by a kid, and the random comments.
I absolutely adore this book, and unlike the other picture books I’ve featured this week, you probably don’t need to pre-read the material.
Brainstorming World War 1 writing assignments
I delivered the news we were going to write daily World War 1 writing assignments, and they got to draw them as comics. I was thinking I would be met with, “This is awesome! I can’t wait to do it!” That was not the response I got.
“This is too hard!”
“I don’t know what to write about.”
“I don’t like writing about war! I don’t like war.”
The complaints went on and on. After I got done rolling my eyes and the kids’ over-the-top responses. I asked, “Have I ever just left you hanging on a project?”
After a few mumbled “Nos,” we worked together to brainstorm writing topics. As you can see we eventually came up with quite a few.
We got a bit more inspiration from the Horrible Histories video handing out writing assignments (our original inspiration video has been taken down, so I’m including the official Horrible Histories World War 1 playlist). Then we might have wasted an hour or so watching their videos. This reminds me I need to add their videos in to my other World War 1 posts….
End results of our World War 1 writing assignment
After they’d gotten over the shock that I expected them to actually write stuff, they suddenly had great bouts of inspiration, but all along the same lines. They got around my saying “You can’t all write on the same topic,” by not writing about it on the same day.
So I had three different comics on growing a Victory Garden, though I think the Brits called it something different than that during World War 1. I had three different comics on gathering scrap metal for the war.
But there was also some variety. Princess went with a crazy Mom character who kept hearing ideas on the radio and going crazy with them. She built a bomb shelter, she gathered everything under the sun for the scrap metal drive. She grew crazy amounts of vegetables. I think she also built a tank.
Batman had a young boy collecting scrap metal who managed to find a spare tank laying around to turn in. I’m not quite sure how it fit on his wagon, but he brought it in.
Superman had a super fun comic on living in the trenches.
At the end of the week (plus or minus a few days) I gathered all the comics up and bound them together into a book.
I admit I used the photo I created for the World War 1 unit for our cover because I liked the way it looked so much. Kinda silly, I know, but I like it.
Natalie PlanetSmartyPants says
What a cool assignment. A’s class did one comic project earlier this year on the subject of rise of civilization. They used https://www.pixton.com/ for kids like A who didn’t want to hand draw theirs.
That’s a cool program! My boys weren’t too excited about drawing, but reluctantly did so, and got into it eventually.