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Engaging Remembrance Day Lesson Plans for Middle School

A week of Remembrance Day lesson plans for middle and high school classrooms from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, and Veterans Day are commemorated around the world every year on November 11, which marks the anniversary of the end of World War 1.  Every year, I try to come up with a meaningful way to commemorate Remembrance Day in my classroom. Below are some Remembrance Day lesson plans and ideas to get your students thinking about Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day Lesson Plans

Lesson 1: Song Lyrics Analysis

First up in our Remembrance Day Lesson Plans is a song lyrics analysis activity for the whole class to do together, as well as a pairs activity or one for individual students.
Whole Class:
Provide each student with a copy of the song lyrics to “American Soldier” by Toby Keith. Read the song lyrics out loud as a class. Have the students use the margins of the song lyrics page to dot down any ideas that come to their minds as they read the lyrics. Play the song for the class, and have them highlight verses that make the most impact on them. After reading and hearing the lyrics, have a class discussion where student share their annotations of the song lyrics and the reasons why they highlighted specific verses.

Guiding Questions: 

  • Why does Toby Keith start the song with a description of the soldier he is singing about?
  • What message is Toby Keith trying to make with this song?

Pairs or Independent:
Provide each student with a copy of the song lyrics to “If You’re Reading This” by Tim McGraw. Have the students read the song lyrics independently or quietly in pairs. Have the students use the margins of the song lyrics page to dot down any ideas that come to their minds as they read the lyrics. Play the song for the class once everyone has had a chance to read the lyrics. Remind students to highlight verses that make the most impact on them. After reading and hearing the lyrics, have the students answer the guiding questions about the song.

Guiding Questions: 

  • What is the meaning of the song title?
  • What message is Tim McGraw trying to make with this song?
  • What is a common theme among both songs?
Assessment:

After I have worked through both of the songs above with my students, we will read the lyrics and listen to the song “Highway of Heros” by The Trews. They will then independently explain the meaning of each verse.

Lesson 2: Photo Stations

Next in our Remembrance Day Lessons is photo stations which will have students examining various photos related to the realities of war.

  1. Find photos from World War 1 and World War 2. Print off 5 – 10 photos you feel demonstrates the reality of war.
  2. Hang them up in different areas around the classroom.
  3. Break students off into equal groups and provide them with sticky notes.
  4. Ask them to write down what comes to their mind when they closely examine the photos.
  5. Rotate the groups through the photos every 3-5 minutes.
  6. After all the groups have seen the photos, have the students do a gallery walk around the classroom. They can read everyone’s sticky notes and have a few more minutes to examine the photos.
  7. Have a class discussion about new information learned from the photos they examined.
Photo Sources:
Lesson 3: Videos
Below are four short video clips that really help visualize the meaning of Remembrance Day. Have students watch each video clip, then provide them with time to fill out the Remembrance Day Video graphic organizer. The organizer asks students to explain what image from each video was the most memorable. Videos are a great resource to use for Remembrance Day Lesson Plans to really emphasize the meaning of the day.
Lesson 4: Paragraph Response Writing
Next, for our Remembrance Day Lesson Plans, after listening to the songs and viewing the photos and videos, students now need to use their knowledge to form an opinion. Ask the students to answer one of these two questions in proper paragraph format.
  1. Should Remembrance Day be a holiday?
  2. How should Canada honour our war veterans on Remembrance Day?

Once the paragraphs are complete, have the students complete a fold-the-line activity. Have the class line up with one end being the students who think Remembrance Day should not be a holiday, the other end being the students who think Remembrance Day should be a holiday, and the middle students are the ones who are undecided or who are unsure. Then you ask the class to fold the line in the middle so that each student is standing facing another student. Have them share their opinions, then ask them to shuffle down the line X number of spots. Repeat the opinion-sharing process for as long as you hear meaningful responses.

Lesson 5: Choral Reading 
Lastly, we end the Remembrance Day Lesson Plans with a choral reading. First, we read the poem “A Prayer for the 21st Century” by John Marsden out loud and analyze the meaning of each verse as a class. Then, I break the class up into six different groups, where each learns a different verse of the poem. We present with the class standing in six rows facing forward. It looks really dramatic and adds some creativity to a traditional activity like choral reading.

2 Weeks of Remembrance Day Lesson Plans – Remembrance Day Unit

I have compiled these Remembrance Day Lesson Plans into a complete two-week Remembrance Day Unit. Help your students develop a deeper connection to Canadian Remembrance Day in this two-week-long middle and high school-focused Remembrance Day Lesson Plans teaching unit. Teachers are provided with ten in-depth, engaging and relevant multimedia lessons to help their students explore and understand key concepts related to Remembrance Day. This resource contains individual PDFs of student pages to assist with online learning, i.e. Google Classroom.

Find the Remembrance Day Lesson Plans Unit on Shopify CAD and Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

Are you looking for other Canadian history resources? 

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