Lesson Plan: I Remember the Italian Campaign

Aim

To increase youth awareness of Canadian efforts in the Italian Campaign during the Second World War.

Objectives

Youth will:

  • develop a basic understanding of the Canadian efforts in the Italian Campaign; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those who served in the Italian Campaign.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 8 to 11.

Sequence of Events and Anticipated Time Frame [35 minutes]

(This activity can be modified to fit available time.)

  • Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]
  • Reading Activity [10 minutes]
  • Word Search Activity [15 minutes]
  • Possible Extension Activity [variable]

Materials

Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]

Brainstorm with the children on what they know about wars. Do they know of any times when our country has had to fight in a conflict? More than one million Canadians served in uniform during the Second World War—that is more than the population of some provinces. Ask if any of them are aware of how Canada helped win the war. Have they ever heard of the Italian Campaign in a book, movie or from others talking about it? You may wish to record their responses.

Show where Italy is on a map and how far away it is from home. Explain how wars are hard and very dangerous for those who serve in them. Canadian casualties in the Italian Campaign totalled more than 26,000, nearly 6,000 of which were fatal. Before beginning this activity, you may wish to read the Canada Remembers the Italian Campaign historical sheet to familiarize yourself with Canada’s efforts there.

Reading Activity [10 minutes]

Distribute to your students the “Dear Mom” letter. This letter tells the story of a Canadian soldier named George and his experiences of his involvement in the Second World War, and in particular his involvement in the Italian Campaign.

George is a fictional character, however, his character is based on the experiences and stories told by actual Canadian Veteran's.

By reading George's letter, young readers can "live" through the horrible conditions that George experienced, and understand some of the feelings that Canadian soldiers may have experienced during the war. The readers will learn, as did George, that there is nothing glorious or wonderful about real war.

Following the reading discuss the letter with your students. How would they feel themselves if they were at war?

Word Search Activity [15 minutes]

Distribute the word search activity sheet and have children find many of the words from the “Dear Mom” letter relating to Canada’s efforts in the Italian Campaign.

You may wish to use the word search answer sheet.

Possible Extension Activity [variable]

Inviting a Veteran to be a guest speaker would be an exceptional opportunity to learn first-hand what it was like to serve in the cause of peace and freedom. For more information visit the Memory Project Speakers Bureau website.

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