World War I Christmas Truce

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” — Douglas MacArthur

I absolutely LOVE stories of historical events that show humanity at its best.  One such story is that of the World War I Christmas truce.  If you’ve never heard of this incident, it is fascinating!  It began when British troops sitting in the trenches heard the Germans singing Christmas carols.  Next thing you know, the British and German troops met in no man’s land and exchanged gifts, took pictures, and even played soccer together!  Eventually, due to pressure by commanding officers, the fighting resumed between the two sides.  To check out the whole story, read about it here.  There are even pictures of the “enemies” mingling during the truce (see the picture above)!  How cool!  The History Channel also has a short video clip here that has a voiceover of one of the veteran’s who was involved!

If you like stories like this, you can also read the book Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul.  It is full of neat anecdotes from various wars that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I sometimes read a story from this book to my students when we had a few minutes to spare at the end of class.  Random Acts of Kindness:  True Stories of America’s Civil War is one that has a ton of heartwarming, true accounts from the Civil War.  (I actually mentioned this in my last podcast.)  Do you know of any other books like these?  I’d love to hear about them.  Leave a comment and let me know.

 

Photo:  British and German troops meeting in no man’s land during the unofficial truce – Imperial War Museums

Cool Photo of the Signing of the Treaty of Versailles

This is one of those historical photos that I just LOVE!  It reminds me that the people in those black and white photos were real people…and they had real emotions and real experiences.  If you had fought long and hard in World War I and saw many soldiers and friends die, wouldn’t you be ready for the war to be officially over?  Wouldn’t that be the day you were waiting for?  This is a picture of military officers and politicians standing on furniture so that they can witness the signing of the Treaty of Versailles!  How cool!  Share it with your students when you talk about World War I.

Create a Twitter Page for a Historical Figure

Can you imagine what it would be like if John Wilkes Booth had a Twitter page?  Or Adolf Hitler?  What would they say?  Well, now your students can have fun figuring out what these (and many more) historical figures would say on social media.  I have finished my most recent curriculum project for US History, and I’m so excited to finally put it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

My new product “Create a Twitter Page for a Historical Figure” includes:

  • A blank printable Twitter template for students to fill in
  • A digital Twitter template for students to complete
  • 46 assignments covering various historical figures from the colonies to Ronald Reagan
  • Detailed student and teacher instructions
  • Optional rubric
  • PowerPoint slides to display the assignment on the board
  • An example of a filled in template

In each Twitter assignment, students will have to create the following for their historical figure:

  • Basic biographical information
  • A unique, creative username
  • Up to 6 historically relevant tweets
  • Up to 3 suggestions as to who they should follow on Twitter (ties to other figures of the time period)
  • Up to 7 trends (historical relevance)
  • A small profile picture
  • A header image

Wouldn’t your students rather do something like this than complete a worksheet?  Click here to purchase or find out more!  You get 46 assignments for less than $0.18 each!  That’s 46 new ideas for your US History class!  You can also use the template for other classes, like World History.  Check it out!

Great World War I Poem

I’m not a big poetry buff, but I came across this today, and it really touched me.  Apparently, Rudyard Kipling’s 18-year-old son died in World War I in the Battle of Loos.  The poem “My Boy Jack” was written by Kipling after this tragedy.  Read the poem below.  Can’t you just imagine a worried parent asking again and again if anyone has had news of his son?

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

So, how can you use this in your classroom?

  • Use it as an attention-getter or discussion starter.  Put it on the board at the beginning of class when you are talking about World War I.  Ask your students what they think it means and then tell them the origin.
  • Discuss it with students and have them write their own poem about World War I.
  • Discuss it and ask students what their friends or relatives would write about them if they died in battle.
  • Discuss it and talk about how families today deal with the grief of losing loved ones in military service.  Compare and contrast the experience today versus what people would have experienced then.

 

Photo: Royal Irish Rifles in a communications trench, first day on the Somme, 1916. Imperial War Museum – Public Domain.
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