Bell PS took a whole school approach to exploring the ANZAC tradition through our Literacy program, The Arts, History and Civics and Citizenship areas of the curriculum. Our challenge at Bell P.S was “How do we teach the students the narrative of the ANZACs?’. We were keen to learn about the ANZACs and we wanted the students to understand what it meant when they heard the word and how they could connect to the Remembrance Services that are held at our school and within the community.
To fully immerse students in the history of the ANZACs we had to ask ourselves some questions. How could we help students to gain a deeper understanding of the men and women who fought for our country in WWI? How could they connect with life as a soldier? Where is Gallipoli? What values do we share today?
We decided that the most meaningful way to engage the students with the ANZAC story was through literature and in doing this, students employed all of their reading strategies to ask questions, connect with characters and predict what outcomes there may be. Through the narratives and history students gained a deeper understanding of the experiences of service men and women in Gallipoli. Through class discussions, reading and writing tasks, students explored the symbolism surrounding the ANZACs and were able to connect with the inevitable conflict of emotions that wartime brings.
In 2014, the visual arts teacher, Chelsea Kneale ran a competition for Grade 5-6 students to create a 2D design that would be made into a rusted metal triptych. Chelsea ran a class discussion around the symbolism of WWI and students brainstormed possible imagery they could use in their designs. In 2014 Bell Primary School was awarded a grant from the ANZAC centenary local grants program and this money was used to produce the outdoor triptych piece. Ten students were shortlisted and from them Matilda’s design was chosen as the winning artwork. Over ten weeks Chelsea liaised between Matilda and the company producing the artwork.
Student Lead Assembly
The learning that took place across the school culminated in a student lead ANZAC Commemorative assembly for the whole school and community. Drawing on their knowledge gained from the numerous learning experiences, the student leadership team crafted an assembly that commemorated the service men and women who fought in the various fields of war as part of our Australian Defence Forces. Included in this assembly was a short musical performance by a grade 2 ensemble. In conjunction with the ANZAC ceremonial proceedings, the assembly acted as the unveiling of the ANZAC commemorative triptych artwork.