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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

School assembly


john w.
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Just back at school and been asked to do the sixth form assembly on Thursday 11th November...

Why remember....

Head spinning where the H*ll do I start?

The days the guns fell silent?

Was thinking of having vision and a growing amount of sound, artillery etc.. then ending on silence...

By they way only got 10 mins max ;)

Suggestions? text/ sound/ vision

John

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Your best port of call would be to contact your local RBL Branch Poppy Appeal Organiser,He will be able to let you have a Leaflet that will give you a Start,Also try contacting the RBL Village,who should be able to send you a Schools Information Pack......Straight From The Horses Mouth! :)

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John,

I can send you a powerpoint that I've used. You'll need to add a suitable commentary. However it's too big to attach and e-mailing you via the forum doesn't allow me to attach documents. If you might want it, e-mail me so that I can reply to it.

Good luck - I'm doing one again this year as well..........

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The CWGC have produced a CD-ROM containing a presentation for use in school assemblies. It was sent out around Remembrance Day last year. I do know quite a few schools who have used it, despite my ugly mug appearing in one of the photos

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Mark,

We never received it (unless our renowned internal mail screwed up again!). Can it still be obtained?

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Hello - I know a little about Schools and Assemblies but mostly Primary.

How about considering the age of your 'pupils' and the excitement of possible enlistment and the reality in action. A bit of drama , featuring women as well,

and briefly portraying pros and cons. Families 'remember'with pride their relations killed in action, and sometimes with anger and sorrow as well. Just a quick thought.

There could be two poems read - there are several on this site somewhere !

KEW HAS LOTS of postcards fesaturing life then in general, shortages etc. I guess you will have to select one aspects and stick with it, for ten minutes.

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Cheers Josephine.. will consider, I have a few thoughts.. especially one large explosion!

Well it might wake em up :lol:

John

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As far as I know the CD-ROM is still available from the CWGC. It is called 'One Boy'. You can also download it direct from the net, see:

http://www.cwgc.org/cwgcinternet/education.htm

From recollection it lasts 10-15 minutes. There was talk of them producing something else for schools in Summer 2004 but so far I haven't heard anything. They also now produce a 'school edit' of the video 'A Debt of Honour' which retains the Michael Palin commentary but lacks the evocative musical score by Peter Skellern. (I never thought that the schools-oriented 'Memorial and Memory', although it uses a lot of the same footage, was as good.)

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I am not a teacher, I have never given a school assembly and I know nothing about what happens in them these days. This is the point of view of a creative writer.

I did once do some drama work with a small group of 18 year old female and male drama students in which we mixed improvisation and script on the topic of the Christmas Truce in order to create a presentation for a school. I made available a selection of letters from both German and British soldiers and the students read and discussed them.

Then, we created improvisations to explore the emotions and experiences of the soldiers writing the letters and the families receiving them. There was no intention to re-enact the Christmas Truce; the focus was on the harrowing human experiences of loneliness, pain and loss.

We constructed a working simple structure of improvisations swopping from the German to the British and back again.

Then I used their ideas and improvisations to write a script of a short drama piece. I included the actual texts of the letters; and various symbols and artefacts as metaphors. I devised a simple, portable, symbolic stage, using antique wooden fruit boxes as seats, and a bleak lighting set, mainly dark with single profiles and fresnels, and real candles (which could be symbolically snuffed).

They rehearsed the script, and, where appropriate, in discussion with me, interspersed improvisation, eventually to create the polished performance. I trusted their reactions as sensitive eighteen year olds who might indeed have been involved in 1914. Their input was more important than mine.

I believe it was effective and moving – I have never been able to say that my own pieces ever work on stage because I’m far too emotional and involved. I trust my gut feelings and objective people’s feedback.

In your position, I think – dare I utter the heresy? – I would start from what I wanted the students to take away, which is not a history lecture, a moral exhortation, or some borrowed politicised prepared point of view by a third party with a vested interest. I would think creatively: there’s time to do that. I would look for contemporary material which imparts the human experience and enlist the support, and preferably help, of the Head of Drama (assuming there is a creative arts faculty). It could perhaps be an opportunity for some of your sixth formers to create a drama project piece, which would engage the audience and the participants far more than being talked at and it would be something they‘d remember.

Such pieces could originate in improvisation from contemporary creative work, too, including the music, poetry and art of any of the wars. To be clear: I'm not talking about a play, but an active presentation, or maybe a dramatised reading.

You would also think more widely than the Great War.

I’ve probably got my basic script somewhere if you wish to see the example.

Gwyn

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Pick yourself a young soldier who died; have you a 'last letter' from him to parents/a condolence letter from officer to parents? If you've got a big pic of him to have on an easel/display board, well and good.

If the lad's letters are the usual 'I'm fine, everything okey-dokey' material you can contrast his attempt at shielding the folks back home from the reality of war with the actual conditions the boy fought and died in.

Move on to the letter from the officer ... how many did that subaltern have to write on any given day? How long was it before his co was writing a letter to his parents?

You could focus on the nature of courage, endurance and comradeship .. qualities which I imagine are still admirable even in this jaundiced age!

10 minutes does not sound long .... it's an eternity!

Best wishes

Des

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Hi,

It might be worth pointing out that the battlefields still yield a harvest of steel (sorry - I don't recall the exact phrase), but as importantly the fact that they can still be dangerous places- the regular deaths each year. I know its not the core of the story, but it might help bring home the fact that the war was fought on such a huge material scale it is still with us right now, and will remain so for at least another nine centuries (according to a website stat - sorry, I don't have the reference) - so even if the world wanted to forget, it won't be possible.

I've been reading about the battlefield clearances and battlefield archaeology most of today, so this has stuck in my mind - I suppose in cliched terms, the battlefields never became silent, with constant war related activity since the 11th november 1918 (and before!)

I've added a picture from the site which although simple, for some reason really struck me - I suppose it's because it is such a modern sign.

Also, I've added the link:

Battlefields today

I realise its a bit of a side issue for your topic - but it made an impression on me purely on the basis of the war's sheer persistence over time.

hope it helps

doogal

post-8-1094833661.jpg

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You could do a consumer survey. Talk to the sixth formers. They've sat through possibly ten or eleven Remembrance assemblies. Some will have been awful. Some may have made them cry. Get them to tell you what works and what fails.

Gwyn

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From my own schooldays: please, please, please don't ever bring along anyone wearing period clothing, no matter how accurate or how knowledgable they may be. Uniforms and memorabilia, fine, but as long as no one is wearing them. (In a Junior School this would be fine, but years 9-11, no way!

As you will know, for the average teenager this will push them perilously close to the limits of self-conscious hysteria and will make them miss the point entirely. I pity those poor Shakespearian actors we were taken to see - we had the remedials with us - and wonder how many have since been driven to distraction by coachloads of spotty, conceited oiks laughing at their codpieces.

Richard

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Such great ideas...

I have ideas running around my head... one thing I do want to do is to somewhere have the sound of an explosion followed by machine gune fire and artillery...

Now THAT would sit em bolt upright! and in the meantime appeal to my sense of humour.... :lol:

I will concentrate on the one face and like the letter idea... I have some due to arrive soon and will see what they contain...

Still got time.. eight weeks... any more ideas please let me know...

John

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I have a short 8 page powerpoint I used with US 6th graders ... talks about Ypres / Ieper only ... but shows pictures of today and yesterday ... has a great graphic of the war underground (nobody talks about it) ... and ends with the download of the Meinen Gate Last Post ...

Short and kind of graphic ... but at least one person (me) is in tears by the time you hear the sobs in the background of the bugle.

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