World War I

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Storyteller, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Storyteller

    Storyteller Rookie

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    Jan 5, 2014

    Hi! Hope everyone had a great Christmas break. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on teaching World War I to 7th grade? As a first-year teacher, I'm hoping to get advice anywhere! Thanks!
     
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  3. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jan 5, 2014

    After my student teaching last fall in 6th grade social studies I went to 7th and 8th grade. And my area of historical scholarship was primarily WWI during college.

    WWI is much more about the storyline--the details of the war secondary. I spent a lot of time talking about the conditions Europe was in and how it was a powder keg ready to explode. Emphasize about the disgruntled minority groups, particularly in Austria-Hungary and southeastern Europe. Also the conditions under Tsar Nicholas II in Russia are hugely important to the pull-out of Russia in 1917 (Bolshevik takeover). I loved my WWI unit because I got to talk about the things I loved the most. Most importantly do not separate WWI and WWII as isolated events--they are not. The outcome of WWI is the biggest contributing factor of WWII. I spent considerable time in my WWI examining the Versailles Treaty, the complete "beat down" Germany experienced which led to the ability of Hitler to takeover German. Without the outcome of VT, Hitler never would of obtained power. Kids often wonder why Hitler was appealing--he wouldn't have been, if the Versailles Treaty wasn't so harsh on Germany. The Versailles Treaty's demilitarization of Germany, harsh reparations, loss of Alsace-Lorraine, and most importantly while all other ethnic groups in Europe were given the right of self-determination--Germans were not. This was key to the "invasions" of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and Austria.

    Whew, I went off on a tangent. Most people find WWI boring, but the outcome is the most fascinating part. It was one of the most pivotal historical events EVER. It allowed for Bolshevik takeover and establishment of Communist Russia as well as the precipitous rise of Hitler in Germany.

    I used power points to convey the key ideas, show maps of Europe especially when discussing key battles (Verdun and Somme, for example), LOTS and LOTS of primary sources--I have the Nazi Germany Sourcebook by Stackelberg and Winkle and it has lots of great sources from WWI, Weimar Republic, and WWII. Lots of discussion-based questions can be gathered from these and really put kids into the position of being there themselves--how would they feel if the were German subjects under Kaiser Wilhelm during the war? I also used Document-Based Assessment for Global History (High School), it is simple enough for 7th graders. You can buy both on Amazon.

    Basically, this unit is best if preceded by Imperialism in Europe (which led to the outbreak of WWI) and directly connected to the disillusionment post WWI, to be picked up by WWII.

    Biggest focal points: Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary. They are the defacto biggest players until the US comes in, by that I mean--they are the story line--Britain in France are kind of like bystanders who were dragged in, but not central to the issues which caused WWI and kept the flames burning. As for the actual war itself, I spent only a few days talking about life in the trenches, the stagnating war front. Another focal point was the homefront as well.

    It will take time to plan this unit, gather some sources, outline your key points of emphasis. I did WWI in late March, so I'm shocked to see this question so soon. We were on 17th/18th century Europe at this point. Man you are moving!
     
  4. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Jan 5, 2014

    And with that--I'm teaching 4th grade math/science now. Once again reminding me I need to go back to middle school. And teach social studies. I thought elementary is where I wanted to be, but the passion isn't there--it's in social studies :)
     
  5. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Jan 7, 2014

    I am working on WWI now with my 8th graders. Message me--I would be happy to share what I do!
     

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