Lest We Forget: Unit 1

Objects and Memories | Foundation to Year 2

Classroom units of work to mark the 100th Anniversary of the ANZAC Landings at Gallipoli

Red poppies in a field under blue sky

Above: Red Poppies by Vera Buhl CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Objects and Memories introduces young children to WW1 through a familiar lens — that of objects they might find in their family and the special significance those objects hold.

The unit focuses on the idea that objects can be more than just things; they can have symbolic meanings that can help us to remember. Through an exploration of two key texts (Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and Anzac Biscuits) children will view how authors have used objects to provoke memories and tell stories. They will then create their own story-based text based on a suitable object from WW1 which demonstrates an elementary understanding of symbolism.

Texts: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas,  ANZAC Biscuits by Phil Cummings and Owen Swan, Rosemary by the Australian War Memorial, a page about ANZAC biscuits, a page with history and recipe for ANZAC biscuits.

Teacher support: Find supporting resources including related literature and a glossary to help with background information concerning the ANZACs and the Gallipoli campaign.

Unit writer: Jennifer Asha


Focus: This literature-rich unit focuses students on reading and responding to a variety of literature, writing factual sentences in response to the themes and content of the informative and imaginative texts read and using speaking and listening skills to gather and share information. Students at Foundation/Early Stage One  may be developing their understanding of a sentence and beginning to name nouns and verbs in a sentence, while Year One and Two/Stage One students will be developing their sentence structure to include adverbs and adverbial phrases. Throughout the learning sequence worksheets have been provided to help teachers differentiate activities to best meet the learning needs of their students.

This unit supports students to explore the idea that objects can be symbols which have an emotional meaning and can be used to tell stories and provide comfort in times of difficulty or war.

Learning sequence for teaching and learning activities

The unit will support students to explore the question: How do authors use objects to help us understand and remember WW1? The learning sequence is organised by a series of contributing questions:

  1. How can objects help us to remember?
  2. Which objects have been given special meaning to help us remember WW1?
  3. How have authors and illustrators given objects special meanings?
  4. How can we remember WW1 by using an object to create a text?

Sequence 1 — How can objects help us to remember?

Exploring the concept of objects as symbols

Before reading (Modelled sentences): Using an object of personal significance such as a sporting trophy, holiday souvenir, school photograph or childhood birthday card, explain the significance of the object and share your associated memory with the class. Display the object and attach a label, reading it aloud to the class. The label should read, This is ... It helps me to remember ... Model filling in the blanks or enlist the help of students in order to fill in the blanks collaboratively, depending on the learning needs of your class. Point out and explain or reinforce the nouns in the sentence written. ACELA1434  ACELA1452 ACELA1468

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge book coverDuring reading: Read or have students read Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas helping students to notice and join in with the repetitive lines in the story and to predict what Wilfred Gordon could collect to help Miss Nancy remember. Support students to make connections between the events in the story and the object and memory shared in the Before Reading activity.  ACELY1650  ACELY1660  ACELY1670

After reading: Ask students to recount the objects from the story, using teacher drawn or online sourced pictures of shells, a puppet, medals, a football and an egg to help prompt students as they recount. Highlight that these objects are also nouns. (See Pictorial recount resource below)  

Scaffolded sentence writing: Ask individual or pairs of students to write a sentence about one or more of the objects, using a similar format to that modelled in the Before Reading example. For instance: The (object) helped Miss Nancy to remember ...

The Objects and Memories sentences worksheets or the Pictorial recount (.pdf 1.86 MB) resource can be used to scaffold or differentiate this activity for individual or small groups of students. (Sentences (.pdf 103 kB), Sentence starters (.pdf 104 kB), Sentence maker (.pdf 142 kB)) 

Provide multiple copies of the picture book to allow students to refer back to the details of the story as they write their sentences. On completion, help students to point out the nouns in their sentences.  ACELT1578  ACELT1582  ACELT1591 

Independent sentence writing: Ask students to answer the question, How do objects help us to remember? and ask them bring in an object or photograph that holds a memory for them, to share with the class. Take photographs of students as they speak to the class or a small group about their object. Ask students to write a sentence about their object using their knowledge of sentence level grammar. Create a wall display labelled with the photographs and students' written sentences. Use these sentences as formative assessment. ACELY1651  ACELY1661  ACELY1671  ACHASSI004  ACHASSI021  ACHASSI037

Sequence 2 — Which objects have been given special meaning to help us remember WW1?

Researching symbols from WW1

Sprigs of Rosemary and a mauve bloomBuilding Field Knowledge: Use a number of images such as a wreath, poppies (under unit heading, above), rosemary (right), cenotaph, soldier, service medals, marching service people, slouch hat and the rising sun army emblem that symbolise different aspects of Remembrance Day, ANZAC day and WW1 to play a matching game, either concentration using pairs of images on cards, or word/noun and picture match. (The Australian War Memorial and The Australian Army site are good sources of symbols.) Ask students to identify symbols they recognise and ask them to explain where and when they remember seeing them. If possible bring a poppy and a sprig of rosemary to class for students to examine.  ACELY1646  ACELY1656  ACELY1666

Modelled Writing: Focus particularly on the pictures of rosemary and poppies and explain to students that these are symbols; they have been given special meaning to help us remember WW1.

Read The symbolism of poppies (.pdf 289 kB) text to the class or have them read it to each other in pairs. Ask students to draw one to four pictures to represent or symbolise a fact they have learned from reading the text and share these with the class. 

Model the writing of factual sentences using information from the text and referring to students' pictures where appropriate. Use the Poppy sentence starters (.pdf 444 kB) to guide writing. Show students how the object/noun that is the focus of the sentences is at the beginning of each sentence. Point out the action, thinking and being (relating) verbs in each sentence, as appropriate to your class.

Poppy sentence starters suggested answers

The poppy is a red flower.
Poppies grew easily in fields after battles were over.
Poppies symbolise fallen soldiers.
Poppies help us to remember those who sacrificed their lives for their country.

Guided and Independent Writing: Read an informative text about rosemary such as Why Rosemary? (.pdf 45 kB), Rosemary or Rosemary for remembrance (.pdf 528 kB) to your class or have them read it independently then conduct a Think, Pair, Share to help students consolidate facts from the text read. Ask students to write factual sentences about rosemary using the Rosemary sentence starters (.pdf 529 kB).  

Share sentences with the class and as a group edit them where necessary, discussing sentences in terms of their use of nouns and verbs. Choose one or more student sentences to model the addition of adverbial phrases to expand the meanings as appropriate to your class, using questions such as, What word tells us what is happening in this sentence? How could we describe that action/verb further? What could we write at the end of the sentence to give the reader more information about the verb or tell us when or where the action took place? For example, Rosemary grew naturally on the hills above Gallipoli. ACELY1651  ACELY1661  ACELY1671  ACHASSI008  ACHASSI010  ACHASSI025  ACHASSI027  ACHASSI041  ACHASSI043 

Collaboratively choose students' sentences to add to a classroom display illustrating and explaining the symbolism of rosemary.

Sequence 3 — How have authors and illustrators given objects special meanings?

Exploring symbolism in literature

Building field knowledge: Research the history of the ANZAC biscuit and the way families and organisations sent comfort parcels of baked goods, knitted items and other objects to soldiers in the battle field. Share various recipes for ANZAC biscuits and highlight the sentence grammar peculiar to recipes, particularly the position of verbs at the beginning of each sentence or phrase. Choose a recipe to follow, cook and eat ANZAC biscuits.   ACELA1434 ACELA1452  ACELA1468  ACHASSK013

Ask students to recall special foods associated with family celebrations or a time they cooked for a family member, ask them to think about what they made, the occasion that included cooking, how they felt and how they hoped their family member would feel, and take turns telling a partner or small group. 

ANZAC Biscuits cover depicting a soldier in the groundShared reading: Read ANZAC Biscuits to your class and ask students to share their personal responses to the story. Prompt student thinking by asking questions such as, Whose story is being told? Who is the soldier? How do we know? How do the colours of the illustrations separate each of the stories, then tie them together in the last illustration? Highlight for students the way the book tells two different but related stories that are occurring simultaneously then tied together in the last illustration.  ACELT1578  ACELT1582  ACELT1591

Examining the text: Using multiple copies of the text, ask students in pairs to look closely at the illustrations and draw or write to make a list of either all the objects/nouns that are golden colour or all of the objects/nouns that are grey. (For example, Golden — mum's hair, fire in the stove, flowers on mum's apron, butter, kitchen, biscuits. Grey — battle field, soldier, coat, rain, photograph of soldier, smoke, sky, helmet.) Discuss the mood and symbolism of each colour and how these meanings are evident in the story. Particularly, lead students to an understanding of the way the golden ANZAC biscuits symbolise the love Rachel and her mother feel for the soldier/Daddy. 

Responding to the text: Model the writing of sentences in response to the question, How have authors and illustrators given special meanings to objects? Model simple sentences or complex sentences with adverbial phrases or clauses giving more information, depending on the learning needs of your students. For example:

The golden pictures feel warm. 

ANZAC biscuits are golden brown when they're cooked.

The present of ANZAC biscuits warms the heart of the soldier.

Ask students to respond by writing their own sentences to explain the symbolism of colour in the story. 

The worksheets, Symbolism of colours (.pdf 75 kB), Symbolism of colour sentence starters (.pdf 77 kB) and Symbolism of colour sentence maker (.pdf 78 kB), can be used to scaffold students' writing. ACELY1651  ACELY1661  ACELY1671

Sequence 4 — How can we remember WW1 by using an object to create a text? 

Planning for writing

Modelled stories: Create a display of artefacts or photographs of objects from WW1 in your classroom. Source pictures of objects from The Australian War MemorialPowerhouse museum or similar. Help students to expand their understanding of symbolism by talking about what different objects from WW1 could symbolise, for example, a teddy bear to symbolise family, pen to symbolise keeping in touch, a Princess Mary’s Christmas tin to symbolise comfort or a helmet to symbolise safety. Choose an artefact or photograph of an artefact and tell its story, whether real or imagined, to your class to explain, in narrative form, how the object came to have its associated symbolism.

Allow students to add to the display and bring in family memorabilia or artefacts. Ask students to tell the story of their object, explaining what it symbolises and the significance to their family. ACELY1646  ACELY1656  ACELY1666  ACHASSK013  ACHASSI010 ACHASSI027   ACHASSI043 

Shared stories: Brainstorm a list of nouns and verbs that are relevant to the telling of these stories and display for your students. Jointly write one or more of the stories, modelling sentence structure and use of the nouns and verbs from the list, including adverbials where appropriate.

Independent stories: Ask pairs of students to choose an object and tell each other its associated story before writing it down individually or jointly. Some students may benefit from having their story telling recorded and played back to help with their writing. Use written prompts to aid student's story telling, for example, Where did the object come from? Who owned the object? How was the object used? What does the object symbolise?  ACELY1651  ACELY1661  ACELY1671   ACHASSI010  ACHASSI027  ACHASSI043

Assessment outline

Assessment task

Ask students to create a poster with a picture of their chosen object/symbol and the associated story (from the Independent stories activity, above) published using handwriting or word processing. Allow time and support, where appropriate, to reread and edit written work. Students could use special stationery or tea stain paper to give their poster the look of age.

Collect students’ writing and analyse for student learning of content and use one of the rubrics below to assess sentence structure and grammar use.  ACELA1434  ACELA1452  ACELA1468 ACHASSI010  ACHASSI027  ACHASSI043

Whole class, sentence writing assessment rubric

Child name: Not evident Evident with teacher assistance
Evident in independent writing Uses Descriptively
Identifies a suitable object and tells its story        
Explains the object's symbolism        
Explains the object's significance to their family        
Identifies and uses nouns appropriately          
Identifies and uses verbs appropriately         
Identifies and uses adverbials appropriately         

Individual, sentence writing assessment rubric

Child name: Not evident Evident with teacher assistance
Evident in independent writing Uses Descriptively
Identifies and uses nouns appropriately        
Identifies and uses verbs appropriately        
Identifies and uses adverbials appropriately        

Concluding the unit of work:
Create a display using the books or book covers, the images used throughout the lesson sequences and the students' sentences from each of the learning sequences and assessment task poster and allow time for students from other classes or parents and members of the school community to view the display and share their own memories and understandings of WW1. Ask students to tell a partner what they now know that they didn't know prior to commencing the unit of work. Use the Sharing Learning (.pdf 100 kB) worksheet to scaffold students' sharing with peers.  ACELY1646  ACELY1656  ACELY1666  ACHASSI008  ACHASSI025  ACHASSI041

Australian Curriculum: English

The following general capabilities are addressed explicitly in the content of the learning in this unit of work: Literacy, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, and Intercultural understanding.

Find a linked overview of Australian Curriculum: English content descriptions for this unit below, alongside New South Wales and Victorian syllabus outcomes and levels for the Australian Curriculum: English.

Curriculum and syllabus links for Unit 1: Objects and Memories

Australian Curriculum: English



Expressing and developing ideas

Recognise that texts are made up of words and groups of words that make meaning  ACELA1434


F/Reading & Viewing / Language 
  Explore differences in words that represent people, places and things (nouns, including pronouns), happenings and states (verbs), qualities (adjectives) and details such as when, where and how (adverbs) ACELA1452
L1/Reading & Viewing / Language 
  Understand that nouns represent people, places, concrete objects and abstract concepts; that there are three types of nouns: common, proper and pronouns; and that noun groups/phrases can be expanded using articles and adjectives ACELA1468 EN1-9B L2/Reading & Viewing / Language 
Responding to literature
Discuss characters and events in a range of literary texts and share personal responses to these texts, making connections with students' own experiences  ACELT1582 EN1-9B
L1/Speaking & Listening / Literature 
Share feelings and thoughts about the events and characters in texts ACELT1783 ENe-10C
F/Speaking & Listening / Literature 
Examining literature Identify some features of texts including events and characters and retell events from a text  ACELT1578  ENe-9B
F/Reading & Viewing / Literature 
Discuss the characters and settings of different texts and explore how language is used to present these features in different ways ACELT1591 EN1-10C
L2/Reading & Viewing / Literature 
Interacting with others
Listen to and respond orally to texts and to the communication of others in informal and structured classroom situations ACELY1646 ENe-6B
F/Speaking & Listening / Literacy 
  Engage in conversations and discussions, using active listening behaviours, showing interest, and contributing ideas, information and questions ACELY1656 EN1-6B
L1/Speaking & Listening / Literacy 
  Listen for specific purposes and information, including instructions, and extend students’ own and others' ideas in discussions ACELY1666 EN1-6B
L2/Speaking & Listening / Literacy 
Interpreting, analysing, evaluating Use comprehension strategies to understand and discuss texts listened to, viewed or read independently ACELY1650
ENe-4A F/Reading & Viewing / Literacy 
  Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning about key events, ideas and information in texts that they listen to, view and read by drawing on growing knowledge of context, text structures and language features ACELY1660
L1/Reading & Viewing / Literacy 
  Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning and begin to analyse texts by drawing on growing knowledge of context, language and visual features and print and multimodal text structures ACELY1670 EN1-4A L2/Reading & Viewing / Literacy 
Creating texts Create short texts to explore, record and report ideas and events using familiar words and beginning writing knowledge ACELY1651 ENe-2A
F/Writing / Literacy 
  Create short imaginative and informative texts that show emerging use of appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal elements, for example illustrations and diagrams ACELY1661 EN1-2A
L1/Writing / Literacy 
  Create short imaginative, informative and persuasive texts using growing knowledge of text structures and language features for familiar and some less familiar audiences, selecting print and multimodal elements appropriate to the audience and purpose ACELY1671 EN1-7B L2/Writing / Literacy 

Source for content descriptions above: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Useful general links

Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS)

The following general capabilities are addressed explicitly in the content of the learning in this unit of work: Literacy, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, and Intercultural understanding.

Find a linked overview of Australian Curriculum: HASS content descriptions for this unit below, alongside New South Wales syllabus guidance for the Australian Curriculum: HASS. Victorian syllabus advice and levels to be included soon.

Curriculum and syllabus links for Unit 1: Objects and Memories

Australian Curriculum: HASS



Inquiry and skills
Researching (Sequence 1)

Sequence familiar objects and events  ACHASSI004  ACHASSI021 ACHASSI037

Content for Early Stage 1 History
Content for Stage 1 History

Evaluating and reflecting (Sequence 2 and Assessment) Draw simple conclusions based on discussions, observations and information displayed in pictures and texts and on maps  ACHASSI008 ACHASSI025  ACHASSI041

Content for Early Stage 1 Geography
Content for Stage 1 Geography

Communicating (Sequence 2, 4 and Assessment) Present narratives, information and findings in oral, graphic and written forms using simple terms to denote the passing of time and to describe direction and location ACHASSI010  ACHASSI027  ACHASSI043
Content for Early Stage 1 History
Content for Stage 1 History
Knowledge and understanding
How the stories of families and the past can be communicated, for example, through photographs, artefacts, books, oral histories, digital media and museums ACHASSK013  HTe-1   HTe-2  Personal and family histories

Source for content descriptions above: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Useful general links