Lest We Forget: Unit 6

The Images of War | Years 5, 6 and 7

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

Statue of a WW1 soldier atop a pedastal and his face and open hand held skyward

Above: Detail from Lest we forget, Ontario memorial, photo by Marcus Jeffrey CC-BY_SA 2.0

While students may understand the facts surrounding the ANZAC Day commemoration, for many this is all they know. There is little understanding of the situation which prevailed beyond the events of April 25, 1915, and these events are so far removed from their own experiences that students can find them difficult to connect with.

The Images of War enables students to connect with some of the events of WW1 by investigating how authors and poets use written and visual imagery to engage their readers' senses, therefore helping them to develop a deeper understanding of the some of the experiences of war.

Texts: One Minute’s Silence by David Metzenthen and Michael Camilleri, The Beach they Called Gallipoli by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley, ‘Futility’ by Wilfred Owen, and ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae

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

Unit writers: Barbara Braxton and Sophie Honeybourne

Overview of the unit

Focus: The unit focuses on the use of imagery as a tool to convey the experience of war in literature and poetry. Using a variety of visual, written and poetic texts, students will explore the use of figurative language and visual devices to generate different types of imagery.

Learning sequence for teaching and learning activities

The unit supports students to explore the idea that authors can use imagery to convey ‘difficult’ experiences to their readers. The unit will support students to explore the question: How have authors, illustrators and poets used imagery and mood to convey their response to WW1? The learning sequence is organised by a series of contributing questions:

  1. What is imagery and why do authors use it as a way of representing their experiences?
  2. How have authors used imagery in visual texts to represent WW1?
  3. How have authors used imagery in poetry to convey their experiences of war?
  4. How can I use imagery to represent WW1?

Sequence 1 — What is imagery and why do authors use it as a way of representing their experiences?

Defining imagery

Read and display the Australian War Memorial description of the Gallipoli Campaign. Why does this informative description make it hard for students to connect with the experiences of the ANZACs at Gallipoli? What is ‘missing’ that would aid students’ understanding (elicit references to imagery and/or figurative language.) Encourage students to suggest literary devices which writers often use to help readers form these mental pictures (including alliteration, metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification and simile). Revise terms as necessary, supporting students to create a glossary in their books. ACELT1617

Ask students whether they think that ‘images’ can also work as ‘imagery’. How can images be used to develop mental pictures beyond the use of simple photographs? Students may find this hard to answer however, ask them to write a short explanation in their books. Accompanied by their definition of written imagery, these can function as an initial formative assessment. ACELY1708   ACHASSI095  ACHASSI123 

Sequence 2 — How have authors used imagery in visual texts to represent WW1?

Water colour illustration of an ANZAC soldier on Gallipoli BeachExploring written and visual imagery in The Beach They Called Gallipoli

Explain that the three informative paragraphs they read from the Australian War Memorial website cover the same content as the book The Beach They Called Gallipoli. However the book uses both written and visual imagery to more effectively convey the events and experiences of Anzac Cove and the Gallipoli Campaign.

Share the text’s first double-page spread. Using the Imagery Analysis worksheet (.pdf 224 kB) model how the author and illustrator have used written and visual forms of imagery to help the reader build mental pictures, then ask the following questions to help build further understanding. ACELY1703

Additional questions for 23 April 1914 double page spread:

  • Why did French use the alliterative sounds ‘s’ and ‘f’? (they mimic the sounds of the sea)
  • How do the text and the images provide an insight into the lives of the Turks before the war? (they portray an atmosphere of calm, peace and an ageless lifestyle even though the page shows the specific date ‘23 April, 1915’. 
  • Consider how Whatley's choice of image establishes a point of contrast for what is to come.

Contrast the pages showing 23 April 1915 with those showing 24 April. Task small groups to use the Imagery Analysis worksheet (above) in a guided format to analyse the double page then share responses, asking the following questions to help build student understanding. ACELY1801

Additional questions for 23 April 1914 double page spread:

  • Examine French's use of personification, for example, ‘war snatched and battered many places’ and how she places the land itself as the narrator. 
  • How do French's words suggest that something totally overwhelming is about to take place? (use of words like ‘surged’ and ‘shattered’ and the list of countries involved in the conflict) 
  • How has Whatley taken changed the text from a personal perspective to a global one between these two dates? (he has populated the images of April 23 with individual lives while those of succeeding pages are more anonymous, showing distant men and countries’ flags).  

Use a jigsaw approach to deconstruct the rest of the text using the same analysis sheet. Divide students into pairs or small groups and assign each one a different double page spread from the text. Students should analyse their pages then present their findings to the rest of the class. ACELT1609

To complete the text study, ask students to answer the following questions:

  • How has French used personification to help the reader understand what happened at Anzac Cove and how it affected the soldiers? How has her overall use of imagery enhanced the traditional ‘information’ text?
  • What overall mood has Whatley’s use of low modality, manipulated photographs, collaged artefacts and painted illustrations helped to create and how does this influence the feelings of the viewer? ACELT1615

Analysing written imagery

Explain that Ashmead-Bartlett was an official war correspondent for Australian newspapers. Video footage of the war was very rare in 1915 due to technological limitations, and photographs were not published in papers for similar reasons, so war correspondents had to use written imagery to help their readers picture the events. Read and provide images to illustrate a short newspaper extract (.pdf 113 kB) of the ANZAC troops landing in Anzac Cove. 

Use the Venn diagram worksheet (.pdf 112 kB) to compare and contrast Ashmead-Bartlett’s description to French’s found on the double page dated 25 April 1914. ACELT1616

Developing visual imagery using Whatley’s techniques

Explain that students are going to illustrate Ashmead-Bartlett’s passage using some of the visual techniques they identified in The Beach They Called Gallipoli. Having already analysed the written imagery in Ashmead-Barlett’s writing, students should be able to suggest some images that might help illustrate and add meaning to the passage, for example, a line of battleships, the men on the hills. ACELT1618

The Visual imagery task sheet (.pdf 166 kB) will enable most students to complete the activity independently.

Cover sketch of two soldiers' who look sideways at one anotherIntroducing One Minute’s Silence

Discuss the symbolism of one minute's silence to provide background to the text prior to reading. Ask students to share their experiences of observing a minute’s silence. Does it mean anything to them? Why, or why not? What do they think of during that minute?  

Show the students the first double page spread of One Minute’s Silence and ask them identify one person in the illustration that they most relate to, explaining their reasons. Conduct an initial viewing of the text and ask for students’ responses. What do they notice about the characters in the text? (Read the first two pages of the illustrator’s commentary (.pdf 3.7 MB) to reveal why the illustrator chose to insert the students into the illustrations throughout the text.) ACELT1609

Introduce the concept of juxtaposition (placing two unlikely things close together to create a deliberate contrast) and explore how Metzenthen has used this device in One Minute's Silence. What does the front cover image of the Australian and Turkish soldiers suggest the story might be about?  How does the juxtaposition of the Australian and Turkish perspectives build up an image of ‘two sides to a story’?

While juxtaposition usually highlights differences, examine how the text and illustrations of both work together to actually highlight similarities between the two sides. How do the endpapers reinforce the similarities between the two sides through the mirrored images of the clock diagram and the building? (At this point it may be important to discuss the symbolism of the endpapers’ clock diagram and the repeated use of circular and ‘gear-framed’ images throughout the text to indicate the passing of time.) ACELT1617

Exploring written and visual imagery in One Minute’s Silence

Referring to pages 6–7 (showing the Australian perspective of the Gallipoli landing on 25th April 1915), use the Imagery Analysis worksheet (.pdf 249 kB) for One Minute's Silence to model how the author and illustrator have used written imagery and visual devices to help the reader develop mental pictures. Compare and contrast these two pages with the next two (showing the Turkish perspective), using another copy of the same worksheet. Ask students to explain how the author and illustrator have used written and visual devices to enable the reader to connect with the experiences of soldiers on both sides in the war. ACELT1610

In addition to the double page spreads which show events, some display symbols (for example, the fly, the bullet and the darkness). Support students to deconstruct an example using the Fly image worksheet (.pdf 124 kB) to explain Camilleri’s use of the fly as a symbol of death.  ACELT1617

Students should work independently to deconstruct the rest of the text using the imagery analysis sheet. Divide students into pairs or small groups and assign each one a different double page spread from the text. After analysing their pages, students should present their findings to the rest of the class. ACELY1709

To complete the text study, ask students to answer the following questions.

Questions for One Minute’s Silence:

  • Find examples of written imagery which convey sights, sounds, smells and feelings that are beyond the reader's experience. Why are they so effective?
  • What techniques does Camilleri use to interpret Metzenthen's words and how do they contribute to understanding his message? Consider his use of single frames, vignettes, full-page spreads, maps and diagrams, the layout and the monochromatic scheme. Why do the fly and the retreat have a double page spread?  
  • What other techniques (.pdf 3.7 MB) has Camilleri used such as the cogs and the placement of the Turkish and Australian soldiers to underpin the message of Metzenthen's words? ACELA1524

    Compare and contrast the written and visual imagery of One Minute's Silence with that of The Beach They Called Gallipoli. Even though they are dealing with the same topic, how do the different portrayals add to the students' understanding of the events?

    Have the students write a reflective piece ‘How has the imagery in A Beach They Called Gallipoli and One Minute’s Silence enabled me to imagine the events of the Gallipoli campaign?’ Your response should include references to written and visual devices. You may wish to use a ‘traditional’ information text as a point of contrast.  ACELT1614  ACHASSI100 ACHASSI126 ACHASSI157

    Sequence 3 — How have authors used imagery in poetry to convey their experiences of war?

    Ask student to draw a two-column table with the headings ‘Prose’ and ‘Poetry’ and list as many of the features of each that they can think of. How does poetry differ from prose? (For example, it is designed to be read aloud; it uses sound, and sometimes rhyme and rhythm, to add emphasis and meaning; it can ‘abandon’ standard grammatical rules — lines can contain ideas but may not be sentences.)  ACELT1617

    Introduce students to assonance and sibilance, and remind them about some of the different forms of rhyme.

    Exploring imagery in the poem ‘Futility’

    Display the poem ‘Futility’ by Wilfred Owen on the board and if necessary, explain the dictionary definition of ‘futility’ and ‘futile’. Discuss why a war poet might title a war poem ‘Futility’. What is it telling the reader before they even start reading the poem? ACELA1518

    Provide students with the opportunity to listen to the poem read aloud to them, read it individually and perform it themselves.

    Support students to use the Imagery and Sound Analysis worksheet (.pdf 164 kB) for ‘Futility’ to explore the poem’s use of written imagery and sound to help build pictures in the reader’s mind. ACELT1617

    After analysis, spend some time discussing the personification of the sun. Discuss how the poem seems gentle and sad in the first stanza then becomes angry in the second. How is the personification of the sun linked to this idea?

    Support students to identify the questions in the final half of the second stanza and identify that, although rhetorical, they work to engage the reader in the text. Compare and contrast this engagement with the direct address to the reader in One Minute’s Silence and the author’s repeated use of  ‘can you imagine ...’. ACELA1501

    Exploring imagery in ‘In Flanders Fields’

    Display the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae on the board and provide a brief background to Flanders Fields (see the Glossary).

    Provide students with the opportunity to listen to the poem read aloud to them, read it individually and perform it themselves. ACELY1700

    Support students to use the Imagery and Sound Analysis Sheet (.pdf 168 kB) for ‘In Flanders Fields’ to explore the poem’s use of written imagery and sound to help build pictures in the reader’s mind.

    After analysis, spend some time discussing how the images of larks ‘still bravely singing’ and poppies blowing in the breeze contrast with the battle. Support students to identify how the poet engages the reader in the text in the final stanza. (The reader is directly addressed.) Compare this engagement with the direct address to the reader in ‘Futility’ and One Minute’s SilenceACELT1611

    Finish the learning sequence by asking students to return to their original poetry versus prose list and add what they have learned about some of the poetic devices used to build imagery, including quotes from either poem as appropriate.

    Sequence 4 — How can I use imagery to represent WW1?

    Introduce the Summative Assessment Task (.pdf 145 kB) and explain that students will use their knowledge of written and visual imagery to create their own picture book style double page spread about WW1. Explain that this is a creative, open-ended task: students can choose to write as much or little as they like and can choose whether to use poetry or prose.

    Spend some time discussing and brainstorming ideas as a class. Students may wish to focus on a specific event (for example, the initial ANZAC landings at Gallipoli Cove) or a soldier’s personal experience. In order to build the field and provide them with further ideas, expose students to a variety of other age-appropriate literary texts about WW1 by creating a WW1 book table or conducting a research session in the school library.

    Before students begin to draft, discuss the importance of carefully selected vocabulary and written and visual devices. If they have not heard of the term ‘purple prose’, explain its meaning and that it can work to disengage the reader; sometimes ‘less is more’!

    Once students have developed their written component, encourage them to discuss their ideas for visual element(s) with a partner. Students can use any kind of visual medium and format, including drawings, painting, photography and collage. (See Jeannie Baker’s work as an example.) ACELT1612

    Provide time for students to hand-sketch their double page layout and experiment with any software or web 2.0 tools they might wish to use. If they wish to add a further mode to their texts students may wish to develop their text digitally and add spoken lines or sound effects. ACELT1800

    After completion of their text either print or photocopy students' work so they can annotate it to explain its visual features as outlined in the Imagery Analysis Explanation (.pdf 173 kB) worksheet. ACELY1714  ACHASSI105  ACHASSI133 ACHASSI163 

    Assessment outline

    The Summative Assessment Task (.pdf 145 kB) asks students to apply their knowledge and understandings developed from the featured texts to create their own double page spread to represent an aspect of WW1 using written and visual imagery. After completion students will use the Imagery Analysis Explanation (.pdf 173 kB) sheet to explain where, how and why they have used written and visual imagery. The Summative Assessment Task Marking Rubric (.pdf 139 kB) should be shown to students along with the initial task in order to establish clear expectations for achievement.

    Allow students time to research, plan, collaborate and draft their texts before producing their final piece of work.

    The final works could be displayed either digitally or as large cardboard posters. Upon completion, students may wish to self or peer mark using the rubric.

    Students may also wish to present their work and verbally explain their analysis of written and visual imagery, or they could be interviewed by a teacher or peer to explain their thinking. ACHASSI105  ACHASSI133  ACHASSI163

    Australian Curriculum: English

    The following general capabilities are addressed explicitly in the content of the learning in this unit of work: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding. 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 6: The Images of War

     

    AC: English NSW VIC

    Language

    Language for interaction

    Understand that patterns of language interaction vary across social contexts and types of texts and that they help to signal social roles and relationships ACELA1501


    EN3-1A 
     
    L5/speaking and Listening/Language
    Text structure and organisation Understand how authors often innovate on text structures and play with language features to achieve particular aesthetic, humorous and persuasive purposes and effects  ACELA1518

    EN3-5B  L6/Reading and Viewing/Language
    Literature
    Responding to literature
    Present a point of view about particular literary texts using appropriate metalanguage, and reflecting on the viewpoints of others ACELT1609  

    EN3-2A

     

     L5/Speaking and Listening/Literature
      Identify and explain how choices in language, for example modality, emphasis, repetition and metaphor, influence personal response to different texts ACELT1615  

    EN3-6B L6/Reading and Viewing/Literature
      Analyse and evaluate similarities and differences in texts on similar topics, themes or plots ACELT1614   

    EN3-7C L6/Reading and Viewing/Literature
    Examining literature Identify, describe, and discuss similarities and differences between texts, including those by the same author or illustrator, and evaluate characteristics that define an author’s individual style ACELT1616  

    EN3-3A L6/Reading and Viewing/Literature

     

      Recognise that ideas in literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints, which can lead to different kinds of interpretations and responses ACELT1610

    EN3-8D L5/Reading and Viewing/Literature
      Understand, interpret and experiment with sound devices and imagery, including simile, metaphor and personification, in narratives, shape poetry, songs, anthems and odes ACELT1611  

    EN3-2A L5/Reading and Viewing/Literature
      Identify the relationship between words, sounds, imagery and language patterns in narratives and poetry such as ballads, limericks and free verse ACELT1617

    EN3-7C L6/Reading and Viewing/Literature
    Creating literature Create literary texts that adapt or combine aspects of texts students have experienced in innovative ways ACELT1618

    EN3-7C L5/Writing/Literature
      Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced ACELT1612

    EN3-7C
    L5/Writing//Literature 
      Experiment with text structures and language features and their effects in creating literary texts, for example, using imagery, sentence variation, metaphor and word choice ACELT1800  

    EN3-2A

     

    L6/Writing/Literature 
      Create literary texts that experiment with structures, ideas and stylistic features of selected authors ACELT1798
    EN3-2A L5/Writing/Literature
    Literacy
    Interacting with others
    Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions ACELY1709

    EN3-1A  L6/Speaking and Listening/Literacy
      Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced content and multimodal elements ACELY1700  

    EN3-1A  L5/Speaking and Listening/Literacy 
    Interpreting, analysing, evaluating Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources ACELY1703  

    EN3-3A   L5/reading and Viewing/Literacy
     
    Analyse strategies authors use to influence readers ACELY1801

    EN3-5B L6/reading and Viewing/Literacy
    Creating texts  Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience  ACELY1714  EN3-2A  L6/Writing/Literacy  

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

    Useful general links

    Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences

    The following general capabilities are addressed explicitly in the content of the learning in this unit of work: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding. 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 6: The Images of War

     

    AC: HASS NSW VIC
    Inquiry and skills
    Researching
    (Sequence 1)
    Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary sources and secondary sources ACHASSI095 ACHASSI123


    Content for Stage 3 History (historical skills)

     
     

    Analysing
    (Sequence 2)
    Interpret data and information displayed in a range of formats to identify, describe and compare distributions, patterns and trends, and to infer relationships ACHASSI100

    Examine primary sources and secondary sources to determine their origin and purpose ACHASSI126

    Content for Stage 3 History (historical skills)
     

    (Sequence 2) Analyse primary sources and secondary sources to identify values and perspectives on people, actions, events, issues and phenomena, past and present ACHASSI157

    Content for Stage 4 History (historical skills)
     
    Communicating  (Sequence 4 and Assessment) Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions ACHASSI105 ACHASSI133

    Content for Stage 3 History (historical skills)
    (Sequence 4 and Assessment) Present ideas, findings, viewpoints, explanations and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, citations, graphic representations and discipline-specific terms, conventions and concepts ACHASSI163

    Content for Stage 4 History (historical skills)

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

    Useful general links