Often when a new resource arrives I think – hmm that will do, it ticks all the boxes, covers what I want and looks good. And then sometimes, just sometimes something arrives that actually gets me excited, yes after nine years of home educating my kids I can still excited when a new resource arrives and it actually exceeds my expectations, and leaves me itching to start using it, like this War Anthology book by Hodder Education.
This year we are covering World War I and World War II in our History and we will be reading a lot of World War fictional books as part of our History, but then those books are also going to be part of our English (I love combining subjects, it always makes the learning journey that much more exciting and engaging when we cover a theme across multiple subjects – in case anyone is wondering we are going to link in some Geography as well). So I really wanted to find something that could bring our War theme into our English work, something that would allow my daughter to do her typical English learning activities (writing letters, diary entries, working on adjectives or synonyms etc etc) but do them as part of our War theme. And this book does just that, it takes all those English activities that can sometimes be a bit dry and wraps them up in War literature to make them more exciting (especially for kids who find History fascinating).
Even at my very first look at the book I spotted extracts and activities on a wide range of books/movies that I was already planning on covering this year – War Horse, Carrie’s War, The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas, the Book Thief, 1917 and the Diary of Anne frank are included. And that was just on my very first look. When I gave it a closer look I found a number of other fascinating works that I had not thought of and that are our now on my list – including 3 brilliant poems. (I should make it clear this book deals with sources from different wars but we are going to focus on the ones to do with World War 1 and World War 2.)
If you have not heard about this range (this is our second book in the English Anthology range that we are using – we used the Myths and Legends book and we highly recommend it), the layout is as follows. For each book/movie/poem you normally get four pages. The first two pages are the work itself / or extract of the work. There is normally a context block – which is an introduction of sorts, the extract or poem is then included with little “knowledge blocks” as my daughter calls them – these are blocks which explain about about what is being said in the extract (my daughter loves these).
Then the next two pages are your activity pages. For each extract you will get three blocks of separate activities spread over a double page. The first is called Look Closer and gets the reader to think a bit more about what they have read. Then you get the block called Now Try This – which is more detailed and often involves slightly more time consuming activities. And finally the third set of activities are called Practice Questions. Plus sample answers for all these activities are FREE to download from their website – sample answers here.
And they really do include a wide range of activities e.g – design a survival booklet, write a letter, synonyms and antonyms, do research on a topic, explain what is the impression created by certain phrases, design a brand logo, imagine you are a tour guide what information would you tell people, really it is an incredibly wide range of activities that they include. Which is one of the reasons I love this. Not only are we getting activities based on books, films, poems that link into our History but there are so many excellent English activities that my daughter will be working through. And by linking the two I know she is going to find these activities fascinating and interesting (more than if I gave her an random English worksheet on synonyms and antonyms) and if she finds the work interesting I know she is really going to engage and put a lot more effort in.
So yes it may sounds strange to some but this home educator is actually really excited to find an English resource that not only looks interesting and has lots of excellent English activities in it but is going to help us merge together our historical fictional reading and our English activities.
You can get these English Anthology books directly from the Hodder website – War Anthology or you can also get it from amazon – Key Stage 3 English Anthology: War
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