We have been covering the First World War as our History Topic but most of the work that we have been doing has been aimed at my oldest (Year 9) and I knew I needed to find something slightly easier for my son, something more aimed at KS2, so we picked the Twinkl original book to do together – The Birds of Flanders Fields. We have an actual copy of the book but you can download it as an eBook from their site – The Birds of Flanders Fields eBook.
We read it last week (we read the whole book in 3 seasons) and both my son and I loved the story. I thought they covered the whole World War I theme in a very easy to digest format – great for younger learners and sensitive kids. The book is written from the birds perspective – the birds live in Flanders and they are wondering why the humans are fighting and why they all look so miserable. In the story the birds sing for the soldiers as a way of trying to cheer them up. I also really liked the fact that the two main birds are actually birds that have been injured – one has a damaged wing and the other cannot hear properly in his one ear (great way of showing that disabilities do not change the animal / person and great way to start talking about injured soldiers).
My son really loved the fact that although this was a fictional story there were actually birds in Flanders and he found the accompanying comprehension about the Actual Birds of Flanders Fields fascinating (it tied in really nicely with some of the learning that we have been doing about animals in war time). I have to confess that he is not normally one that enjoys ANY English activity, but he enjoyed this comprehension – he was fascinated by all the birds and kept pointing out links and asking about other stories. It really sparked that interest that you always want to see in the kids.
As with all the Twinkl original stories they had linked resources – we liked the trench display poster (which was already up on a board in our house), there is also a trench labelling worksheet that goes well with the poster
(They all tied in nicely with all the reading and learning that we have been doing about trench warfare).
I must confess we also linked in other World War I items (which is one of the reasons I like using the Twinkl eBooks, we always end up finding so much on the site). There really is a lot of World War 1 activities are the site so just a few quick links that we liked – this colouring map showing the Alliances, the First World War eBook, The Christmas Truce and my son read some of the pages from the KS3 Western Front pack (see link below).
For the older kids – there is an interesting First World War Western Front pack under KS3 and a Causes of the First World War under their GCSE History section (my daughter really liked the causes of the first World War pack and even though she is technically Year 9 and not suppose to be doing GCSE work yet she was 100% fine working through this section, in fact she really enjoyed doing the extra detail that was included in here.)