The Great War of 1914-1918 significantly shaped the course of the twentieth century, both at home and abroad. How can this pivotal event be personalized and brought to life for students in the new millennium? Unfortunately, increasingly fewer survivors of the World War I era are alive today to directly share their recollections of this historical time. Yet, by delving into the unique resources of Library of Congress and by creating World War I period newspapers of differing perspectives, students can gain an enduring understanding of The Great War.
Students will be able to:
This unit consists of three lessons which can be taught sequentially. It is also possible to use a single lesson if time constraints do not permit devoting four weeks to the study of World War I. Before beginning the unit, we provide students with background knowledge of World War I.
Students are introduced to the resources of Library of Congress Digital Collections by viewing several "Today in History" pages which focus on World War I events. The teacher and librarian model the retrieval, display, and analysis of sample primary sources on these pages. We examine a photograph, newspaper article, song, and speech. Students analyze the primary sources, recording their thoughts on the Primary Source Analysis Tool. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher's guide Analyzing Primary Sources to focus and prompt analysis and discussion. Primary sources are viewed online but backup hard copies can be made available.
Find complete directions for this lesson in the student Lesson One: Introduction to Library of Congress Digital Collections and Primary Sources.
Students explore the World War I-era recordings of American Leaders Speak. The background of the "The Nation's Forum Collection" is explained by means of the accompanying special presentation. Students listen to the recording of a speech chosen from a gallery of leaders. Students analyze the speech, recording their thoughts on the Primary Source Analysis Tool. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher's guide Analyzing Recorded Sound to focus and prompt analysis and discussion. The teacher follows up with the question: "Select a theme, event or issue mentioned or alluded to in the speech that you with to further investigate". The teacher employs this feedback to assign each student to a relevant department or topic for the newspaper assignment in lesson three.
Find complete directions for this lesson in the student Lesson Two: American Leaders Speak.
Students use their developing familiarity with Library of Congress Digital Collections and prior knowledge of WWI to create two WWI-era newspapers – each with an opposing viewpoint regarding American involvement in the war effort. The newspaper staff includes a publisher and seven departments: Editorial Board, Mobilization Unit, Women and Minorities, Arts and Culture, Society, Leaders, and Photographic and Print Division. Each department receives a relevant newswire of issues and events. Students explore Library of Congress Digital Collections (drawing upon search skills developed during lessons one and two) and write articles reporting the news of the day. When the two final products are published, students read, review, and analyze the opposing newspaper.
Find complete directions for this lesson in the student Lesson Three: Newspaper Project.
The newspaper project can be extended to other controversial world events (WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, etc.)
The final product (WWI-period newspaper) may be published on the school Web site and used by other classes as a supplemental historical resource.
Students may continue to investigate pivotal 20th century conflicts and to use primary source material.
Students are assessed by their use of the Primary Source Analysis Tool.
The final product (WWI-period newspaper) is assessed by the teacher and by peer review, at the teacher's discretion
A class discussion dealing with the essential questions also helps evaluate students' enduring understanding of the WWI period.
Scott Durham & Margaret Lincoln
|Job Title||Duties and responsibilities|
|Publisher (1)||The publisher makes sure that the newspaper represents a pro-WWI or anti-WWI slant and that each newspaper staff member fulfills his assignment.|
|Editorial Board (2-3)||Members of the editorial board assist the publisher in seeing to it that deadlines are met. Editorial board members create a timeline of major war events and are also responsible for the physical layout and production of the newspaper.|
|Mobilization Unit (1-2)||The mobilization reporter explores how the United States Government and the American people are preparing and building up for war.|
|Women and Minorities (2)||The Women and Minorities reporter investigates issues facing these sub-groups.|
|Arts and Culture (1-2)||The Arts and Culture reporter surveys developments in music and the arts.|
|Society (1-2)||The Society reporter provides stories about local community happenings. Letters to the editor regarding the views of the average citizen may be generated from this department|
|Leaders (1-2)||The Leaders reporter covers major military and political figures associated with the war effort and reports back on the words and deeds of these individuals.|
|Photographic and Print Division (1-2)||This newspaper staff member is responsible for finding a photograph, advertisement, or political cartoon to illustrate a story being developed by a reporter.|
You have been assigned to the staff of a World War I-era newspaper. The publisher has directed you to particular links on the Newswire. You will write an article drawing upon knowledge gained from your exploration of the Library of Congress digital collections and from additional print and electronic resources.
A 1917 newspaper would have a different style and organization compared to a paper of the present day. You may consult Chronicling America for examples of newspapers from 1917.
As you prepare the preliminary draft of your article, you should pay attention to these guidelines:
American Leaders Speak: Recordings from World War I and the 1920 Election
This collection contains eighteen speeches focusing on WWI issues. Access these particular speeches through the Gallery of World War I Speakers.
View the special exhibit World War I and Postwar Society. Scott's Official History of the American Negro in the World War, 1919 found in this collection.
The Stars and Stripes: The American Soldiers' Newspaper of World War I, 1918 - 1919
This US Army publication provided American soldiers with news from home, sports news, poetry, and cartoons. View the collection’s Special Presentation with additional material about women and the war effort, advertisements, military censorship and the American Expeditionary Force.
Search for WWI-era photos in this collection.
Detroit Publishing Company.
Search using the phrase World War, 1914-1918 to locate WWI-era photos.
You will view several "Today in History" pages that focus on World War I events. How do you search for relevant primary source material? How can a photograph, newspaper article, song, or speech enrich your understanding of the Great War?
Actual sound recordings from the World War I era are available to us through American Leaders Speak. The Library of Congress holds fifty-nine recordings of speeches by U.S. leaders at the turn of the century. The speeches focus on issues and events surrounding the war and the subsequent presidential election of 1920.
In this lesson, you will use your familiarity with the Library of Congress digital collections and prior knowledge of WWI to create two WWI-era newspapers – each with an opposing viewpoint regarding American involvement in the war effort.
Each member of the class is serving on the staff of a World War I-era newspaper. One newspaper supports the war, the other paper opposes the war. If you are a reporter, it is your job to complete the sequence of tasks listed below. Additional instructions for just the publisher and editorial board are given in italics.