Walter Hodgson was a soldier in the First World War. Walter grew up in Preston in Lancashire, working in a cotton mill from the age of 12. When he was 18, he was conscripted into the army. He experienced terrible fights and lived through historic moments.
In the 1980s he was interviewed about his experiences by his grandson David. These recordings form the backbone of an interactive app that encourages pupils to learn about WW1 while following Walter’s story.
This interactive memoir punctuates famous historical moments with individual experience. As well as learning about the Hundred Days Offensive and the Armistice, pupils will hear from Walter about dining in the Kaiser’s palace and the dangers of snipers shooting at the latrine.
The app helps pupils read alongside Walter’s original recordings, while exploring artefacts from his life and watching animated videos about the war.
Why not try out some other history activities this month? They can really take learning outside the classroom and provide some creative variation for pupils after SATs.
- Interviews: speak to grandparents or neighbours about their experiences in the past – some of them might have been involved in World War II. Compare their answers to Walter’s; how different were the experiences of World War One and World War Two? Pupils could even record the interview – just like David Hodgson did!
- Research the local community: what was it like during the World War I era? Might there be an old factory you can visit, or a war memorial, or museums?
- Get creative: make 3D trench models!
- Poetry: read some WW1 poets – imagine what being a soldier would have felt like, drawing on what Walter says, and try writing your own poems. Here are some examples of WW1 poems: www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/flanders-fields www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/anthem-doomed-youth
- Music: listen to music of the period, such as ‘It's a Long Way to Tipperary’. Try writing a song together, with pupils each contributing a line or two.
- Research people: create a profile about famous individuals, such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, or the general Douglas Haig, or the poet Wilfred Owen.
And don’t forget to follow @WaltersVoice and @PearsonPublish on Twitter for more information about resources and learning ideas!