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Armistice

[Episode 10 | 1918 : Bertie]

Eddie speaks with Bertie about how lucky he is to survive the war with only a leg missing. Sid arrives to tell of the Armistice that signals the end of the war. The community celebrates the end of war with music, dancing and games, but not everyone can be happy at this time.


English

The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [5]

Activity 1: The lucky one
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Subtheme(s): Character
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  • As a class discuss Eddie's belief that he is one of the 'lucky' ones. Look at the list of reasons he gives. Have students say if they agree with him. After they have watched this clip, ask students to describe Eddie's personality. They should use evidence from the clip to support any observations.
  • Suggest to the class that Eddie is a positive thinker and discuss students' responses to that statement. Have them think about people they know who think positively and always seem to look on the 'bright side'.

Reflect
  • In small groups, create a list of pros and cons about being a positive thinker. Share and discuss the lists with the rest of the class. Students can research the benefits of positive thinking in building resilience and interview someone they know who is a positive thinker to get tips on how to do it. Create a hot seat role-play where students pretend to be a character from the episode. They are asked questions by the class about their life, likes, dislikes, attitude to work and their aspirations for the future.
  • Have students think forward ten years and write a description of how Eddie's life has turned out. What do they think will happen to him and do they think he will do well in life?

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Activity 2: Across the decades
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Subtheme(s): Relationships

This activity applies to the complete episode instead of an individual clip.

Discover
  • This is one of the episodes in the My Place series in which the family and main characters appear in consecutive episodes. If possible, before watching this episode screen Episode 11: 1908: Evelyn, which sees some of these characters as children ten years earlier.

Reflect
  • In the related learning activities for Episode 11: 1908: Evelyn, students could write a description of each of the three main characters. This episode was about Evelyn, her younger brother Eddie and their next-door neighbour Freddie Miller. Students could make predictions about what each of their lives might be like in ten years time and explain why they think this.
  • Revisit these predictions following the viewing of Episode 10: 1918: Bertie. Discuss what happened to the characters and how students feel about this.

Activity 3: Consequences of war
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war; Character

The activities and worksheet relate to the complete episode instead of an individual clip.

Discover
  • List the main characters in the episode and discuss how they are each directly affected by the war. For example:
  1. Mother: her husband was killed in the war; her son is an injured soldier; she is working as a nurse
  2. Bertie: father was killed in the war; his brother is injured
  3. Sid: lost his eye in the war
  4. Evelyn: her father and her friend Freddie Miller are killed; her brother is injured; she is working as a nurse
  5. Miss Miller: her brother and her nephew were killed in the war
  6. Eddie: lost his leg in the war; his father was killed.
  • Arrange a visit to the local war memorial to enhance understanding and to encourage further investigation and discussion on this topic.

Reflect

Have students write a report describing the impact of the war on this small neighbourhood, relating the stories of some of the characters and considering how they might feel about all that has happened to them. Conclude with a statement giving their own opinion of the impact of war.


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Activity 4: Symbols
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war; Beliefs

The activities and worksheet relate to the complete episode instead of an individual clip.

Discover
  • Ask students to consider what objects are important throughout the episode. Some objects that appear at different times are the glass eyes, the rabbit, the camel key ring and the prosthetic legs. Discuss how these objects seem to be in the background at the beginning of the episode but become more important as the story unfolds. Ask students why they think the filmmaker has done this. What impact might these symbols have on the viewer and what would the episode be like if they were removed? How important do they think symbols like this are?
  • Watch again the scene in the clip 'On 'tick'' where Bertie goes into Mr Watson's shop. Look closely for the introduction of these symbols. What are the background objects that the filmmaker makes sure we see and how is this achieved? Two examples are the glass eyes and the prosthetic legs. The rabbit also becomes an object of some significance in the story, along with the magic book. The shop was described as being like Merlin's cave. Who was Merlin? What link does he have to this story?
  • As the episode continues, look carefully to see how these objects become more significant. Ask students: What is the glass eye leading to in the story? Why is there a focus on the rabbit in this early scene? How does the rabbit help to establish the story and add depth to the production?

Reflect
  • Ask students to explore the following questions:
  • Why does the filmmaker keep Bertie's present for Eddie a secret until the end of the film?
  • Think about the concept of dramatic tension. How does the 'secret' help build dramatic tension in the story as the viewer is kept wondering. Look at the clues that lead to the final revelation when Bertie discovers Eddie has lost a leg.
  • Have students think about and identify the point in the story when all the elements finally come together for them. Explain why this happened.

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Activity 5: Conscientious objection
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Subtheme(s): Australians at war; Customs and traditions

This activity relates to the complete episode instead of an individual clip.

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  • Ask students to consider the First World War from the perspective of a young conscientious objector who refused to train as a soldier. View 'Boy Soldiers' from the Australian Children's Television Foundation More Winners series. This telemovie is set during the same period, but is based on the atmosphere surrounding the conscription issue in Australia in 1914. A 1910 law required all boys aged between 14 and 17 years to register for military training. Subsequently, between 1911 and 1915 over 30,000 Australian boys were prosecuted for not obeying this law.

Reflect


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