It's a big concept, global war, for Year 6. I made cards containing names of countries involved in the Second World War. I sat the children on the carpet and handed the cards. I shared the learning objective: "Understanding the global nature of the Second World War."
Next, I talked through the main events leading up to the war; for example, I asked any pupil holding "Germany" to stand up and talked through the militarisation and expansion policy. I then told "Germany" to escort any pupil with "Czechoslovakia" to one corner of the room. I went on to talk about UK policy, that war would be declared if Germany invaded Poland. With "Poland" and "UK" standing, I told "Germany" to take "Poland" to their corner while "UK" goes to the opposite side and waves a fist at "Germany".
I used ICT to play Hitler's and Churchill's voices and talked through the escalation of invasions while sending the different countries to appropriate parts of the room. Make sure "Japan" is given a corner and that "Italy" goes willingly to chat with "Germany". Ask the children who are left to name their cards ("Republic of Ireland", "Switzerland", and so on), and introduce the idea of neutrality.
If time allows, use video clips and images (from, for example, Espresso software) which show children what this war meant, eg bombed and destroyed cities. I guarantee effective learning, no marking and a memorable learning experience accessible to all.
Cathy Walsh Deputy head, Lutley Primary School, Halesowen