Lesson 1: Film and French

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World War I Primary Resources: Overview



Lesson 1: Film and French

Lesson 2: History

Lesson 3: H&W, PSE, PSHE, PMDU

Lesson 4: PE

Lesson 5: Literacy

Lesson 6: Science

Lesson 7: Maths

Lesson 8: Art

Overview of curriculum links: England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland


2014 marks 100 years since the start of World War I (WWI).

To mark the Centenary, the British Red Cross has created a suite of eight primary lesson plans which support a CBBC ‘Operation Ouch WWI special’ film.

The suite of session plans includes classroom activities and discussion ideas, linked to the film.

The lesson plans encourage pupils to understand, conceptualise and reflect on the impact of armed conflict from a humanitarian perspective.

Each 40 minute lesson plan is linked to a specific area of the curriculum for 9-11 year olds.

Background to learning

The First World War began in August 1914. Fighting ended by agreement - a truce or armistice - on 11 November 1918. The official end of the war didn't come until ‘The Treaty of Versailles’, which was signed in June 1919.

It is sometimes called World War I, or just shortened to WWI. Another name is the Great War - signifying what a massive upheaval it was and how many soldiers and countries were involved.

The sides opposing each other were:

the Entente powers, or Allies, including the UK and Commonwealth countries, France, Russia, Japan and later the US, and

the Central powers, including Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey, or more accurately the Ottoman empire.

It is estimated that around 10 million soldiers and 7 million civilians died. Around 20 million were wounded. Disease caused a large proportion of the deaths.

The Red Cross

Between 1914 and 1918 90,000 volunteers gave their time and skills to help the sick and wounded. The Red Cross did everything from nursing and air raid duty to searching for missing people and transporting the wounded. Learn more about the work of the Red Cross during WWI here: http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War

Display board

Throughout the lessons, pupils will be creating artwork and poems and other pieces of work linked to WWI. Why not set up a display board now that children can add to through the coming weeks?

World War I Primary Resources: Lesson 1

Subject: Film
Curriculum links:

See curriculum links from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
Cross curricular opportunities: History, English
Year Group / Class:
Date of lesson:

Learning objectives

Watch CBBC Operation Ouch film to gain an overall understanding of the history of WWI.

Recognise and compare words with another language – French.

Success criteria

Have a greater understanding of WWI through watching the film.

Identify some words used by British soldiers in WWI borrowed from the French as a result of the close contact between the French & British troops.

Key vocabulary

Toot sweet






CBBC Operation Ouch film and white board / lap top.

SEQUENCE OF LESSON – (based on 40 minute lesson)


5 minutes


Introduce class discussion around the five English words and phrases below. These came from French words around the time of WWI.

Ask pupils if they can explain the word, say what it means and which French word or expression it might come from.

Toot sweet
This means now, immediately, straightaway. It's from the French tout de suite, meaning ‘at once’.

This means cheap, everyday wine. It's probably from the French blanc, short for vin blanc – or white wine.

This means play truant, or evade, it’s most likely from the French word esquiver which means to escape, avoid.

This means conceal or disguise, derived from the French word Camoufler which means disguise.

This replaced the English word “keepsake” as the primary word for memento. The French soldiers gave the British soldiers presents when they fought together in the trenches and called those presents souvenirs.

34 minutes

Group or class activities

Introduce the CBBC ‘Operation Ouch WWI special’ film.

Play the film.

Time available


Ask pupils what they have learnt from this lesson

Which part of the CBBC Operation Ouch film did they like the most?

How important is language in making yourself understood?

Why did French words come into the English language during the First World War?

How do shared words make people feel?

What other forms of communication can help you make yourself understood if you don’t speak the same language as others?

How might you feel if you couldn’t communicate with someone else?

Extension activities

The Red Cross emblem is an international symbol of neutrality and protection. The principal users of the emblem are the medical services of the armed forces of each country. Did pupils notice the use of the Red Cross Emblem anywhere in the film?
Learn more about the significance of the Red Cross with an assembly activity: http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Teaching-resources/Assembly-kits/The-red-cross-emblem

Ask pupils if they can think of different ways in which the English language is evolving – e.g. through language of text messages, social media and gaming.

Opportunities for Assessment


Speaking & Listening






What worked really well in my lesson?

What do I want to focus on to improve future lessons?

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