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New Lesson Plan: World War I and Disability

Published on Sat, 03/24/2018

Photo of hospital ward with man in bed, man on crutches, man in wheelchair, nurses, 5 beds visible.
American wounded in base hospital, France, 1917-1918

This lesson invites students to wonder about what life was like as a disabled WWI veteran. The lesson provides materials and instructions for guiding students in analysis of primary source materials that include a song about shell shock, a cartoon contrasting wounded veterans with rich profiteers, Red Cross posters, and a photograph highlighting life-changing war injuries. The teacher will provide background information and guide the class in a read-aloud from the perspective of a soldier wounded in Italy from Ernest Hemingway’s “In Another Country.” At the lesson’s end, students can choose to dramatize the Bonus Army protest (group activity), write a 1-page diary entry as a disabled WWI veteran (individual), create a radio program interviewing veterans (with and without disabilities) highlighting the differences (group activity), or create Red Cross poster asking for donations to support disabled veterans (individual).  Download or access this and other lesson plans online


Alison Noyes

Manager, Emerging America
Alison Noyes is the manager of the Emerging America program at the Collaborative for Educational Services, where she leads the English Learner Collaborations project funded by a Library of Congress grant to the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies.