CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Looking Back

Media Studies, English Language Arts
2 to 3 lessons
To research and represent authentic accounts of war brides’ experiences
Using a variety of web-based resources, students research, prepare, and simulate an on-location television report about war brides’ recollections of their experiences.

Lesson Plan


The Year of the War Bride, 2006, was an opportunity to reflect upon the experiences of war brides who left their homelands to join their Canadian husbands and start a new life in Canada. Explain to students that they are going to conduct Internet-based research in order to gain information about the recollections of war brides who came to Canada during the Second World War.

The Task

Have students research documented experiences of Canadian war brides of the Second World War. Students' research should focus on war brides' reminiscences about their war-time romances with Canadian soldiers, immigrating to Canada, adjusting to life in a new country, how they now view their decision to leave their homeland more than 60 years ago, and how they feel about some war brides and their children now discovering they must re-apply for citizenship that they believed they already held. Students will use this information to simulate a live television report on board the VIA Rail War Bride Train from Montreal, carrying war brides and their families to Halifax to celebrate the Year of the War Bride.

The Process

Direct pairs of students to the topic Love and War: Canadian War Brides on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students start their research by viewing the clips "Together again, 40 years later," "Across the pond once more" and "'Homesick, seasick and lovesick,'" and reading the accompanying Did You Know? sections. They then expand their research to other online resources and find accounts from war brides about their experiences. Students should note their information in chart form under the headings "The Romance," "Immigrating to Canada," "Adjusting to Life in Canada," and "Would I Do It Again?" Remind students to cite their sources.

Students choose the role of reporter or war bride and use the information they have gathered to prepare questions and answers that they will use to present their television report, and then rehearse their report. Students might want to use costumes and props for their presentation.


Have students present their interviews to the class. Consider having a student volunteer tape the interviews to create a single documentary about war brides on-board the VIA Rail War Bride Train. Show the documentary to the class or to other groups in the school.


Assessment Tip: Prepare a checklist of items to be assessed from the videotaped, on-location interview. Show the video of all interviews (the "documentary") and have students participate in a peer assessment.

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