This lesson is based on viewing the Heritage Minute, "John McCrae," which shows Canadian Army surgeon John McCrae writing the famous poem, "In Flanders Fields."
Students will discuss the meaning, imagery, language and message of the poem, "In Flanders Fields."
McCrae's famous poem
After watching "John McCrae," distribute copies of "In Flanders Fields" to the class. Ask questions to help the students follow the poem. What is the setting? Describe what you see in the first stanza. Who are the speakers of the poem? What does the "passing of the torch" in the last stanza mean? What does the speaker mean by the last three lines?
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Once students understand the poem, discuss why it is still one of the most famous Canadian poems. What is its appeal in terms of language and imagery? Why does its subject matter and "message" continue to affect people?
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