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Historica Canada Education Portal

Snapshot in Time - A Wartime Memory

  • Military History
  • Intermediate – Middle School

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The focus of the project is for students to create a postcard from the past. The aim for students will involve three steps.
• First to interview a grandparent or great grandparent about a memory. This memory may express what life was like for them as a child or perhaps a wartime memory.
• Second will be to obtain a photograph of the grandparent or great grandparent that will be used on the postcard. This may be achieved using a photograph, scanned photograph or drawing.
• Third will be to collate the interview information and to write the postcard in the first person expressing the memory that has been collected.


• To develop good interview questions using the five W’s.
• To interview a family member to record a memory.
• To collate the information and write a brief memory in the first person containing significant information about the person and the event.
• To obtain and scan a photograph using a scanner.
• To use Microsoft Word to create a postcard using the postcard template.


Time Allowance:
The project will run for twelve one hour periods


Period 1:

Students should have an understanding of local and family history.

Period 2:

Discussion on what life was like for their older relatives as youths. Use period songs and pictures.

Period 3:

Invite a local reporter to attend class and discuss interviewing techniques to help guide students for the project.

Period 4:

Teach/Review Questioning Techniques: Practice with their peers using their lifetime or sports event to practice the technique.

Period 5:

Teach/Review interview techniques: Discuss whether one would use video, cassette, paper and pencil; how to make the subject feel comfortable, and alert them to sensitivities that may illicit poor memories for some people. Set the interview assignment due in approximately 3-4 days, preferably a long weekend project.

Period 6:

Research the internet for archival photos to assist in presentation. Alert them to newspaper and book research possibilities for other photos. 

Periods 7 & 8:

Introduce the students to Creating Post Cards from the Past. Lead them through the instructions, give a handout of directions, and give time for in class interaction.

Period 9:

Discuss voice and how they should pretend to be their relative and write in the first person for their story. Provide sample work of first person written material.

Period 10:

Scan in subject photos or archival photo. As scanning will take time, students could begin to organize the format for their postcard memory.

Periods 11 & 12:

Sharing Time: Students will begin to read their memory to their classmates and use the memory to further discuss Canada's history.


• Textbook
• Computer Laboratory and Classroom computer
• Tape recorder (optional) and tapes
• Microsoft Word
• Postcard Template
• Scanner
• Sample of good interview questions (five W’s)
• Sample of written work in the first person point of view.
• Parents, Grandparents and Family members
• Senior Citizens
• Veterans
• Teacher
• Reporters

Host a Memory Project speaker in the classroom to help facilitate an interview subject.