History KS2: D is for Diary

School pupils examine diaries written during the war years and discuss what we can learn from them.

The value of first-hand accounts and primary source materials is illustrated.

A dramatic monologue introduces Kathleen Jane Morgan, 22 years old, who reads the final entry from her husband’s diary, kept while he was at the front.

This clip is from the series WW1 A to Z.

Teacher Notes

Pupils could freeze the frame to view details of one of the diary entries shown.

What can they discover about the life of the man who wrote the diary?

The children could go to search online and in printed texts for diary entries from the war years.

The website of the National Archives has examples of war diaries on open access.

Pupils could compile a collection of telling phrases to form a wall display about first-hand reactions to the war.

They could respond to the question, ‘What can first-hand accounts tell us that history books and websites cannot?’

Curriculum Notes

This short film might be useful for teaching history at Key Stage 2 / Second Level or above.

More from World War One A to Z

C is for Conscription
E is for Empire
F is for Food