Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Introducing World War II

Richard Johnson
Bay District Schools


Students practice listening skills while getting an overview of the events of WWII. Emphasis is placed on events mentioned in the novel, [Jacob Have I Loved]. Writing an FCAT style short response on one of the focal events assesses writing skills.


The student demonstrates effective listening behaviors for a variety of purposes (for example, eye contact, note-making, appropriate posture).

The student summarizes main points and supporting details orally or in writing.

The student understands the impact of significant people, events, and ideas on the development of the United States after 1880 (for example, Andrew Carnegie, Martin Luther King, the Great Depression, isolationism).


-Card stock or heavy-duty paper to duplicate war posters and the essential question
-TV/projector-computer setup for PowerPoint presentation
-Computer speakers to play radio broadcasts from World War II
-8.5 x 11 paper for handouts
-8.5 x 11 card stock to duplicate WWII posters to decorate the classroom
-8.5 x 14 paper


1. Duplicate lesson handouts for all students (see Associated Files-Lesson Documents).
2. Make WWII and essential question posters and hang on the walls of the classrooms (see WebLinks to access the unit plan) to create a climate for the classroom.
3. Go over the PowerPoint presentation (see Associated Files) and the PowerPoint Guide for the Introducing World War II Presentation (see Associated Files) in detail prior to presenting.
4. Set up the presentation system. Make sure the speakers are working.
5. Review the Listening Skills: Teacher Notes section of the Associated Files in preparation for the discussion.


This is the introductory lesson of a middle school unit on World War II called, Announcing World War II.

-Prior to starting lessons for this unit post the essential question and war posters found in the document, Posters for Announcing World War II (see WebLinks to access the unit plan) on the walls of the classroom.

1. If using this lesson in conjunction with the Announcing World War II unit, then give the diagnostic KWL assessment prior to starting the actual lesson. This should be done at least a day prior to beginning this unit in order to effectively use the results of the diagnostic. See the WebLinks section below for the JustReadNow Website that has more information on using KWL charts.

-The K part of the assessment asks for information on the focal events or situations for the unit.

-The W part of the assessment asks students to indicate what they might want to know about these focal events or situations.

-Use the responses from both the K and W sections as a guide while presenting the information found in this lesson.

-The L part of the KWL chart will be completed during the second lesson of this unit.

2. Play the radio broadcast, Invasion of Iwo Jima. See WebLinks for the URL for this sound clip.

-Use the “Notes on the Radio Broadcast: Iwo Jima” (see Lesson Documents in the Associated Files section below) for information concerning this broadcast sound clip. (If this sound clip is not available due to technical restraints, then refer to the Audio Tape or CD section of the “Unit Resource Guide” found in the Unit Associated Files section for a collection of broadcasts from World War II.

-Have the students create a list of the important points from the broadcast.

-Solicit from selected students important points from the broadcast. Give no hints on listening skills at this time.

-Select a student who writes legibly. Have the student write the responses to the following questions on pieces of 8.5 x 14 legal sized paper and temporarily tape the pages to the board or wall.

-First, ask the students to list the things they did to identify important points in the broadcast.
-Second, ask the students if there was anything that could have been done that would have helped them understand the broadcast? Next, ask what questions they have concerning the broadcast?
-Finally, ask what they could do to find out more information about the broadcast’s subject? Once all of the responses are written and affixed to the board, ask the students for help in organizing the responses into categories. These categories and results should roughly match the listening skills found in the Listening Skills Inventory (see Associated Files-Lesson Documents).

3. Emphasize that listening is an important skill that requires analysis and practice. Give the students a copy of the Listening Skills Inventory (see Associated Files-Lesson Documents) and discuss in terms of their original responses from step 2 above. There are teacher notes to the listening skills included with the Listening Skill Inventory that provide short descriptions of each skill. Use these notes to prepare for the discussion of the listening skills with the students.

-At the completion of this discussion, have the students determine which skills that they did not use during the radio broadcast (Maintain eye contact, Response to the speaker, Ask questions, and Distinguish the message from the speaker are the skills not used.).

-Emphasize that every listening experience may or may not require every listening skill.

4. Have students use the skills on the Listening Skills Inventory while you present the “Introducing World War II PowerPoint Presentation” (see Associated Files). The presentation provides an overview of World War II with an emphasis on how the United States dealt with the adversities of war.

-Use the “Guide for the Introducing World War II PowerPoint Presentation” (see Associated Files) to help with the presentation. Make sure students understand that they will be asked to use information from the presentation in an FCAT-style short response task at the end of the presentation.

-Students complete the “Introducing World War II Presentation Content Guide” (see Associated Files-Lesson Documents) while listening to the presentation. There are multiple points in the PowerPoint presentation for formative feedback to occur.

-Students complete the Listening Skills Inventory Self Assessment (see Associated Files-Lesson Documents) after the presentation is completed.

5. Give students the Short Response Practice Exercise I (see Associated Files-Lesson Documents) as a formative assessment to get them ready for the summative assessment (see WebLinks) for the unit.

-Go over with the students the directions and the short response rubric found on the exercise sheet. This rubric is a paraphrased version of the short response rubric from the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT). Have them complete the exercise.

-Give them a set amount of time to complete, somewhere between seven to ten minutes.

6. Take up the Listening Skills Inventory, Introducing World War II Presentation Content Guide, and the Short Response Practice Exercise I sheets.

-Evaluate their ability to find the important points from listening to the presentation from the content guide and provide feedback.

-Evaluate the practice exercise and provide them feedback on their ability to respond to the practice task.

-Evaluate their self-assessment on the Listening Skills Inventory to see how well they thought they did in listening to the presentation. There should be some correlation between their success on the short response answer and their ability to gather facts from an oral presentation.


The assessment for this lesson comes in the form of three formative assessments.

-First, students evaluate their listening skills by using the Listening Skills Inventory Self-Assessment (see Associated Files).

-Second, students’ ability to find the important information from listening to a presentation is evaluated through the Student Presentation Guide (see Associated Files) that they complete while listening to the presentation.

-Third, students complete a timed writing task, similar to a short response item that might be found on the FCAT. A paraphrased short response FCAT rubric is used to score the answers. Feedback on the success of the answers is given to the students.

All three of these formative assessments gives them practice on gathering information through oral communications and writing for the summative assessment for the unit.


If using this lesson with ESE students, then modifications may be necessary.

For example:

During the PowerPoint presentation…
-more emphasis and discussion of the information on each slide may be needed.
-more modeling and soliciting of examples of correct entries in the Student Presentation Guide may be necessary.

Web Links

Scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Files to be downloaded.” This section contains links to the Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, Instructional Plan Overview, the PowerPoint presentation, World War II posters, and other associated files, (if any).
Announcing World War II unit plan

The Posters used in the PowerPoint Presentation and in the document, Posters for Announcing World War II were obtained from Northwestern University Library’s site.
World War II Posters

This is the Read Player version of the radio broadcast that starts the lesson.
Invasion of Iwo Jima-Real Player Version

This is the Windows Media version of the radio broadcast that starts the lesson.
Invasion of Iwo Jima-Windows Media version

The other radio broadcasts for the PowerPoint presentation are found at the Web site, Voices of the Twentieth Century.
Voices of the 20th Century

This song is used in the PowerPoint presentation and is found on the WEM Records samples section of their site.
Rosie the Riveter song

Attached Files

Lesson Documents     File Extension: pdf

Introducing World War II PowerPoint Presentation     File Extension: ppt

Introducing World War II Presentation Content Guide     File Extension: pdf

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