Parallels of Children in War and Conflict: Yesterday and Today

Jacqueline Oleksiak, Language Arts teacher, Coulwood Middle School

(Abstract PDF)

(Unit PDF)          


Parallels of Children in War and Conflict: Yesterday and Today is a unit that explores the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the Rwandan Conflict and child soldiers in Africa, as well gang life in modern America. The unit incorporates all realms of language arts and contains skills such as conflict, perspective, judgments, stereotypes, primary and secondary sources, point of view, and expository text, to name a few.

The skills that are focused on most are conflict and perspective. Because conflict is a part of our everyday lives, it is important for students to recognize conflict and its impact in their own lives and across the world and to develop conflict resolution techniques. Much of what is taught throughout the unit focuses on the child’s perspective in conflict. This not only allows students to create parallels between themselves and the children involved in the conflicts, but it enables them to see the conflict through someone who is roughly their own age, versus the usual adult figure that they are normally presented with. The ultimate goal of the unit is for students to better understand each individual conflict and the roles that children play in that conflict such as perpetrator, victim, bystander, and hero.