Picturing the Past
Teacher Section
Pages: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7 

Activity, printable version

Short Answer Questions

'Stop'-Specific Activities:

'Stop' 1: On the ship from Liverpool to Halifax
Event A

Short-Answer Questions

(See printable PDF Version to hand-out to students)

1. Why are Anne and George getting on a boat?

2. Where are they going?

3. What do they have to practise?

4. Who helps them while they are on the ship?


Brainstorm as a class about what it would have been like to be a Guest Child:

  • What emotions you would have felt?
  • What experiences would have had in England? On the boat? On the train? And in your new home?

As you continue through the stories, write the items on a chart.

1. Have the students divide into groups and write a list of things they would take with them on such a journey. Ask them to consider possible limitations:

  • lack of electricity
  • unknown living arrangements
  • unknown weather conditions
  • space restrictions
  • possibility of all remaining items in home being destroyed while you are gone
  • etc.

Make sure they also have several items which have to be taken:

  • gas mask
  • a coat
  • an ID card

  • Have students present their lists and discuss the rationale for their choice of items
  • Once students have presented their lists, show them the real list (below) of items children were allowed to take. Discuss why this list is different than the students' lists.
  • Emphasize that many poor children did not own these clothing items, and received them only through charity donations or did without

LIST (From Geoffrey Bilson’s book *The Guest Children)

1 Cap1 Mac (style of raincoat)
1 Pair of grey pants1 Pair of running shoes
1 Suit2 Pairs of pyjamas
3 Pairs of socks2 Pairs of shorts
1 Sleeveless sweater1 Bible
1 Pullover6 Handkerchiefs
3 Shirts1 Face towel
4 Vests1 Towel
1 Dressing gown (housecoat)1 Toothbrush
1 Overcoat1 Toy (teddy bear, etc.)

*list represents boys only; no information available for girls

Event B

Short-Answer Questions

(See printable PDF Version to hand-out to students)

1. Who does George talk to on the ship’s deck?

2. How many provinces will George have to cross to get to his new home? Can you name them?

3. What kind of job does Jack have?

4. Why is Jack’s job important?


1. Discuss and make a list with students of the qualities of a hero; relate the list to the role of the Merchant Navy during the Second World War;

  • Discuss the dangers associated with being a Merchant Marine during the war
  • Review the non-veteran status of the Merchant Navy at the end of the war, placing emphasis on their struggle for recognition in Canada culminating in the 1999/2000 decision from Parliament to provide limited compensation to surviving Merchant Navy veterans and their spouses.
  • Review the importance of formal recognition by the Government of Canada to veterans of the Merchant Navy.


Veterans Affairs Canada – The Battle of the Atlantic


War Amps – Merchant Seaman: Battle on the Internet


War Amps – News Release: Merchant Seaman Backgrounder – Essential Facts


Veterans Affairs Canada – Merchant Navy: The Historic Contribution of Canada’s Merchant Navy


Veterans Affairs Canada – Valour at Sea: Canada’s Merchant Navy


CBC Radio - Merchant mariners win benefits and status, 1992


'Stop' 2: Halifax Harbour

Short-Answer Questions

(See printable PDF Version to hand-out to students)

1. What is a ration book?

2. Why are there soldiers standing on the dock in Halifax?

3. What kind of job does George and Anne’s father have?


1. Have students write a fictional diary entry for either George or Anne, being sure to include details such as various aspects of the journey (waiting for the boat, waiting for/receiving medical examinations, meeting foster families, emotions experienced, etc)

  • Following oral presentation of the diary entries, discuss with the students the situations which Anne and George would have experienced
  • Have the students write their own journal entries about an experience they have had that is scary and exciting at the same time