Implementation of “Keep Calm and Create a WWII Propaganda Poster!” (SOI-MT-307)

Author: Ivana Busuttil, Primary Teacher

School/Organization: SGPC Paola Primary School, Malta

Teaching primary students about propaganda and propaganda posters can have several benefits. One of the main reasons why I chose this Learning Scenario was the fact that it created a space where children could develop their critical thinking skills. Studying propaganda can help children become more critical consumers of the media presented to them in everyday life, especially in today’s digital age. By studying propaganda posters and the messages they convey, students can learn to recognize the impact that media can have on public opinion and behaviour. This can inspire them to be more thoughtful and deliberate in their own use of media and to consider the ethical implications of the messages they share with others.

Subject: English and Arts in State Primary School in Malta

Class: This activity was held during an English lesson covering the topic of creating posters with a year 6 class of 10 to 11-year-old students attending Paola Primary. There were 15 students present during this lesson and were seated in 4 different groups of 3 and 4. 

This type of class arrangement facilitated easy monitoring of students as this setting promotes positive collaboration and communication, which ultimately leads to better student learning, retention, and overall success.

Intention: I used the Europeana Learning Scenario about propaganda posters as the basis of the activity. Initially, the students were not aware of the Europeana website and all it offers. Therefore, I introduced them to the website and explained how it could be used to learn about various aspects of history, culture and art.

As part of the activity, the students analysed different propaganda posters from World War II and discussed their messages and symbolism. They also created their own posters with the aim of conveying a positive message to promote animal awareness.

Children exploring with Europeana

ntroducing and Uncovering the Power of Propaganda:

To introduce my class to the topic of propaganda, I began by asking them if they had ever heard of the word before. Most of them did not know what it meant. Without giving them any answers, I asked them to write down what they thought propaganda was using the online tool ‘AnswerGarden’. They worked individually and were encouraged to be creative in their responses. This allowed me to gauge their prior knowledge and gave me an idea of what concepts needed to be covered during the lesson.

Collaborating and Creating: Using Critical Thinking Skills to Design Propaganda Posters:

The ‘AnswerGarden’ activity proved to be a valuable starting point for the lesson on propaganda. As most of the children were unfamiliar with the term, we had a class discussion to ensure that everyone understood the meaning of the term before moving forward. The children actively participated in the discussion, sharing their experiences and prior knowledge of different countries and sections of society that use propaganda. They were eager to learn more and used the Europeana website to research and gather information about propaganda posters. The children worked collaboratively in groups and then presented their findings to the whole class, demonstrating their understanding of the topic.

The students then sketched, designed, and created their own propaganda poster around the theme of ‘Animal Awareness’, which was chosen due to an animal awareness week celebration. During a special morning assembly, a representative from a Maltese animal sanctuary was presented with food donations by one of the students in class.

Children presenting their findings
Children working on their posters

The Importance of Technology and Collaboration in Group Work:

As an educator, I believe that student engagement and participation are essential for effective learning. That’s why I decided to tweak the lesson plan a bit and use ‘AnswerGarden’ in the lesson, as it allows students to brainstorm and share their ideas anonymously in a fun and interactive way. The tool provided an easy way for students to express their thoughts and ideas without the fear of being judged or criticized. Collaborative work among children helps to develop teamwork skills, communication skills, critical thinking skills and encourages active learning. Overall, it was a valuable addition to the lesson and helped to enhance the collaborative learning experience.

Main Learning Outcomes:

  • Children learned about the term “propaganda” and its various uses and applications in different contexts.
  • Children actively participated in a class discussion, sharing their experiences and knowledge of how propaganda is used in various parts of the world.
  • Children used critical thinking skills to research propaganda posters on the Europeana website in groups and presented their findings to the class.
  • Children learned about the historical context of propaganda posters during WWII and their impact on society.
  • Children developed their creativity and design skills by sketching, designing, and creating their own propaganda poster on the theme of animal awareness.
  • Children developed their English language skills by writing and designing a propaganda poster with a clear message and persuasive language.


My advice for other educators planning to implement this learning scenario is to make sure to have a clear understanding of the topic of propaganda and to give enough time for discussion and research before moving on to the creation of posters. Additionally, the use of ‘AnswerGarden’ as an introduction to the topic was effective in engaging the students and allowing for active participation. Overall, this learning scenario was successful in achieving the desired learning outcomes and promoting collaboration and creativity in the classroom.

Personal Benefits of Teaching with Europeana Resources:

As an educator, teaching with Europeana resources was a great experience for me as I gained a deeper understanding of how to integrate digital heritage into my teaching and create engaging and interactive lessons. The use of these resources in my classroom went smoothly and my students were able to navigate the platform with ease. The content was also relevant and useful for my lesson and in achieving the Learning outcomes presented in the Maltese syllabus. 

Advice for Educators Using Europeana:

I would highly recommend and encourage other educators thinking about using Europeana resources. The resources are easy to access and use, and they can be adapted to suit a wide range of teaching needs and learning styles, as the Europeana platform offers a variety of multimedia resources that can be used to enhance learning across different subjects. However, I would advise educators and participants to be mindful of copyright issues and to ensure that they are using the resources appropriately.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Keep Calm and Create a WWII Propaganda Poster! created by John Whinder

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CC BY-SA 3.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Europeana 1914-1918.

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