Colonel Irvine School
Listen to a podcast with Rob:
This project is a partnership between two countries connected by the calamity of World War II. At the centre of this collaboration is Karen Storwick of the Military Museums of Calgary. She introduced two teachers, Rob Van Winkle and Samuela. Samuela teaches English to year seven Italian students in Villanova and Rob teaches grade six Canadian students at Colonel Irvine School in Calgary. Since then, other important people have enriched the project. Italian author and poet, Rosalia Fantoni, shared her captivating book titled, Casa lontano do casa (Home away from home). Donna Maxwell has contributed her extensive research on the courageous soldiers buried in the Villanova Canadian War Cemetery. Karen Storwick has continued to support us with her knowledge and understanding of WWII. Together, we strive to comprehend the impact of this war and remember the debt we have to those who died for our freedom.
Each year students are assigned a e-pal and a soldier whose remains are buried in the Canadian War Cemetery located in Villanova, Italy. After email letters of introduction to help the e-pal get to know their partner, the Colonel Irvine student shared what they learned from their soldier's "bookmark" in a second email. The bookmarks, which were created by researcher Donna Maxwell, contained primary images, letters, and fascinating details surrounding their service in the military. When the students are familiar with each other and their soldier, we discussed ways to learn more about Canada and WWII and present that understanding. We decided that a website could effectively showcase their learning and help preserve each soldiers legacy. Students brainstormed, in small groups, possible information hat we could include in the website. I collected their ideas and organized a document which gave them the parameters of their inquiry project about WWII.