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Lesson Plan

In the Style of Ernie Pyle: Reporting on World War II

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Leslie Harper Blatteau

New Haven, Connecticut


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Computers with Internet access

  • "Over There" performed by the Glenn Miller Orchestra

  • Index cards

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1. This lesson should be taught as part of a unit on World War II and works best after students have studied the events leading to the United States' decision to enter the war and an investigation of specific battles. The lesson is designed to focus on depth over breadth with respect to the myriad of battles of the war. Instead of trying to cover every last detail of every single battle, students investigate one specific battle and relate this study to their larger understanding of the war.

2. Obtain either a CD that includes the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing "Over There" (it is included on Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band: Rare Broadcast Performances From 1943-1944, published by Delta Music, 1990) or purchase and download the song from an online music service (such as iTunes). Review the lyrics at Sheet Music Lyrics: Over There/George M. Cohan and print out copies for your students. Arrange to play the song during Session 1.

3. Visit and review Profile: Ernie Pyle and The Wartime Columns of Ernie Pyle. On the latter website, look at the samples of Pyle's war reports. Depending on the size of your class, you may want to choose three or four columns from which students will select one to read closely. A smaller selection of readings can make for a more focused discussion. Arrange to play one of the audio files from this website at the beginning of Session 2.

4. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve Sessions 1, 3 and 4 to take place in your school's computer lab.

5. Visit the websites listed in the Resources section. When deciding which ones your students will use, make sure that the information aligns with what your class has already studied about World War II. If possible, bookmark the websites you select on the computers students will use.

6. Make copies of the Ernie Pyle Response Sheet and the Instructions for Writing a War Report for each student in your class; make enough copies of the Guide for Close Reading so that groups of five or six students will each have one.

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