Victory Ball View All Lesson Plans
Celebrate VE Day with a Victory Ball Classroom Experience and Contest
This year marks the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe. May 8, 1945 was a day of mass celebration, and it came to be known as VE Day (for Victory in Europe). Across Canada, Victory Balls featuring swing dancing and big band music announced the end of the war.
Recreate this inspiring historic moment by hosting a Victory Ball in your classroom!
The Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War invites classes to stage a Victory Ball and submit them to our Victory Ball Contest. Document your event with video* or photographs** to show Canada how your class celebrated Victory in Europe - 65 years later!
Every student will receive a certificate of participation from The Memory Project and entries will be featured in a special Victory Ball microsite. The winning classroom will receive a prize pack of Historica-Dominion Institute educational materials-a value of 250$!
The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 21, 2010. Please contact The Memory Project staff if you have any questions about the contest or to request a Victory Ball Planning Tool Kit. Submissions can be sent to:
The Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War
43 Front St. E, suite 301
Toll free phone: 1-866-701-1867 X 226
* We accept video files from most digital cameras and camcorders, and cell phones in the .AVI, .MOV, .WMV, and .MPG file formats.
** We would prefer digital photographs in the .JPG format.
Please read below for tips on how to throw a Victory Ball at your School.
What students will need to do:
Conduct research about VE Day. (the Canadian Encyclopedia is a good place to begin with its article on VE Day.) What was the day about? Why were people so excited? How significant was it in the history of the Second World War? Your history textbook may also have information on VE Day. Listen to selected veterans speak about VE Day from the Stories of the Second World War digital archive. The following veterans give firsthand accounts of VE day celebrations and how they felt when they found out the war was over in Europe:
- Helen Rochon
- Hubert Lalonde
- Robert Breau
- Lewis Howard
- Peggy Lee
- Other examples can be found by searching for V-E Day in the keyword search, click here.
Servicemen and Women from each branch of service
- The Royal Canadian Navy
- The Royal Canadian Air Force
- The Canadian Army
- The Canadian Merchant Navy
- The Royal Canadian Air Force Women's Division
- The Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service
- The Canadian Women's Army Corps
- The Canadian Nursing Sisters
Other historically significant individuals:
- Mackenzie King
- Andrew McNaughton
- a war bride
- a female factory worker
- a news reporter from the local newspaper
- a boy or girl whose father is away at war
- local citizens of any type
- other roles as determined by the students
N.B. Some of the roles that students play can be based on the experiences of the men and women whose stories are found in the Stories of the Second World War audio archive. These are easily searched by using the term "VE Day" in the "Browse Stories" keyword search.
Students can conduct further research to determine what type of music should be played and how they might decorate the room (ie. banners, posters or other period paraphernalia such as reproductions of old newspapers, maps, photographs, propaganda posters etc.)
Inviting A Veteran
You may want to invite a Second World War veteran from the Memory Project's Speakers' Bureau or have a few local veterans from your community attend the event. You may want to consider having them address your class as part of the ball.
This activity can be completed as an additional element to your studies of the Second World War or you might want to use it as a culminating activity to evaluate your students. If that is the case, you may consider evaluating the knowledge demonstrated during their role play or ask them to submit a brief report about the war, including information about VE Day or other desired topics such as some of the final battles of the war in 1945 or one of the roles noted above.
These sites all have excellent information about VE Day.