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The D-Day Show: Producing a D-Day Talk Show

Today’s TV talk shows do not always offer the educational information the inquisitive viewer seeks. Here is a chance for your students to produce their own D-Day talk show, learning about historical figures from World War II in the process.

By researching and portraying various D-Day-related historical figures, students will learn the key players and events of D-Day.

Grade Level: 9-12

History Thinking Standard 3—the student engages in historical analysis and interpretation and considers multiple perspectives of various peoples in the past by demonstrating their differing motives, beliefs, interests, hopes, and fears.

Content Era 8 (1929-1945), Standard 3B—the student understands World War II and how the Allies prevailed. Standard 3C—the student understands the effects of World War II at home.

Time Requirement: Two to four class periods (depending on how much work is done outside of class).

Download a printable pdf version of this lesson plan

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1. Decide whether all work will be done in class or will work need to be done outside of class.

2. Assign the following characters to chosen students (girls can play male characters): Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Rommel, Rosie the Riveter, Andrew Higgins, a U.S. GI, a French Resistance spy, Churchill, and a German soldier on the Atlantic Wall. Have students research their historical characters’ involvement in D-Day and fill out the attached worksheet. They should then make a nametag to wear (students can dress in costume if they have the resources). Also, choose a talk show host and have him or her research D-Day in general and fill out the host’s worksheet. Select two students to research the Home Front and prepare a commercial to support the war effort (filling out the Home Front worksheet).

3. Have the rest of the class research D-Day and write out questions that they would like to ask the historical characters. Each student should fill out a question worksheet and have at least one relevant question for each historical character.

4. Day Two: Arrange the room with nine chairs facing the class. The host will then introduce the show’s first segment: On the Eve of D-Day. Each guest will have one to two minutes to tell the audience about their role in preparing for D-Day and their predictions for the outcome. These students should stay in character throughout the show. The host will then direct audience questions about the preparations for D-Day to the appropriate guests.

5. After the “commercial break,” the host will introduce the show’s second segment: The Day after D-Day. Each guest will give his or her reaction to D-Day and the audience can ask more questions.

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Components for assessment include the completed worksheets and participation in the talk show.

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Have students videotape their talk show. Use the tape for your classes that do not do this lesson.

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Creating Your Character

Directions: Research your assigned character’s role in D-Day and decide on the following information (be creative with information you do not know).

1. Character name.

2. Character description.

3. What did your character do to help prepare for the D-Day operation or to defend against it in the months leading up to June 6, 1944?

4. What was your character doing during D-Day?

5. What did your character do after D-Day?

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Talk Show Questions

Directions: Research D-Day history and compose at least one question for each of the following characters. Ask specific questions about their participation before, during or after D-Day.

1. Roosevelt

2. Eisenhower

3. Rommel

4. Rosie the Riveter

5. Andrew Higgins

6. U.S. GI

7. French resistance spy

8. Churchill

9. German soldier on the Atlantic Wall

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Talk Show Host Preparation

Directions: Research D-Day and prepare a brief description of the preparations, engagement and aftermath of the invasion. Be prepared to lead the class in a discussion of D-Day during your talk show.

1. Preparations for D-Day

2. D-Day

3. Aftermath of D-Day

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Creating a Home Front Commercial

Directions: Research the United States Home Front during WWII. Create a two-minute commercial that you will perform during the talk show encouraging the audience to support the war effort.

1. In what ways did the government rally support for the war effort?

2. Write out the script for your commercial.

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Download a printable pdf version of this lesson plan

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