Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource written by Catherine Birkby in collaboration with Leeds Museums and Galleries | Armley Industrial Museum.

This resource tells the story of Annie, the author’s mother, who grew up in Leeds during the 1930s and 40s. It features extracts from Annie’s diary, and provides a fascinating insight into the experiences of a young girl growing up at this time, and how her life changed due to WW2.


Curriculum Links

  • KS1 History: Changes within living memory
  • KS2 History: A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066 (Childhood / Growing up)


Discussion Ideas

When Annie went to school, girls and boys were taught different subjects. Girls were taught housekeeping and needlework, skills aimed at making them ‘good wives’. Boys were taught woodwork and metalwork.

  • Discuss how education can impact on a person’s opportunities as an adult.
    - Hold a class discussion on the impacts of equal opportunities in education, gender stereotyping and discrimination.
    - What stereotypes might still persist today (for example ‘girls can’t play football as well as boys’, or ‘boys are better at science’).
    - Why do we still have some gender stereotypes?


  • Look at Annie’s report card.
    • What subjects are the same as the ones in your last report?
    • Which ones are different? (this could be done as a venn diagram)
    • Are there any subjects that Annie studied that you think should be brought back?
      • Why / why not?

Activity Ideas

  • Use Annie’s notes on Housecraft and find out what she was taught about ‘being a good wife’.
  • Download the ‘emotion timeline' activity pack and use the extracts from Annie’s diary to create a graphical representation of Annie’s emotions at different points of her childhood. Some extracts Annie writes how she is feeling, some the pupils will have to think about how she might have felt at that time.
    - This could be done as a whole class activity, in small groups, or individually. If done in groups or individually, graphs can be compared to see how different people perceive other’s emotions.
  • Research the different things that children did during WW2 to help the Home Front. There are more resources on MyLearning to help! (see Supporting Links).