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Lesson Plan: Resisting Bullying


To increase youth awareness of Canadian efforts in the Liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War.


Youth will:

  • demonstrate a basic understanding of the events surrounding the Liberation of the Netherlands;
  • gain an appreciation of the brave acts of Mona Parsons; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those who served in the Liberation of the Netherlands.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 12 to 14.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [approximately 35 minutes]

(This activity can be modified to fit available time.)

  • Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]
  • “From Privilege to Prison” Reading Activity [10 minutes]
  • Follow-up Discussion [15 minutes]


Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]

Begin a discussion about the Second World War. More than one million Canadians served in uniform during the Second World War—that is more than the entire population of some provinces. Look at a map and have youth locate the Netherlands.

On May 10, 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, capturing the country and killing thousands. The Dutch people would experience great hardship, oppression and starvation for more than five years.

If time permits, you may wish to watch Heroes Remember Presents the Liberation of the Netherlands video to give the youth an insight into what the Canadians had to do to restore peace and freedom to the Dutch people.

Resisting Bullying Discussion

Tie in the students’ experiences and knowledge about bullying, with “bullying” in the Second World War and the Liberation of the Netherlands.

Discuss bullying with your students. Ask if anyone has seen or heard about one of their classmates being bullied or treated unfairly by others. Has anyone done anything to stop bullying? If you are a witness, what could you do? If someone intervenes to stop a bully or tells someone about it to help the victim, then that person is resisting the bully.

Discuss that when Germany invaded the Netherlands in the Second World War, it was an act of bullying on a large scale. The Dutch resistance movement was organized by the citizens because of two simple facts—outrage that their country had been invaded and also the sheer horror at what was happening to the Dutch Jews in their community. You may wish to ask if anyone has read the Diary of Anne Frank. What did they think about the book?

The Dutch found many ways to resist the German occupation. It was noble, but perilous work, risking their lives to help stand up for their country and save others. Some forged identification papers, spied on enemy activities or took part in sabotage operations. Others were involved in finding hiding places for people being sought by the Germans like Dutch Jewish citizens. Unfortunately, resistance of any kind was fraught with terrible danger, often resulting in capture, torture and execution. To hide people was one of the riskiest ways of resisting because the German’s considered it a serious crime. Yet families did it to help others. One brave woman who risked her life to hide people was Canada’s Mona Parsons.

"From Privilege to Prison – The Mona Parson’s Story" Reading Activity [10 minutes]

Provide youth with the reading handout "From Privilege to Prison – The Mona Parson’s Story". This short text will provide them with an understanding of Mona Parsons’ resistance efforts.

Following the reading, they can also watch the Mona Parsons Historica Minute.

Follow-up Discussion [15 minutes]

Follow up with a discussion about what the youth have learned. It could be an open group discussion or a facilitated discussion. You may wish to ask youth, from all of their learning throughout this activity, what stands out for them.

What do they think about the young Canadian men and women who bravely left behind their families and the safety of their homes behind to help the people in Europe be free from oppression?

Ask youth what they think about the Dutch resistance fighters like Mona Parsons. How would they have felt if they had been in her shoes? Was it worth it for these people to have sacrificed their own safety to help others?

What do they imagine the Dutch citizens think about the Canadians who fought so hard and sacrificed so greatly to help liberate their country?

What do they think they would do themselves if they witnessed such bullying in their own community today? Should Mona Parsons be considered a hero for what she did during the Second World War?

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