Sharing a Story Map

Building and Sharing a Commemorative Story Map

The VEDay75 Lesson Plans are developed by Craig Brumwell.

Big Idea

We owe a debt of memory to those resilient individuals who step-up to the frontlines of overwhelming global challenges for the safety and security of the population.

Inquiry Question

How can we commemorate Canadians who participated in the Northwest Europe Campaign and the Liberation of the Netherlands?

Overall Description

Students post or display their storyboards from Lesson 3 around the room and conduct a peer review gallery walk where they provide feedback on their stories and design to each other. They use Google Earth Tours to build their online story maps, share them to a common class website or platform, and complete a final reflection on their commemorative process.

Time Needed

80-120 minutes

Competencies and Skills


Minds On

Arrange the classroom or learning space so that students can move freely around its center.

Ask students to post their paper storyboards or display their Popplet versions from Lesson 3 on computers or mobile devices around the perimeter of the space. Story maps should be arranged into common zones according to the six VEDay veteran stories/Dutch city subjects.

Beside each story map, tape a Peer Feedback sheet onto a larger piece of paper on which students can write observations, comments and responses to questions provided as call-outs (comments connected to arrows). Provide a number of different coloured thick felt markers at each station.

Arrange students into groups of common soldier/city subjects. For example, all students who created a story map on Don White and the Dutch city of Leeuwarden will rotate around the room as a group, providing feedback on groups who created different story maps Students do not give feedback on others who have created a project on their same subject. Create a rotation system (example, clockwise) every 10 minutes.

Students within a group view one story map from each station, then respond to the feedback questions for that person. When they return to their own station, each student should have multiple comments and suggestions from which to iterate their story map.


Council of Ministers of Education, Canada > Programs & Initiatives > Elementary-Secondary Education > Global Competencies. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Seixas, P., & Morton, T. (2013). The big six historical thinking concepts. Toronto: Nelson Education.


Activity 1 – Build the Story Map

Instruct students to build their digital story map using Google Earth Tours. It’s simple, intuitive interface allows them to create a project with many of the same features as those on Project 44. Instruct them to select “large” from the info box drop down in the project editor tools to give their project the story map look.

They will need a Google account to use this free online platform. Simple instructions are provided in the following videos:

Google Earth Tutorial: Intro to Creation Tools

Introducing Creation Tools in Google Earth

Activity 2 – Co-Creating Criteria for Curation

Curation is the process of collecting and assessing artifacts, then providing a written context. Students have been participating in this process in the knowledge building, designing and creation of their story maps. Interactivity is an ongoing feature of this digital project as group collaboration, peer review and through viewer feedback.

Ask the class what final considerations should be made in their curation process prior to sharing their story maps at the conference session and the broader online audience. Guide their discussion around the following:

  • The Big Ideas of each lesson (e.g. contribution and sacrifice, the ethical imperative to commemorate, the recognition of significant actions and shared experiences in the historical narrative, the debt of memory owed to individuals on the frontline of global challenges)
  • Their intended audience (veterans, families of fallen Canadian servicemen and women, school communities, friends and contacts online)
  • Educational and news platforms that may themselves be curating student content such as story maps to commemorate VE Day 75.

As a class, decide on a set of criteria for each of the considerations above from which they can assess their story map and make the final version of their story map.

Activity 3 – Hold a Commemoration Story Map Poster Session

A poster session is an informal presentation of information at a conference where multiple presenters share their research on printed posters while being present to discuss their work with conference participants. The idea is for presenters to share work and answer questions at a personal level.

Use this format as a model to share student story maps (instead of posters) with each other. Alternatively, create a school event with a broader audience of friends, staff or parents.

Create a presentation space where laptops or tablets are placed on tables, allowing easy circulation for visitors.

Describe the expectation of an interaction between student presenters and visitors:

  • Invite visitors to their station as they walk through the space
  • Tell them about the project
  • Allow them to navigate through the story map on their own time
  • Answer their questions and engage them in a conversation about commemoration, contribution and sacrifice
  • Request that all visitors to complete a brief 3-2-1- Story Map Conference Visitor Feedback form

Remind students presenters that they will likely start speaking to one person and find that others are listening. Coach them to speak to all people as the group grows.

Ensure that enough time is provided for the conference session for visitors to interact with multiple story maps and provide feedback on the3-2-1- Story Map Conference Visitor Feedback Forms. A digital alternative is to recreate this form using an online survey tool such as Google Forms, Microsoft Forms or Surveymonkey, then share the results from the downloadable responses spreadsheet. Click here for a Google Form that can be copied and edited.

Collect and distribute the forms to the student authors. They may choose to iterate their story maps based on the feedback for the next activity.

Activity 4 – Sharing Maps Online

One of the features of a digital online project is the ability to link the projects to your class or school website, then share them through social media. Determine a schedule to post the work. For example, one student’s story map could be posted per day leading up to May 8th, VEDay 75 or to a liberation date for each of the 6 Dutch cities.

Ask each group to develop 3 hashtags for social media posts (examples #VEDay75N2N #LiberationLeeuwarden). Those familiar with HTML coding could also produce 3 meta-tags for search engine optimization (SEO). These are threads of text inserted usually within the “head” code of a website to increase a site’s visibility with online searches. Examples could include: VE Day 75, Normandy to the Netherlands, and Canada Liberation.


Digital Commemoration

The final part of the lesson is for students to reflect on the Canadian soldiers who participated in the Northwest Campaign and the Liberation of the Netherlands through contemporary digital, online, sharable commemorations.

Do we owe a debt of memory, or obligation to remember, to the Canadian servicemen and women who participated in the Northwest Campaign and Liberation of the Netherlands from 1944-1945? How does commemorating these individuals, their contributions and their sacrifices, create connections across time that help us to negotiate the present and consider a better future?

Ask students to complete Reflection: Commemoration and the Future. Conduct a class discussion on the questions when they are done.


In light of teacher preferences for the broad range of rubric styles and designs, and the opportunity for co-creation with students, the following “look for” points are suggested as a guide to build effective assessments.

Big Ideas:

Look for the extent to which students:

  • Develop a disposition that Canadians have a responsibility to remember the contributions and sacrifices of individuals who fought for Canada in the Second World War.
  • Recognize that the significance of individual and group contributions and sacrifices emerge when they are connected to the greater narrative of the Northwest Europe Campaign and Liberation of the Netherlands.
  • Demonstrate an awareness that digital, curated commemorations like story maps represent an effective, contemporary means to communicate the responsibility for all to remember the contributions and sacrifices of Canadians who fought to defeat Nazi Germany.
  • Take a stand on whether society owes a debt of memory – or obligation to remember – those resilient individuals who step-up to the frontlines of overwhelming global challenges for the safety and security of the population.

Lesson Competencies (selected):

Look for the extent to which students:

  • Identify and assess the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian servicemen and women in the Northwest Europe Campaign.
  • Explore, organize and analyze evidence: war diaries, photographs, maps, documents, microhistories, story maps.
  • Suggest evidence-based, plausible responses to counterfactuals.
  • Explain how the contributions of individuals connect to contemporary narratives of the Northwest Europe Campaign.
  • Analyze the causes and consequences of events and developments.
  • Assess, select and organize digital assets to complement a historical narrative.
  • Design a curated story map as a storyboard that includes assets and narrative.
  • Consider feedback when iterating story maps
  • Communicate process and learning through question and answer sessions with conference visitors

Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) Global Competencies:

  • Critical thinking and problems solving
  • Innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship
  • Learning to learn, and to be self-aware and self-directed
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Global citizenship and sustainability


Peer Feedback

The Peer Feedback form allows students to provide feedback to classmates on their story maps by responding to questions and including additional observations and comments.

3-2-1 Story Map Conference Visitor Feedback Form

The Visitor Feedback Form allows peers to provide the author and presenter with constructive feedback on their story map. Students will be asked about what they’ve learned, questions they have, and impressions they have been left with regarding the story maps their classmates have created.

Reflection: Commemoration and the Future

Students will reflect on the debt of memory, or obligation to remember, to the Canadian servicemen and women who participated in the Northwest Campaign and Liberation of the Netherlands from 1944-1945. Students will be asked how commemorating these individuals create connections across time that help us to negotiate the present and consider a better future.

Download Lesson 4: Building and Sharing a Commemorative Story Map.

The VEDay75 Lesson Plans are developed by Craig Brumwell.