I Used to Think… Now I think…

I Used to Think… Now I think…

What: Group activity to get students to reflect on new learning.

The Hattie’s War website contains a lot of background information about the book and how it was created. In addition, the site includes backmatter materials from the book that explain many of the important historical items appearing in the story.

This activity comes from Project Zero.  Students are asked to reflect on their current thinking on a topic. This is followed by an activity that expands their knowledge of the topic. Students then list and discuss specific ways their thinking has changed. 

Purpose: Consolidate new learning


  1. List a topic or issue raised in the book and covered on this website. The list should be recorded on a whiteboard or a large sheet of paper post for all to see.
  2. Brainstorm with the class “I used to think…”
  3. Select the corresponding section(s) from the website and have students take turns reading the text aloud.
  4. Encourage discussion and questions.
  5. Students create a revised list, titled: “Now, I think …”

Topic: Research


  • What comes to mind when you think of a research project?
  • Describe a school project you’ve done that required research.
  • What resources did you use to help you successfully complete the research project?
  • Have you ever spent time researching something that wasn’t for a school project?
  • What do you like about doing research?
  • What do you find challenging?

Possible topics/areas for reflection:

  • The impact of the war on families, particularly widowed families like Hattie’s.
  • How mental illness was viewed and treated in the 19th century.
  • The notion of a “good death” and the popularity of spiritualism.
  • Fraternizing during the war.
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