Keep Calm and Carry On – Lesson Plan

It is sometimes exciting to find something that you really want to teach – right now! But although I can’t gather my students at this very moment, I can at least outline this lesson for me and you.

It all started today when I was thinking that I would like to give virtual stickers for my students when I grade an online or digital assignment. When I grade a hand written assignment, I always have great stickers, such as “Keep it up” and “Good work” like those in the picture on the right, which were given to me by ECB publishing house.


I couldn’t find online badges without copyrights, so I thought I’d do it myself, when I came across the images of “Keep Calm and Carry On”


posters. Hey, I thought, I could make my virtual badges look like these:


Then I realized, I don’t know anything about these very familiar posters. So I started digging in and as it turns out, I think that it can be an interesting English-History lesson for my students. Moreover, if I do decide to use these as badges, They will understand the source for it.

Here is the lesson plan. I will be happy to read moderations and suggestions for making it better.

Activity 1: Streetview of Barter’s Bookshop.

Since the original posters were found in London’s Barter’s Bookshop, I thought starting there would be nice. With Google’s service Streetview I will show the place to the students and ask them: What is this place? Where is it in the world? Why do you think that it’s interesting?

Barters Bookshop

Second activity: Reading

I will tell the students that in 1999, something interesting was found in this bookshop and refer them to the website “Keep Calm and Carry On”, to “History”.  

While reading, the students will answer these comprehension questions:

paragraph 1

  1. Before reading: Find the meaning of “propaganda” and write it down.
  2. Why did the British government decide to create “moral boosting posters”?
  3. What are “testing times”?

Paragraph 2

  1. Translate the first two poster to your language. How do you find them? Are they motivating in times of war?

Paragraph 3

  1. Translate the third poster to your language.
  2. Why wasn’t the first poster used during the war?

Paragraphs 4-6

  1. How was this poster re-discovered?
  2. In your opinion, what makes this poster so popular nowadays?

Activity 3: a video.

After reading, the esl/efl students may find this video interesting as a visual representation of the story.

Look at these parodies and find one that is especially funny or interesting in your eyes. Write why you chose it (If you have the digital option, the students can copy their choices to a shared wall and write the answer next to the picture.

Activity 5: Generate your own poster.

This activity can be done around a certain topic or without guidance.

Go to the “Keep Calm and Carry On” generator and create your own poster.

Good Luck – you are more than welcome to share your student’s work!


Further reading:

Wikipedia – keep calm and carry on.

Know your meme – Keep Calm and Carry On