Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 in the Classroom

For the last 15 minutes of my Schools and Society class today I thought I would give the students a group assignment of thinking about how they would handle the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 in a public school classroom. Each group chose a grade level spread of 3 - 5, 6 - 8 or 9 - 12. The goal of the activity was for them to think about how they would access resources and then identify the things they would talk about. Within a couple of minutes I realized that they all wanted to talk about their own experiences At the time, in 2001, they were all in fifth grade and so had a remarkable variety of experiences to share; a much better activity than the one I had originally thought of.

Some of the things they described were; how their teachers left the classroom and returned without saying anything; how some of them were asked to shepherd the kindergarten students from the school without telling them anything; how some of them were told nothing and knew nothing until they got home. Since they were all fifth graders at the time they were old enough to process what occurred that day. We ended the discussion by sharing thoughts about how to use Internet resources to help students in classrooms today to understand what happened that day in 2001 and how to process some of the terrifying images and videos they will see during the coming days.

Perhaps, a little too late, I made a September 11 web-page which includes many of the useful on-line resources that teachers have access to as they attempt to make the event part of the history and social studies curriculum. The event is still not specifically included in State standards and in very few textbooks.

On a personal note, I had my own "attack" in the form of a heart attack on 9/13 that required four bi-passes to keep me going. I was told at the time there was a dramatic increase in the number of bi-pass surgeries conducted in the week following 9/11. Such was the impact of the event that anyone anywhere close to having a cardio event was going to have it during that week. I've made a full recovery but remember so clearly the days following 9/11.

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