Friday, September 16, 2011


This week marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11. For me, the only day that was worse than September 11, 2001 was September 12, 2001. By then, the shock of what had happened was starting to recede, and the grim reality of the utter devastation was sinking in. Most of our K-12 students are too young to remember much, if anything, about that day, but it remains a watershed event in American history. The legacy of 9/11 is that the U.S. is a changed nation, psychologically, politically, and culturally. It’s forever changed the way that we view our personal freedoms and security. A recent study indicates that emergency response personnel – the firefighters, police officers, and EMTs who worked furiously to save others at the World Trade Center – are being diagnosed with various types of cancers from the toxic dust at an alarming rate. The tragedy of 9/11 still resonates through each of us, every day.

The Memorial at the new World Trade Center site in New York City is scheduled to open on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, on September 11, 2011. The site includes the Survivor Tree, reflecting pools, and panes of glass from one of the original twin towers. It’s a reminder that even in the face of terrorism and tragedy, life does indeed continue, and we move forward as a nation and as people.

Many students learn about the events of 9/11, and why it happened, at school. For nearly a decade, school districts throughout the nation have held annual observations or remembrances on the date, sometimes following up with related lessons, and sometimes simply allowing the students to commemorate the event in their own ways. The social, political, economic, and historical events leading up to 9/11 and its aftermath are intricate and varied, and ripe for study. Terrorism, religious and social extremism, geography, tolerance, and world history are just some of the topics that can be explored in class discussions of September 11, and these and other topics can be adapted for different age groups.

My picks this week focus on the events of 9/11 and its aftermath. The resources are for a variety of grade levels, and many can be adapted for different ages.  We’ll also be featuring several new lessons and resources on 9/11 daily throughout the week on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so be sure to take a look.

September 11 National Day of Service Lesson Plans
Subjects: US history, Character education
Grades: K-12
These three lessons aim to teach valuable, heartfelt, and constructive lessons about the 9/11 experience, the way tragedies impact us as people, and the remarkable spirit of service that arose in response to the attacks. Students will learn about the incredible outpouring of support from people following the attacks, select causes or organizations
to support through service projects as a way to honor the victims of 9/11, and plan and execute those projects. While the lessons are aimed at the entire range of K-12 students, teachers may want to make adaptations for younger students. This lesson is a product of, part of is a national nonprofit organization that successfully led a seven-year effort to establish September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Lesson MV-11: Civil Rights in the Age of Terrorism
Subjects: US history, Civics
Grade: 7-8
In this lesson, students will define and identify some American civil rights, analyze hypothetical cases, and discuss the impact of terrorism on these rights. This lesson is a product of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education at the State of New Jersey Department of Education, which provides Holocaust and genocide education materials to the state of New Jersey and beyond.

The Post 9/11 Landscape
Subjects: English Language Arts, US history
Grade: 6-12
In this podcast, teen readers will encounter page-turning suspense and hard-hitting social commentary in books exploring the political and cultural landscape of our post-9/11 world. Tune in to hear how graphic novels place the events of 9/11 in historical context, how war stories put a human face on the costs of military conflict, and how young adult novels imagine roles that teens can play in working for a better world. This lesson was produced by ReadWriteThink, which offers peer-reviewed lessons in reading and English/Language Arts.

~Joann's Picks - September 9, 2011~

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