Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering 9.11

"Remembering 9.11 Also Means Teaching 9.11"

This was the title of a story shared by our local news station today, about an 8th grade class who did a great project in rememberance of those who lost their lives that day.  The title of this story really resonated with me.  Although my firsties weren't alive eleven years ago when the tragedy of 9.11 happened, I think it's important for them to understand the events.  But while it's a hard topic for any group, it's especially hard with the littlest ones.  This morning, we spent about an hour remembering and honoring in a few different ways...

First, I shared the website "September 11th Through Children's Eyes" with my class, which can be found here.

This site is a museum to show how kids felt who were directly affected by the tragedy.  Although not everything on here seemed appropriate for my kids, I read them an interview with a first grader in a school near Ground Zero, and we looked at drawings and other reflections posted by kids in the school.

Next, I read September 12th: We Knew Everything Would Be All Right, which was written by a first grade class in Missouri. This book touches on the events without going into much detail and has kid-drawn illustrations.  The main message of this book is that on September 12th, the day after the tragedy, the kids still came to school to find their teacher smiling, and they still were cared for and loved.  It also tells about the ways that Americans supported each other afterwards.  I've used this book every year that I've been teaching and plan to continue using it!

Next, the kids and I talked about the heroes of 9.11 and made connections to heroes in their lives.  We brainstormed a list of those people, and then they wrote about them.  (I have tried like to crazy to find the TpT seller who offered this for FREE!  If it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit.)  I was pleasantly surprised by their writing - even the ones who have been uninterested in writing so far really did a great job with this.  Here are some of my favorites:

My hero is the President because he calms people down when they are upset.
My hero is hospital workers because she helps people.
        My hero is my Dad because he fights the bad people and saves our lives and he's good.
My hero is the cops because he catches bad guys.
My hero is my uncle because he is in the Navy.

Last, the kids each traced their hand to create a class heart, which we displayed with our writing in the hall.  This made for a great hallway display, but more than anything, I'm glad my kids asked questions, shared comments, and genuinely seemed to care about this important lesson.  <3

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