Wednesday, August 31, 2011

9/11 In Your Classroom

In just two short weeks, we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the field in Pennsylvania. 
How will you address this anniversary with your students?

As a new teacher, you might feel overwhelmed with all of your new responsibilities, and be unsure how (or if) to address this topic.  Some of your students were very young or not even born in 2001; and for this reason, you might think that recognizing this important anniversary is irrelevant.

However, this solemn anniversary offers you an excellent opportunity to learn how to address difficult topics with students.  Here’s why.

Difficult topics arise all the time in teaching and we’re never prepared enough for them.  We cannot, and should not, shield students from sadness, grief, or difficulties in life:  that’s part of the range of human experience.  Even our youngest students benefit from opportunities to explore the meaning of this unique anniversary.  It’s never too early to begin learning about tolerance and peace.

So which direction is right for you?  First, check with your colleagues at school to find out what their plans are for recognizing 9/11 and coordinate with them.  Contribute your own ideas or some of the ones that follow during a grade level meeting or brainstorming session.  Second, make a personal commitment to dedicate your own service, large or small, to set an example for your students. Share this outstanding site with your colleagues and students for pledging service for 9/11.

Third, find some resources to help you decide what to teach.  While there are many for secondary school, finding appropriate curricula for K-6 is challenging.  Click here to download Learning From the Challenges of Our Times: Global Security, Terrorism, and 9/11 in the Classroom.  It’s full of age appropriate lesson plans and resources to help you to teach about 9/11 using heroes, tolerance and peace.   

Finally, I hope you've found this blog helpful during the last two years.  Next month, Andi Edson, the new coordinator of the Lesley New Teacher Community, takes over this blog and shares her own thoughts.  I move on to my own blog,  An Education Spring.  You're invited to check it out at

All best for a great school year,

Kathleen M. Nollet, Ph.D.

1 comment:

  1. I found this blog to be helpful in preparing myself someday with these difficult human experiences. Being better prepared in the classroom to help students understand and respect the specific life learning experiences will build positive character in students.