Friday, September 9, 2011

Schools : September 11th 2001 in the classroom : resources

credits: MGN Online

AFP | Spencer Platt

"A la minute où le deuxième avion a percuté le World Trade Center, la date du 11 septembre 2001 est entrée dans l'histoire. Il était 9:03 h à New York. Devant leurs téléviseurs, les millions de personnes qui ont vu le vol United Airlines 175 s'encastrer dans la tour sud ont compris instinctivement que rien ne serait plus comme avant."

Le 0.09.2011

credits: Getty Images

Schools across the world are considering to help students observing the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 events. 

Sometimes, my colleagues ask me if I discuss 9/11 in my lessons. Yes, I do
! They wonder how students react. It's a difficult subject. Very traumatic. I agree, but students have the right to know the recent history of the XXth century. And I always do my best to tell them what I saw on the day that changed the world. I watched television, live. So as my young students at the time. We can't forget. Nobody can't.

I think it's impossible not to include such a tragic event as September 11th into school curriculum. Those moments are still present in my memory. Students must given the chance to reflect on the events of this tragic day and have a thought for all involved. Peace is the word.

credits : Chang W. Lee/Getty Images

It was a school day like every other day. Lunch time. Some teachers appeared at school before class time and told us to watch the news on the television. We stopped our lunch  and went to Teachers' room. 

CNN was on the air, breaking news. Horror! Our eyes were incredible opened. We couldn't believe. The live images were so dramatic.

The students arrived at the school. They were very young, between 10-15 years-old. 

Time to begin the classes. The school bell rang. 

AFP | Craig Allen

Teachers were wondering how to face the students! Some minutes later, the school was full of young people. And they would ask for answers. 

We could already hear their voices along the corridors. The students were talking frenetically. On the classroom, they didn't sit. They were all around me asking "What's going on, Teach'?", "Did you watch the television?" "We couldn't understand!" "So terrible!" Please, tell us what's going on..."

They were so anxious, they couldn't take their places. I sweetly asked them to sit, and then we could talk.

 Camp set up in 2002 for kids who lost a parent (or parents) in the attacks of 9/11, and also for children of fire fighters or police officers killed in the line of duty
credits: Dina Rudick/Globe Staff


Those twin towers
Standing tall with pride,
Fell with grieving hearts.
Stunned, America cried.
But we’re still standing. (...)

Hannah SchoechertWe’re Still Standing, 7th grade students
It shocks me even now, so many years later. Every images is clear and so present in my eyes. 

I am not only teacher who observed the 9/11. I am a living witness of the change in recent history of the contemporary world. So, every year on September 11, I include the historical facts into my lessons.

Activities : some ideas

  • Ask about the facts showing some photos, as a brainstorming. Then open a discussion to involve all the students.
  • To enhance their learning of 9/11, some days before, invite your students to ask their parents, grandparents, even older brothers or sisters about their personal experience at the 9/11.
  • On September 11, in the classroom, students will share all the information they got (pictures, news, testemonials, videos), and will express freely their feelings and thoughts.

A selection of your videos will be featured on The New York Times website and YouTube homepage on September 11 this year. 

I know it is a delicate subject, but young people are curious, they like to understand the historical facts, asking questions to be informed. They discuss what happened on September 11, 2001 and they link it with what is happening now around the world. And they will have a conscious idea of the tragedy.

There are so many stories and so many lessons that can be taught! 

credits: REUTERS


If you need, here some important resources:

Different resources are available to assist educators as they seek learning opportunities around this emotion-charged date.

If you are not an American educator as me, and you want to include 9/11 into your lessons, here my  selection:

Social media:

YouTube marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a YouTube channel "Refelctions on 9/11, 10 years late";

New York Times is featuring a special content from the New York Times, archived news broadcasts from September 2001, and people own personal stories and tributes;

"We are working with our partners at Storyful to curate the best videos around the anniversary, and we hope this channel will provide an enduring record of what took place on that day."

We also want to collect their reflections. 
  • What it the memory of that day by the research?
  • How did 9/11 change us, and how do you believe it changed America?  
  • What did they lose caused by the 9/11? 

"Jonathan Ielpi was one of 343 New York City firefighters who died at the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001. When his body was recovered, his father Lee, a retired firefighter, came to Ground Zero to carry his son out. Ten years later, Lee explains what the 9/11 memorial means to him."

  • The Time is publishing "Beyond 9/11 - Portraits of Resilience", interactive website. Watch for example Brian Clark, a survivor from World Trade Center, tour south, 84th floor. But there are so much portraits! Let your students choose different portraits.

credits: 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Other important references/links: 

  • The 9/11 Memorial website of the "National September 11 Memorial Museum" at the World Trade Center. It provides information and multimedia resources. 
  • Interactive 9/11 TimelinesExplore web-based interactive timelines chronicling the events of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, September 11, 2001 and the nine-month recovery effort at ground zero. The timelines use images, audio and video as well as first-person accounts that are part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s permanent collection. 
There is a section of the website specifically for educators, Education Programs, where you will find, as an educator, information and resources. Your students may be considering difficult questions as the anniversary near approaches.

Firefighters raise an American flag at the site of the World Trade Center
 Thomas E. Franklin/Bergen County, N.J., Record via Getty Images

Resources + 

  • If you are an American educator, I found this article by Rutgers University professor Maurice Elias, director of the Social-Emotional Learning Lab.
  • Sunday, September 11th 2011 there will a special ceremony: 9/11 ETC Memorial Lantern Ceremony, 6pm-9pm on the South side of Pier 40 on the Hudson River.

"When you are seven years old, you really don't think there is anything bad in the world and that people are good. But they are not, and you realise that things don't always go the way that you would want them to."

Chantal Guerrero (17 years old)

This is my humble tribute to those who lost their lives September 11 2001. And to the families who lost their loved ones.


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