Our Education Blogger is a public school teacher with over a decade of experience. She’s an active NEA member and enjoys writing about her experiences in the classroom.
“Never Forget.” Americans associate this saying with the attacks on September 11th. However, many of our students weren’t even alive when the devastating attacks occurred. In many cases, if you ask a student about September 11th, they wouldn’t be able to tell you much, if anything, about the event. This is where our job as educators becomes critical. Teaching students about September 11th is a delicate, but necessary task. We’ve gathered tips and resources to help you teach your students about September 11th.
10 tips to remember before you begin teaching a difficult subject:
- Make parents aware you’ll be discussing the event in your classroom
- Find out what students know
- Listen to students
- Be as specific as possible, and clear up any misconceptions
- Answer questions with facts, and if you don’t know, don’t speculate
- Reassure students of their safety at school
- Be prepared with plenty of resources – limit graphic pictures and videos
- Talk about it – allow plenty of time for questions and discussion
- Keep it simple – mostly for elementary students
- It’s okay to get emotional – talk about why
Lesson Plans, Resources, and Videos
9/11 Memorial and Museum – Explore the National September 11 Memorial and Museum’s lesson plans for all grade levels. Each lesson is tied to the Common Core Standards. Grounded in our collections, they are written for use throughout the school year and across subjects, including Social Studies, History, English Language Arts, and Art.
Scholastic: 9/11/2001: The Day That Changed America – Discover informative and poignant articles, lesson plans, activities, and stories. Use it as an interactive lesson for students or teach from provided lesson plans (along with printables).
History Channel – Find out more about the history of 9/11 Attacks, including videos, interesting articles, pictures, historical features and more.
Teaching History – This collection of resources is recommended by the U.S. Department of Education and explores topics and events surrounding 9/11 as well as recommended strategies for educators on how to teach 9/11 in the classroom.
The Little Chapel That Stood by A.B. Curtiss
America at War by Lee Bennett Hopkins
America Is Under Attack: September 11, 2001: The Day the Towers Fell by Don Brown
September Roses by Jeanette Winter
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy
With Their Eyes: September 11th–The View from a High School at Ground Zero by Annie Thoms
We the People: September 11 by Mary Englar
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Messages from Ground Zero: Children Respond to September 11th by Shelley Harwayne
102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer & Kevin Flynn
Report from Ground Zero by Dennis Smith
Last Man Down by Richard Picciotto & Daniel Palsner
How do you teach about September 11th in your classroom? What tips would you give fellow educators when teaching this topic? Leave your ideas in the comment section.