On September 10, my students will receive a homework assignment - to ask their families where they were on 9/11 and their thoughts on that day. This will give me insight into what my students already know, and it will help students who have no/little knowledge get some information before we start our lesson in class.
On September 11, I am going to start by reading 14 Cows for America. Just recently I was introduced to this book by my school's librarian. It's the story of a man who was studying in New York City during the attacks. When he went home, he told his people all that had happened. They then decided to share 14 of their sacred cows with the American people. It shares the true character and kindness that so many people felt or gave during one of our country's most difficult times. I believe it would work well for students grades 2 and up.
I also plan to show a video showing some of what happened that day. Students do not need to see all of the gory details, but I do want them to get a feel for the sadness and loss that was felt. I feel this School Tube video does a good job capturing that.
We will also be showing our appreciation to our local police officers and firemen by writing them letters of appreciation. Events such as 9/11 can happen at any time and place, so I want students to understand how important these people are in our day to day lives.
If time permits, I want to take my students to this website - Heroes of Ground Zero. It has a wonderful timeline and interviews from several firefighters. I will also include a link on my classroom blog and wiki so parents can go through this event in more detail with their child.
Silly me waited until the last minute to order several September 11 books, but I'm hoping they arrive in time. If not - it'll be great to showcase them a few days later and remind the students that events like this are with us forever, not just one day a year.
While looking online for various activities to do with my students, I found a lot of great ideas! I don't have time to incorporate all of them, but maybe they will be helpful to you:
And if you still want more great ideas (particularly ideas for the K-3 crowd!), check out this awesome linky party that is going on over at Erica Bohrer's First Grade blog!
How will you help your students understand September 11?