September 11th is only a few days away. As teachers, most of us still remember that day in 2001 like it was yesterday. Our world drastically changed that day and life as the way we knew it would never be the same. Our students that we are teaching in the elementary grades were not even born when this happened. They do not have that connection like we do. So how do you teach about September 11th to kids that don’t know what happened? How in depth do you go with elementary kids? I have always made it a priority to teach my elementary students about September 11th. It is shocking to me that as the years go by, some students have never even heard about September 11th or events that happened that day. Maybe it is because we live so far away from the events of that day. I believe it is our duty as educators to make sure that all students know about the importance of 9/11.
I try to focus on the positive actions of people. There are so many great deeds that so many people did that day and the days that followed. I also believe the students should know what happened that day but, they are not ready to see all of the images. There is a great Brainpop video that discusses the events of 9/11.
There are also great read alouds that you can read to your students. I have listed some of my favorite ones.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers – This is one of my favorite books. This story takes us back to when the towers were built. It tells the story of the great tightrope walker, Philippe Petit, that walked between the towers. At the end of the book it shows how the towers are gone but not forgotten. This is definitely a great book for all age levels. The illustrations are amazing! Laura Candler has some great activities that go with this book.
14 Cows for America – This is another amazing book about the generosity that came about after 9/11. This story is about how a small village in western Kenya gives an extraordinary gift to the American people. Suzy Red has some great activities that go along with this book. There is a reader’s theater that my kids last year loved. It was so awesome to see the kids really care about the events of 9/11.
Fireboat– This is a great book for younger kids. This is a story about an old retired fire boat that was brought back out of retirement to help put out the fires from the Twin Towers. This is inspiring story about hope. I read this to my 1st and 2nd graders for many years.
September 12th – This is a great story to read the day after September 11th. This was written by 1st grade students. Each page talks about the hope that they had the day after 9/11. It shows students that even in America’s worst moments, there is always hope. My younger students always loved this story.
September 11th is a sensitive subject but, I believe we can show kids the hope and kindness that occurred in our country due to these tragic events. What stories do you like to read about 9/11?