The ten year anniversary of September 11, 2001 is next Sunday, and I have every intention of spending some time on it on Friday, September 9. As Americans, and more so as New Yorkers, my students need to learn about it.
My first year, I read “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers” to my fifth graders, but I can’t remember what else we did. The past two years I did nothing. But now, with it being ten years and all the run-up we are having in New York, I feel like it’s an absolute must.
Only thing is, I’m not exactly sure how to approach it with third graders. I certainly plan to read the same book. Currently, my basic framework for developmentally appropriate discussion is to tell the students that there used to be two really tall buildings in Manhattan (I have a beautiful poster to show them) and that people who didn’t like our country got on airplanes and flew them into the buildings. The buildings fell down and many people died, which made a lot of people very sad. I will allow their questions and comments to guide the conversation after that.
I just don’t know, though. There has to be a better way to go about this. Do you have ideas? Do you have resources? What works for you? Please share. This is too important a conversation to pass up or botch. Thanks.