Thursday, September 3, 2015

September 11th in the Classroom

It's hard to imagine that the little humans that sit in our classroom day in and day out won't remember September 11th. The day that changed our Nation in a huge way. 

I remember where I was:  I was a Junior in high school and we watched it on television all day long.

The scenes from that day will forever be in our hearts and minds. Because of the horrible actions that took place that day, so many things in our country have changed. Airport security, the use of the word terrorism that is used far too often on the daily news, our thoughts about large cities and the caution that we have whenever we travel or see a suspicious person.

...but, how do we honor this day in our classroom, without reliving every single terrifying detail for our students?

Here are a few resources for you to check out:

First, I love this video from Brain Pop! It's a great, kid friendly introduction to the events that occurred that day. Also, it's free! I've used this video when I have taught grades 3rd, 4th and 5th. 

After the video, a great way to process the main idea of the video is to take the key words from the day's events (many were mentioned in the video) and dig into them a little deeper.

I have a great {FREE} September 11th interactive vocabulary activity. The vocabulary words that I chose for this activity are great conversation starters. Plus, it allows the teacher to direct the conversation as it flows.(You can click the word 'FREE' or the image below to download your copy!)

You can have a student look up the definition as a whole group, or pair students to work together if they are older and have dictionary skills under their belt. 

After students write the definitions of the words underneath the flaps, a great way to practice word association, as well as higher-order thinking skills is the vocabulary triangle. My mom used this in her classroom for years and my first year teaching, she introduced it to me. I would use this all of the time (in a morning message, while reading a story, keywords from a text book, weekly vocabulary words, CCSS key words, and on and on and on). It really challenges their thinking.

The students simply choose any 3 of the words from the list. I chose positive words from the list, but the students could complete this activity using any combination of the words associated with September 11th and Patriot Day.

The students just create a triangle, with a box on each point. They write the vocabulary word in the box. Then, on the lines in between the 2 words, they write a sentence with both of the words in the sentence. They do this for all 3 sides. In the middle of the triangle, they sketch or illustrate something that has to do with all 3 of the words and their meanings.

I also have a great Close Reading Lesson Plan Mini-Unit in my TpT Store for only $2! It includes a suggested lesson plan aligned to RI 1 (grades 3-6), an interactive KWL chart, a close reading passage, and text-based comprehension questions.

What resources do you use to remember September 11th in your classroom?