Friday, September 21, 2012

Remembering 9/11 In 4th grade

This year was very different for me, as an educator, on September 11th. In the past, I have felt like focusing too much on one of our nation's most horrible events, was inappropriate because I was teaching younger children (1st & 3rd graders). However, this year, now that I am teaching 4th grade, I decided the students were mature enough to handle a discussion about some of those horrible events. It is our country's history, and many of the students have heard stories from this day before.

Have you ever saved newspapers, only to pull them out of boxes years later, faded with layers of dust, and wonder why you ever saved them in the first place?... Well this is NOT what happened when I found these babies... copies of the Florida Times Union the week of September 11th, 2001!! I immediately thought of how amazing it would be to share these with my students. They might not have been born yet ;), but they could still experience a piece of that day!

After some discussion about that day, and where I was when the towers were hit, the students shared some of their thoughts. Wow at some of their amazing ideas! Once I had their attention and they were seriously engaged- then came my special surprise- the newspapers. The room buzzed with excitement as students oohed and ahhed over the front page. After a quick lesson about how to treat old (oh my!) newspapers, the students were split into small groups and each group given a piece of the newspaper. They were fascinated initially, and after a few minutes of reading and dissecting pictures and diagrams, a hush fell over our room. I knew that was a somber silence...

Once we had finished our discussion of the events on that day, we read a wonderful story about a small warrior tribe in Kenya, Africa. 14 Cows For America is a book written about one young warriors recount of when he learned of the tragedy of September 11, 2011. The story of generosity crosses boundaries, nations and cultures.

You could hear a pin drop in our classroom. And of my sweet, sweet students had an idea. Here is a snapshot of the conversation... "Mrs. Kidd...just because we are kids doesn't mean we can't help other people in need!". "Wow, __________, you are exactly right!". Another child piped in- "Hey...let's do something to help out!". Yes...I was speechless...once again. These kids NEVER cease to amaze me. So...on we went to brainstorm some ideas of how we could help. The students came up with some great ones!!...
After much thought and a little bit of voting, we decided to collect soda pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. Here is our current status...
All in all...I am so glad that we spent so much time this September 11th discussing history. I love how the tragic events of one day, led to the generosity and thoughtfulness that is shining through my students today! :)

With a happy heart,
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