Remembering September 11th

If you teach eighth grade or younger, it is highly unlikely that your students personally remember the events of September 11; many of our students weren’t alive when the attacks occurred. For me, that’s tough to get my mind around. The day burned a vivid memory on my brain.

As teachers, it is our duty to remember alongside our students the events of September 11. Writing Workshop is an appropriate place for this remembrance. Writing helps us make sense of the incomprehensible. Writing helps us heal from tragedy. And writing makes memories remain. September 11th falls on a Saturday this year. When will you choose to share your memories from this day with your students?

As a New Yorker to the core, this time of year always stirs up difficult memories for Stacey (as it does fo the rest of the country — New Yorkers or otherwise!). Although she is off-line due to the Jewish holidays, I would still like to include her voice as we consider how to remember September 11 with our students. Here are links to her past posts:

Nine years ago, when the attacks happened, our school day was just beginning. In each block, my seventh graders watched a few minutes of the television coverage and documented their thinking in their writer’s notebooks. My notebook entries from September 11, 2001 are some of my most interesting entries because they reveal history as it unfolded. Many of the articles from websites that I printed and taped into my notebook are inaccurate. I can see the story evolve as my entries continued over the day and week and month.

Since then I always write in my notebook on September 11, documenting my thoughts about the day. Here is my entry from 2007. Remembering September 11 with our students can be as simple as reading a book about the day and writing an entry in our writer’s notebooks. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming; however, it ought to be honored. What are your plans to remember this day with your students?