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Getting Ready for the Tenth Anniversary of September 11th

Lower Manhattan - September 11th, 2010

It’s rare for me to read the “Sunday Business” section of The New York Times.  I’m more of a “Sunday Review,” “Sunday Styles,” front section, “Metropolitan,” “Travel,” and “Book Review” (in that order) kind of person.  However, as I was searching for the “Sunday Review” section this past weekend, the “Sunday Business” section’s front page caught my eye.  Pictured on the front of the business section was Howard Lutnick, the chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald.  The picture of him at the top of the article, “The Survivor Who Saw the Future for Cantor Fitzgerald,” sucked me in; reminding me of the tremendous losses Cantor Fitzgerald, a bond business, suffered on September 11th when 658 of their employees were killed.  Nearly one-fourth of the people who perished in New York City on September 11th worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.  The article was about the way Lutnick has responded to his critics and how he rebuilt his business since the September 11th attack.  The article, which was published one week prior to September 11th, made me realize how much time has passed since the attacks.

The children sitting in most American classrooms were either very young or not even born on September 11th, 2001.  However, it’s imperative that we teach children, in age appropriate ways, about this day.  It’s something I struggled with quite a bit when I was a classroom teacher.  (For more about the ways I taught September 11th to my fourth graders, you can click here, here, or here.)  I was in Manhattan on the day of the attacks, but was fortunate not to be downtown when the planes hit the World Trade Center.  I always questioned how I could teach my students about September 11th without scaring them with the descriptions of the smoke that billowed into the sky or the smells of death that rose uptown as the wind shifted.  It’s hard to teach about September 11th in a way that will inform, but won’t scare children, isn’t it?

I chose to use books when I taught about September 11th.  Some of my favorite books to teach with were  14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein, Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman, and September 12th We Knew We Would Be All Right, which was written and illustrated by former first grade students at Byron Masterson Elementary in Kennett, Missouri.

Several online resources have popped up in the past couple of weeks that deal with teaching children about September 11th:

If you have other ideas or online resources for teaching school age kids about September 11th, then please leave them by posting a comment.


September 11th

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

4 thoughts on “Getting Ready for the Tenth Anniversary of September 11th Leave a comment

  1. Thank you for posting these resources, Stacey. It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed. We lost friends and neighbors that terrible day; one of my pre-school students (I was teaching pre-school then) lost his Dad, my husband was to have had a meeting at Windows that morning which was cancelled early that morning….and here we 10 years later, still suffering the consequences here and abroad. How to mark this day??
    The 9/11 memorial site is truly excellent – I’m using their ideas about memorials and their meaning for a lesson on Monday.


  2. I’ve tried to find sources for the staff, Ruth. I didn’t all you shared, & agree that the post from Edutopia is good. It’s such a hard road to travel for many, but we can’t ignore the topic because of that. Each teacher in his or her way must find some time to honor this time and those lost. Thank you for the wonderful resources!


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