September 2011 Issue
August 21, 2011

Sept. 11 resources for your classroom

Source: NYSUT United
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From first-person videos to interactive timelines, there are many comprehensive resources online to help students learn about Sept. 11.

NYSUT has developed a "Remembering 9/11" lesson plan that will help middle schoolers understand the idea of heroism and the importance of volunteerism.

The standards-based, 80-minute lesson and accompanying resource links appears below. The lesson plan is also available as a PDF download.

Remembering 9/11/2001 

A lesson plan developed by NYSUT Research and Educational Services

Lesson grade levels: 6 – 8 

Time requirement: 80 minutes 

Objectives of the lesson: Students will be able to:

  • Understand the events of 9/11/2001 through the eyes of rescuers, recovery people, and volunteers
  • Understand the concept and idea of heroism
  • Understand the importance of volunteerism

Student skills:

  • Use higher level thinking skills of comprehension, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation
  • Develop a plan for problem-solving
  • Participate in group planning and discussion
  • Incorporate a set of positive learning attitudes
  • Use media and various visuals for communicating ideas


  • Empathy
  • Identity
  • Justice
  • Decision making
  • Human rights
  • Civic values

NYS Learning Standards

  • Social Studies Standard 1: History of the United States and New York – Intermediate
    • KI 2 PI 2; KI 3 PI 3; KI 4 PI 1,2,3,4
  • Social Studies Standard 2: World History – Intermediate
    • KI 4 PI 3
  • Social Studies Standard 3: Geography – Intermediate
    • KI 1 PI 4
  • Social Studies Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and Government – Intermediate
    • KI 1 PI 1; KI 2 PI 5; KI 3 PI 2, 3; KI 4 PI 1, 2

NYS P -12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy

  • Reading Standards for Literature 6 – 12
    • Grade 6: 11(b); Grade 7: 11(b); Grade 8: 11
  • Reading Standards for Informational Text 6 – 12
    • Grade 6: 9(a); Grade 7: 9(a); Grade 8: 9(a)
  • Writing Standards 6 – 12: Responding to Literature
    • Grade 6: 11(a, b, c); Grade 7: 11(a, b); Grade 8: 11(b)
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6 – 12
    • Grade 6: 1(b, c), 2(a), 5, 6; Grade 7: 1(b, c, d), 2(a), 5, 6; Grade 8: 1(b, c), 2(a), 5, 6
  • Language Standards 6 – 12
    • Grade 6: 1(a, b, c, e), 2(a, b), 3(a, b), 4(a, b, c, d), 5(a, b, c), 6
    • Grade 7: 1(b, c), 2(a, b), 3(a), 4(a, b, c, d), 5(a, b, c), 6
    • Grade 8: 1(b, c, d), 2(a, c), 3(a), 4(a, b, c, d), 5(a, b, c), 6
  • Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6 – 12
  • Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6 – 12
    • Grades 6 – 8: 4, 7
  • Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
    • Grades 6 – 8: 1(c), 2(c, d, e), 4, 5, 6, 9, 10


  • Responsibility
  • Virtue
  • Hero
  • Capacity
  • Volunteerism

Technology required:

  • Internet access
  • Interactive white board or LCD projector
  • Speakers for computer

Materials needed:

  • Copies of song “Heroes” lyrics
  • Newsprint

Student activities:

Anticipatory set:

  • Have the room set up so students sit in groups of four. At each group site, have a large newsprint page with an outline drawing of a human and one blank page.
  • As students enter the room, have the song, “Heroes”, by Amy Matthews and Karen Mack playing.
  • Once students are settled play the song again.
  • While the song is playing, show photos of heroes of 9/11 found at
  • After the song has played, distribute the lyrics. Instruct the students to read the lyrics silently.
  • After reading instruct the students to do the following:
    • On the blank outline of a human, record what your group thinks are the characteristics of a hero.
  • After sufficient time, ask each group to read the characteristics they have listed. Students may add other characteristics to their outline based on the sharing.

Activity 1:

  • Begin a discussion on 9/11 by asking the class the following prompts:
    • What happened on September 11, 2001?
    • Why do you think there were heroes on that day?
    • Who do you think the heroes were?
  • Instruct students to add characteristics of the heroes of 9/11 to their figure.
  • Acrostic poetry writing: Instruct each group to take the blank paper and to write HEROES one letter at a time down the page, making sure to leave space between the letters.
  • Tell the groups that they will be writing acrostic poems and show examples
  • Inform the students of the assignment:
    • Each group will write an acrostic poem using the characteristics listed on the outline form.
    • Use words and/or phrases that you listed on your figure.
  • When completed, have groups share their poetry.
  • Post the figures and the poetry around the room.

Activity 2:

  • Show the video clip on volunteers
  • After viewing, ask the students why they think these people and others volunteered to help the rescue and recovery workers. Record these answers on newsprint and post around the room.
  • Show the clip of President Obama’s address on September 11, 2010
  • After viewing, ask the students why they think President Obama chose 9/11 as a day of service and remembrance. Record these answers on newsprint and post around the room.
  • Ask the students what activities and actions they perform that can be considered service to others. Record these answers on newsprint and post around the room.

Culminating activity:

  • Assign the students the following activity:
    • Using the information learned about heroes, 9/11, and volunteerism; create a visual representation of your idea of a hero, the events of 9/11, or on volunteering. Examples of the visual are a written piece, a drawing, a collage, song lyrics, or a dance.
  • Allow for time in class and homework for the students to complete the activity.
  • Ask students to share their work with the class.

Make a difference:

The web site Heroism in Action has many ideas for children to make a difference locally and globally.

  • Brainstorm with the class on how they can make a difference in their school or their community through volunteerism. The following steps may help in planning:
    • Identify an activity that is doable and within the abilities of the group.
    • Make a list of people and things that will be needed to do the activity.
    • Identify who the community or school partners could be to help with the activity.
    • List the things that could be done to make the activity work.
    • Establish sub-committees to do different parts of the pre-work of the activity such as contacting the school or community group(s), how to advertise the activity, developing the specifics of the activity.
  • Some ideas are:
    • Assisting senior citizens
    • Homeless shelters
    • Food banks
    • Ronald McDonald House
    • Special Olympics
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Animal Shelters
    • Environmental organizations
    • Libraries



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