As Britain commemorates Guy Fawkes Day on November 5, Americans "remember, remember the 11th of September." On the 14th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, how can we commemorate in a proactive way? A nonprofit called My Good Deed, suggests making it a National Day of Service and Remembrance reports the International Business Times. But how do you teach children why September 11 is so important? How do you explain what happened to the World Trade Center, Flight 93 and Pentagon? How can you help them understand war, violence and terrorism? Here are free printable September 11 lesson plans to help.
Scholastic has a free printable September 11 unit filled with activities, titled "9/11/2011: The Day that Changed America." There are dozens of social studies, history, government and civics lessons. Resources include primary sources (original pictures and documents), timelines, graphs, charts and maps. There are critical thinking and writing prompts, memorial activities, movie and book connections. There are September 11 units for preschool up to grade 8.
Education World presents a compendium of 9/11 printables and activities for teaching about tragedy, terrorism and tolerance. There are resources on Islam and its perspective, too. Lessons cover not just the who, what, when, where and how of the September 11 attacks, but the why, as well. Children learn why the U.S. was attacked, what we can do about it, what's been done, and why we must not forget.
PBS has a collection of free September 11 lesson plans geared primarily at students in middle school and high school. These lessons explore 9/11 in the larger world context and how the September 11 attacks affected the world. ABC Teach has a package of printable 9/11 lesson plans for younger children. There are coloring pages, writing prompts and vocabulary puzzles. These activities help kids who didn't experience September 11 understand why it's so important to those who did. Children see destruction and violence on television and video games all the time. 9/11 can seem unreal.
9/11 Memorial is museum, archive, repository and exhibition built at the site of the World Trade Center. This website offers virtual tours, photo walls, and features twin pools at ground zero, inscribed with the names of the victims. If children can't visit the 9/11 Memorial, a virtual classroom tour will help them explore. Here is the page with free printable 9/11 Memorial lesson plans .
Kids might make a memorial drawing quilt. Ask children to draw or color a picture reflecting the 9/11 attacks. Don't set boundaries. Let kids express feelings in any way that they need to. Collect the drawings and tape them together to form a September 11 "quilt." The quilt may be a thank-you for National Guard or public safety officers, too. Send it to a victim, rescue worker or veteran memorial group or display in your school.
Coloring may seem like a superficial way to commemorate a disaster. For children, it's therapeutic. It's like journaling for an adult. Drawing helps children access and express emotions. When a child hears sad news, drawing is a first response because he hasn't learned how to share feelings in words, written or spoken, Children show empathy for suffering people, making cards for them. There is so little anyone, let alone a kid, can do about tragedy. Simple acts of kindness, like drawing a picture, help heal.