Are you looking for a September 11th activity that will help your high schoolers or advanced middle schoolers truly understand what it was like to live through that terrible day? To help them experience the shock, outrage, heartbreak, but also the inspiring unity and tenacity of the American psyche during that time?
With this lesson, students read a now famous essay written by Leonard Pitts Jr. that was widely distributed through Internet chain mail the days and weeks immediately following the events of 9/11. Students analyze the content and craft of the essay using the SOAPSTone strategy as well as through thought-provoking questions that can be used for discussion and/or writing assignments.
The packet includes:
• A detailed lesson plan
with instructions as well as the list of CCSS standards covered
• A copy of the essay
that students can annotate as they read
• SOAPSTone graphic organizer
in which students use a popular literary analysis strategy to clarify and organize their ideas
• Thought-provoking analysis questions
that can be used for discussion or writing assignments
• Writing reflection/summary activity
in which students respond to the essay with their own writing
• Multiple choice questions
that can be used for quick assessment or as an alternate assignment for struggling readers or ELLs
• Detailed answer keys
to generally make your life easier
I have taught this lesson every year with my students, many of whom actually ask if they can keep the article to show their parents and friends. It’s incredibly gratifying to hear even my struggling readers talk about how much they enjoy this emotional piece and how it truly “gives them chills” to better understand the horror and heroism of that infamous day. The activities keep them engaged and the questions get them thinking deeply and discussing matters of personal and national importance. It’s a lesson they talk about all year long!
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Key words: September 11, September 11th, September 11th reading, September 11 activities for high school, 9/11, Patriot Day, World Trade Center, ELA lessons for September 11, Leonard Pitts Jr., terrorist attacks, nonfiction, non-fiction, informational text activities, SOAPSTone