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The Names: A 9/11 Lesson Plan with the Poem and Related Songs

Grade Levels
8th - 10th
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Internet Activities
4 pages
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This lesson works well as part of a poetry unit or as a stand-alone 9/11 lesson. It incorporates a video reading and interview with poet Billy Collins and two songs about 9/11. I usually do this activity as a whole class, but students could be given links to the video and songs and complete it individually with headphones or as homework in a flipped classroom.

I use this lesson toward the beginning of the year, just before I have students do a poem analysis paragraph. This assignment helps me gauge their paragraph writing abilities and their knowledge of citing evidence. The writing prompt at the end of the songs worksheet is:

Consider “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” and “Have You Forgotten?” in comparison to “The Names.” Which is a more fitting remembrance or tribute to 9/11? On another piece of paper (staple it to this one), write your answer in paragraph form, citing at least one quote as evidence.

Note: the video is linked in the instructions below and as a “file” in the zipped folder. The songs can be found on YouTube.
Total Pages
4 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


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