Monday, September 12, 2016

Discussing 9/11 With High Schoolers

Many of our students were out today for a field trip to the regional fair in Knoxville, so I didn't have enough students in my classes to teach new material. So, I decided that since the 15th anniversary of September 11 was yesterday, I would take some time to discuss 9/11 with my students, especially since many of them were born either in 2000 or 2001. I even have a few students who were born after 9/11.

Anyways, I showed this video that Casey McCormick recommended to me. Most of the kids said that they had not seen it before, but a few did. That's okay. It tells the story of Welles Crowther, who made the courageous decision to help save people on 9/11 while risking his own life. Then some students in my first block recommended this video, that tells the story of a girl whose dad died on 9/11 and how much she missed him through the years. I then showed my pictures from visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

In my first block, I had eight students, so we sat in groups of four. After watching these videos, a few kids shared their experiences from their families on that day, and then I shared my experience, being a 12 year old seventh grader on a field trip (See my previous post for the full story). Then we had a great discussion about this event, and many had some good insight to offer. Many kids in my second block (all of the 11 who were present), were quiet, but we had a discussion on how our veterans are treated, and a couple mentioned 9/11 conspiracy theories. I remained neutral, however. My third block really enjoyed the pictures, and I had a student ask if they could use their Chromebooks and look up stuff on the 9/11 Museum and Memorial website. Of course, I said yes. Several kids wanted to show me what all they found. So, this made me excited.

Yes, I know that there is no standard on teaching about 9/11 in Algebra 2 and/or Geometry, but I have an unwavering opinion that conversations about 9/11 need to be had across the curriculum, not just in history. Although kids didn't learn math in my classes, we as teachers have a moral responsibility to teach about life-changing events, such as 9/11.

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