I have to say that in years past, I did not specifically address the events of September 11 with my class. Our district never put forth any clear directive and I was never quite sure how much the kids might already know. Honestly, with such young kids, I felt that this is one of those sensitive topics that might be better discussed at home. However, with this being the tenth anniversary of that fateful day, it was hard to let the day pass unnoticed. Our school decided to have the kids dress in red, white and blue for Patriot Day. I explained this to the kids on Thursday and many of them followed through on Friday. When I asked them why they thought we were doing this, one student actually said that it was because the school really liked the New England Patriots and wanted to celebrate football starting. (We live in South Florida remember). After that, I knew I had to do something to set them straight.
We had a nice talk about the heart representing the love we have for our country. Then we discussed the similarities and difference of our project to the flag. Next year, I'll be a bit more prepared and use a Venn Diagram for this part. We also read each part of the pledge aloud and talked about what it really means. I think that was the most important part of the lesson. So many kids recite the pledge mindlessly or with the wrong words every day which kind of drives me nutso. This was a great way to set them on the right track and help them understand what they're saying and why they're saying it.
All in all, I have to say I am so glad I did not pass the day by as I have in the past. I actually had goosebumps a few times when we were talking about what a great country we live in and how we all came together to heal the nation. I will never again let my insecurity on broaching this topic interfere with such an important teachable moment.
Although it might be a little late to use this year, I'd love to create a collection of projects or ideas that celebrate American pride to keep in mind for Veteran's Day, Independence Day, President's Day or next year on September 11. Join in and add your project below!