September 11th: 5th Grade Discussion Board Lesson

Background Information: Seventeen years ago New York City experienced the unforgettable day of September 11th. Adults who lived through it will always remember the events that unfolded, but many young children don't know a lot about 9/11 or fully understand how the day changed this nation and so many lives.  Many educators struggle to discuss the events with children, and it can be daunting to find books that engage children, help them to understand such a pivotal point in history, and serve as a starting point for discussion. Fortunately, we have a fictional account about 9/11 specifically for children, ideal for the next generation. Nine Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin presents 9/11 in an accessible way for young readers without being too heavy.  Instead they are presented in a thoughtful and meaningful way, and is a welcome addition to children's literature. (9/11 for Educators)
Students have read the story in literature circles (groups of 4). They have had meaningful conversations about the four individual characters and about the events that took place on 9/11. Now as a connected group of 4 students they will go a little deeper and experience this pivotal moment in history through activity and discussion board.
Discussion Board Post:


Over the last few weeks, we have read Nora Raleigh Baskin's book Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story in our literature circles. Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story is the story of four kids in various cities who experience 9/11 on contrasting levels. These four middle school kids fifth graders in Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, and New York City start out on 9/10 wrapped up in their own individual challenges at home, from one dealing with an absentee father to another grieving for a lost one. They have no idea that they are all about to come together as a result of 9/11, as their families and communities are affected by the tragic events
The story began with four young characters from four different states at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport, each one with a unique story of conflict. But on September 11th, everything changes. The book concludes with the first Patriot Day at Ground Zero, exactly one year later, where the reader is re-introduced to each character. The concerns each character had in the days leading up to the events of 9/11 have diminished or disappeared altogether as each character’s thoughts are about what happened on 9/11.
YouTube Video: Alan Jackson - "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" 

  • First, I want you to interview a family member or someone else that you know that was at least 18 years of age on September 11th. I want to know where they were located, how old they were, and what they remember about that day. I also would like you to ask them about their life before this day and how things may have changed afterwards. Take good notes, record the interview to help you remember their story, and then write a review of the interview in 200-250 words in the discussion board below. { Note: Please let me know right away if you are having difficulties finding this person.}
  • Second, you will read each of your literature circle group interview reviews (4) in this forum. Take note of how this day changed the life of the individual similar to how the characters in the book did. 
  • Third, I would like you to respond to each of your group members post using the RISE feedback we have used on our classroom blog. In addition, please add a comment about what their story taught you about September 11th or relate it to what you have read in the book Nine, Ten.
  • Last, if a group member asks you a question or causes you to respond, please reply to him or her and continue the discussion.
I read Nine, Ten as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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