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Monday Morning Ready08.25.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

Fritz Koenig's statue "Sphere for Plaza Fountain" has returned home. Last Wednesday, workers began moving the 25-foot-high sculpture. It was moved from its temporary location in Manhattan's Battery Park. It is now located near One World Trade Center. This is where the statue once stood from 1971 until the aftermath of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Do you think "The Sphere" should have been part of Memorial Plaza? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

Why do you think people consider "The Sphere" to be such a symbol of hope, strength and perseverance?

Grade 7-8

Do you think "The Sphere" should have been part of Memorial Plaza? Why or why not?

Grade 9-10

Imagine that you were in charge of designing Memorial Plaza. One of your chief objectives was to incorporate "The Sphere" into your design. How would you do it?

LESSON PLAN
Record an Oral History of 9/11

PROCESS:

  1. Ask students to share what they know about the events of September 11, 2001. Then ask them to raise their hands if they were alive when it happened. (Note: This is unlikely given that this lesson is written for students up to Grade 10.) Ask them to raise their hands once again if they learned about the terror attacks from someone they know.
  2. Point out that people can learn about history in many ways. They can read books, study artifacts or go to museums. They can also talk to someone knowledgeable about the subject. And that doesn't always have to be an expert. It can also be someone who was simply there when the event occurred. 
  3. Inform students that in the case of 9/11, "there" is a very broad term. The attacks occurred in three separate locations-New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania-and they were broadcast worldwide. The attacks unsettled the nation long after they occurred.
  4. Point out that interviews are a good way to capture people's stories. Tell students that an interview is simply a conversation. While it is important to prepare a list of questions to ask during an interview, it is even more important to listen closely to the answers. The details in the answers are what writers use to create a vivid oral history that tells about someone's recollection of certain events. 
  5. Instruct students to select someone they know who is old enough to remember the 9/11 attacks. Then have them interview that person and record the conversation. Challenge students to create a detailed oral history about 9/11 from this person's perspective.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their interviews with the class. As they listen to the interviews, encourage students to identify similarities and differences in the oral histories. Challenge them to summarize how the attacks impacted the nation as a whole. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting this activity, provide students with tape recorders or digital recording devices. Encourage students to practice interviewing one another and recording their conversations. Continue doing this until all students are comfortable with the process. Then instruct students to identify who they plan to interview. As a class, create a list of potential questions students could ask their subjects. 
Grades 5-6:
Prior to conducting this activity, provide students with tape recorders or digital recording devices. Encourage students to practice interviewing one another and recording their conversations. Then instruct students to identify who they plan to interview. Challenge students to create a list of potential questions they could ask their subjects. 
Grades 7-8: 
Prior to conducting this activity, provide students with tape recorders or digital recording devices. Check to make sure that all students understand how to use the recorders and are comfortable with the interviewing process. Then instruct students to identify who they plan to interview. Give students time to create a list of potential questions they could ask their subjects. Then remind students that listening is a critical component during an interview. Encourage students to stray from their prepared list of questions during the interview if the conversation warrants a detour.
Grades 9-10:
Prior to conducting this activity, provide students with tape recorders or digital recording devices. Check to make sure that all students understand how to use the recorders and are comfortable with the interviewing process. Then instruct students to identify who they plan to interview. Based on what they already know about this person, challenge students to create a list of questions that will encourage the subject to give detailed answers about his or her 9/11 experience. Challenge students to guide the conversation so it results in a unique oral history about the events that unfolded on that day.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Teaching 9/11
This site from the National September 11 Memorial Museum, courtesy of the Smithsonian’s History Explorer, provides links to most of the educational materials from the museum. It focuses on how people chose to respond to 9/11 through art and film and contains discussion guidelines and lesson plans on conducting an oral history and learning from objects and memorials.

Our Story: September 11, 2001
While many young children have heard references to “9/11” or “September 11,” they may not have accurate answers to all of their questions about the events of September 11, 2001. The goal of these lessons from the National Museum of American History is to provide a starting point to help families and classrooms discuss the shocking events of September 11 and how communities respond in times of trouble.

9/11: Stories in Fragments
How do you grasp an event as enormous as September 11? In these videos from the Smithsonian Channel, witnesses, survivors, rescue workers and Smithsonian museum curators reveal their stories. They remind us that the legacy of 9/11 is not fear—it’s friendship, courage and ordinary people pushed by extraordinary circumstances.

September 11: Bearing Witness to History
This online exhibition commemorates the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Students can view selected objects, photographs, personal stories and video. They can also search over 100 objects related to the event from the National Museum of American History’s collections, listen to oral histories of curators and link to The September 11 Digital Archive to read unedited first-person accounts of the events.

9/11: Day That Changed the World
More than a decade later, the events of September 11, 2001 still resonate—especially for people who were in critical leadership positions on that fateful day. Watch these Smithsonian Channel videos to hear intimate accounts from leaders who found themselves at the center of the action.

What 9/11 Wrought
In this Smithsonian article, the former editor of the New York Times considers the effects of the terrorist attacks on the 10th anniversary of the fateful day.
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