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Share Your Experiences: Teaching about September 11 with Library of Congress Materials

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As the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks draws near, we’d like to hear from any educator who has used the Library’s materials to teach about this topic.

“My Country Tis of Thee.” By Brittany Wood, 2001.

The Library’s September 11, 2001 Documentary Project collects the responses of Americans and others in the months following the attacks, and includes audio recordings, videos, photos, drawings, and written accounts.

To help teachers use these materials in the classroom, the Library developed a Collection Connection for the September 11, 2001 Documentary Project, with further background information and teaching ideas.

If you’ve used any of these materials in your classroom, please let us know in the comments. We’d welcome any stories you can share or advice you’d like to offer.

Comments (4)

  1. I create a 9/11 Museum of different sources found in the LOC’s collection while playing Allen Jackson’s song Where Were You (When The World Stop Turning) plays. The students observe and reflect upon each source. Then we listen to a recording found on LOC’s audio account of a young girls responds to the event from North Carolina, since her family is of a Asian decent. I then have them think about the impact this event had on different people of the time. How did 9/11 effect the nation, the people and how does it impact people today?
    Kids have said that they felt a better understanding of why their parents have such a strong feeling about this time. Others want to learn more.

  2. We offered at Teaching with Primary Sources (University of Northern Colorado) workshop for teachers this past April to showcase this collection and help teachers generate ideas for the upcoming 10th anniversary. The morning focused on children’s art and meaning with a guest facilitator from our faculty of art education, and an insightful phone conversation with the teacher in Knoxville whose children created the art featured in this American Memory collection. Our afternoon sessions focused on poetry in historical context, oral histories – what they reveal and what shapes them, sharing personal memories and generating ideas for student projects. Unfortunately, the educators’ opportunity to explore the collection was lost due to the Library of Congress website being down the entire weekend.

  3. I used the Library of Congress in a good number of lessons I wrote in New Jersey’s new ‘Learning From the Challenges of Our Time – Global Security, Terrorism and 9/11’ curriculum. The Library was invaluable to me, offering photos, primary sources, quotes from our national leaders– I can’t say how much I appreciate it!

    An example: I used the pdf of the 9/11 Commission Report recommendations as a basis for a lesson I did. It has students read about briefly about 9/11. Then, they focus on what the commission suggested be done to increase our preparedness. We do a compare contrast with what was suggested vs. what has actually been implemented as of 2010.
    This lesson is also part of the 911 Day of Service lesson plans as well.

  4. I have been so fortunate! I traveled to the Library of Congress with the Cotsen Foundation a few years ago. We learned so much from the docents and advisers there. My students all love actually SEEING the primary sources and their energy level and interest skyrockets. Never before have I had more students independently researching, wanting to learn more, about a certain person or time period.
    In California, where I teach 4th and now 5th grade, we spent the last two weeks working at the Huntington Library finding additional primary sources. I love the fact that we can pass on our love of history to a student body who, because of “test readiness” and “drill and kill”, don’t usually have the opportunity to learn about history with a constructivist lens. Now, my classroom lives and learns through history while practicing their reading and writing skills (instead of the other way around).

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