Although today marks the tenth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, the attacks on our country are not something that are thought about for only one day during the year.
Teachers across all grade levels throughout the Plymouth Public Schools make an effort to help students recognize the events and honor the heroes of Sept. 11, not only on the school day closest to the actual event, but for weeks and months surrounding the infamous date.
For the oldest kids still in the Plymouth Public Schools, 9/11 marks an event that they can remember. For the youngest, it’s something they only know as history.
Kathleen Babini, coordinator of social studies for the Plymouth Public Schools, recognizes the challenges of teaching an event like this to students representing such a range of ages. In order to make sure the students appropriately observe the day, without the younger kids feeling too scared by the events, there has been a focus at the elementary level on community helpers, including planning events that honor first responders. included recognition of local
firefighters at their opening assembly, and honored EMTs and emergency staff at the Jennifer Kane Peace Garden (named after a Plymouth native who lost her life at the World Trade Center attacks). Babini will be leading lessons next week with first graders at Manomet and West around school helpers and community helpers; students will write or draw thank you cards to firefighters.
Laura Dolloff, principal of , said that since most elementary children hadn’t been born at the time of the attacks, for them this is a historic event. “We are treating it as a day to honor ‘first responders’ who help us in any kind of emergency.”
In addition, they are in process of creating a “Hall of Heroes.”
Amy Ready is a second grade teacher at Cold Spring Elementary, and discussed her efforts to recognize the day with her class.
“For Sept. 11 we are discussing the role of firefighters and police in our community. This is also part of the social studies curriculum for
2nd grade,” she said.
In particular, second graders colored and cut pictures of firefighters, police officers, ambulances, fire trucks and police cars for the Hall of Heroes.
“As a class, we discussed how community members help others," she said.
Given that high schools students have a better understanding of the events that took place ten years ago, more specific discussion takes place.
David Clark, social studies teacher and department chair at , teaches an international relations class, among others. He talked about how he has taught his students about the events of
Sept. 11 in the past, and how he approached it this year.
“In past years I would typically talk about the event to the students, asking them if they remember where they were, what they were doing and how old they were when it happened. It was such a local event for us here in that planes left from Boston and many students had stories of someone they knew either directly or indirectly that was affected by it.
“This year I had the same conversation and still received some of the same input from students even though they were only in first grade at the time.”
Clark continued and pointed out that "it is extremely important to make the students understand how much the U.S. and the world has changed since 9/11. Therefore in our conversations I make sure to include the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the new security measures taken at public places and events.”
Throughout these efforts, the teachers of Plymouth are helping to make sure that all of their students understand the significance of today, on a national level, community level, and personal level. Thanks to them, new generations will never forget.