City Principals Get New Curriculum for Teaching 9/11

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Many students drew pictures of themselves or major events in their lifetime. Here, one student draws their interpretation of September 11. (Katherine McGee/WNYC)

Just in time for the tenth anniversary, the city's public schools will now have a new curriculum for teaching about the 9/11 attacks.

In a letter to principals Thursday, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said that with the opening of school next Thursday, it's important to "engage students in a meaningful discussion." He noted that while some students may feel deep emotions about the attacks if they lost a close family member, many students "will have little or no recollection of the event itself."

The city's new lesson plans for grades K-12 result from a partnership with the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

The lesson plans are divided into four main themes: Historical Impact, Community & Conflict, Heroes & Service, and Memory & Memorialization.

Second graders, for example, could discuss whether rescue animals are heroes, while ninth graders may look at Afghan literature.

The city has also prepared a basic history of the World Trade Center, and will continue to offer counseling services.

A Department of Education spokesman said the city schools have been offered different curricula about 9/11 on teacher resource pages, including one developed by Queens College. But he said this was the first one created by the central school system, and with broader instructional goals in mind.



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