September 11th can be a challenging topic for educators. For younger students who weren't born or were very young in 2001, it's history. For older students and teachers, it's a vivid memory that may feel like a current event. Finding a way to make the day meaningful across the generations requires finesse and planning.
The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance was established by Congress in 2009 to honor the memory of those who were lost and those who united in response to the tragedy. This year Americans will pay tribute to the 9/11 victims and heroes by joining together in service to meet community needs.
The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and MyGoodDeed, which annually organizes the 9/11 “I Will” campaign.
CNCS and MyGoodDeed also collaborated with Scholastic to provide resources for families and teachers to help them guide activities and discussions on 9/11. These, along with other free resources, can be used to revisit the events of that day, provide tools for commemoration and reflection, or help adults lead children and students in discussion and service in the days surrounding September 11th.
We've included links to additional information and some of our favorite tools and websites below.
- Scholastic and MyGoodDeed toolkit with links to teacher and parent resources
- National September 11 Memorial & Museum interactive 9/11 timeline (Some content related to the attacks could be disturbing, so you may want to review it before sharing.)
- Youth Service America's 10 Lessons for Engaging Youth on 9/11 through service and service-learning
- Guide for talking to children about 9/11 from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
- The Smithsonian National Museum of American History September 11 Bearing Witness to History page. (An online dialogue about 9/11 and its aftermath on its 10th anniversary.)
Additional 9/11 resources for educators can be found at the links below:
As this year's observance of the September 11th nears, we can continue this new tradition that honors and celebrates the service of 9/11's heroes, as well as the ones who continue to protect us every day. And we can continue the healing process by bringing understanding to children searching for answers about the day and why it should inspire them to serve their communities.