As the editorial director of Scholastic News, I take to heart Scholastic magazines’ longstanding mission—to create articles and activities that help students make sense of an ever-changing world. For 100 years, our magazines have been there with teachers at key moments, and every moment in between. Sometimes they are tough—sensitive, nuanced and heartbreaking. But these moments are part of our history, and together, we have found ways to foster thoughtful discussions about them with students.
As September 11 approaches, I am hearing from many teachers that they are looking for meaningful ways to mark the anniversary of this tragic event in their classrooms, and help a generation of students understand an event that, to them, may seem like distant history. With all that’s happening in our country, it’s not enough to simply teach about what happened on that shattering day. September 11 can be a powerful opportunity to look more deeply at its lasting impacts.
To support you, I have curated a collection of personal stories and firsthand experiences, told through kids’ voices. These articles embody the themes of empathy and empowerment and provide your students with a relatable entry point into an event that has profoundly shaped the world they are growing up in.
- Read this Scholastic News 9/11 article about a 10-year-old boy who started a fundraising group to honor first responders.
- Your students will learn how he was inspired by a firefighter who sacrificed his life on 9/11 and how the boy now dedicates every mile he runs to a different first responder who died in the line of duty. His story illustrates how a child can be empowered by the stories and actions of others.
- Build background knowledge about September 11 with the age-appropriate video that accompanies this article.
- In this article from Scope magazine, hear one girl’s incredible story of survival and healing after September 11. Your students will learn about her experiences that day, her struggles following the attacks and how she was inspired to become a journalist and report on people who make positive changes to the world.
- Read a powerful personal essay about growing up Muslim in post-9/11 America.
- Watch Scope editorial director Kristin Lewis explain how she researched and wrote her article “From Terror to Hope” and share some of her memories of September 11.
I hope these resources inspire you and your young readers to reflect on the meaning of heroism and sacrifice, and how we, as individuals and as part of diverse communities, can cultivate hope and understanding from tragedy. To learn more about how your peers are approaching 9/11 in their classrooms, we encourage you to join our online Facebook teaching community.
Audra Wallace is the editorial director for Scholastic News 3-6. She is also the author of several nonfiction children’s books and a former New York City elementary school teacher.