Oral Histories and Everyday Heros

Scholars learn about September 11th, the day the World Trade Center was attacked, with the help of primary sources. As pupils listen to a first-hand account from survivor, Tom Canavan, they pinpoint character traits that make him a hero and place themselves in his shoes to gain insight into how they might feel, or what they might do if they were there. 

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Post discussion questions on a classroom blog
  • Give learners a link so they can listen to oral histories at home then come to class prepared to discuss what they heard 
  • Invite a a community helper to speak to the class about their experience on 9/11
Classroom Considerations

  • The link to hear Tom Canavan's oral history no longer works; however, you can search the same site for his, plus additional oral histories, that can be included in the lesson
  • Preview oral histories to confirm their appropriateness for your class members 
  • Inform families of the lesson's topic to prepare them for possible questions at home 

  • Background information about 9/11 is provided for both upper and lower elementary learners
  • The lesson encourages reflection and empathy 

  • None