I know this post is coming after the fact, but I just wanted to share two books that I used on September 11th.
The first book is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.
Here is the description from Amazon: In 1974, French aerialist Philippe Petit threw a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center and spent an hour walking, dancing, and performing high-wire tricks a quarter mile in the sky. This picture book captures the poetry and magic of the event with a poetry of its own: lyrical words and lovely paintings that present the detail, daring, and--in two dramatic foldout spreads-- the vertiginous drama of Petit's feat.
This book is based on a true story, which automatically captures the class's attention!
I used this book on September 11th and I had my students do sticky notes to go along with the book. They like to make a lot of predictions and they always have a lot of WOW moments!! It's a very fun book for them and for me!!
Now, when we were reading this book and doing sticky notes, I noticed a lot of students were predicting that Phillipe would be walking on the tight rope between the towers and then the planes would come and hit the towers. They really weren't understanding that this happened a long time ago, even with picture clues AND with what the text was SAYING. This was a little concerning.
So, I decided to get this book:
So, I decided to get this book:
I definitely had the feeling that my students did not know a lot about the events of September 11, 2001. So, I thought pairing this with nonfiction may help with some misconceptions.
Now, I will say this.
I was in my second year of teaching in Tennessee on September 11, 2001. I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when a teacher pulled me from my classroom to tell me what was going on. It is all very vivid for me. There are a lot of emotions within me on September 11th every year. And I wasn't even right there, in New York.
So, when this book came in the mail, it took me a day or so to read it. And then I did.
I was struck by how very matter of fact it was. It is very well written. Yet, it was very nonfiction, if that makes sense? Just the facts.
I found myself getting emotional. But, I was emotional because I was alive when this happened and I could remember all of those feelings and fears associated with that day. Looking at the pictures and remembering all of that, had me viewing the book in a different way.
It had me thinking about all of the other nonfiction books I have read about historical events. We teach about the Revolutionary War and I started thinking, wow, I sit and read these nonfiction books without being very affected. I don't get very emotional when I read other nonfiction books about historical events because it is about events that occurred long before my time.
Yet, I read this nonfiction book and it evoked a lot of strong emotions in me.
It was important for me to relay that to my students. Even though I was sharing the facts with them, it goes a lot deeper than just the facts. I knew they couldn't connect to it because they weren't even alive yet.
I wrote a narrative that I shared with them about how I felt that day. September 11, 2001. I worked really hard to be very vivid in my writing and to really get across how I felt and how this tragedy affected me. And I wasn't even there, right where it happened, so I shared how my experience was different from everyone else's but that it was very real to me and I wanted to make it real for them. (I was also trying to model vivid writing.) I wanted them to see my perspective.
We talked about the difference in my writing about the event and the nonfiction book we read.
It was a way to connect it to them so that when we start talking about the American Revolution, they will hopefully understand why we learn about these historical figures and why it's important to look at primary sources and see how George Washington was feeling why he felt that way (for example). He was there. It was important to him and affected him in ways we may not even know. But we can dig deeper and see if we can make some inferences about it. Because it's important to our country to understand. Just like September 11, 2001 will forever be in our hearts.
So, this is what I did for September 11th (over a few days). I just feel like it's so important to remember and share this with students. My students already had misconceptions or just didn't even know what had happened. I wanted them to know and to try to understand. And, honestly, it helped to have the nonfiction book there so that I could answer questions without only giving my opinion. When needed, I could just give the facts about the who and the why. Especially because I still don't even understand the why.
I hope this was helpful and that you will take a look at these two books. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is always a favorite!
PS- September has 5 Sundays. We were thinking next week you could link up any books for fall, Halloween, or October so we can all get some great ideas to use in the upcoming month! :O)
Please Link Up!
Next week's linky- Books for Fall, Halloween, or October