Another busy week, as we completed week 2 of the 2011 -2012 school year. It was a week packed with authentic and committed learning by teachers and students alike. I am specifically referring to the incredible work done by teachers and students this week at Annie Sullivan Middle School as they learned together about 9.11. In early August I sent out an email to staff asking for a committee of teachers to develop lessons for 9.11 and to plan a special ceremony. We had noted at a staff meeting at the end of last school year that it would be important to plan a special ceremony to hallmark the tenth anniversary of 9.11. All of a sudden it was August 2011 and the next school year was about to begin. Within minutes of sending out the email, four teachers volunteered to plan the ceremony and develop pre lessons that would connect and lead up to the ceremony and also some post lessons that would follow up on what they just learned about and experienced.
These talented educators very quickly developed a unit that was engaging, enlightening and sensitive. It was multifaceted and encouraged intergenerational conversations. The first lesson involved students interviewing families and friends: asking them to share their stories and recollections of that tragic day ten years ago. Another lesson involved learning about the history behind the flag that was raised during the ceremony. (The father of one of our teachers donated his Aunt’s flag from her funeral as she served in WWII, as a nurse.) We will now fly this flag on special days such as Veteran’s Day, Pearl Harbor Day, and Memorial Day.) The lessons involved teacher and students sharing their individual stories and as one teacher remarked throughout the week, “Everyone has a story to tell” One example of a moving story is about a father of one of our eighth graders who was tasked with returning victims’ car keys to family members.
This was powerful stuff this last week and you could tell by students comments and thier actions that learning about 9.11 really resonated with our 11- 14 year olds. Watching them silently file out of the building on Thursday to remember those who perished ten years ago and to honor those who served was truly moving. As I looked out at the sea of red, white, and blue I could not have been any prouder to be part of such a special and caring community.
Thank you Annie Sullivan for another remarkable week of learning!
Read more about our ceremony at http://tiny.cc/tymde