So I typed up this really articulate post and halfway through my computer chose to restart on me, so I'll try to get my point across breifly. One of the ELA teachers I co-teach with does a lesson every year on 9/11. The students are typically super engaged because most of our 6th graders this year were only born in 2001, so they either were babies at the time or not even born yet. I personally feel that 6th grade is a good age to start talking about 9/11. It did have a major historical impact on our country and by that age most of our kids are super interested in history. Our students come from a small, rural, area in NC, so they can't even fathom what it must have been like. Myself on the other hand was raised in NY and was a senior in high school on Long Island at the time of the attacks. I have pretty vivid memories of what it was like knowing that this was going on so close to us and having friends who had friends or family members who lived and worked in the city. Let's just say it struck a little to close to home, both literally and figuratively. Anyway this teacher, who I think is excellent and I admire how he manages to tie in a lot of history to what we do in class, shows a pretty graphic youtube video depicting the events of the day. He does preface it with a warning that it does show some graphic images and it is a very mature video. Some of the scenes in it show pictures of people freefalling out the windows of the upper levels of the towers and a cell phone conversation between one of the victims in the building and a local news station just as the second plane makes impact presumably wherever this man was located. It's really hard for me to watch without getting emotional, so I can just imagine how a 6th grader would react to it. I can't help but question the age appropriateness. He also ties it into a lesson about examining both sides of an issue, asking questions, analyzing evidence, and coming up with your own personal conclusion. I love the higher level thinking skills he is trying to teach, but I really don't feel like 9/11 is the proper platform to do this with. After showing the 9/11 that most of us remember, he shows them some other clips that indicate that 9/11 may have been a conspiracy. He shows clips from the documentary Loose Change, explains how the structure of the building was designed so that it shouldn't have collapsed the way it did, and shows a "Live" BBC news clip of a newscaster reporting that the second tower collapsed yet you can clearly see that it is still intact behind her. He doesn't seem to give his opinion and encourages the students to just question the things that don't make sense. Maybe I'm just biased being that I'm actually from NY and it happened so close to me, but I think it is incredibly innappropriate to be looking for conspiracy theories in the face of such an awful tragedy. Especially to give this information to impressionable 6th graders who I feel just aren't mature enough to truly understand the complexities of these theories. I kind of feel like they are getting the message that there was something fishy abput 9/11 instead of honoring those who died and the heros of that day. I think that questioning things that don't seem right is an important skill, but 9/11 is too touchy of a subject to get into that. I'm not a parent, but if I was and my kid came home from school saying, "Mr. so and so showed us videos saying we caused 9/11," I'd be pretty upset, again with it being so close to me. Am I just being overly sensitive? Or is this innappropriate? And how do I handle this as a co-teacher when I disagree?