Another 9/11 thread... What do you think?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Mellz Bellz, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2012

    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?
     
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  3. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 10, 2012

    I agree with you completely. There is no credible evidence to suggest the validity of most of the 9/11 related conspiracy theories that are out there, so I don't think it's appropriate to present them in the classroom as possibilities - especially to 11 year olds. It would be one thing if this was a college course, but I can see my son (who's only slightly younger) buying into things like this. Many 6th graders still believe in Santa Claus, after all. I'm also from NY, and having grown up within sight of the towers, and watched the events of that day out of my window, I am quite sensitive about it as well.

    I'm bad at confrontation, though, so I would just suggest a calm conversation and see how far that gets you. Good luck.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I agree that 6th grade is way too young to get into conspiracies. Maybe someday it can be used to teach how to evaluate sources and information but I think it's too soon.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I still cannot watch any of the documentaries. The memories are too raw.

    Last year, or the year before, I caught some of the names being read from Ground Zero. Thankfully, I missed seeing one of our kids read his dad's name. I was still an emotional mess all day long.

    I choose not to click on your link, but I can imagine.

    As the mom of a pretty sensitive 12 year old: learning what happened that day is important, and I agree that middle school is a good age to learn it. But sending my daughter home with nightmares from the images she's seen accomplishes nothing. Her teacher would be well aware of my displeasure the very first time she had a nightmare, and every single time afterwards. As would his principal.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2012

    Your colleague is an idiot. The lesson is inappropriate. His 'other sides of the argument' are not fact based. I can't imagine why parents aren't storming the gates on this one.:2cents:
     
  7. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Sep 10, 2012

    People who give any kind of credibility to the conspiracy theories are idiots. I mean, I know Bush was terrible, but come on. :rolleyes:

    I agree with cza. If that was my kids teacher, I'd be beyond ticked off.
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    I would not show 9/11 conspiracy videos to any age group. This idiocy is beyond belief.

    Next, showing the horrific videos to 6th graders should be the purview of the parents.
     
  9. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2012

    I know it sounds passive agressive, but I may arrange to spend some extra time with some students in my other inclusion cluster tomorrow, so I don't have to be around it.

    In other 9/11 news I'm scouring the internet looking for some kind of age appropriate article I can read with my pull out groups tomorrow explaining the event. I'm having a super difficult time believe it or not.
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 10, 2012

    I agree with needing to leave out the other side of the issue / conspiracy theory, etc. I am a fan of critical thinking, questions and being open minded, but this is not the topic to do it with, and definitely not in school.
     
  11. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Feeding conspiracy theories equates to reducing the lives of those lost to nothing. If this were me, I'd speak to my principal about it. I certainly wouldn't be present while this was going on.

    And if my child were in this room...lord, help him.
     
  12. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Conspiracy theories are a bit odd to touch on in 6th grade. I could understand possibly broaching the subject in a high school settings (as a quick critical thinking exercise), but making sure the students know that the conspiracy theories are just that - conspiracies made up by people with mental illnesses who have nothing better to do with their lives.

    Learning about 9/11 should start in 6th grade, that is a good time to start.

    A good site for 9/11 footage is The archive.org September 11th Television Archive
     
  13. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Sep 11, 2012

    This is a good lesson for high school history, not middle school.
     
  14. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Sep 11, 2012

    Considering I live 20 minutes outside of NYC in a commuter community with many public servants parents here would be up in arms if that lesson was even taught in the high school. I honestly think if he really wants to teach that it would be best saved for college students who are better able to form their own opinions based on the information in front of them without the influence of others. High schoolers are still too impressionable imo for a lesson like this.
     
  15. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2012

    If you want to teach conspiracy theory, there are plenty of examples in American history that aren't so raw.

    While I don't buy it, you could do the JFK assassination theory. Or google "conspiracy theories in US history" and take your pick. But it's insensitive at best to play theoretical games so close to the time when so many died.

    If he wants to argue conspiracy theories with his friends, that's certainly his perogative. But right now he's charged with the education of children.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2012

    Today, before each class period's prayer, I spoke for a few minutes about those who survived 9/11-- about the incredible guilt so many feel about getting out while their friends and coworkers perished, about the physical exhaustion they felt after running down 30 or 40 flights of stairs, about being kept up all night on the 11th with phone calls from concerned family and friends. And about all the "Missing" posters that plastered NYC in the aftermath.

    Then we said a prayer, and began Geometry class.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 11, 2012

    Amen, Alice.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 11, 2012

    I am one of those people who is really into conspiracy theories. I even sometimes believe some of them (gasp!). I don't think I am an idiot, but I can see how others might view me that way.

    Even so, I think that there's a time and place for conspiracy theory talk. At school with students of any age is probably neither the time nor the place. I don't think a lesson like the one described is appropriate in any school setting. Even as a self-described conspiracy buff, I would find it offensive.
     
  19. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Sep 11, 2012

    Probably a conspiracy theorist with a platform.
     
  20. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Sep 11, 2012

    He really is into all of that. Thankfully I had some business to conduct with the EC kids on our other team who did not discuss 9/11 at all.

    With my pull out groups today though I did use an article about 9/11 to model how to respond to non-fiction text while reading, but it was age appropriate. I pulled it off Scholastic News.
     
  21. KLSSwimmer

    KLSSwimmer Habitué

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    Sep 11, 2012

    I think as teachers we are really in an interesting spot on how to teach 9/11. My kindergarten students were not even alive, and for them, it is just something that happened in the history books. It humbles me what an important job we have as educators to make sure students are educated about everything being an American entails.
     

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