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September 11, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video & Transcript Of President Obama’s 9/11 Memorial Speech & How I Will Use It In Class


Among the many remembrances of 9/11 today, President Obama spoke at a memorial at the Pentagon.

The transcript of speech can be found here, and I’ve embedded him speaking at the bottom of this post.

I plan on have students first read this portion of the speech:

Groups like al Qaeda, like ISIL, know that…they will never be able to defeat a nation as great and as strong as America. So, instead, they’ve tried to terrorize in the hopes that they can stoke enough fear that we turn on each other and that we change who we are or how we live. And that’s why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation — a people drawn from every corner of the world, every color, every religion, every background — bound by a creed as old as our founding, e pluribus unum. Out of many, we are one. For we know that our diversity — our patchwork heritage — is not a weakness; it is still, and always will be, one of our greatest strengths. This is the America that was attacked that September morning. This is the America that we must remain true to.

Across our country today, Americans are coming together in service and remembrance. We run our fingers over the names in memorial benches here at the Pentagon. We walk the hallowed grounds of a Pennsylvania field. We look up at a gleaming tower that pierces the New York City skyline. But in the end, the most enduring memorial to those we lost is ensuring the America that we continue to be — that we stay true to ourselves, that we stay true to what’s best in us, that we do not let others divide us.

They then would respond to this prompt:

What does President Obama think is the best way to honor those who died on 9/11? To what extent do you agree with what he is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

Feel free to leave suggestions on how I can make this a better learning activity.

I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Writing Instruction and to The Best Sites To Help Teach About 9/11.

September 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Resources On Different Types Of Map Projections


I’m teaching Geography again to English Language Learners, and though I’d pull together some accessible resources on the different kinds of map projections.

You might also be interested in The Best Online Tools For Comparing The Physical Sizes Of Different Countries.

Here are my picks – contribute your own in the comments section:

Your World Map is Hiding Something is a very useful interactive from Metrocosm which allows you – with a click of a button – to compare different kids of popular (and not-so-popular) world map projections.

Here’s a lesson plan from National Geographic.

This is a great video for Geography classes, BUT I wish the narrator didn’t talk so fast!

September 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Several Useful 9/11 Teaching Resources

World Trade Center

 Ralph Hockens via Compfight

My The Best Sites To Help Teach About 9/11 is huge, and earlier today I posted This Is The Revised & Updated Three-Day 9/11 Lesson I Did This Week (With Hand-Outs & Links).

There have also been a ton of useful resources about 9/11 that have been shared over the past couple of days, and here are the ones I’m adding to my “Best” list (which I just completely revised and updated):

15 Years After 9/11 Attacks, Classroom Approaches to Topic Take Many Forms is from Ed Week.

Teaching The Attacks of Sept. 11 To Students Who Didn’t Live Through Them is from NPR.

Help Students Get Perspective on 9/11 is from Teaching Tolerance.

Once united, now divided: 15 years after Sept. 11 is from The Associated Press.

Remembering September 11, 2001 is from StoryCorps.

September 10, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
1 Comment

This Is The Revised & Updated Three-Day 9/11 Lesson I Did This Week (With Hand-Outs & Links)

New York NY ~ Manhattan ~ NYC ~ Old World Trade Center ~ My Photography 1996 ~ Destroyed                                                                             Onasill ~ Bill Badzo via Compfight

I’ve previously shared the three-day lesson I usually do with my English Language Learner History classes, and this past week did it again. I made some changes, however, and thought readers might find it useful for me lay-out exactly what I did (and if readers don’t find it useful it will at least be helpful to me next year when I do it again!).

You might also be interested in The Best Sites To Help Teach About 9/11.


First, I had students create a K-W-L chart titled 9/11 and had them write what they thought they knew about it. Students then broke into groups of three to share and add anything they might have heard from their group members. Most knew very little, if anything – “people died,” “terrorists attacked America,” “bin Laden did it” were the comments from the few who had heard anything about it prior to Wednesday. I had people share to the entire class and added to a class K-W-L chart on the document camera.

Next, I asked students to write down at least two questions to which they wanted to learn the answers about 9/11. We repeated the sharing process and added to the class K-W-L chart.

I then told the class we were going to watch a few videos and I wanted them to write at least ten new pieces of information they learned from them – particularly the answers to the questions they listed. I showed these videos, stopping often to highlight pieces of information for them to add to their chart:

Brainpop 9/11 Movie (It’s available for free)

10 Iconic 9/11 Images

First Plane Crashing Into The World Trade Center

Second Plane Crashing

Interest and engagement steadily increased during the class, with lots of questions and comments.

I then shared a short video, along with images, from the New York Times about the 9/11 Museum.

I then gave students homework which was a list of questions they had to ask their parents/guardians. I’ve uploaded it here if you want use it or make changes, and will also share it in this post:

Please ask your parents or grandparents these two questions:

1. What do you remember about the terrorist attack in New York City ten years ago on September 11th?

2. What major acts of political and/or criminal violence do you remember in your native country? Please describe what happened.

How did it affect you and your family? How did it make you and them feel?

How did it affect our native country?

Lastly, I asked students to think for a moment how they think 9/11 might have affected their life in any way, had them share with a partner, and then with the class.  All the Muslim students (Afghani refugees) said basically the same two things – “Now people think all of us Muslims are terrorists” and “We probably wouldn’t be here in the United States” – and all the non-Muslim students couldn’t think of anyway it affected them.  We had a brief discussion of how the attack disrupted potential immigration reform.  This last part went okay, but was clearly the weakest part of the lesson.  I need to think more about it, and am open to hearing suggestions — about this and all part of the whole thing!


I asked students to take out their K-W-L charts and reminded them about the last video we had seen — about the 9/11 museum.  I explained we were going to watch another video about it, and asked that they add new information they learned to their chart.

I showed this short ABC News video about the opening of the museum.

I then asked them to think about this question without saying anything:

Why do you think they have a museum there?

After a minute, I asked students to share their answer with a partner and we then shared in the class.  There were several responses, including “To remember them.”

I then passed out this “Remembering People Who Died” chart.  You can download it at the link, and here are the questions:

Think of important people who have died — in your family, in your home country.

Who are they?

1. _________________________________________________________________

2. __________________________________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________________________________

How do you remember them?

When do you remember them?

Why do you remember them?

Why do you think we try to remember the people who died on 9/11?

I modeled the “Who are they?” section and listed my father, first wife and Muhammed Ali, and encouraged students to pick people who they are close to and people who might be more well-known.

Then, I modeled a response to “How do you remember them?” (think about them, look at pictures), and then students wrote down their answers.

Next, I modeled a response to “When do you remember them?” (family events), and then students wrote their own.

Then, I had students write answers to “Why do you remember them?” without modeling an answer, and did the same with the last question, “Why do you think we try to remember the people who died on 9/11?”

Students then shared in groups of four, and I called on different ones to share with the class.  There were several many moving responses, though the answers to the last question were all fairly vague – “They were important” or “We want to honor them.” I shared my response, which was two-fold: One, to honor people who help others – all those firefighters and police who sacrificed their lives to save people.  Before I gave my second response, I asked one of the Afghani students to share her comment from the day before about how 9/11 affected her  and she shared that people think all Muslims are terrorists.  I then said another important reason to remember 9/11 was because there were only nineteen Muslim terrorists and asked students how many Muslims they thought were in the world.  They answers millions, and we talked about how nineteen is a small number compared to that large number.

I then had students take out their homework and we did a “speed-dating” sharing with students lined up across from each other recounting the responses they received from their parents.

We were then running out of time, so I showed a couple of other short videos about 9/11: from Fox News and from The Telegraph.

Third Day

Students converted the answers they received from their parents and their K-W-L chart into a Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting 9/11 with violent events in their own country (I used print-outs from Read Write Think – Venn Diagram and Compare/Contrast Planning, along with this model Compare/Contrast essay.

Please leave comments with suggestions on how I can make this a better lesson next year!

September 8, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Two Good Links About The World’s Different Cultures

I’m adding these two resources to my massive The Best Sites For Learning About The World’s Different Cultures:

A look at children around the world starting school after their summer break is a photo gallery from The Boston Globe.

Check out this infographic and let me know if it’s accurate:

10 Countries And Their Work Etiquette #InfographicYou can also find more infographics at Visualistan

September 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

Here’s The 9/11 Lesson I Do With My ELL History Classes – Can You Help Me Make It Better?


Every year for the past few years I’ve done a fairly consistent lesson on 9/11 with my English Language Learner history students.

You can read about it here:

This Is My Simple Three-Day Lesson On 9/11 — Can You Help Me Make It Better?

Here Are The Sites I Used In My 9/11 Lesson Today

I’ve received helpful comments in the past about how to make it better, and I thought I’d put it out there again. I began it today, but there’s plenty of time to make changes over the next two days.

You might also be interested in The Best Sites To Help Teach About 9/11.

September 7, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Resources On Race & Racism


Here are new additions to A Collection Of Useful Posts, Articles & Videos On Race & Racism – Help Me Find More:

A C-SPAN caller asked a black guest how to stop being prejudiced. Here’s how she responded. is from The Washington Post.

Repeated experiences of racism most damaging to mental health is from Science Daily.

Reducing racial bias possible in older children, finds study is from Science Daily.

Black Teachers Matter is from Mother Jones.

The many ways teacher diversity may benefit students is from Brookings.

Report: Teacher Diversity Gap Will Not Close Without Significant Interventions is from Ed Week.

The nation’s teacher force lacks diversity, and it might not get much better is from The Washington Post.

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