8th Grade History Students Study 9/11, National Unity, and Societal Bias
While the events of September 11 are ingrained in the memories of those who lived through this changing moment in history, our own students in JK-8, all of whom were all born after September 11, now learn about this time period in their study of U.S. history. At Hillbrook, students are also reflecting upon how the events of September 11 transformed our laws and society.
8th grade history students front-loaded their conversation about September 11 by referring to primary source documents including the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the PATRIOT Act, and the Use of Force Resolution. They supplemented this research with reading a piece of historical fiction, Hum, a short story by Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Her story captures the experience of a Palestinian boy leading up to and following the events of September 11. The story also follows this protagonist's journey befriending an blind man named Hugh, facing, and overcoming issues of prejudice and racism as a young Palestinian boy living in the US.
Well-immersed and positioned to dive further into the historical, social, and political climate, students practiced their media literacy skills as they screened a collection of news and media clips chronicling the events of 9/11. They practiced close looking and active listening for narratives that present instances of bias or "spin" techniques. This allowed learners to more deeply connect with both the sense of deep unity and division that unfolded in the days, weeks, and months following 9/11 and, further, to identify biases that still exist today. They then shifted their lens and interpreted a collection of photographs tied to September 11, using their cumulative learning to inform the weight of the messages that they carry about America then and America of today.
Click through the photo slideshow to read samples of students' learning and discovery!