Remembering 9/11 for Primary Students

11 September 2011

Today is a day that no one will forget.  Being from NY, I knew many people who died in the Twin Towers.  

Ten years ago today, I was a substitute teacher at my current school in Lindenhurst, NY.  After the attack happened, I ran around covering classes so that teachers could call and check on their loved ones, many of which worked in New York City.  I then helped out in the office as streams of parents came in to pick-up their children.  

When I arrived home to my parents, my mother told me that our neighbor Joe Angelini, a firefighter was in the towers and his wife, Donna,  had not heard from him.  Joe's father Joe Sr. was also a firefighter in the same fire house, he was missing, too.  

My mother and I went over to see if we could help in anyway.  I had watched their three children, who at the time were ages three, five, and seven.  Donna said she was okay and that everything would be fine.  She had not told the children anything, but they were starting to suspect that something was wrong.  A day passed and still no news.  Again we offered help, Donna told my mom the one thing she would love for her to do would be to make a huge welcome home cake for Joe when he came back.  My mother was known for her cake decorating and often helped Donna decorate the cakes for the kids' birthdays.  Donna was positive he was coming home.  A few more days passed and the likelihood of survivors was slim.  The kids began to ask questions, that no one could not answer.  Little Joseph who was three would go up to any officer or fireman he saw and ask if they had found his daddy yet.  When I babysat for the children one evening, he cried and cried for his father.  It was heartbreaking that I could not give him the usual "He'll be home soon."   The surviving firefighters from the firehouse were wonderful and helped Donna anyway they could.  In the beginning there was always someone there at the house to offer support or lend a hand.  Weeks passed, still no body was found.  Our town banded together and held a memorial service and a funeral was arranged.  A few months after that, partial remains were found and another funeral was planned.  Then our town renamed a street, Angelini Blvd after Joe and his father Joe Sr.  I know it was hard for the the family to be in the spotlight and to relive the tragedy again and again.  My heart still goes out to them and all the families affected by 9/11.  To read an article remembering Joseph Angelini Jr., click {here}.

Our school remembered 9/11 on Friday.  I thought I would share some resources to help you remember 9/11 with your classroom.  As I am sure you have found as well, it is very difficult to find age appropriate activities to do with primary students.  On Friday, my school wore red, white, and blue, our principal made a wonderful age appropriate announcement over the loud speaker, and we had a moment of silence.  I read books from Deanna Jump's America packet.  I asked if any of my students had any questions.  None of them did.  I feel first graders are too young to for me to show them videos or talk about what actually happened.  I thought about it over this weekend and about the people who lost their lives and the people who continue to put their lives on the line for our country.  I thought that a great way to honor these individuals would be to write them thank you letters.  I created these letter writing printables for your students to write a thank you letter to a firefighter, police officer, or soldier.  Your students can simply write "Thank you for keeping our country safe.  You are appreciated!" or elaborate on that theme.  Click {here} for the download.  

I also included these for soldiers, firefighters, and police officers.  I thought PreK and K students could draw a picture and sign their name.

You can get these graphics for free from Whimsy Doodle Graphics.  Click on the pictures below to download.

Other blogs with 9/11 Activities:


  1. I am so sorry for their loss. It was a great tragedy 10 years ago. I was student teaching. I will never forget. Thank you for sharing your story!
    Counting with Coffee

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I still can't believe ten years have gone by. Feels like it happened yesterday! If you haven't had the chance to watch the documentary "Rising" it was absolutely wonderful.

    Rowdy in First Grade

  3. Such a tragedy. My heart hurts every time I think about those that we lost. Thank you for the printable. My Kinders are not at that stage of writing yet. However, I think the templates will be perfect for Veteran's Day and/or Memorial Day. :)

  4. My heart breaks for those that lost loved ones in 9/11. That day ten years ago in my third grade classroom is vivid to this day. I just found your blog, and will visit again soon! Come by if you get a chance.

    Creative Blessings,

  5. Thanks so much, Erica, for sharing! Even up here in Canada we remember that horrible day and think and pray for everyone affected.

    Ѽ Alessia
    Mrs. Albanese’s Kindergarten Class

  6. Thanks for the mention Erica! I'm your newest follower :)

    ❤ Mor ❤
    A Teacher's Treasure

  7. Hi again Erica! Thanks for including a drawing template for the little ones. This is great! I will be using these tomorrow FOR SURE. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. :)

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much fro this wonderful activity! I will use this tomorrow.

  9. Thanks again for this activity. I used it and thought it was great! I referred to it in my most recent blog post with a link to your blog. Thanks again!

  10. This is so great! Thank you!
    P.S. I love your pins on pinterest!

  11. Thank you for sharing these! I have a student that has a dad overseas. Our class has adopted 24 soliders this year. The templates you shared will make our first letters that more special! What a perfect way to say thank you.

  12. Hey Erica! I just wanted to share with you how I used these printables with my students. We participated in a thank you campaign where a radio station here in ATL is trying to send a "thank you" letter to every solder overseas on Thanksgiving Day. Your Soldier template helped my students exceed the goal we set for ourselves! Check it out on my blog! :)

    Learning is a Journey

  13. Thank you for sharing this story. Last year was a little easier to remember 9-11 because the media had so much coverage on the memorial but this year I have been trying to decide what approach to take and this is a great resource. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  14. Thank you for sharing your pages. I just downloaded the police officer pages for my Sunday school students to write encouraging letters of support to our local officers. I know you created them for a different reason, but they will be great to use in light of the recent events involving officers. I can also come back to it in September! Thanks again so much!



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