Monday, September 11, 2006

Guess what today's lesson plan was about?

Yes, I could not resist the temptation of discussing 9/11 during class today. In fact my whole day's lesson was centered on it. I did a KWL chart on 9/11. For those of you who are not versed in trendy educational jargon, a KWL chart is divided into three big vertical columns, with the left one being the "K", meaning "What you already know"; the center column being the "W", meaning "What you want to know"; and the right column being the "L", meaning "What you have learned". It is one of the few educational fads about which I learned in my teacher training that I actually thought was pretty cool and have put to good use in my classroom. I knew we would most likely not get to the "L" part today, but we could certainly get through the "K" and "W". Boy did we! I have to hand it to my students, even though they didn't know as much about September 11 as I would like them to, they did a respectable job knowing the basics of what happened that day. They did a good job of asking relevant "what do you want to know" questions; first and foremost being, why did the terrorists do this act in the first place? Boy, you want to talk about stepping around land mines dealing with that one. How do you diplomatically tell them, "well kids, you see, way too many practitioners of Islam are nihilistic death cultists who want to end everything around them, especially themselves so that they may go to paradise and enjoy the earthly pleasures of the flesh which includes the enjoyment of 72 virgins." That is essentially what I told them, I just wasn't so blunt about it.

My favorite moments of course were the students who parroted the tired anti-American leftist clap-trap. Here are some of today's greatest hits, with my internal comments in italics:
  • "Didn't they do it because the U.S. keeps messing around with other people's countries?" Well, maybe the terrorists thought so, but please tell me you aren't justifying their actions with this excuse. Of course, if that is why Muslim terrorists attack you, then pray tell me why Muslims are blowing things up and chopping off heads in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, France, Germany....
  • "George W. Bush and his cronies did 9/11." I asked her, "What makes you think that?" She responded, "Because if you fold a dollar bill a certain way, you get an image of the twin towers burning." She was serious ladies and gentlemen!
  • From a Muslim student: "But those al Qaeda guys aren't really Muslim!" Really? Then what are they? Catholic? Hindu? JEWISH??? OK, let's give the kid a break and go with his reasoning. I am sure that many Muslims think this way, and that is fine. However, this does not help us any. It doesn't matter what these so-called moderate Muslims believe; it matters what al Qaeda believes, and they believe that they are the most correct and devout Muslims of all. Based on these beliefs, al Qaeda members and members of other radical Islamic groups carry out the atrocities that they do. The other problem is that if they aren't really Muslim, then how come millions of other "not really Muslims" were dancing in the streets on 9/11/01 after hearing about the attack on America?
  • From another Muslim student: "Those hijackers were forced to do what they did. If they hadn't done it, they would have been killed." That is nonsense, but for the sake of argument, let's say that it happened that way. If I were placed in the same situation where I was told that I must fly a plane into a building full of thousands of people or I would be killed, you might as well shoot me now because I wouldn't do it. I have this internal mechanism called morals and conscience. Go figure!
That is in fact, one of the themes I noticed today: without exception, every Muslim student in my classes today who spoke up either defended or tried to downplay what the terrorists did. Isn't this exactly the flippin' problem with Islam? They are like these white racist juries from the Jim Crow south who would find the white guy innocent no matter how overwhelmingly guilty he was of a crime against a black person, or would find the black guy guilty no matter how innocent he was of a crime against a white person. What the religion of Islam needs are more Atticus Finches who aren't afraid to stand up against the status quo, which is to defend Islam to a fault.

Good Day to You, Sir and God Bless America!


t said...

When I got home from work yesterday, I asked me daughter if they had discussed 9/11 at all in school. She said that the teacher told them basically what happened but didn't get into too much detail.

What bothered me was that they only talked about the planes that hit the Twin Towers. Call me stupid, but weren't there 4 planes? What about the Pentagon and Flight 93? I know they didn't do near the damage, or kill nearly as many people, but does that mean that they don't deserve to be remembered? Now please don’t think I am downplaying what went on in New York, I am not, but I think those killed in Pennsylvania and Washington deserve just as much recognition.

The other comment my daughter made that bothered me was that a girl in her class told her that the people in the planes didn't mean to do it, it was an accident. What the????? So I explained that it was most definitely NOT an accident. I explained the basic reason why the terrorist intentionally killed thousands of people. We then sat and watched a couple of the many programs that were on last night pertaining to that day. Thank goodness for TiVo because many times she couldn't believe what she was seeing so I "rewound" it so she could watch it again. I think it's important for her to see what happened and to understand the significance of someone’s evil actions.

Chanman said...

Amen to teaching our children that evil does exist. To deny or hide the fact is to do a disservice.

During my lesson, I made a special effort to include the Pentagon and Shanksville crashes. I have often noticed that they get overlooked in the melee about the WTC. Many people don't realize that more Americans were killed in the Pentagon than were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which until 2001, was the worst incident of terrorism in U.S. history.

George said...

Some of my students had a very difficult time understanding a few things:

1. The dimensions of a large building like the WTC.
2. The extent of the damage to the WTC (why didn't they use the firescapes one student asked).
3. That NYC was next to water.
4. How you fight a tremendous fire (If there is water all around, how come they did not put out the fire?)
5. The difficulty evacuating a large building like WTC (I would have ran out of there . . . I would pushed my way out! To which I replied - If I was there and you were doing that I would have knocked you out).
6. The force of the collapse (why is everyone dirty? was asked after I showed them images of the building collapsing).
7. The limits of the human body and pain (Why are they standing by the edge of the building? Why would somebody jump?).

Finally . . . and with other absurd questions having been asked I actually got angry . . . why didn't they just have one of those fireman poles in the building so you could slide down it? To which many students seriously looked at me for an answer and some guffawed.

George said...

Keep in mind I did a tremendous amount of explaining. Most of my students said they had watched a documentary about 9/11.

I too was asked, "Why"?