Sunday, September 2, 2012

September 8th and 9th

As September came yesterday my thoughts turned toward 9/11. Since 2009 I have been honored to meet and get to know some family members of the heroes of Flight 93. One of them is Sandy Felt the wife of hero Edward Felt. Sandy is a wonderful person possessing both a great mind and a keen wit. She told me once that as 9/11 approaches she needs to do things to prepare herself. I am doing a poor job of paraphrasing here, but my point is that whatever feelings I have about the day as it approaches pales immensely with the thoughts and feelings of the families. I also anticipate this day as an educator, wondering what would be the best way to present not only an important day in history, but a day that changed all of our lives. As a sixth grade social studies teacher this is even more of a challenge since my students were babies. Interestingly, this past week I found out one of my students was born on 9/11/2000. Last year of course was the 10th anniversary and there may not be an occasion like that again. This is not to diminish any future dates, but it did mark the opening of the memorials at The World Trade Center in New York City and the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. The Memorial at the Pentagon in Washington D. C. had opened a little earlier. It was last school year that our sixth grade class constructed two large murals of mosaic glass. With the direction of artist Augusto Bordelois and funding from the Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio (through the Lake County Fund of the Cleveland Foundation) we now have one mural dedicated to 9/11 and another specific to Flight 93 that will be on permanent display in two staircases at Chardon MIddle School. I am wondering how I can use these two murals as instructional tools as September 11th approaches. One of my part-time teaching jobs is at the Geauga regional campus of Kent State University. I am an adjunct faculty member in the Middle School Education program (MCED). In other words, I work in preparing future middle school teachers. The textbook I use for this class was written by a former middle school math teacher who is now a professor at Belmont Abbey College near Charlotte, North Carolina. When I fell in love with the book (yes it's true-a textbook!)I decided to e-mail the author Sara Powell. To my surprise she answered and we began a dialogue. She is a strong proponent of service learning and I shared with her some of the "things" I have previously blogged about-projects our students have done related to Flight 93 and 9/11. This summer after the shootings in Aurora, Colorado I e-mailed her since I remembered she had lived near Denver and her son currently teaches there. I shared with her some of the healing that had gone on after 2/27 in Chardon. One of the reasons I so enjoy her book is that she hasn't forgotten what it is like to be a teacher of children. In one of her e-mails she asked me if I would be interested in answering some questions about my roles that would be included in the third edition of her book Introduction to Middle School. I only had to think about three seconds before I gave her a big YES! She has asked me to include a photograph and one with students would be preferred. I am planning to select some students to pose by the murals and engage them in some dialogue. Next weekend there will be events in Shanksville at the Memorial. As a preview to the opening of the Learning Center in 2014, the program is titled "Learning Center Without Walls" On both Saturday September 8th and Sunday September 9th there will be two panel discussions. Each program is one hour in length. They will be at 1:00 and 3:00 P. M. both days. The first on Saturday at 1:00 is titled "9/11 and the Next Generation" One of the presenters is Lori Guadagno, the sister of Hero Richard Guaddagno. After his tragic death she co-founded "Art with a Heart"-a program for hospitalized children and their families. She is an art therapist At 3:00 several journalists who were at the site on 9/11 will present. On Sunday at 1:00 the program will feature current and former criminal investigators. The program at 3:00 will feature two witnesses to 9/11 who were in the Capitol Building the day of the attacks.

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