Lesson Plan

If I WereThere...

Students will write a first-person narrative of 9/11 as if they were there.
Dee W.
Classroom teacher
Poca High School (Poca, WV)
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Students will be able to...write a narrative of an event using rich, descriptive language to convey a vivid picture of an event.   This flow will be used as a practice/learning activity in research and narrative writing after the study of narrative writing techniques.

English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Free, Paid

Use YouTube of the video source of your choice to show a newscast from the morning of 9/11/01, the moment when the first plane hit the towers and the following moments as the newscasters begin to realize as the second plane hit that it was not an accident.

Student Instructions

You probably don't remember the day of September 11, 2001.   If you were even born, you were a baby or very young child.  The day began like any other day, and was a beautiful, sunny day in New York City.  Begin by viewing a newscast from that morning.  

2 Learn

Students choose an article about 9/11 and copy to their OneNote Notebook and annotate.  

Student Instructions

Choose an article on the PBS Newshour Extra site about the events of September 11, 2001.  Copy and paste to your OneNote Notebook, read and annotate.  As you read, think about what it was like for people who witnessed it in New York City.  What did they hear, see, and feel?  Were they frightened? Heroic? Selfish? Panicked? Put yourself in their shoes.

3 Explore

The 9/11 Museum Audio Guide gives several first-person accounts of the events of 9/11 along with photos of artifacts in the museum.  Have students spend some time exploring the "tours".  Headphones needed! 

Student Instructions

Explore the 9/11 Museum.  Feel free to take several of the virtual tours included in the app.  Try to imagine what it was like to be in New York City that day.  Think about how people in the city felt and what they experienced as it was happening.  Take note of the stories of the individuals who experienced it.  You will be writing a story of your own based on what it was like to be there.

4 Share

Students will write a narrative essay in first person as if they were in New York City the day of the events of 9/11.  

Student Instructions

Imagine you were in New York City on September 11, 2001.  Use your knowledge of writing narrative essays to produce a 300-500 word descriptive narration of the day's events.  You may choose the point of view of a bystander, newscaster, employee in one of the affected buildings, or any other person who witnessed the events first-hand.   Writing rubrics are provided for your reference and your essay will be scored based on the rubric appropriate to your grade level.