Educators Guide
K-8
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9/11 Day at Home
Educators Guide K-8
INTERACTIVE PDF
For COVID-19 Distance Learning
Teaching children about the importance of helping others.
A virtual and in-person lesson plan in observance of the federally-recognized
September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance (9/11 Day)
Published by 9/11 Day
August 2020
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Dear Educator,
September 11 is now the nation’s largest annual day of service, “9/11 Day,” and an extraordinary
service- learning opportunity. Each year, tens of thousands of school children, teachers and
parents participate in the 9/11 Day observance to help students learn about the events of 9/11 in
constructive, non-threatening ways through good deeds and other forms of charitable service.
To help you and your students participate in this important service-learning opportunity this
year – considering the unique educational challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic – we
are launching a companion education component of our new virtual volunteering program
9/11 Day At Home. This focused guide for educators provides distance service-learning
activities and ways young people can help those impacted by COVID-19.
The overall goal of 9/11 Day At Home is to generate at least one million self-directed acts of
service and good deeds.
For educators and students, this 9/11 Day At Home Educator Guide provides lesson plans
that are easy to implement in-person or virtually, depending on how your district is planning
schooling for this fall. The materials are offered at no cost, and they provide a way for young
children with no memories of the 9/11 attacks to learn about 9/11 in a constructive way, one that
helps them contribute to making the world a better place, one good deed at a time.
In many ways, the challenges facing our nation today remind us in the 9/11 community of the
moments after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.We learned then that overcoming challenges
depends on all of us working together to help those in need.With the COVID-19 pandemic and
the historic movement to break down systemic racism in our country, we need – more than ever
– to express our understanding and kindness through good deeds for one another.
Feel free to email my colleague, Rachel McMahan (rachel.mcmahan@911day.org), if you have
questions or need additional information.
Sincerely,
David Paine Jay Winuk
Co-founder, 9/11 Day Co-founder, 9/11 Day
Toolkit For Organizations
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Contents
How to Use This Guide..................................................................4
9/11 Day At Home Lesson Plan .......................................................... 5
Activities .......................................................................... 5
A few simple guidelines ............................................................. 5
9/11 Day At Home letter to parents and guardians ..................................... 6
ACTIVITY 1: Learn About the Events of 9/11 ............................................... 7
ACTIVITY 2: Class Discussion on Formation of “9/11 Day,” the
federally-recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance .............. 8
2a. Read aloud – How 9/11 became a day of service ................................... 9
2b. Read aloud with accompanying slide deck ........................................11
2c. Discussion guide ...............................................................14
ACTIVITY 3: Doing Good Deeds for Others ...............................................15
3a. Class good deeds list ............................................................16
3b. 11 good deed examples by age group .............................................17
3c. Good deed student worksheet – written ..........................................19
3d. Good deed student worksheet – drawing ........................................20
ACTIVITY 4: Good Deed Pledge .........................................................21
4a. Good deed pledge card ........................................................ 22
ACTIVITY 5: Journal of Good Deeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
5a. Good deed journal page example ...............................................24
ACTIVITY 6: Appreciating Those on the Frontlines .......................................25
6a. Thank you letter template ......................................................26
ACTIVITY 7: Empathy Exit Ticket ....................................................... 27
7a. Exit ticket template ............................................................28
ACTIVITY 8: Good Deed Movie at Home ................................................29
9/11 Day At Home Frequently Asked Questions ..........................................30
Copyright 2020. 9/11 Day hereby provides permission for these materials to be used and duplicated by educators, parents and youth mentors as a service-learning tool. May
not be used for any commercial purpose. Email 9/11 Day at info@911day.org for more information.
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How to Use This Guide
Because of COVID-19, many educators are not able to mobilize students as in-person
volunteers, despite the increasing need for volunteers and charitable service arising from the
pandemic.
In lieu of volunteering physically, we’ve created, and are encouraging you to explore and expand
upon, alternative ways for young people to help their community in observance of 9/11 Day this
year. These lesson plans aim to encourage students to perform simple “good deeds,” and other
age appropriate service activities.
Here is what you can do:
1. Read this Guide and familiarize yourself with the lesson plans and materials included.
2. Consider which of these activities will best meet the diverse needs of your students. Adapt
the lesson plans to fit your in-person or virtual teaching needs. Or be inspired by these to
create your own activity.
3. Share this Guide with other teachers who may be interested.
4. Engage your students in the 9/11 Day At Home campaign in observance of the September 11
National Day of Service and Remembrance.
With these actions, you can help us reach our goal to generate a minimum of one million good
deeds, or other acts of service or kindness for 9/11 Day.
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9/11 Day At Home Lesson Plan
The following lesson plan shares eight different activities to help teach your students about 9/11
Day, inspire them to do good deeds in their schools and communities, and to understand and
show empathy. These activities are meant to inspire you and your students, so feel free to be
creative and adapt these to align with your own vision and teaching goals.
Activities
Activity 1: Learning About 9/11 - Age Appropriate Resources
Activity 2: Class Learning and Discussion about “9/11 Day,” the federally-recognized
September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance
Activity 3: Doing Good Deeds for Others
Activity 4: Good Deeds Pledge
Activity 5: Journal of Good Deeds
Activity 6: Appreciating Those on the Frontlines
Activity 7: Empathy Exit Ticket
Activity 8: Good Deed Movie at Home
A few simple guidelines
Remember that students K-8 will have no personal memories of the 9/11 tragedy.
These activities are designed in a Plan-Do-Share model. Sharing your classroom activities,
as well as individual activities as broadly as possible will help to encourage others to also do
good deeds.
Scale the sophistication of these activities to fit the age of your students.
Adjust these activities to meet whatever learning landscape your students are in, whether in-
person, distanced-learning or a hybrid of the two.
These activities can be just for your classroom or expanded school wide.
Activities do not need to be done on 9/11, which falls on a Friday this year. They can be done in
advance and in any timeframe that you specify.
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9/11 Day At Home Letter to Parents and Guardians
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In observance of 9/11, which is now a federally-recognized National Day of Service and
Remembrance (known as “9/11 Day”), each student in our class has been challenged to come
up with a “virtual” good deed they can do over the next month in recognition of this important
national observance.
The program is called 9/11 Day At Home, and it was created by the 9/11 Day nonprofit
organization that founded and runs 9/11 Day nationwide, in partnership with the Corporation for
National and Community Service.
The goal of 9/11 Day At Home is to generate over one million self-directed acts of service and
good deeds charitable activities that young people and others can do individually, or with their
families right from home to help people in need, including those struggling to cope with socio-
economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 9/11 Day At Home program provides an excellent way for young children with no memories
of the 9/11 attacks to learn about 9/11 in a constructive way, one that helps them contribute to
making the world a better place, one good deed at a time.
Our class is inspired to participate in this effort, and we hope your family will join in as well by
creating a good deed you and your child can do together. There is no cost to participate and you
are not required to make a cash donation.
[TEACHER: INSERT SPECIFICS ON THE ACTIVITY YOU’VE CHOSEN AND HOW PARENTS
CAN SUPPORT.]
[STANDARD GOOD DEED LANGUAGE FOR REFERENCE: Good deeds can be anything. Here
are just a few examples: Your child (with your help if needed) can write letters to first responders,
healthcare workers, local fire or police stations, write a letter to a distant relative or set up a video
call, make their beds or do the dishes for the day, give away clothing they’ve outgrown or don’t wear,
help siblings do their homework, offer to care for a pet, or perhaps donate an old bicycle or toys.]
If you are looking for ideas, on September 1, 9/11 Day will be posting on its website, 911day.org, a
list of good deeds you can consider.
That said, the most important thing is to allow them to think up ideas for themselves. You can
help, but you want the idea to “be their own.
Thanks for helping your child participate in 9/11 Day.
Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME]
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ACTIVITY 1: Learn About the Events of 9/11
Goal: Teach students, in an age-appropriate fashion, about the events of 9/11, leveraging
valuable outside resources in addition to internal school resources.
Context
There are many organizations that already provide excellent educational materials and
resources to teach students about the events of 9/11. Please find a list of resources here that can
help you create a lesson about the attacks and aftermath and/or add additional context for the
other lesson plans in this Guide.
Instructions
1. Refer to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum lesson plans for resources to help your students learn the
events of 9/11/2001: https://www.911memorial.org/learn/students-and-teachers/lesson-plans.
2. Each year on 9/11, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum hosts an “Anniversary in the Schools”
interactive webinar for free. Learn more and sign up for the webinar here: https://
www.911memorial.org/learn/students-and-teachers/anniversary-schools-webinar
3. Additional resources for more information about the events of 9/11, as needed:
a. 9/11 Tribute Museum & HBO What happened on September 11: A history for kids
Watch the 30-minute film: https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/what-happened-
on-september-11
Use the accompanying lesson plan to discuss the film with students: www.scholastic.
com/momentsinfocus/pdfs/whos11_lesson_activity.pdf
b. The 911 Living Memorial shares stories of first responders, volunteers and rescue/
recovery workers that are a continuing source of inspiration.
Survivor stories: http://livingmemorial.voicesofseptember11.org/911-stories/wtc-
survivors-stories
9/11 victim stories: http://livingmemorial.voicesofseptember11.org/victim-
remembrances
c. The Wikipedia page “ September 11 National Day of Service” provides helpful
historical information about the mission and formation of the September 11 National Day
of Service: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11_National_Day_of_Service
d. The Atlantic Selects film, Through the Dust: The Legacy of 9/11 addresses the first
responder experience after September 11, touching on the need for unity and working
together: https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/499655/how-first-responders-
felt-after-911/
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ACTIVITY 2: Class Discussion on Formation of the 9/11 Day,
the September National Day of Service and Remembrance
Goal: Teach students how and why September 11 became a National Day of Service and
Remembrance
Context
Nearly one-third of our nation is under the age of 25, with little or no memories of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks and the impact they had on our nation at the time, and since. Therefore, it is difficult for
many children and young people to understand and internalize the meaning of 9/11 Day, and why
it has become such an important moment each year to promote unity, empathy and service.
It is vital that educators, mentors, parents and grandparents share their stories about 9/11 with
children, and explain why it is now so important that they always remember that day through the
good deeds they perform.
Instructions
1. After sharing the events of 9/11 (Activity 1), use this activity to teach your students:
a. Why the 9/11 families wanted to transform the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks into a
National Day of Service and Remembrance under federal law, and how it happened.
b. How young people across America can help the 9/11 community turn a day marked by
tragedy into a day of service, unity, and peace.
2. Read the following Read Aloud and/or share the slide deck presentation version in class or online.
3. Use the discussion guide to foster a healthy discussion among the students. Questions can
be asked and answered as a group or students can write their own answers to be shared
together afterwards.
Materials
2a. Read Aloud - How and why 9/11 became a National Day of Service and Remembrance
under federal law
2b. Slide deck version of the read aloud
2c. Discussion Guide
Click here to access the 9/11 Day slides.
GOOGLE SLIDES PDF
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2a. Read Aloud - How 9/11 became a day of service
Please modify individual words or concepts to ensure this is age-appropriate for your students.
What happened after the 9/11 attacks?
In the days after the September 11 attacks on America, people across the country felt united
by a desire to help and encourage each other. The country felt an extraordinary spirit of
empathy and resilience.
Many Americans no longer cared about the kinds of differences that often separate us, at least
for a while, and instead focused on how much we all have in common.
This time of togetherness helped to reassure, comfort, and inspire people across the whole
country at a time of great sorrow.
For many who lived through the tragedy of 9/11, that time of caring and helpfulness is an
important reminder that we are stronger as people and as a nation when we work together.
There were some Americans, however, who were excluded from this sense of national unity,
and in fact, encountered increased discrimination as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
How 9/11 became a National Day of Service and Remembrance?
This brief moment of national unity and compassion inspired the family members of those
who died in the 9/11 attacks to seek to turn September 11 into a National Day of Service under
federal law.
The goal of the 9/11 families and others was to create a positive way for the nation to forever
remember and pay tribute to their lost loved ones, and “take back the day” from the terrorists.
After an eight-year effort by the 9/11 community, September 11 was officially designated in
2009 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve
America Act passed by U.S. Congress, as well as under a Presidential Proclamation signed by
President Barack Obama.
The only other federally recognized Day of Service is Martin Luther King, Jr.s birthday, which
is recognized on the third Monday in January each year.
What happens each year on September 11?
Since 2009, 9/11 has grown to become the largest annual day of service in America.
Tens of millions of people, including many young people, spend time volunteering, supporting
charities, performing simple good deeds, and being especially kind to others.
These actions are shared as widely as possible - through the news, social media, and more -
to encourage even more people to do good deeds for others.
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Why is this year special?
It is especially important for us to do good deeds for each other this year because our country
is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many people who have been greatly affected by the virus, maybe getting sick or
having a loved one die.
There are also many people who have lost their jobs or can’t go to school or do the things they
love because of COVID-19.
We can encourage and show compassion to those around us during these hard times, not just
on 9/11.
There are many similarities to the events of today, and what happened, and how people felt,
after 9/11.
What kinds of good deeds do people do?
Families and individuals have done thousands of different things, such as:
– donated clothing, bicycles, eyeglasses, and books
– purchased needed school supplies for teachers
– volunteered to walk dogs for local animal shelters
– cleaned up parks
– repaired and cleaned temporary housing for veterans
– engaged in a wide range of other service activities
Students have:
– written thank you notes to first responders
– held bake sales to raise money for local charities or their school
– delivered cookies for local police and fire stations
– cleaned debris from school yards or parks
– created or tended community gardens
Anything that you would like to do for another person that shows kindness or helps them is a
good deed!
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2b. Read aloud with accompanying slide deck
Slide 1/Title Slide: How September 11 became a
National Day of Service & Remembrance
Slide 2: What happened after the 9/11 attacks?
Full narrative for Slide 2:
In the days after the September 11 attacks on
America, people across the country felt united by
a desire to help and encourage each other. The
country felt an extraordinary spirit of empathy
and resilience.
Many Americans no longer cared about the kinds of differences that often separate us, at least
for a while, and instead focused on how much we all have in common.
This time of togetherness helped to reassure, comfort, and inspire people across the whole
country at a time of great sorrow.
For many who lived through the tragedy of 9/11, that time of caring and helpfulness is an
important reminder that we are stronger as people and as a nation when we work together.
Some Americans, however, unfairly experienced an increase in discrimination against them
as a result of the 9/11 attacks, especially people of different faiths such as Muslims and Sikhs.
Slide 3: How 9/11 became a National Day of
Service and Remembrance?
Full narrative for Slide 3:
This brief moment of national unity and
compassion inspired the family members of
those who died on 9/11 to seek to turn September
11 into a National Day of Service under federal law.
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The goal of the 9/11 families and others was to create a positive way for the nation to forever
remember and pay tribute to their lost loved ones, and “take back the day” from the terrorists.
After an eight-year effort by the 9/11 community, September 11 was officially designated in
2009 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve
America Act passed by U.S. Congress, as well as under a Presidential Proclamation signed by
President Barack Obama.
The only other federally recognized Day of Service is Martin Luther King, Jr.s birthday, which
is recognized on the third Monday in January each year.
Slide 4: What happens each year on
September 11?
Full narrative for Slide 4:
Since 2009, 9/11 Day has grown to become the
largest annual day of service in America.
Tens of millions of people, including many
young people like you, spend time volunteering,
supporting charities, performing simple good deeds, and being especially kind to others.
These actions are shared as widely as possible - through the news, social media, and more -
to encourage even more people to do good deeds for others.
Slide 5: Why is this year special?
Full narrative for Slide 5:
It is especially important for us to do good deeds
for each other this year because our country is
dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many people who have been greatly
affected by the virus, maybe getting sick or
having a loved one die.
There are also many people who have lost their jobs or can’t go to school or do the things they
love because of COVID-19.
We can encourage and show compassion to those around us during these hard times, not just
on 9/11.
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Slide 6: What kinds of good deeds do people do?
Full narrative for Slide 6:
Families and individuals have done thousands of
different things, such as:
donated clothing, bicycles, eyeglasses,
and books
purchased needed school supplies for
teachers
volunteered to walk dogs for local animal shelters
cleaned up parks
repaired and cleaned temporary housing for veterans
engaged in a wide range of other service activities
Students have:
written thank you notes to first responders
held bake sales to raise money for local charities or the school
delivered cookies for local police and fire stations
cleaned debris from school yards or parks
created or tended community gardens
Anything that you would like to do for another person that shows kindness or helps them is a
good deed!
Slide 7: Help us take back 9/11 (2-minute video)
Video is embedded in the slide, and can be found
here.
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2c. Discussion Guide
Discuss important themes of unity, service, and good deeds with your students.
Choose based on the age of your students
1. How do you think younger people, especially students who were in school near the World
Trade Center in NYC, were impacted by the 9/11 attacks?
2. In what ways did people help each other during the 9/11 attacks and afterward?
3. Why do you think they helped each other?
4. Why did the country seem to be more unified for a period of time immediately after 9/11?
5. Were some people excluded from this sense of unity and blamed for the 9/11 attacks?
6. Do you know what empathy is? Did people have empathy for each other after 9/11?
7. How are you and your family or friends being affected today by the COVID-19 pandemic?
8. What can the experiences of 9/11 teach us about how we can overcome the challenges we now
face with the COVID-19 pandemic?
9. What are some of the reasons people are not united today, and what can people do to
understand and get along better today?
10. What did first responders do to help on 9/11 and the weeks after? What are they doing now to
help during COVID-19?
11. What kind of people do you think choose to become first responders?
12. What makes them so brave, and so willing to risk their lives to help people in need - both after
9/11 and now during COVID-19?
13. How can we all be a little like “first responders” in our own lives?
14. What things might you do to help others this September 11th?
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ACTIVITY 3: Doing Good Deeds for Others
Goal: Teach students what a good deed is and inspire them to do good deeds for others.
Instructions
1. Lead a class discussion about:
a. A good deed is a selfless act that is carried out to serve and care for others. It is not about
recognition or praise
b. Why do we do good deeds?
c. What kinds of good deeds have students done in the past for their families, friends, or
community?
d. How can good deeds be tangible (helping a friend with a task, making breakfast for
mom) or intangible (showing kindness or empathy for others)?
e. Which kinds of good deeds could they do now during COVID-19 to help others, whether
from their homes or while following any social distancing rules?
2. Create a class good deeds list from the discussion using the class list worksheet below or on
a virtual or real whiteboard. Refer to the 11 Good Deed Examples by Age Group to spur ideas
with the group.
3. Invite your students to individually consider and write down a few good deeds they might be
able to do for 9/11 Day this year. Use the Good Deed Student Worksheet.
4. Ask each student to choose one idea they might want to do. It can be one of their ideas, or an
idea suggested by fellow classmates. It’s OK if students want to do the same thing, or team up.
Note: Since children may be learning online from home, it could be helpful to include their
parents/guardians in this and/or other 9/11 Day At Home activities. A letter to parents is included
in the materials for this purpose.
Materials
3a. Class Good Deeds List
3b. 11 Good Deed Examples by Age Group
3c. Good Deed Student Worksheet - Written
3d. Good Deed Student Worksheet - Drawing
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3a. Class Good Deeds List
Brain storm you class good deeds here.
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3b. 11 Good Deed Examples by Age Group
Elementary School (Grades K-5)
1. Host a story hour in your neighborhood and invite friends over to read books about staying
healthy while sitting out on the front lawn or in your backyard. You could do so in person with
social distancing in mind or via a video conference application.
2. If you have a garden or fruit tree, leave a box of extra produce outside of your home to share
your fresh food with neighbors.
3. Go on a nature walk in your community and take pictures of interesting things you find
(plants, animals, art, etc.). Make a collage of those photos and send it to friends or family to
share your neighborhood beauty with them. Little Pine Learners provides lots of ideas to turn
your walk into a scavenger hunt.
4. Leave a kind message and snack out for your postal carriers and delivery workers to thank
them for continuing their hard work during the pandemic.
5. Write encouraging messages and/or art with chalk in your driveway or on the sidewalk for
passersby.
6. Make cards for elderly nursing home residents who might not be getting normal visits from
loved ones due to COVID-19. Love For Our Elders can help get these letters to residents safely.
7. Make the bed or do another chore for your family members without being asked so they don’t
have to.
8. Put on a play or short skit to teach kids and families in your neighborhood about health and
safety during COVID-19.
9. Decorate kindness rocks and place them around your neighborhood for people to discover.
Follow these instructions to make your own.
10. Help set the table for dinner or wash dishes after a family meal.
11. Video chat with a grandparent or other relative that you haven’t been able to visit recently.
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Middle School (Grades 6-8)
1. Make thank you cards for the brave first responders and firefighters on the frontline in this
pandemic. Reach out to local departments in your community or mail letters to Operation
Gratitude and they’ll distribute them.
2. Make a creative thank you video for healthcare workers with your friends or classmates and
send it to a local hospital.
3. Assemble hygiene or care kits for the homeless and donate them to local shelters.
4. Bake a warm meal for a neighbor and deliver it to them.
5. If you have a garden or fruit tree, donate extra fruit or vegetables to a nearby food pantry or
soup kitchen.
6. Make masks for people in your neighborhood. Here’s one simple pattern from YouTube, but
there are many others online.
7. If you have family members working from home, make breakfast, lunch or dinner for them.
8. Reuse plastic bottles or other materials as planters for pollinator-friendly flowers. Plant
flowers in memorial to those who’ve lost their lives to COVID-19. Here are some ideas for
planter decoration.
9. Use the WWF Environmental Footprint Calculator to calculate your ecological footprint. After
you know your footprint, brainstorm ideas for how you might be able to reduce it.
10. Connect with a sibling, friend or other student in your community with a homework
assignment.
11. Donate books you no longer need to a homeless shelter or Little Free Library in your
community.
In addition to these examples, please visit 911day.org to see a list of good deeds.
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3c. Good Deed Student Worksheet - Written
To help you do a good deed this year, please fill in the following information. If you did a good
deed for 9/11 in previous years, try something new this year. Interactive: This worksheet can be
printed for students to write on or they can type directly into the PDF.
NAME: ________________________________________________________________________________________
SCHOOL: _____________________________________________________________________________________
TEACHER: ____________________________________________________________________________________
Write down three good deeds you’ve thought about for 9/11 this year:
1. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
3. ______________________________________________________________________________________________
Which one did you select?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Why did you choose that one?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Who will this good deed help, and why did you pick them?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Today’s Date: ______________________________
I did (plan to do) my good deed on: ______________________________
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3d. Good Deed Student Worksheet - Drawing
Draw a picture of the good deed you are going to do this year.
Tell us about your good deed
The good deed that I did was:
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Doing this good deed made me feel:
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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ACTIVITY 4: Good Deed Pledge
Can be used as a follow up from Activity 3
Goal: Help students to inspire others to do good deeds by sharing their pledge for 9/11.
Instructions
1. When your students have decided what they plan to do, the next step is for them to make a
public pledge to do it.
2. Have your students fill in and color the Pledge Card that outlines the good deed they have
chosen.
3. Option: Students can create their own Pledge Card design, describing what they plan to do
for 9/11. These personal cards are a chance for children to be creative and could be made of
any materials and be any size.
4. Have the students share with the class what they pledged and why.
5. Display the Pledge Cards in the classroom, on a “virtual wall” for online classrooms, or a
school hallway.
6. Option: Take pictures of each person holding their Pledge Card to accompany the Pledge
Cards on display.
a. If students are working from home, then invite them to include their family members in
the Pledge Card photos.
7. Share these Pledge Cards on social media personal channels or the school channel, if
possible, using #911day.
Materials
4a. Good Deed Pledge Card
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4a. Good Deed Pledge Card
Student Pledge Card
9/11 Day at Home Good Deed Challenge
My First Name Is: _____________________ My Teacher Is: _____________________________ M y Grade Is: ______
I live in (City/State): ___________________________________________________________________________________________
For 911 Day this year, I plan to:
I did (plan to do) my good deed on: ________________________________________________________________________
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ACTIVITY 5: Journal of Good Deeds
This is designed as a traditional journal, but alternatively, students could create digital journals
and take pictures or videos to document their good deeds.
Goal: To encourage deeper engagement and ownership in good deeds, provide a way for
students to document their service throughout the month of September.
Instructions
1. Provide students with a notebook that will be their Journal of Good Deeds or use the Good
Deed Journal Page as a printout to fill out.
2. Plan time daily or every few days for students to write down the good deeds they have done.
3. For younger students, they could draw a picture of doing a good deed instead of writing them
out.
4. Organize a way for students to share what they have written with the class.
5. If students are studying from home, they can also have their parents/guardians or other
family members add to the journal with their own good deeds.
Materials
5a. Good Deed Journal Page
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5a. Good Deed Journal Page
What is the good deed you did today?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Why did you choose that good deed?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How did doing your good deed make you feel?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How did doing your good deed make the other person or people feel?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What did you learn from doing this good deed?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
How can you share your experience or what you learned with others to encourage them to do
good deeds?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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ACTIVITY 6: Appreciating Those on the Frontlines
This activity has been amended from Promoting Empathy in Schools: A Toolkit for 9/11 (K-8)
that we created with Ashoka Foundation in 2017 to center the heroes helping our communities
through the COVID-19 pandemic. Find the full toolkit here.
Goal: Help students practice gratitude and build imaginative capacities. It can be done
within the span of an hour or turned into a class project that can be done over the course of
several days or weeks.
Instructions
1. Lead a group discussion:
Imagine what it would be like without frontline workers, first responders and other
essential workers during this global pandemic. Choose a category of worker or let your
students choose.
Discuss the invisible forces at work that make our days better or worse:
What happens when you stop expressing gratitude for the good people and good
things in your life?
What happens when you express gratitude?
Explain that what we value grows because we invest more in it. The same is true for
people: When we feel valued, we’re willing to work harder and stick with things.
2. Learn more about the crucial role that healthcare workers, first responders and other
essential workers play in maintaining the health and safety of the community.
This may include interviews with students’ family members or friends who have these
jobs, inviting a guest speaker to class, reading books about essential workers, or
imagining what they might experience on the job.
3. Write and send thank you letters to healthcare workers, first responders, or other essential
workers using the template included below.
Materials
6a. Thank You Letter Template
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6a. Thank You Letter Template
I am thankful for __________________________ (name what or who you are thankful for) because
__________________________ (describe the difference it makes in my life. Be specific!).
Without__________________________ (name what or who you are thankful for) __________________________
(then describe what things would be like with it or them). So thank you for __________________________
(describe what they do and how it impacts your life and name at least two things that you can do
to support them or it.)
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ACTIVITY 7: Empathy Exit Ticket
This activity has been amended from Promoting Empathy in Schools: A Toolkit for 9/11 (K-8)
that we created with Ashoka Foundation in 2017 to center lessons around the heroes helping our
communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Find the full toolkit here.
Goal: Help students internalize what they’ve learned from the activities in this lesson plan.
Feelings-related questions can help broaden students’ ability to recognize and name their
emotions and to communicate those feelings with others.
Instructions:
1. Have your students create an “exit ticket” using the template below, which includes a feelings
scale and tailored questions related to the social and emotional competencies of Activity 6 or
any other activity in this lesson plan.
In this way, you can gather valuable insights into their students’ stress levels and their
ability to apply the lessons beyond the classroom.
2. After the exit ticket has been created, have a class discussion about what students learned
from the exercise, and how it made them feel, and what they are going to do differently in
their everyday lives now?
3. Ask a few students to share their exit tickets with the class, but collect all exit tickets as the
lesson ends. This will provide you with valuable data on how your students experienced the
lesson on gratitude.
4. Repeat the exercise regularly to encourage continued learning. Analyze your empathy exit
tickets on a weekly basis. What trends do you see? What will you do differently as a result?
Materials
7a. Exit Ticket Template
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7a. Exit Ticket Template
Designed to be used with Activity 6, Appreciating Those on the Frontlines, but can be amended
to use with any of the other activities in this lesson plan.
What’s one thing you learned from the activity above thanking frontline workers?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you think society could go on well with or without frontline workers? Why or why not?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What part of the lesson made you feel great joy?
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
*Create other questions that feel more tailored to your lesson goals.
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ACTIVITY 8: Good Deed Movie at Home
Created as an at-home activity but could also be an in-class activity.
Goal: Provide an opportunity for students to use multimedia, like video or animation, to
document their good deeds and share with others.
Instruction
Involving the parents or guardians of your students in the 9/11 Day At Home activities can be
really successful, especially when many students may be studying from home. Most parents
welcome the opportunity to teach their children about generosity and helping others. We have
provided tools for you to do so.
1. Explain to your students that you’d like them to talk with their parents about helping them
plan and document a good deed for 9/11 (or any day in September). You can start the process
in class by helping them come up with their first idea.
2. Give each of your students the 9/11 Good Deed Student Worksheet to take home, along with
the Parent/Guardian Letter, which explains 9/11 Day At Home to their parents.
3. Set parameters of the multimedia aspect as appropriate to your students’ age and ensure
that all students can share their work with the classroom.
a. Can be an opportunity to teach the technical elements of making a movie, how to
develop a script, how to shoot the best footage, how to include props, etc.
b. Also, this can be a writing assignment to create the movie script.
4. Parents then help their child to create their video and put it on a thumb drive, upload it to a
shared drive or email it to you.
5. Parents and students can then share their videos on social media channels using the
hashtag #911day.
6. Parents are also encouraged to challenge their friends on social media to participate in
9/11 At Home, with the question: “What’s your #911day good deed?”
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9/11 Day At Home Frequently Asked Questions
What is 9/11 Day?
A few months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a small group of 9/11 family
members and friends met to talk about how best to pay tribute to their lost loved ones. They
decided that the terrorists shouldn’t “have the last word” in defining how future generations of
Americans remember 9/11 each year.
Inspired instead by the way the country came together in the weeks following the attacks and
the national outpouring of support, the group launched the September 11 National Day of Service
and Remembrance, widely known today as “9/11 Day,” with the goal of “taking back the day”
and gradually transforming the anniversary of 9/11 from a day of tragedy into a day of doing
good.
The idea was simple: Ask all Americans, young and old alike, to do at least one good deed on
the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks each year in the spirit of national unity, and in tribute to 9/11
victims, first responders, recovery workers, military, those injured and others impacted by 9/11
terrorist attacks.
Today, that simple idea has grown into the largest annual day of service in the nation, now
officially recognized under federal law. Each September 11, tens of millions of Americans of all
ages spend time volunteering, supporting charities and performing other good deeds.
What is “9/11 Day At Home?”
Because of COVID-19, many educators are not able to mobilize students as volunteers, despite
the increasing need for volunteers and charitable service arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In lieu of volunteering physically, we are encouraging young people to help their community by
doing good deeds in observance of 9/11 Day through a new program called 9/11 Day At Home.
Our goal is to generate a minimum of one million acts of self-directed service for 9/11 Day
through virtual volunteering, good deeds, and other acts of charitable service that students can
do safely from their schools or at home.
As a teacher, do I need to follow your lesson plan, or can I develop my own?
This guide is intended as a source of ideas and inspiration. You are free to use the information,
modify the activities or make up completely new activities aligned with our purpose. We welcome
your feedback and suggestions to make this lesson plan better next year.
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Do they have to do their good deed on 9/11 itself?
We encourage students to either plan or perform their good deed on 9/11 and share their plans
or actions on social media on 9/11 itself.That said, students can perform their good deed at any
time, on 9/11, during the week of September 6-13, 2020, or at some point during the month of
September.
What if my students are too young to post their good deed on social media? How do they
participate?
Students or their parents can email their good deeds to us at info@911day.org and we will add
new ideas to the list of good deeds being posted on our website.
Can students do anything?
Yes. The idea is for your students to do something that has personal meaning. It can be any
good deed that helps someone else, including a friend, relative, or family member. It can even
include a helpful act that one does for themselves, such as quitting smoking, starting an exercise
program, or even registering to vote.
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