Yesterday, America was attacked again. There were twin bombs that went off during the fourth hour of the Boston Marathon. We had a few staff members here in our school district who ran in the Marathon They are fine and safe. My heart goes out to those families who are suffering from death or maiming of a family member at this time. This is a hard time not only for those in Boston, and those who ran and were injured yesterday, but also for the rest of us. We all mourn for the loss and destruction this event caused. I am optimistic that as the days go on the authorities will find the people responsible.
Yesterday was also Patriot’s Day in Boston, and Tax Day for the rest of us in America. Looking at this tragedy, we must also look what can we teach our children as they watch this unfold in the news, and on social media. Depending on the age of your children, or students, we can use some of the following to teach our children.
1. Good Samaritans: There are people who will not take into account their own safety or injury to help others. You need to be on of those people. As this story unfolds in our classroom discussions, in social media, and in their homes, we need to showcase the many heroic story of these Good Samaritans. It might be good to showcase emergency workers as a profession.
2. Be Prepared: In our post-9/11 Era that we live we must be prepared for the worst in any situation. Keep your eyes open for strange acting people. Know your surroundings, and find any or as many emergency exits as possible in case something goes wrong.
3. Social Media and Technology will be in full use: When you are out in an event like the Boston Marathon people will take pictures and videos. They will be reviewed by the authorities to help find the person or people responsible. In our day and age, technology will continue to be a presence in our culture and society. Think about other major disasters where technology was used to help give more evidence to the authorities. Discuss in your classes, where major tragic events happened before technology and social media could have helped. Some examples, are Pearl Harbor bombing, Presidential assassinations and attempts, and the stock market crash of 1929.
4. Boston / and The Marathon: One aspect of all of this is to learn more about Boston. Patriot’s Day in Boston, is a celebration to remember the Battles of Concord and Lexington which started the American Revolution. So, discussing the role that Boston had in the founding of our country, and the influence it had during the American Revolution is a great place to start. Compare historical maps of Boston with modern maps and see the similarities and differences. Take a tour of the city using Google Earth. Research landmarks throughout Boston and find why they are important not only to Boston, but to America.
Discuss the Patriot’s Day holiday in Boston, and why it is important to them. How does it compare with the Patriot’s Day celebrated on 9/11? Find the reasons why the Marathon was started in 1898. Why was it significant to the people of Boston to have such a city wide activity?
5. Discuss other major tragedies that have occurred in the month of April: I was watching the Today show this morning, and they were discussing other tragedies that have occurred in April such as:
The Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995
Columbine School Shooting in 1999
The Virginia Tech shooting in 2007
Have students hypothesize why such tragic events happened in the Month of April. Research what other events happened in the same month. Are some linked to other events that occurred in April?
6. CSI Investigations: This would be a great time to do a unit on CSI investigations. Research the departments of the FBI, and other police departments who look at these kinds of events and study their ways of investigation.
7. Writing, blogging, and sidewalk chalk: Sometimes students need to express themselves. Some students like to put pen to paper. Some students like to blog. Some need an artistic outlet. Give it to them. If they decide to write a letter to the victims, or just for expression. Let them do it.
8. Student Action: Have students create a cause on causes.com to raise money for victims. I saw on twitter, that someone suggested to have people run 1 mile a day for 26 days to remember the victims of the bombing. Let students be creative. See what they come up with.
In conclusion, what has happened on Monday April 15th in Boston during the Marathon has many different faucets of learning. It just depends on how you look at it. I know it is a sensitive issue and is still raw. It’s moments like this that we come together to heal, we also come together to learn.