Adam Warner North Georgetown Elementary, Jamie Chamberlain Townsend Elementary, Angela Robbins

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atriotism: Interviews from 9/11

Grade 4

Reading and Writing Instructional Module –Interview Feature Articles

Developed by –

Adam Warner North Georgetown Elementary,

Jamie Chamberlain Townsend Elementary,

Angela Robbins North Georgetown Elementary,

Melisa Stilwell Townsend Elementary
Project Facilitator –

Bonnie Albertson, University of Delaware
Reviewed by –

Denise Weiner and Theresa Bennett, Delaware Department of Education
Table of Contents

(Hold ctrl and click on the links to take you to the pages)

Acquisition Lesson #1 – READ Like a WRITER – The 5 Ws 3

Prerequisites: 3

Common Core Standards: 3

Essential Question: 3

Activating Strategy: 4

Key Vocabulary Words to Preview: 4

Teaching Strategies: 4

Acquisition Lesson #2 – READ Like a WRITER – the Interview 13

Prerequisite(s): 13

Common Core Standards: 13

Essential Question: 13

Teaching Strategies: 13

Activating Strategy: 13

Key Vocabulary Words to Preview: 13

Debrief Assessment Prompt 1 15

Summarizing Strategy: Modeling the Interview: 15

Resources/Citations (in order of occurrence) 15

Acquisition Lesson #3 – WRITE Like a READER 19

Prerequisites: 19

Essential Questions: 19

Common Core Standards: 19

Teaching Strategies: 19

Activating Strategy: 20

Key Vocabulary to Preview 20

Summarizing Activity: 21

Summarizing Strategy: 24

(typed copy) 29


Acquisition Lesson #1 – READ Like a WRITER – The 5 Ws

Acquisition Lesson Plan Concept: Identifying key details (5 Ws) in primary and secondary source informational texts.

Length of Lesson #1: 2-3 days Length of Unit: approximately 8 days


Students –

Understand the literary concept of “mood” in a text

Identify the main idea of a text

Know types of informational text (e.g., informational genres include text such as articles, essays, speeches, etc.)

Understand authors’ purposes for writing

Common Core Standards:

4RI2 – Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

4RI3 – Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

4RI6 – Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the difference in focus and the information provided.

4RI7 – Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

Essential Question:

How do you determine if a source is primary or secondary?

How do readers determine the main idea of informational text?

What do students need to learn to be able to answer the Essential Question?

Assessment Prompt #1: Identify a source as primary or secondary.

Assessment Prompt #2: Analyze key details in informational text to determine the main idea.

Activating Strategy:

Distribute the pre-lesson located in Attachment A: Anticipation Guide to each student. Students will complete the pre-lesson column of the anticipation guide to activate any prior knowledge they may have about primary and secondary resources as well as main idea and word choice.

Key Vocabulary Words to Preview:

Standards-Based Vocabulary

Primary sources

Secondary sources

Main idea

Key details

Informational text


Teaching Strategies:


Partners graphic organizer/materials

Attachment A: Anticipation Guide

Attachment B: Primary and Secondary Source

Attachment C: Sources: Primary or Secondary?

Attachment D: Analyzing Text

Instructional Sequence 1 – Sources of Information

1. Activating prior knowledge: Before showing the 9-11 video, the teacher should lead a class word splash in which students share words they think of when they hear the date September 11th, 2001.

2. Video: Show students the video from Reading Rainbow:The Tin Forest” from Discovery Education/Vermont Public Television. The video shares stories of hope in the wake of tragedy, including the book The Tin Forest by Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson. The program meets the students of PS 234 in Manhattan who had to attend another school after the September 11th terrorist attacks. After the video have students state what they believe was the mood of the students of PS 234 (hopeful and upbeat as well as reflective).

3. Primary and secondary sources: Introduce or review with students the definition of primary and secondary source material:

Primary sources: First-hand information from a person who was actually present at an event or during a time period. For example, if students attended a World Series game, they would be a witness to the game. They would therefore be a primary source of information about the game because they were there. As another example, an autobiography is a primary source because the author is writing about his or her own life.

Secondary sources: Information that comes from someone who got information about an event of time period from another source (e.g., a newspaper or a television show or an eyewitness) would be a secondary source. They were not physically present to witness the event. For example, if you heard about the World Series game on the evening news, you would be a secondary source, because you were not really there at the game, you just saw a tape about it and heard a sports caster tell about the game. As another example, a biography is a secondary source because the author is not writing about his or her own life, instead he or she is writing about the life of someone else.

Teacher note: There are many online resources for distinguishing between primary and secondary source material re: 9/11 (e.g., There are also many other sites (e.g., that offer collections of audio recordings from primary and secondary sources which teachers can screen. These materials may not always be suitable for 4th grade students. Teachers can preview for appropriateness and/or make their own PowerPoint presentations to extend this lesson. Or, teachers may simply present many different examples of source materials and ask students to sort them as “primary: the person was actually there” or “secondary: the person is reporting (drawing, writing about, etc.) about the event but was not physically there.”

4. Identifying primary and secondary sources: Teacher can model via think-aloud examples and then have students work in small groups or pairs to sort the following sources (cut out for students) onto a T-chart—see Attachment B: Primary and Secondary Sources. Teacher clarifies as necessary.



NYC firefighter or policeman

The President of the United States

Someone who worked in or near the Twin Towers

Someone who watched the Twin Towers collapse on TV

Someone who worked in or near the Pentagon

Students at your school who were watching the television reports about the Pentagon burning

A newspaper reporter who wrote about the event from the office

A newspaper reporter who was there on the grounds of the Twin Towers

Letters written by someone who observed the planes hit the Twin Towers

Letters written by someone who heard about the planes hitting the Twin Towers

Assessment Prompt #1: Teacher projects pictures Attachment C: Sources: Primary or Secondary? Identify the pictures as examples of primary or secondary sources and explain choices. Differentiation: Teacher can have students label P or S and ask students to provide a verbal defense of answers.

Instructional Sequence 2: Main Idea for Informational Text

Set a purpose for viewing: Inform students that they have learned the basics for determining if a source is primary or secondary. Tell them that knowing whether a source is primary or secondary can help readers identify the main idea and the important details.

Activating strategy: Have students brainstorm words/phrases that come to mind when they hear “main idea” and “key details.” Teacher can record student answers. The goal of this activity is for students to know that information is needed about the Who, the What, the When, and the Why or How of the event. Initially, however, students will likely give vague answers such as “important stuff,” and the teacher will have to probe with questions such as “What do you mean by ‘important? Important to whom?’” and “what does ‘stuff’ mean?” Teacher continues to probe by asking students what kinds of information is important to informational texts such as the primary and secondary source materials they have been reviewing for 9/11. The teacher can ask, “What kind of information did you hear from the students interviewed in the Reading Rainbow video they previewed in Lesson 1?”

1. The 5 Ws: Share the essential question, “How does understanding the 5 Ws of primary and secondary sources help readers to determine the main idea of the text?” with the students. Emphasize that different sources may have different answers to important questions such as those in the 5 W about the same event. Teacher can return to the previous example (or a more relevant example) of a World Series game. Whether the eyewitness or source was for the winning team or the losing team might change how that source interpreted what happened (the what, why/how) in the game. Similarly, a reporter for the newspaper or TV station for the town of the winning team might offer different information than a reporter for the hometown of the losing team. Understanding the perspective of the writer can help readers better understand the main ideas and key details. Bringing the example back to 9/11, what a firefighter reported as the important information might be different from what someone would notice if they were watching the towers collapse on the television. When you are a secondary source, you only know the information reported to you.

2. Guided reading: After clarifying understanding of the 5 Ws with students, teacher can project a copy of article “Muslim-American Teens Proud to be Part of US,” which teachers can access from the Scholastic News Online website at (Teacher note: Scholastic News Online allows for visitors to download a single copy of an article. Subscribers, however, can also order or access additional copies, and many Delaware schools do have subscriptions). Project the article on the Smart Board (or Elmo, etc.), and read the passage to the students. (Teacher note: Read the passage more than once). At this point ask students to determine if this source is a primary or secondary and have them explain why using 1s/2s partners. (Secondary, because the author, Karen Fanning, is reporting about how several Muslim students’ experiences in the aftermath of 9/11).

3. Introduce graphic organizer: Explain to students that in order to analyze what has been read, together you are going to fill out a chart to help them determine the key details and the main idea. At this point hand out the graphic organizer at Attachment D: Analyzing Text. In order to ensure that all students have the equivalent information, place a copy of it on the Smart Board so that you can record the information as well.

4. Identifying the 5 Ws: To model/practice analyzing the text, call on student volunteers to provide the information for each of the 5 Ws. Model process by probing students to identify specific information that accurately answers each of the Ws (and highlighting the sentence or sentences from the article). This will allow students to see directly where the information was located. Model putting the information into your own words, when appropriate.

5. Modeling/guided practice—determining main idea: Teacher models via think-aloud, asking students to help out, how to construct the main idea using the 5 Ws as a reference. Regarding the graphic organizer as a “formula” (who + what + where + when + why/how = main idea) may help. Because this part of the lesson is more complex, reassure students that they will get a lot of practice using the 5 Ws to determine the main idea.

6. Paired reading: Provide students with a copy of a different grade-appropriate passage dealing with the general subject of “Heroes of 9/11.” Two such articles, “Heroes of September 11th” and “Canine Heroes of September 11,” both by Joyce Furstenau, are available on This site requires an inexpensive subscription—less than $20 per year for a single license. On the site, teachers can search articles by subject and/or readability. When printing the articles, teachers can select font type and size to accommodate the needs of their students. See resources section at the end of this Acquisition Lesson for other possibilities. Teacher will again provide students with a blank copy of Attachment D: Analyzing the Text and a copy of the article. Pair the students into high/middle and middle/low partners. In partners, have the students take turns reading the passage to one another.

7. Guided practice identifying key details: After reading the passage twice, students will take turns locating and recording the 5 Ws (not the main idea) on their organizer. Monitor students to ensure that they are highlighting the sentence(s) within the text that answers each of the Ws. Once most students have completed the organizer, reconvene as a class to share answers. Teacher clarifies any misunderstandings and students correct or modify any answers on their own graphic organizers. While students are sharing, teacher again records their responses on the Smart Board. This will help to ensure that all students are on the right track.

8. Guided practice determining main idea: After having consensus on the 5 Ws, pairs return to their Graphic Organizer to craft a main idea statement. Call on all pairs to share their main idea of the passage. As pairs share out, record their main idea on the SmartBoard. Once all pairs have shared, discuss the commonalities among all statements.

Differentiation: For students ready for a challenge, teachers may point out that the “what” is normally a verb phrase while the “who, when, and where” are normally nouns. The “why/how” is often more complex phrases or clauses. Scaffolding: Here, and throughout, the teacher can partially complete any/all graphic organizers to help struggling students access the information. If appropriate, more scaffolding may be necessary before students can independently identify 5 Ws before or after reading the “Muslim-American Teens” article. For example, teacher may first want to model with a simple fairy tale or recently read classroom story. Teacher can also return to Reading Rainbow video used for activating strategy for additional modeling, guided practice. For example, the teacher could complete the “where” and then have a cloze-type sentence for the “why/how” so students could have less information to process.

Assessment Prompt #2: Analyze key details in informational text to determine the main idea. [Teacher provides students with an additional article and a blank copy of Attachment D: Analyzing Text. Teacher can read article aloud as students follow or students may read the text in pairs as in Item 6 above. Students complete the organizer, including a main idea statement, independently.]

Summarizing Strategy: Have students label each of the articles read as primary or secondary sources. Then, compare the completed organizers (Attachment D: Analyzing Text) for all three (minimum) articles read. Note differences in information and ask students to explain why the information might be different for the different articles. Emphasize that what is considered “important” or “key” details depends on “who is telling the story.”

Resources/citations and copyright information (in order of occurrence):

Reading Rainbow archive shows can be accessed from a variety of sites:

“The Tin Forest” –

Scholastic News Online – To request permission to place a link from your website to, please send your name, address, website URL, and nature of the website to:

“Muslim-American Teens Proud to Be Part of U.S., by Karen Fanning.

“Heroes of September 11th,” by Joyce Furstenau

“Canine Heroes of September 11,” by Joyce Furstenau

Additional sources for 9/11 articles appropriate for students from a site with links to educational resources dedicated to 9/11— – shows front pages for America’s major newspapers. – scholastic online site dealing exclusively with remembering 9/11. – a variety of videos dealing with 9/11.

Attachment A: Anticipation Guide

True/False Anticipation Guide

Directions: Before the lesson, think about whether or not the statements are true or false and place a check in the appropriate box under the "Before Lesson" heading. After the lesson, think about the information you saw and whether or not the statements are true or false. Then, place a check in the appropriate true/false box under the "After Lesson" heading.

Before Lesson

After Lesson



Statements about the Topic



Primary sources have to come from someone who witnessed the event.

Primary sources have to be in written form.

If a person witnesses an event but does not write about it until 10 years have passed, it is a secondary source.

A secondary source is written after the event by someone who was not present during the event.

Primary sources can be media form (for example, photos, video, or audio).

The main idea is a statement that includes all details from the text.

An author’s word choice is what sets the tone of the text.

In order to analyze the text, a reader must identify the who, what, when, where, and why of the text.

Attachment B: Primary and Secondary Sources



Attachment C: Sources: Primary or Secondary?

1. Interviews with NYC firefighters

2. World History textbook

3. A newspaper article from the sinking of the Titanic

4. A letter from Thomas Jefferson

Attachment D: Analyzing Text

When you are reading a text, picking out the 5 Ws (who, what, when, where, and why or how) will help you identify the most important details for an informative text. Locating the 5 Ws will also help you determine what the main idea is.

Directions: Fill in the chart below with information from the text.


Who +

What +

When +

Where +

Why or How +

= Main Idea

Reading to Writing Connection Warner, Chamberlain, Robbins, Stilwell

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