Lesson Plan: Cover Stories

Street SceneStreet Scene (Grades 68)

1. Display or distribute copies of The New Yorker cover titled Street Scene.

2. Ask students to look at the cover. If possible, zoom in to focus on specific sections. 

3. Lead a guided inquiry by asking the following questions (note: follow-up questions are designed to get students to support their responses with observations). Record their observations on a smartboard or chart paper by category.
-  Who: Describe the people you see on the cover. Who else do you see?
-  What: What are the people doing? What objects do you notice? What makes you say that?
-  When: When was this made? Why might that be important?
-  Where: Where does this take place? What makes you say that? 

4. Recap the recorded responses from students. Tell students this cover is connected to the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

5. Ask students how they would describe what’s going on in the cover to someone who cannot see it. How does the cover or what’s happening on it make them feel?

6. Share the following timeline of events with students. Ask them why these events might be important: 

Sept. 13, 2011: Broadway theater performances resume, with dimmed marquees honoring the 9/11 victims.

Sept. 17, 2001: Starting with a moment of silence, the New York Stock Exchange opens for the first time since the close of business on Sept. 10. Members of the FDNY, NYPD and PAPD ring the opening bell.

Sept. 17, 2001: After being canceled for six days, Major League Baseball resumes when the New York Mets play in Pittsburgh, Pa. Defying league regulations, Mets players wear NYPD and FDNY caps throughout the season.

Oct. 9, 2001: Students at Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan return to their school building.

Oct. 20, 2001: Celebrities and many in the entertainment industry participate in The Concert for New York City, a five-hour benefit concert held at Madison Square Garden and broadcast internationally.

Nov. 4, 2001: The New York City Marathon takes place as scheduled.

7. Share with the students that a big question after 9/11 was “How do Americans move on with their lives?” and that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Conclude by having a discussion with students framed by the following questions: Why is it important to move on after a tragic event? What might be the consequences of forgetting?

Image courtesy of The New Yorker © Condé Nast

Additional resources on the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and commemoration:

Interactive Timeline: Ground Zero Recovery
Primary Source: Statement by President George W. Bush in His Address to the Nation
Primary Source: Statement by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Ceremony Marking End of the Recovery at the World Trade Center Site
MEMO Blog: Obama, 9/11 Families, Rescuers and Survivors Dedicate Museum