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Students complete service projects

September 5, 2023

Using 9/11 Day of Service Lesson Plans to Improve Your Classroom Climate All Year Long

Learn how you can use 9/11 Day of Service lesson plans to improve your elementary-level classroom climate throughout the school year.


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As teachers, we all spend the first few days of the school year talking about our classroom environments, from rules to routines. 9/11 Day lesson plans are all about gratitude, good deeds and thinking of others—things that teachers may choose to highlight around the anniversary of Sept. 11, but want their students to consider throughout the year. Here are a few ways you can use 9/11 Day lesson plans to incorporate the ideas of gratitude, selflessness and doing good deeds into your elementary-level classroom at any time.

Class Service Project

Expand this project from a once-a-year endeavor to a weekly or monthly event. Throughout the school year, brainstorm other class service projects your class(es) can do together. 

Incorporate persuasive writing, and have older students write a piece about what they think the next class project should be and why. They can do this independently or in groups of students who have similar ideas. Students can write letters, create videos or deliver presentations to other students, teachers or administrators in an effort to drum up support for their projects.


Make a gratitude bulletin board. Have kids draw or write (depending on their ability level) something they’re grateful for once a week or whatever time frame works best for your class, and put these on the bulletin board. This is a great way to get across that gratitude doesn’t just have to be about big things like vacations and birthdays, but being grateful for everyday things they might not think about right away like the bright sunshine, trees that give us shade when it’s hot, or cold water on a hot day. If you have access to a bulletin board in a more public location—a hallway, foyer or the cafeteria, for example—consider making this bulletin board an interactive activity for the whole school. 

Good Deeds

Create a “Good Deeds” classroom book. Have blank pages available for kids to either draw or write about (depending on grade level and ability) when they did a good deed, saw someone else in the class do a good deed, or were the recipient of a good deed. Have a designated time at the end of each week to go through these good deeds as a class—a “Good Deeds Read Aloud” if you will.

Create stickers or papers saying, “I did a good deed today!” or something along those lines. Every time you see a student do a good deed, you present this student with the sticker/paper. Make an effort to highlight the smallest and largest of good deeds so students are continually reminded of the importance of all acts of service and kindness.

Create a weekly Good Deed challenge. Challenge students at the beginning of each week to do a good deed for a classmate, staff member, family member, etc. At the end of each week, set aside time for students to share and talk about their good deeds with the class.

Create a Good Deeds bulletin board. Catch students doing good deeds in your classroom, and take pictures of them. Print out the pictures and continue to add these pictures throughout the year as a reminder to students, especially on the “tough” days! Again, you can consider making this type of bulletin board available to a larger population of staff and students if you have access to a board in a more communal area.

Personal Service Project 

Challenge students to do more of these service projects throughout the year. Some may choose to partake, while others may not. Give a student who does another service project the freedom to put together a slide presentation, a drawing, or to write something (whatever is motivating and exciting to them) to tell the class about it.

Instilling in our students the importance of service, kindness and good deeds—not just as broad concepts, but as tangible lessons and experiences—is a goal that we as educators all share. 9/11 Day gives us the opportunity to set the tone early, and to inspire a lasting culture of kindness in our classrooms.

About the Authors

Nora Perreault is a special education teacher in Connecticut.  Her post-secondary education focused on Autism Spectrum Disorder and her work experience has enabled her to gain extensive knowledge in foundational reading instruction.  She has more than 14 years of experience working in elementary and middle schools. 

Joe Perreault is a library media specialist in Connecticut.  Before that, he was a classroom teacher and technology integration specialist.  He has also worked for 9/11 Day as an educational consultant, helping to craft lesson plans and other teacher tools.

Both Nora and Joe love spending time, preferably outdoors, with their three kids.  When Joe doesn’t have his nose in a book, he can be found playing or coaching lacrosse.

9/11 Lesson Plans and Resources

From examining the events of 9/11, to discussing American values, and connecting 9/11 to the Constitution, this list of resources has several options for teachers to cover the topics surrounding 9-11-2001.

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9/11 Day

Since 2001, 9/11 Day has grown to become the nation’s largest annual day of charitable engagement, with more than 15 million Americans, and others around the world, taking time out each September 11 to volunteer, support charities, and engage in other good deeds.To learn more about 9/11 Day and acce

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