Obama’s Speech: A Grade 8 Perspective

Most of my students were only about  3 or 4 when 9/11 happened.  Yet many of them still have memories from that day.  They talked about mom and dad turning off the TV when the towers were on fire or seeing people crying and hugging.

But today they really wanted to understand what went on that day.  We talked for quite awhile about my own memories from that day (a first year teacher who had been teaching for exactly  2 weeks and who was now faced with questions about the possibilities of a WW III…..)

But it was the fascination with Obama’ speech that lead them to create wordles in order to understand what he said.  They broke it down paragraph by paragraph….and this is what they created:

 Paragraph One: 


Using words that showed up “large” in the word cloud, they formed the conclusion that this paragraph cold be sumarized as saying:  “American people remember the September that many good people were killed.”

Paragraph Two:

“Committed to protect people from Al Qaeda’s attacks.”

Paragraph 3:

“We are committed to our friends and allies around the globe to protect against Al Qaeda and bin Laden.”

The end….

They go on to analyze the other 6 paragraphs as well.  But they all agreed that the closing paragraph produced the best wordle. 

“A thank you to all, tonight we say God Bless the American people…”

They did lots of great work today.  You can see their google doc at:


Grade 8’s….they show the capacity for deep thought.


About Cherra-Lynne Olthof

I've been a middle school teacher for my entire career (which began in 2001). Like my students, I too am a life long learner. My goals include helping my students to achieve their goals, support them in their learning, and to encourage them to think "beyond the grade".
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One Response to Obama’s Speech: A Grade 8 Perspective

  1. C Olthof says:

    Awesome lesson. I was impressed with the comments my kids came up with, but the use of the Wordles and breaking it down paragraph by paragraph was great. I love the conclusions that they came up with for each paragraph. I will be “borrowing” this plan.

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