9-11 Lessons and Links: 10th Anniversary Ideas

 by Alan Haskvitz

Voted 100 Most Important Educators in the World

for more resources go to

 From Time Magazine:

What my students did on 9/11

 9/11 Commemorations and Information

Get information about memorials, exhibits, and other means of remembering those who were killed or injured on September 11, 2001.

Videos about 9/11

Teaching about Patriotism

 A large link site with lessons and more


A free teaching booklet

 The best sites to teach about 9/11

 9/11 Memorial Site

Photos and information

 Lessons about terrorism

These are on terrorism.

 Links and a poem

The Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Terrorits

For older students

Time Magazine Photos

  Wolf Mountain Sanctuary: The Saving Place

Note: Idaho has apparently joined Alaska in the use of aircraft to rundown wolves and shoot them from the air. There is also the possibility, according to the Defenders of Wildlife, of the pups being gassed in their dens. It is my hope that wolves shall be placed back on the Endangered Species list of Interior Secretuary Salazar. Meanwhile, I have cancelled my trip to Alaska this summer and refused to attend any conference in Idaho or Montana.

 by Alan Haskvitz

The door swung open and I stood looking into the enclosure of the legendary wolf. The antagonist of Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and other works of fiction stood before me. I was entering the world of an animal that has created such fear in humans that they were hunted into extinction in the lower 48 states. Before me was a large wolf with vivid yellow eyes that followed my every move. I sat on a nearby picnic table and wondered what was going to happen next.

Licked by a Star

I caught a glimpse of the wolf as she moved towards me. Effortlessly she jumped on the table. I sat still, arms folded against my chest, breathing a bit fast, with my senses on high alert. What happened next was magic. The yellow-eyed giant started pushing against me, rubbing her nose in my hair, and…was that a kiss? No, it couldn’t be. Maybe a lick. Either way, this was the first time a movie star had ever, ah, kissed me. Yep, movie star. This was one of the wolves featured in the Twilight movies and several other films and television productions. .

During the rest of the visit with these great animals I was enthralled with their actions. They pushed against me, walked around me, and in general they were, well, good wolves. Little Red Riding Hood be damned. I left an hour later not only with a new appreciation for these endangered animals, but feeling that this was the best $35 I had ever spent. I wonder how the the Inland Empire Tourist people had missed promoting this gem.

Interacting with the Wolves

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is located in Lucerne Valley, about an hour drive for 909 readers. This is truly a saving place dedicated to preserving the lives and legacy of this nation’s few remaining wolves and to educating the public about them in a way few have ever dared. Unlike nearly any facility in the world, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary provides visitors with the opportunity to directly interact with the wolves, look into their eyes, and perhaps develop a fresh perspective on an animal that continues to be hunted for sport.

Tonya Littlewolf, who is part Apache, developed this remarkable facility as an extension of her life’s calling. As a youngster she would hide in wolf dens to escape the adult world. Seeing this unique ability to be at ease with these ancestors of the domesticated dog, her grandparent told her that working with wolves was her summons in life and believed she had the the spirit of the wolf about her. A lifetime later that prediction has proven correct. Littlewolf established the sanctuary in 1986 and never looked back despite huge meat bills and the rising cost of veterinarian visits. She has nearly single handled carved out a safe place for the public to go meet these noble creatures and to learn the truth about an animal that is again being pushed into oblivion after being removed from the endangered species list by the Interior Secretary.

I am part of he wolves they are part of me toghter they are one, we walk together, spiritial. healers.

Adopt a Wolf

At present there are 14 wolves sheltered at the Sanctuary and two pups are scheduled to arrive later in the fall. She takes in wolves from Alaska and other states. Typical of them is the wolf adopted by Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, California as part of meeting the State curriculum. The students had stared a wildlife club in honor of Wolf 527 who was killed just outside Yellowstone. This famous wolf was featured in a documentary showing how the wolves helped restore balance to the national park. The wolf was killed as it wore a radio transmitting collar. The students saw the need to get involved and asked Ms.Littlewolf if there was a wolf that needed adopting. She described a young, clumsy one that needed some love. The students arranged to provide ten dollars a month to sponsor this wolf named Denali. Over the years the students have watched Denali grow into an older, mischievous, and still clumsy wolf. They love to hear about his escapades such as nearly flooding his enclosure by opening the water spout or falling off a ledge when he misjudged his jumping abilities. It was a win-win for the students as they learned about wolves and their fund raising helped off-set the food bills for this clownish wolf. Others wolves need adopting, too, and Ms. Littlewolf supplies adoption papers and a biography. 

Wolf Mountain sanctuary is a non-profit facility and all funds go to the care of the wolves and are tax deductible. Several groups have tried to help, but it is the general public that is needed most, said Ms. Littlewolf. For $35 a person, half of what it would cost for Disneyland, the visitors get an explanation of what wolves are like, an introduction into how they are cared for, and an opportunity to enter their world. No extra charge for kisses from the stars. 

For more information go to

For reservations and directions call 1-760-248-7818

The Cardboard Box

By Alan Haskvitz

Free resources at



It wasn’t a very big cardboard box; maybe a foot wide and nearly as deep, and it probably weighed less then five pounds. Still it has been sitting in the living room for sometime without anyone having the strength to move it.

You see, this small box contained all my dad’s belongings from 90 years of life. His wife had died about a year ago and he had never expected to outlive her. They had very few material goods to show for their years of work and 60 plus years of marriage. But it didn’t matter because they had each other and their three children and that was enough.

When his wife died my father moved into a room at his daughter’s home and spent some time with his sons. But something was missing and he decided to return to Minnesota and his roots and sisters. It was a sudden decision as had been his sale of the trailer home he and his wife had lived in for over 20 years. A home they dearly loved so much they had spent nearly all their money moving it to a safer park after repeatedly been victims of crime. Within a year in this new safe haven his wife, my mother, died a slow death from cancer.

Dad was now alone. He desperately wanted to fit into his children’s lives, but it was so difficult being nearly deaf and with his sight almost gone. The thing that he seemed to enjoy most was just being around them and feeling their presence.

In early March my brother called and asked me to keep my dad the day before my father’s flight to Minnesota. I welcomed the opportunity. I especially wanted to thank him for all the things that an honorable man gives a son; passion, patience, motivation, and direction.

I arrived early to pick-up my dad and opened the car’s trunk in anticipation of a lot of luggage. I was wrong. My dad only had a small-wheeled suitcase, a handful of records and tax statements, and the box.

We came home to a meal my wife had made especially for my father and we talked about nothing. When my teenage son asked him when he was planning to return to California my dad started to cry. It is very hard to watch a huge man sob. Dad’s eyes filled with tears at the thought of perhaps never seeing his children again. He loved them in his way.

We sat across the dinner table looking at one another. Two men who never really learned how to express their feelings sat eating silently. A son and a father who in over 50 years had never hugged or exchanged an expression of love sat staring at each other trying desperately to find the courage to speak. Silently, heads down, we ate, and the opportunity slipped away.

Small talk around the television and the sharing of a few photos ended the evening. Before going to bed he walked into the bedroom and brought out the box.

“I want you to have this,” he said handing me the cardboard container. I thanked him and placed it unopened on a table in the living room.

We were interrupted by my brother arriving for the trip to the airport. My dad refused my offer of help with his suitcase. He was a proud man who had never bowed to anything in his life except age. A man brought up in the tough Dakota Badlands who had to quit school in the fourth grade to help support his impoverished immigrant parents. Dad shut the car door, and after a wave from his rugged farmer’s hand, was whisked away into an uncertain future.

“Be careful, Dad. We’ll call you, dad. Thanks, ” I said, trying hard to stuff each familiar word with so much more meaning.

A lot was left unsaid when my father left. I stepped back into the house not knowing I was never to see him again.

I looked at the small dusty box sitting on the table knowing that it contained all the worldly possessions from my father’s nine decades of life. Inside there was a glue stick, scissors, three hats, two pairs of sunglasses, two broken radios, a bookend with his initial, a remote control, and my mother’s small jewelry case.

I closed the box. It was too heavy with memories to move.


Harry Haskvitz died in September of 2004. He was 92-years-old. The box remains in a place of honor in his son’s home.


Alan Haskvitz is a former Reacher’s Digest Hero in Education. You can find out more about him and free materials at his website.

This article is copyrighted.

How to talk to students about the war and school violence

By Alan Haskvitz, national inservice presenter

I have placed resources that deal with the following issues here.

· Overviews

· Helping Young Children

· Resources for Caregivers, Teachers, Health Professionals and Communities

· Help for Older Children and Teenagers

· Coping with Loss

· Helping Adults and Helping Others

· Addressing Hatred

Find help to address kids’

questions about the war

By Alan Haskvitz, national

 inservice presenter

As youth struggle to cope with the war in Iraq, children may be especially disturbed and confused by the barrage of images and information. Adults – parents, teachers and caregivers – may need help to reconcile advocating non-violence with the necessity for armies and conflict. Here are some resources that may help in discussing the war, addressing hatred, coping with lose, and help for older students. There are also links to resources for caregivers, teachers, and health professionals and others.

I have them all posted here. No ads, no cookies, just educational links

On the Death of a Rescued Mastiff

By Alan Haskvitz, national teachers hall of fame

For more resources and educational links

It was a very sad story.

A huge Mastiff wildly was running along a desert freeway in the scorching summer heat. A chain imbedded in his neck, ears filled with dirt, and teeth that were broken and shattered. His hearing impaired, his eyesight nearly gone, in desperation he blindly ran towards a road crowded with fast moving holiday traffic.

Only a person with great compassion would stop a car and offer a chance for safety to a huge drooling skeleton of a dog, even at 150 pounds. But, it happened. A local area veterinarian assistant pulled to the side of the freeway and coaxed the franticly fleeing animal into her car.

At the veterinarian’s office, the dog’s condition was examined in detail. Cleaning the dirt packed ears that had left him nearly deaf, revealed that the Mastiff had to dig under a fence to escape. But, first, he chewed through the rusted chain that held him prisoner. The now splintered teeth had to be cut away, making it impossible for him to hold his tongue in his mouth. After digging into his neck, the vet was able to cut the chain away, revealing a scar that would never heal due to the deep imbedding of the links.

Southern California Mastiff Rescue was called to help find him a new home once he was on the mend. In the safety of their care, they found that he had probably been used to bait fighting dogs and this constant teasing made him aggressive towards other canines. It would be a difficult placement for this aging, nearly sightless and deaf escapee.

A few years earlier in a quiet Los Angeles community, a family of our four bought and raised a female Mastiff. They named it Kitty. With typical Mastiff devotion, she spent all of her life tending to the needs of the family. Between sneaking on the couch and snoring so loudly no one could sleep, she served as a neutralizing agent. She tucked everyone in at night, guarded the property when she was awake, and arbitrated all arguments by placing a paw on the loudest participant. She treated everyone differently. To the teenage daughter she was a confidant. To the young male, she was a protector, and fetcher of errant Frisbees. To the mother, she was a comfort when alone at night. And, to the father she was a fellow unsuccessful gopher hunter.

In her tenth year, she developed an infection that could not be medicated and Kitty was put to sleep. There was a long period of mourning, the framing of pictures, and a poem written. Eventually, the family healed, but emptiness remained.

It was about two years after Kitty’s death when a call came from Mastiff Rescue. They had a dog. Sad case. Runway. Male. Blind. Would you like to meet him?

The husband took the call from rescue. “Okay, “he uttered almost despite himself.

He was unprepared for what happened next. The rescue van pulled up and out sauntered a large, reddish dog that immediately set to marking his new territory. The scars on the dog’s neck, the dead retinas, and missing teeth all made him question his decision. After the van disappeared, the two strangers sized each other up. The father was starting to regret his decision. This dog had absolutely no personality.

The husband walked the Mastiff into the back yard, gave him fresh water, and a doggie treat. The Mastiff refused all peace offerings.

When the wife returned home she looked out the window and said to her husband, “Why is there a dog in our backyard?” She knew the answer: gophers. She walked outside and the once sullen dog got up, licked her hand, and ate the dog cookie she offered. The Mastiff was polite and gentle. The couple starred at the strange dog with mixed feelings. He was nothing like Kitty.

And then, magic. The teenage son came home from school and spotted the dog. He rushed out the door and the Mastiff came alive. He jumped, pranced, fetched, and chased the son. The dog was transformed from a moody, sulky stranger into a friend and companion. The two became fast friends. A new leash, collar, dog food dish, and toys of all types were hurriedly purchased. The Mastiff quickly gained weight. He slept in the son’s bed and they battled over the covers and the pillow.

Five years have passed since the Mastiff found his new home. He is now completely blind and deaf. The scars on his neck are still visible. His tongue still hangs from his mouth. He moves slower and his guard duty is now largely symbolic. Gophers are ignored and only movement around the food dish generates earnest interest. In reality, he is retired from his job of reinvigorating a family and relishes the joy of being loved.

This dog, like thousands of others, has been saved by the noble efforts of volunteer rescue groups around the state. The animals that they treat and offer to potential owners bring joy to both the pet and new family.

Sadly, but after a few great years, Ender was put down when he could no longer walk. He ate one last hamburger, which he unwrapped with the great patience he had always shown, and rode in our station wagon to the vets. He died quietly with dignity. Ender was a credit to his breed and a loss to humanity.

A year later he was replaced with a female rescue we named Haiya. A small, brilliant mastiff, she was saved by the rescue services from death after being beaten and kicked by previous owners who couldn’t handle her intelligence. She was beautiful and full of issues due to her previous inhumane treatment. She overcame her horrible early start to be the star of every dog training session. Her smartness enabled her to learn tricks instantly and to quickly ascertain each family member’s mood and needs. A treasure. Unfortunately, Haiya developed cancer and was put down when just four years of age. She too was greatly missed. As always the death of a dog serves to remind a family of the joy you should find in each day. It is too bad that it has to be such a harsh lesson, but at least for those who rescue animals there is the deep satisfaction of knowing that they helped, and isn’t that what a heaven is for….