We've had several natural disasters recently, and I'm sure they've come up in classroom discussions. Unusual earthquakes in Colorado and Virginia just fell out of the news and were immediately replaced by preparation for Hurricane Irene. Thinkfinity has lesson plans and other classroom resources for earthquakes and for hurricanes that you can consult, of course. Can you share your experiences in guiding students as they learn more about these (oftentimes upsetting) events that are happening in the world? What is your school system doing to prepare students? How do you deal with natural disasters in the classroom?
As an emergency manager I would target the level of information to the age group and based on the risk analysis, what can cause them harm and what they could do to protect themselves both on and off campus. I would emphasize planning for events that occur when the student is separated from the home/family. How to communicate. Plan for to locations to meet if one becomes inaccessible. I would encourage families to prepare to survive without assistance for 72-96 hour post event.
I know that there is a lot of information on the Internet on these subjects. I am a retired fire chief who likes to keep busy. So feel free to email with specific questions.
Two more points:
1. Strike while the fire is hot. As time passes interests levels wane.
2. Make sure is ready to implement all emergency plans before the first student enters the door. From my perspective this is your greatest responsibility.
For a literature-based way to talk about recent events, I highly recommend reading Nora's Ark by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock to grades k-4. It's about the flood of 1927 in Vermont. Though the themes of natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Irene and the resulting flooding) will resonate, so will the story of people working together, sharing limited resources and appreciating what they have.
While I admit a reading of the story would highlight the human altruism following a disaster, I feel a greater duty here to the students and ultimately their parents to prepare and be knowledgable of emergency procedures. Similiar to the program success that has resulted from Fire Prevention Week, a similiar program emphasizing proactivity needs both national and local input to general and specific preparedness based on the regional hazards they confront and the tools and skills they will need to survive for 72-96 hours without assistance. Then send the children into their homes with the message and the assignment to plan.
General Dwight David Eisenhower after planning for the successful Allied invasion of Nazi occupied Europe summed up the purpose of the plan. "The Plan is nothing. Planning is everything."