Before and After a Hurricane
The East Coast is busy preparing for this weekend's hurricane, effects of which are starting to be felt in the Carolinas. With widespread power outages, downed trees, flooding, and evacuations expected, Hurricane Irene has the makings of an economic and social as well as natural disaster. Ready.gov and the NOAA National Hurricane Center offer steps you can take to prepare, resources, and updated storm information.
Sesame Street offers a hurricane tool kit for parents, families, and caregivers to help young children feel safe and cope with their emotions. You'll find videos sharing how Big Bird and other characters prepare for the storm, clean up afterward, deal with being displaced from homes, and work together as a community to support each other. There are links to activities, resources, and these quick tips:
- Give children the facts.
- Comfort your children.
- Listen and talk to your children.
- Try to keep a normal routine.
- Spend time with your children.
- Pay attention to signs of stress.
- Monitor children's TV viewing.
- Empower your children.
- Take care of yourself.
- Inspire a sense of hope.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's FEMA for Kids website recommends putting together an activity survival kit to take with you if evacuation does become necessary. Suggested items include
- A few favorite books.
- Crayons, pencils, or marking pens and plenty of paper.
- A deck of cards.
- Small people figures and toy vehicles to play out what is happening.
- A favorite blanket or pillow.
- Pictures of the family and pet.
After the storm, Weather Wiz Kids, National Geographic, and Discovery Education offer lesson plans (and science fair project ideas!) on hurricanes to help explain what happened and engage students in learning more.
If the damage in your area is severe or you would like to learn more about preparing responses to future unplanned events, ASCD has a series of workshops that focus on helping educators meet displaced students' academic, physical, and emotional needs. Developed in response to hurricanes Rita and Katrina, these materials were recently requested for use with Joplin Schools after the devastating tornado outbreaks in April. Educators in all locales are invited to download the workshop materials and lesson plans to use with their colleagues:
- Building Resiliency: Introduces participants to an understanding of resiliency and how it pertains to individuals not only in an educational context but also in a context related to crisis, trauma, or cataclysmic events.
- Supporting Positive School Culture and Climate: Targets the importance of school culture and climate.
- Exploring New Roles for Families, Schools, and Communities: Focuses on developing a collaborative environment that will support quality learning and improve family outcomes.