Hurricane House

A Florida teacher tackles her pupils’ hurricane fears In 2004, Florida’s Atlantic coast was hit by a succession of hurricanes. Pupils at Surfside Elementary School were affected by the storms and their aftermath, and 3rd-grade teacher Annette Jankowski was determined to turn their experience into something positive. She attended a teachers’ workshop run by the local cable TV provider, which introduced her to a range of weather-related resources and projects. She was inspired to introduce an ambitious cross-curricular project on hurricanes to the 3rd-grade science unit on weather. A TV meteorologist talked to the children, and they researched and wrote about hurricanes. The idea was to develop literacy and ICT skills, but also to tackle the children’s anxieties. The highlight of the project was a session in which groups of pupils were given thirty minutes to build model houses that would withstand a ‘hurricane’ from a leaf blower. The children learned about design, and the importance of teamwork.

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