Friday, June 18, 2010

Tornado Safety - Teachable Moment

If you live in MN, you probably heard the news that a record 36 tornadoes were spotted across the state yesterday.  Several people were killed; homes, businesses, and farms were damaged.  It's a lot to take in... especially if you don't speak English well and come from a part of the world where tornadoes are unheard of.

When I was teaching ESL full time, in our weather unit we ALWAYS talked about tornadoes and tornado safety: what to do if you heard a siren, staying away from windows, going to the basement, etc.  But I frequently sensed that my students "just didn't get it."  They told me flat out that they didn't believe that tornadoes could happen in the city, that they were safe where they lived.  Then just last summer, there was a tornado right in the heart of Minneapolis.

This morning's news makes for a powerful "teachable moment" regarding tornado safety.  While none of us want to terrify our students or make them feel unsafe, it's vitally important that they know what safety precautions to take when a tornado warning is issued.

Here are some online resources with photos, news stories, and safety information you can use: story: photo slide show:
Minnesota Public Radio story and photo slide show:
Tornado FAQ from the Storm Prediction Center:
Tornado Safety Info from the Red Cross
Test your knowledge with the Severe Weather Quiz:

Image source: University of Minnesota Climatology Workgroup.

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