Miss-Lou teachers try to help teachers understand tsunami disaster

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 31, 2005

As tsunami death tolls continue to climb, lesson plans in some Miss-Lou classrooms are adjusting to incorporate the current event.

McLaurin Elementary fourth-grade teacher Heather Stroud said she thought it was important to talk about the disaster with her students and make sure they understood what happened.

&uot;Since the event happened I’ve changed my plans around,&uot; Stroud said. &uot;We are studying about the ocean water and tomorrow (Friday) we start talking more in-depth about water currents and ocean movement.&uot;

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The students were also assigned to bring in information from newspapers, magazines and television about the tsunami.

Stroud said the class has discussed the number of people killed and said her students proposed raising money to donate to the relief effort.

The class plans to kick of a fundraiser next week with other fourth-grade classes to collect pennies to be given to the Red Cross.

&uot;It was kind of their idea to do the project,&uot; She said. &uot;They knew the people over there needed help. It’s a small service project so I thought it would be a good idea.&uot;

At Vidalia Junior High School Glenda Greer also incorporated the tsunami into her sixth-grade science curriculum.

Greer used a streaming video from a science Web site to show the students the way a tsunami forms starting with the earthquake on the ocean floor.

&uot;We always do a unit on plate tectonics and earthquakes,&uot; Greer said. &uot;And I stopped and gave background and used transparencies to show them.&uot;

Greer said she was shocked to learn that very few of her students knew much, if any, of the news about the tsunami. Since many of the students didn’t understand the impact of the disaster, Greer said she used news reports she’s heard to explain the damage to them.

&uot;One student did ask what would be the problem with a warning system,&uot; Greer said. &uot;And why they wouldn’t have had a warning system.&uot;

She said other students expressed some worries that a tsunami could hit the United States, but said she explained that the area was not at a plate edge and Vidalia was not in danger.

At Trinity Episcopal Day School, juniors and seniors in Margaret Green’s global studies class spent time Wednesday discussing the tsunamis from several angles.

Green, who planned further work for the students, including in-depth current events assignments, asked students to reflect on the moral issues involved in the aftermath and how the world is responding.

At Trinity, Key Club members have organized a fund-raising drive for tsunami victims. Several club members were in the class and said Key Club members hope to have 100 percent participation from students and faculty and to have at least $1 donated per person.

&uot;That could be close to $500,&uot; Green said. &uot;That would be a significant donation.&uot;

Students talked about people they knew who had a link to the disaster in Southeast Asia &045; one knew of missionaries from his church to Indonesia, and another had a friend in the U.S. Navy who was sent to help with disaster relief.

Subjects ranged from how tsunamis can be predicted to future implications of the shifting plates beneath the Indian Ocean.

&uot;Imagine something moving that fast, 500 miles per hour,&uot; Green said of the giant waves following the earth quake. She asked how many students had experienced a rip tide at the beach, telling them to imagine that expanded many times to sense how it must have felt to be caught in the tsunami.