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Learning Activity: Consider how to ease the transitions of displaced students

SPECIAL REPORT

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• Gallery: Landmarks over time
• Storm & Flood: Making history
• I-Report: Share your photos

(CNN Student News) -- Classes will examine the potential impact of Hurricane Katrina on students who were displaced by the storm and create tip sheets to help them adapt to their new communities.

Procedure

As education officials assess damage and begin rebuilding plans, schools across the country have opened their doors to tens of thousands of students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

The National Association of School Psychologists notes that by providing a stable and familiar environment, schools can help play an important role in helping students cope in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

The following activity is intended to help ease the transition for those students who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. (Note: If you have displaced students in your class, you may want to brief them on this activity and find out the extent to which they want to be involved.)

Divide your class into four groups. Refer each group to online resources to gather information about one of the following topics:

  1. Different ways that a major natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, can directly and indirectly impact individuals and communities;
  2. How people can constructively deal with their feelings about this disaster;
  3. Ways in which parents, teachers and caregivers can help displaced students in the wake of Hurricane Katrina;
  4. Community resources.

After each group presents its findings, ask students: If you were displaced by Katrina, what would be some of your biggest concerns? What thoughts and feelings might you have? What might students at your school do to help displaced students adapt? Following the discussion, help your class create a tip sheet (or Web site) for displaced students who have relocated to your community. The tip sheet could contain information on topics such as these:

  • local recreational activities (restaurants, movie theaters, athletic facilities, malls, etc.),
  • after-school programs,
  • understanding the impact of natural disasters,
  • knowing when to seek medical and psychological assistance, and
  • counseling resources.
  • Distribute copies of the tip sheet to schools in your community.

    Correlated Standards

    Health

    Standard 1. Knows the availability and effective use of health services, products, and information

    Level III [Grade: 6-8]

    Benchmark 5: Knows situations that require professional health services in the areas of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation

    Standard 2. Knows environmental and external factors that affect individual and community health

    Benchmark 3. Knows local, state, federal, and international efforts to contain an environmental crisis and prevent a recurrence

    Benchmark 4. Understands how peer relationships affect health

    McREL: Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education (Copyright 2000 McREL) is published online by Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) (http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarksexternal link), 2550 S. Parker Road, Suite 500, Aurora, CO 80014.

    Social Studies

    Standard III. People, Places and Environments: Students will make informed and critical decisions about the relationship between human beings and their environment.

    The Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (http://www.socialstudies.org/standards/external link) are published by the National Council for Social Studies (http://ncss.org/external link).

    Keywords

    Hurricane Katrina, disaster, schools, displaced students

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