Kentucky is Resilient

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

We are haunted by the many horrific images and videos that mark last week’s storms. It is heart-breaking to see these communities across our state and surrounding states ripped apart and left with so many losses. I am very familiar with many of the eastern Kentucky areas that were targeted by the tornadoes. Since they are part of the area I cover, I often visit Magoffin and Laurel Counties. I have made many good friends in these schools and towns. My territory has changed a bit, but during my early days at KET, I also traveled to Johnson, Lawrence, Menifee, Martin, and Morgan Counties. I know these strong, caring, thoughtful, and genuine folks and their broken structures.

It’s inspiring, though, to see community members pulling together, caring for each other, and working hard to reconstruct their lives. These towns will never be the same, but the people will always be those neighbors who are willing to help when it is needed and will never ask anything in return. That will never change.

KET has been working hard to pull together some resources for our communities.

Tune in tonight, March 6 at 7/6 p.m. CT, to KET for Storm Recovery: Special Report. In this special program, Gov. Steve Beshear, Sen. Tom Jensen (R-London), Rep. Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), Kentucky Senate Majority Floor Leader Robert Stivers, two regional emergency response officials, and a school psychologist will be among those discussing the statewide damage from last week’s severe weather, current aid and recovery efforts, and more. The program, hosted by Bill Goodman.

Studio guests include: Brigadier General John Heltzel, director of Kentucky’s Division of Emergency Management; Libby Turner, Region IV Federal Coordinating Officer for FEMA; and Dan Florell, Ph.D., assistant professor in the School Psychology Program at Eastern Kentucky University. Beshear, Jensen, Koenig and Stivers will join the discussion from Frankfort.

As those who suffered such devastating losses from last week’s tornadoes are combing through and clearing the rubble to salvage what is left and try to gain some form of normalcy, parents and teachers (even when they, themselves, may be in the midst of the rubble) are helping children cope with such loss. It can be a scary and difficult feat, but there are resources to assist in helping children to understand and cope with these emotions.

How to Handle Children’s Questions About Scary News: Tornadoes. Tsunamis. Terrorists. There’s certainly no shortage of scary stories in the news. What do you do if your child starts asking questions that you’re not prepared to answer? Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, VP of Research and Education at Sesame Workshop, has some simple strategies to help you respond.

Strategies for Talking with Kids About News: This article offers flexible suggestions for answering kids’ questions about the news. There is no script to follow, but these strategies can help you tune in to what your child is thinking and feeling so you can talk together about it.

Comforting Children in a Disaster: During or after disasters, many families suffer from the onset of sudden stress. These times may be particularly difficult for preschoolers, who may not understand all that is going on around them. Here are some suggestions for helping children cope, overcome obstacles, and increase their resilience.

Hurricane Kit and Helping Families After an Emergency: Hurricanes, storms, and other natural disasters can be difficult for young children who may not fully understand what’s going on around them. These tips, activities, and videos can help them feel safe, cope with emotions, and understand that there is hope for the future.

Other teachers are taking the opportunity to teach about tornadoes and weather. We have compiled a list of resources that we think will assist in this educational opportunity.

If you are planning to teach your students about tornadoes and weather forecasting, the following videos, collected from KET Teachers’ Domain and PBS LearningMedia, can provide images and context for your lessons.

Understanding Tornadoes

  • Chasing Tornadoes: In this NOVA video segment, scientists use Doppler radar to gather data about the formation of tornadoes. (grades 6-12)
  • Tornado Chaser Footage: Video segments adapted from NOVA feature extensive footage of a tornado and tornado damage. (grades 3-12)
  • Rate Tornado Damage: This interactive from NOVA Online allows students to use the Fujita tornado intensity scale to assess the destructiveness of actual tornadoes. (grades 3-12)
  • How Do Tornadoes Form?: This NOVA video segment uses computer simulations to show how supercell thunderstorms produce tornadoes. (grades 6-12)
  • Tornado Model: In this DragonflyTV segment, children explore the forces that produce a tornado through their own tornado model. (grades 4-6)
  • Fujita Scale: In this DragonflyTV segment, children visit the site of a recent tornado to determine its strength on the Fujita Scale. (grades 4-6)

Weather Prediction

  • Storm Tracking: This video helps students understand how weather experts track severe weather events. (grades 4-6)
  • Clouds and Weather: Learn about different types of clouds and the weather they signal in this video featuring original stop-motion animation. (grades Pre-K-1)
  • Kid Meteorologist: ZOOM guest Amy visits a weather observatory to see weather prediction instruments and discuss how air pressure affects weather patterns. (grades K-8)
  • Scientist Profile: Wind Reasearch Assistant: A weather researcher studies the damaging affects of tornadoes and hurricanes. (grades 4-6)
  • Scientist Profile: Meteorologist: A “storm chaser” investigates hurricanes, tornadoes, and other wild weather. (grades 4-6)
  • Forecasting: In this DragonflyTV segment, children test traditional “folk” forecasts against modern weather predictions. (grades 4-6)
  • An Electronic Field Trip to the National Weather Service: A tour of the Louisville forecasting station explores how scientists track atmospheric conditions and use that data to forecast the weather and issue warnings. (grades 3-12)

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