Teaching Ideas : Country Support
There are a number of activities that you can use following a natural disaster to help the children understand what has happened and identify ways that the school community can provide support and help to families whose lives have been ruined by the event.
The class can use their numeracy, literacy and geographical skills to investigate what has happened and think about how they can support others.
Get the children to develop their understanding of a natural disaster by spending time helping the class identify the location of the event and the scope of its impact. If some children have previously visited the affected area then allow them to share what they have learnt about the physical and political geography of the country. Use globes and maps to help the children identify the location of the affected area to the United Kingdom. You can also show the class some images of the countries that have been affected during the event so that they can begin understanding the geography of the location and how the natural disaster might have impacted the lives of families and communities.
Working in English, you can get the class to compose newspaper reports to record some of the main events that occurred during the natural disaster. The children can spend time making notes to answer the questions of who, when, where, what and why about the event. They can research information using the Internet to find out about the mechanics of an event such as why earthquakes or tsunamis can occur in different regions of the world. Remind the class to report the facts about the event using clear language that someone of a similar age could understand.
The class can illustrate their empathy and understanding about a natural disaster by composing prayers that can be offered to support families and communities affected by the event. Model to the children how to select and use special language to convey thoughts and feelings about what has happened. You can support some of the class by providing them with a template to construct their prayers. You can get some children to share their prayers during a whole school assembly about the event. The completed prayers can be displayed in a special area in the school next to some model candles to help the school reflect on the impact of the event on the lives of others.
Help the children take positive action to support families and communities affected by a natural disaster by getting them to raise funds that can be given to a charity working in the location of the event. The class could bake some cupcakes to sell to other pupils in the school to raise funds. The children could also bring in old toys and books from home to sell in a jumble sale to other classes. This activity can also get the class to develop their number calculation skills when working with money. Once the fundraising activities have completed the children can produce posters to display around the school showing the amount raised and how it will help countries affected by the event.
Allocate some time during the class day to allow the class to share their thoughts and feelings about what has happened. The children can share some of their concerns about the event so that everyone can provide support about how to overcome any worries about a similar event happening in their own lives. You can illustrate to the class how natural disasters that impact a huge number of families and communities are rare. Explain to the children how the timeline of an event can show how the global community can support each other when a country is in trouble.
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