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Tornadoes of 2011: Birmingham Edition

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Mr. Strickland and his Seventh Grade Students


Wilkerson Middle School; Birmingham City Schools


The students and community of Birmingham, Alabama and in particular Wilkerson Middle School were affected by the vicious storms that raged through Alabama at the end of April.  The students of Wilkerson Middle School needed an outlet for their feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and confusion.  This podcast provided them with not only that outlet, but also an opportunity to express themselves in regards to their safety, and the survival of their community.  As the comments are sometimes off the cuff and completely child created, there is no transcript, only the mention of the student's names.

Length: 05:46:33

Content Areas: English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Health and Physical Education, The Arts

Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:

AED (7-12) Visual Arts: Level I
2. Create original works of art using reflective ideas, personal experiences, and imaginary content.
Examples: reactions to current events, cultural traditions, fantasy
HE1 (K)
8. List behaviors that promote personal safety.
Examples: following emergency drill procedures, using caution when approached by strangers, wearing seat belts and safety equipment, looking both ways before crossing the street
HE1 (K)
10. Identify mental and emotional health concepts.
mental—self-esteem, stress
emotional—happiness, anger, love, fear
HE1 (7)
3. Describe how health is affected by the environment.
Example: respiratory problems caused by second-hand smoke
HE1 (7)
7. Demonstrate decision-making skills as they relate to situations involving health risks.
Examples: responding appropriately to sexual harassment, avoiding physical conflict, objecting to verbal and physical bullying, avoiding inappropriate electronic communication
ELA2015 (7)
22. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences. [W.7.3]
a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator, characters, or both; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically. [W.7.3a]
b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. [W.7.3b]
c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another. [W.7.3c]
d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events. [W.7.3d]
e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events. [W.7.3e]
ELA2015 (7)
31. Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study. [SL.7.2]
SS2010 (7) Geography
3. Compare geographic patterns in the environment that result from processes within the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere of Earth's physical systems.
  • Comparing Earth-Sun relationships regarding seasons, fall hurricanes, monsoon rainfalls, and tornadoes
  • Explaining processes that shape the physical environment, including long-range effects of extreme weather phenomena
  • Examples: processes—plate tectonics, glaciers, ocean and atmospheric circulation, El Niño
    long-range effects—erosion on agriculture, typhoons on coastal ecosystems
  • Describing characteristics and physical processes that influence the spatial distribution of ecosystems and biomes on Earth's surface
  • Comparing how ecosystems vary from place to place and over time
  • Examples: place to place—differences in soil, climate, and topography
    over time—alteration or destruction of natural habitats due to effects of floods and forest fires, reduction of species diversity due to loss of natural habitats, reduction of wetlands due to replacement by farms, reduction of forest and farmland due to replacement by housing developments, reduction of previously cleared land due to reforestation efforts
  • Comparing geographic issues in different regions that result from human and natural processes
  • Examples: human—increase or decrease in population, land-use change in tropical forests
    natural—hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods
    SS2010 (7) Geography
    10. Explain how human systems develop in response to physical environmental conditions.
    Example: farming practices in different regions, including slash-and-burn agriculture, terrace farming, and center-pivot irrigation
  • Identifying types, locations, and characteristics of natural hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and mudslides
  • Differentiating ways people prepare for and respond to natural hazards, including building storm shelters, conducting fire and tornado drills, and establishing building codes for construction

    National/Other Standards:

    What dispositions or traits of character are important to the preservation and improvement of American constitutional democracy?
    How can citizens take part in civic life?
    As a result of their activities in grades K-12, all students should

    Understand the physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface.


    Understand how to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future


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