To help educators and caregivers help youth cope with the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Development program is reviewing and recommending curriculum materials that emphasize hands-on activities.
"Facing Fear: Helping Young People Deal with Terrorism and Other Tragic Events," provided online by the American Red Cross, is one such example. It is outstanding, according to LSU AgCenter character education state expert Sarah Williams.
The lesson plans include five components: lesson objectives; hands-on activities, featuring easy-to-find, inexpensive materials to help children learn by doing; links across the curriculum, which identifies activities for related core subjects; a wrap-up, with open-ended questions to elicit discussion; and home connection, which is a collection of activity sheets for students to complete with their families, reinforce concepts covered in class and help families learn important coping and preparedness skills.
Williams says "Facing Fear" was developed to address a demand by educators and caregivers of children for materials to help children cope in uncertain times. The curriculum is a supplement to "Masters of Disaster," children's natural hazard safety curriculum. The format and components are similar, including ready-to-use lesson plans, activities and demonstrations that can be incorporated within core subject areas.
Lessons are aligned with national health, social studies and language arts standards. They are arranged in three chapters:
• Chapter 1: Feelings. This includes lessons and activities that are timely immediately following a tragic event. Lessons address dealing with feelings of loss, sadness and anger.
• Chapter 2: Facts and Perspectives. This gives information on how the media play a role in conveying information and how to be able to discern facts as reported in media coverage, yet not continue to frighten children. It also covers the important fundamental principles of the Red Cross.
• Chapter 3: Future. This provides positive ways for children and their families to respond to past events and plan for future uncertain times.
The materials consist of four lesson plans for each of the three chapters, with approximately 27 hands-on, student and family oriented activities that engage students in learning and offer families comfort, knowledge and disaster preparedness skills. The lessons are aligned with national health, social studies and language arts curriculum standards, so they accommodate existing curricula standards.
Printed copies of "Facing Fear" also are available from your local American Red Cross chapter. To find your chapter, visit www.redcross.org. Lessons and activity sheets can be downloaded.
For information on related hurricane recovery topics, click on the links at the LSU AgCenter home page, at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.