Booking Across the USA is the culmination of a collaborative blogging effort of over 50 educational bloggers who’ve come together to showcase a picture book, and share an activity, based on their state. Booking Across the USA is the brainchild of Jodie over at Growing Book by Book; and I was thrilled to be asked to participate. It’ll be a great way for folks to “tour” our wide-ranging country and “visit” varied states with nothing more than their library cards and their imaginations!
And my part? I’m representing the great state of FLORIDA! (Now, where o’where did I put my sash and bikini?)
Seriously- representing your state comes with a bit of pressure. What should you focus on? A famous native, a monument, a state symbol, or event? How about a geographical or agricultural feature? The possibilities are endless really.
The first things to come to mind when you hear Florida are usually things like sun, sand, oranges, DisneyWorld, and NASA. Then there all the neat places to consider, like St. Augustine, the Everglades, Key West– and did you know Florida has it’s own caverns?
But I chose to go a different route for our state adventure. Something more serious that comes to mind in connection with Florida. Something ominous but inevitable for us Floridians-
Living in Florida one grows accustomed to the annual threat of these powerful storms. We don’t have 4 seasons here; we have two— hurricane season and the rest of the year.
We don’t get snow days off from school; we have hurricane days. (And when you’re older you’ll throw “Hurricane Parties” where everyone can weather the storm together.) From the moment our children can steadily grasp a pencil, we have them tracking storms with free charts from our local Publix supermarkets.
Hurricane tracking is a great educational activity you can teach to your kids and is something that can easily be done from any state- whether or not you’re in the projected cone of impact or not. It’s obviously much more thrilling to be tracking a live storm as the coordinates are being broadcast daily on the news. But even if it’s not hurricane season you can still pull up old coordinates from past storms to hone in your tracker skills before the next storm season.
But before we get tracking, here are my recommended hurricane books:
Hurricane Wolf tells the story of Noah and his family as they prepare for an impending storm. The book is wonderfully detailed as it describes the family’s disaster preparedness routine from boarding up the windows to stocking up on water and supplies. You can also see Noah’s family plotting the path of the hurricane together. If you are looking for one go-to picture book on hurricanes, Hurricane Wolf, is my recommendation.
Yesterday We Had A Hurricane is a gentle introduction to these powerful storms. It’s sparse text and simple illustrations will keep the attention of the youngest kiddo in your bunch.
Hurricanes by Gail Gibbons and The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane are still geared for elementary children but both books are loaded with tons of facts and images which could get a bit overwhelming for children under 5. If your kids like the busier-looking pages then these books make a great and informative addition to your collection.
After your little meteorologist has read up on these massive storms, give them the tools to track them. There are numerous versions of hurricane charts out there but I prefer the Hurricane Tracking Chart from the National Hurricane Center.
If you happen to plan this activity during the months between June-November, chances are you won’t have to wait long for a real storm to brew up. If however, it’s on the off-season or there just aren’t any storms to track you can pull up some coordinates from seasons past. If you don’t have a particular hurricane in mind you can print off this booklet from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It has the track-able coordinates for 4 more recent and famous storms: Hugo, Andrew, Floyd, and Katrina.
After Mira finished her chart we pulled up Katrina’s path on the computer to compare her tracking to the real thing. Not too shabby, huh?
Hurricanes offer families the opportunity to begin discussions on the importance of disaster preparation. Use this time to review or formulate your family’s plan and courses of action in the case of an emergency.
Plan, prep, and pray for the best.
Don’t forget to check out these other blogging mamas from Booking Across the USA to see what else lies from sea to shining sea:
- Alabama: Everyday Snapshots
- Alaska: Little Wonders’ Days
- Arizona: Simply Kinder
- Arkansas: Homeschooling in Arkansas
- California: Juggling with Kids and The Outlaw Mom
- Colorado: Learners in Bloom and Living Montessori Now
- Connecticut: The Teacher Park
- Delaware: Mama Miss
- Florida: Teaching Stars
- Georgia: Fabulously First
- Hawaii: Teaching With Style
- Idaho: True Aim Education
- Illinois: Growing Book by Book
- Indiana: Teach Preschool
- Iowa: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
- Kansas: KCEdventures
- Kentucky: Chicken Babies
- Louisiana: New Orleans Moms Blog
- Maine: Country Fun Child Care
- Maryland: Picture Books and Piourettes
- Massachusetts: Mama Smiles
- Michigan: Play DrMom
- Minnesota: The Wise Owl Factory
- Mississippi: Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk
- Missouri- Ready. Set. Read!
- Montana: The Honey Bunch
- Nebraska: The Good Long Road (coming soon!)
- Nevada: Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts
- New Hampshire: Elementary Matters
- New Jersey: The Pleasantest Thing
- New Mexico: Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
- New York: What Do We Do All Day
- North Carolina: Realistic Teacher Blog
- North Dakota: ND HealthWorks
- Ohio: Smart Chick Teacher’s Blog
- Oklahoma: Herding Kats in Kindergarten
- Oregon: Journey of a Substitute Teacher
- Pennsylvania: Land of Once Upon a Time
- Rhode Island: Smiling in Second Grade
- South Carolina: Cookies and Kiddos and JDaniel4’s Mom
- South Dakota: The Wise Owl Factory
- Tennessee: No Monkey Business
- Texas: Curls and a Smile and Kid World Citizen
- Utah: Teach Beside Me
- Vermont: Burlington Vt Moms Blog
- Virgina: Once Upon a Story and The Freckled Homeschooler
- Washington: Home Learning Journey
- West Virginia: This Week @ Great Peace Academy and Mamas Like Me
- Wisconsin: Reading Confetti
- Wyoming: No Twiddle Twaddle
- USA: The Corner on Character