- Language - Writing
- Be Prepared Letter
- 75 minutes
(can be split into two classes)
Draft, revise and finalize a friendly letter to their parents/guardians explaining why it is important to prepare a family emergency survival kit.
The Grade Three learners will:
- Sort ideas and information for their writing in a variety of ways
- Identify and order main ideas and supporting details into units that could be used to develop a short, simple paragraph, using graphic organizers
- Write short texts using a variety of forms
- Make revisions to improve the content, clarity, and interest of their written work, using several types of strategies
a) Learners – Required Prior Learning
- Students need to have completed the Engineering for Natural Disasters lesson of this unit
- Students should have some familiarity with the form of a friendly letter (salutation, body, closing, signature) and with the punctuation associated with a friendly letter
- Students should be familiar with hamburger paragraphs before completing this lesson however, it is not absolutely necessary
- Students should know how to use a dictionary and know how to use other spelling tools in the classroom (word walls, spelling journals etc.)
b) Learning Environment
- Students will sit at their desks/tables for the lesson
- Students will complete the assignment independently at their desk/table
- Copy of Hamburger Paragraph Sheet (attached)
- Copy of Hamburger Paragraph Organizer/Revision Checklist (attached)
- Copy of Friendly Letter Template (attached)
- Blackboard/whiteboard, chalk/markers
- A complete Emergency Survival Kit (content list available at www.ontario.ca/beprepared) spread out under a sheet
- Items (10 or so) that do not belong in an emergency survival kit (for example, plug-in lamp, high-heeled shoe, potato masher, remote control, dishwasher detergent, curling iron, CDs, DVDs, ice cream, hair dryer, rolling pin) mixed in with the items from the emergency survival kit under the sheet
- Copies of Emergency Survival Kit Word Search (available at the Emergency Management Ontario Web Site at http://www.emergencymanagementontario.ca/english/kids/kids.html)
- Copies of the Emergency Survival Kit Bookmark (available through Emergency Management Ontario, www.ontario.ca/beprepared) – optional but can be handed out at end of lesson
Introduction to Emergency Survival Kit terminology
b) Establishing the Learning
Recognition that natural emergencies can impact on our safety and level of comfort
Identification of items that belong in an emergency survival kit
Introduction to hamburger paragraphs
Introduction to friendly letter format
Hand out a copy of the Emergency Survival Kit word search for students to work on for 5 minutes.
Ask students to think back to the lesson they completed on Engineering for Natural Disasters. Ask the students to recall what natural disasters they talked about during that lesson (tornadoes, earthquakes).
Ask the students about what kind of damage a tornado can cause (blow down buildings, flip cars, damage power lines, rip up roads, cause fires, etc.).
Explain to the students that after some types of natural disasters (like tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, etc.) the damage can be extensive making it just too dangerous for people to leave their homes. Stores and banks can remain closed for days, the power can be out for a long time, telephone service can be disrupted, and gas and water lines can be damaged. In some cases, you may not be able to leave your home for several days and you will need to manage on your own while emergency personnel deal with rescuing people who are hurt or missing. This is why you need to prepare something called a family emergency survival kit.
Explain that a family emergency survival kit contains all of the items that a family needs to stay safe and comfortable for at least three days in the event of an emergency. An emergency survival kit is an important step in being prepared for emergencies.
Ensure that students understand that emergency preparedness begins at home and while Ontario has extensive emergency management plans in place to protect residents, each individual and their family needs to help by making sure they are able to be self-reliant for at least three days in the event of an emergency.
Ask the students if anyone has a family emergency survival kit at home, stored in a bag/box and in a location everyone in the house knows about.
Ensure that the students understand:
1. In an emergency, you do not want to be running around your house looking for a flashlight and batteries in the dark and this is why an emergency survival kit is important – all of the items you and your family need to stay safe and comfortable for at least three days are together in a bag or box that holds your kit
2. During or after a natural disaster or other emergency, it may be unsafe to leave your home to get things you need like food/water
3. In some emergencies (flash flood, forest fire), you may be told to leave your home quickly (known as an evacuation) and if you have an emergency survival kit ready, you can grab it easily to take wherever you end up going (evacuation centre or a family member’s house)
4. In a major emergency, emergency workers will be focusing on rescuing anyone injured, trapped or missing and by having an emergency survival kit, you help to ensure that emergency workers are available to focus on emergency rescue efforts
Tell the students to pretend that there is going to be a major power outage tomorrow that lasts three days. Explain that under the sheet on the table is a selection of things that you may or may not want in your emergency survival kit. Have the students work in groups of four and write down the items they would want to have in their kit.
Divide the class into groups of four and provide each with a piece of paper and a pencil for one of the group members to record their selections.
Give the students 10 minutes to decide and record their selections.
Have the students return to their desks and go through the items that belong in an emergency survival kit and why.
Students should check off the items they had correct as the teacher goes through the items.
Hand out the Hamburger Paragraph Sheet and explain how to write a proper 5 sentence hamburger paragraph.
Top Bun – Introduction sentence where the writer explains what they will be talking about and their viewpoint.
Veggies – First sentence that backs up the writer’s viewpoint
Cheese – Second sentence that backs up the writer’s viewpoint
Meat – Third sentence that backs up the writer’s viewpoint
Bottom Bun – Conclusion sentence that links back to the introduction sentence and ends the paragraph.
Model on the blackboard/whiteboard how to write a hamburger paragraph. Ask the students to select a topic to write about.
Hand out the Friendly Letter Template that students will use. Review the parts of the letter (salutation, body, closing, signature).
Consolidation of Learning
The teacher should ask the students the following quick check question:
Why do you need an emergency survival kit?
- In an emergency, you do not want to be running around your house looking for a flashlight and batteries in the dark and this is why it is important to have all of your emergency survival kit items together in a bag or box
- During or after a natural disaster or other emergency, it may be unsafe to leave your home to get things you need like food/water
- In some emergencies (flash flood, forest fire), you may be told to leave your home quickly (known as an evacuation) and if you have an emergency survival kit ready, you can grab it and have with you all of the things you need to stay safe and comfortable wherever you end up going (evacuation centre or a family member’s house)
- In a major emergency, emergency workers will be focusing on rescuing anyone injured, trapped or missing and by having an emergency survival kit, you help to ensure that emergency workers are available to focus on emergency rescue efforts
Explain that today the students will write a letter to their parents/guardians explaining why it is important to prepare a family emergency survival kit. The body of the letter will take the form of a hamburger paragraph so the letter will be five sentences long.
Hand out the Hamburger Paragraph Organizer/Revision Checklist and explain that students are to use the hamburger paragraph organizer to help them structure the body of the letter correctly. They should jot down the ideas they have for each of the five parts in the space provided and then use those ideas to write the five sentences needed on the Letter Template.
When they have completed a draft of their letter and completed a self-revision, students will find a partner to go through the Revision Checklist. The writer should go through the Revision Checklist themselves and sign off on each of the areas BEFORE finding a partner to review it.
Students should be made aware of the assessment rubric before beginning the assignment.
Observe the students throughout the lesson and assignment to ensure that they are able to use the hamburger paragraph organizer and understand how to write a friendly letter.
The students should be evaluated using the attached rubric. Use the completed letter and any observations to determine student performance.
Additional Related Activities
- Invite the local Community Emergency Management Coordinator into the classroom to talk about emergency survival kit and family emergency plans
- Have a Parent Information Night about emergency survival kits and have the students prepare a presentation for parents