Teacher, Teacher, I declare
There’s something up there
In the air
A cascade of clouds
Tryin’ to clue you in
To the coming weather
That could chase you in.
The clues are easy
For kids to learn
Have a class project,
With points to earn!
If you’d like for me
To show you how,
I’d be delighted,
And your kids will say, “wow.”
That was a fun little “ditty” to ask teachers and parents for their help in teaching kids about clouds. There are easy-to-recognize cloud clues that often develop well before a thunderstorm arrives. Learning them makes kids “WeatherSmart.”
Being WeatherSmart means that they know how to recognize dangerous weather. WeatherSmart kids have actually helped their parents avoid dangerous weather situations.
I plan to offer WeatherSmart certifications to interested schools.
As we head into thunderstorm season, I would like to partner not only with interested schools, but with other interested parties as well, to get my easy-to-learn clouds clues into the hands (and heads) of students. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please put “Cloud Kids” in the subject line.
Here’s a great example of NOT being aware of the sky: Last summer, I was walking north on Second Street, past the Presque Isle post office. Three high school students were well in front of me, walking in the same direction. This meant that we were all facing Caribou. They were all looking down at their phones. Directly in front of us, toward Caribou, was a majestic (and dangerous) thunderhead, towering above the landscape. Had any of the three of them happened to want weather info at that moment, chances are pretty good that they would have looked at their phones before looking at the sky.
Incidentally, learning about clouds can also ease anxiety. A mother introduced me to her child who had become terrified of dark clouds, after experiencing a severe thunderstorm. But once I was able to show him what to look for, along with what is threatening and what is not, he immediately lost his fear and was just a kid playing at recess again (according to the follow-up letter his mom kindly wrote).
Now THAT is an example of a Cloud Kid success.
Ted Shapiro holds the Broadcast Seal of Approval from both the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association. An Alexandria, Va. native, he has been chief meteorologist at WAGM-TV since 2006. Email him at email@example.com.