Engaging Readers: Natural Disasters Club

Each year, the Vanier Learning Commons supports a Readers Club which encourages students to explore a topic through both fiction, non fiction and digital media. This year the project was made possible by My Class Needs and Fuel Your School programs, who provided T-Shirts and copies of the text for each student.


Approximately 75 students in the Grade 3/4, 4 and 4/5 classes participated in the three month project. Activities on the  high interest topic were completed during prep time and during additional collaborative periods. Students showed their learning by creating through blogs, tweets, Today’s Meet and class discussion.


The focus was on ‘I Survived the Japanese Tsunami’ by Lauren Tarshis. Students explored Japanese culture by tasting Pocky, learning about Japanese schools and cherry blossoms. We looked at contemporary news footage of the disaster and examined the causes of Tsunamis. We read the novel in depth, exploring  many aspects of character and setting and exposing students to new vocabulary and language through the engaging text.


Students created Tsunami images that they photographed and digitally manipulated, blogging their creations. Read more about this App Smashing project and apps used here. The classes discussed how we use the iPads to create and then designed T-Shirts with the slogan ‘iPad, iCreate, iRead, iLearn’. These shirts are to be proudly showcased at a month end whole school assembly.

Finally, each student created an iMovie trailer, which included photos, video, screen shots, facts and feelings that they had developed and gathered about the disaster.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 3.51.15 PM

The students took ownership of their learning. They delved into the disaster of the story, were awed by dramatic videos, shared connections to the characters, researched background information, ’tinkered’ with new apps, and read, read, read. Take a look at a sample of the videos below.

Natural Disasters Club Student iMovies – 3 samples from Anna Crosland on Vimeo.


More are also available at http://georgesvanierlibrary.edublogs.org



4 thoughts on “Engaging Readers: Natural Disasters Club

  1. Bravo to you Anna and to your amazing students for the creative, innovative work with this #bookclub on #educationalsteriods
    You are planting the seeds of social justice and democracy in our budding responsible citizens.

  2. Great post, Anna! Interesting idea! But your blog needs & deserves a cool graphic! Why not show one of the kids Tsunami or T-shirt graphics? Just sayin! ;-)
    But such a cool idea for a richly researched tech integrated project!
    ~Gwyneth Jones – The Daring Librarian

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