Today we held the kick off meeting for the next phase of a project we are very proud of. In 2004 we created, wrote and illustrated books for children in grades 1-3 for the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The storybook for first graders, The Adventures of Rabbit, Possum, and Squirrel in The 30/30 Rule, teaches young children how they can protect themselves from lightning strikes. Professor Tinkermeister and the Wacky, Whiz-Bang, Weather-Watching Wonder, shows second grade readers how to protect themselves from thunderstorms. And The Oak Tree Club helps third graders learn about how they can create a Disaster Supply Kit for their families to prepare for a hurricane.
For the 2009 Hazardous Weather Week earlier this year, the Florida Division of Emergency Management partnered with us to create http://www.kidsgetaplan.com/. A 3D cartoon featuring “Professor Tinkermeister” and other characters from the books greets all Floridians on the home page of the site. Kids can choose from online interactive stories where they can have the story read to them or read on their own with just-in-time help if they get stuck. There are reading cues to help improve their comprehension and a glossary to help increase their vocabulary. Instructional activities include games that reinforce the learning from the books, including an activity that allows them to build a disaster supply kit for their own family. Downloadable coloring pages, character profiles and fully produced and sound designed depictions of the books are also available.
The kick off meeting today was for the next phase of the program which is for a 4th book and further enhancements to the website. This is a project that is near and dear to us since it helps children. All of us living in Florida know the variety of weather we get- lightning, hurricanes, fires, etc.- so to be part of such a great initiative is something we take great pride in.