Dear Educators,

The 2 Steps a Month Project is a great project for students to do. I am a middle school science teacher and we are doing this project as part of earth science in connection with our study of severe weather, plate tectonics (we’re in California) and climate change . I created a page on my school website with the resources for the program for ease of access. When I first started the project I sent an email to all parents. You could also send a letter home explaining the project.

Before starting the unit. Students did a pre-assessment on how prepared their families were for a disaster. The survey was created with Google forms. Make a copy of the file for your own students. You may also want to add some science content questions to the assessment or add questions to reflect disasters that are more likely in your region.

At the beginning of month, I assign the month’s 2 steps and provide a hard copy of the checklist. It is also emailed to parents at the beginning of the month with a mid-month reminder. The 2 steps are due the last school day of each month. To find the month’s 2 steps click on each tab above. For each month there is a checklist, a tip of the month, a video (hosted on YouTube), community organizing tips, teacher resources and additional resources. I am using this program on my block, with my women’s group, colleagues and students. If I made modifications the month’s checklist for students, the 2 Steps handout will have a “Student version” in the document title under the “Teacher Resource” section. Otherwise, use the handout in the general section. I have also included suggestions on how to set up the program each month in the “Teacher Resource” section. Feel free to adapt the program and make it work for you and your students and community.

Since some months require items to be purchased or collected, I provide tips on how to keep the cost to a minimum. The basic requirement is to get the checklist signed indicating that the family did the best that they could with the full understanding that this will vary from family to family. I explain to the kids that the main thing is that they get started creating an emergency plan, consider possible scenarios and how to respond to them, and to do the best that they can to plan. Full credit is given for all months that the checklist is turned in and signed by a parent or guardian indicating that the assignment is done to the best of their ability.

I encourage you to share this program with the staff at your school and any other communities you belong to. Together we can create a more resilient community.  When our needs are taken care of, then we are more available to be of service to others.

Your feedback on how to improve this program or what worked well is greatly appreciated.  I am creating this program this year so some of the months have not been completed yet. Your comments about the project and additions will benefit us all. Correspondence can be sent to me at rebeccanewburn@gmail.com.

You may also be interested in another program I created, the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library. People can come to the public library and “borrow” seeds for free. We provide free education on seed saving. The basic idea is  people plant the seeds they borrow, let some go to maturity and return some of the next generation of seeds for others to borrow. The program was created as one that can be easily replicated by other communities using our “Create a library” page. Over 25 other seed libraries have opened based on our model in the last year. Teaching people seed saving has great connections to biology, ecology, environmental science and to our communities, heritage and souls. We also have seed saving integrated into our school garden and have educational signs explaining how different seeds are saved. (This signage will be available soon on-line at Richmond Grows, but feel free to email me in the meantime if you would like them.) Creating a seed lending library is easy enough that even a group of my 6th graders created one for our middle school library as part of our environmental science unit.

Yours in resilience,
Rebecca Newburn
Math & Science Teacher
Hall Middle School
Larkspur, California

Websites

  • Know the Facts – FEMA preparedness for kids
  • CalEMA (California Emergency Management Agency) – resources for schools