Miami 4th-Graders Write About Their Experiences With Hurricanes

Last Updated by Laura Dimock on


When the fourth-graders in Mrs. Marlem Diaz-Brown's class returned to school on Monday, they were tasked with writing their first essay of the year. The topic was familiar: Hurricane Irma.

By Wednesday, they had worked out their introduction and evidence paragraphs and were brainstorming their personal experiences. To help them remember, Mrs. D-B had them draw out a timeline — starting Friday before the storm. Then, based on their drawings, they could start to talk about — and eventually, write about — what they experienced.

After drawing their experience during Hurricane Irma, students had an easier time talking about it to the class.

Elissa Nadworny/NPR

The essays all started off this way: The name Irma will always strike fear, disappointment, and dismay in our city. Here's what else they had on their minds:

Antonio Santamaria, 9


Antonio Santamaria

Elissa Nadworny/NPR

"I felt like Dorothy and her dog in the Wizard of Oz, the winds were howling around my house, the rain came on and off, lights flickering on and off in the kitchen. Irma, she devastated the internet and the cable, so we played board games. We had a really good family time experience. Florida and hurricanes ... it's a perfect recipe for disaster. Now we have Maria and Jose and Lee on the loose. For them, I would suggest that you always should stay safe, always try to remember that even if it seems like the world is all darkness, it's always gonna be a way out. Always. You may not see it, but it's there."


Emilia Rubalcaba, 9, and Veronica Segredo, 9


Emilia Rubalcaba, Veronica Segredo

Elissa Nadworny/NPR

Emilia: "Everyone was like really excited, because like, hello, like we've never been in a hurricane before, what this is like? And I'm like, 'Just because you've never been in a hurricane before doesn't mean it's good.' My mom and I evacuated to Canada, but first, we had to wait 11 hours to get on the flight."

Veronica: "I wasn't like scared or anything, I was fine. But we did lose power. Something I just wanted to say, my grandma's name is called Irma, and now she wants to change her name."

Olivia Geller, 9


Olivia Geller

Elissa Nadworny/NPR

"It's a little scary once it starts because most of us hadn't been in a hurricane yet. Most of the hurricane was gloom, but not all of it. The actual day of the hurricane was boring. We played hide and seek and we ate snacks."

She offers this advice: "Always stay inside, if you lose power have snacks in case you are really hungry. If something happens and you need to evacuate always put gas in your car."

Louis Perez, 9


Louis Perez

Elissa Nadworny/NPR

"A bad thing is that I had to go sleep in a closet. It's kind of hard sleeping there like you're always squished. But it was just for a day. It's like a bad dream, happening in a fake world but it's real. It was like swirling winds a lot. You could hear like schwooooo schwooo."

subscribe to education email updates food blog link image learning blog link living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

Fun activities and projects for kids, educational resources for parents and teachers, and links to SDPB and PBS learning media!

Visit SDPB's Education Site!

Related content from SDPB Radio

Searching For Answers To Poverty Through Education

In The Moment ... June 18, 2018 Show 360 Hour 2 Western Dakota Tech is hosting a poverty simulation on June 21st...

Proposed Changes to High School Graduation Requirements Up for Public Comment

Proposed changes to South Dakota’s high school graduation requirements are now open for public comment. The total...

Dyslexia Expert Helps Teachers See Class Through Their Students' Eyes

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disability, but teachers may not always be able to recognize it in their...

Dyslexia Becomes Personal For Sioux Falls Christian Schools Teachers

Dyslexia is the most common known learning disorder, but specialized resources for both students and teachers is...

DSU Sees Nearly 300% Increase in Women Majoring in Cyber Sciences

Computer science has tended to be a male-dominated field, but Dakota State University is seeing a shift in the...