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Lesson Plans

Student Work




  Weather Stories

1940 Armistice Day Storm Unit

Earth, Wind and Fire Unit

Ice Bowl Lesson

Sample work by Wisconsin Students



Life in Wisconsin presents memorable weather events that shape the lives of communities, and people recall these events via narrative. These narratives can tell us not only about the severe weather event itself, but also about the culture of the people who experienced it. This can be particularly true for groups with close ties to or reliance on the weather, such as farmers or Great Lakes shippers.

For example, a shipman’s tale of the Great Lakes’ 1978 blizzard would be filled with clues about inland sailors’ lore. He might speak of the lake as a living entity, one that doesn’t give up her dead. Occupational jargon will filter into his narrative as he recalls what he and others did during the storm.

Comparisons to storms past, tales of sailors lost, fingers frostbitten and ships choked with ice; the details students hear in severe weather narratives provide starting points from which they can launch an investigation into the science behind the stories and the folklore surrounding the event.

Additionally, hearing the story from a gifted teller will allow students to analyze and understand the qualities of storytelling, enabling them to incorporate these oral language skills into their continuing education in and appreciation of the English language.

Sponsored by:
Wisconsin Arts Board CIMSS UW Folklore Program