"Just a heads up, we will have a statewide tornado sirens at 9:50am today," I explained to the 6th graders in our Google Meet around 9:35am. "I know it's gross and rainy out this morning, so I don't want you to think the sirens are because of an actual tornado."
"Okay, let's begin the read aloud, and don't forget there will be test tornado sirens in about 15 minutes," I continued.
"wwiiuuwwiiuuwwiiuu," a student writes in the chat as the sirens begin promptly at 9:50am.
"I hear sirens at my house!"
"I have to go. We have a tornado!"
At least the sudden panic was confirmation that the student's microphones really do work. "Remember, it's just a drill. No tornado. No need to panic," I reminded them.
"No, my dad just spotted a funnel cloud!" shouts a random student.
"Nope. Still just a drill," I repeat.
"It's so loud! Why are there sirens?" another student asks.
"It's a statewide tornado drill. The sirens normally sound at noon on Wednesday. This is the same thing, but it's happening all over the state at 9:50am," I try to assure them.
"Guys! I just turned on the news and it's just a drill. There's no tornado," a student assures his classmates in the chat.
"Yep, just a drill," I say, again.
"Well, I'm going to go in my basement to be safe. I don't have internet down there, so I probably won't be on the rest of the Meet," another random student quickly shares.
It was at this point that I decided to just let whatever happens, happen. In hindsight, I should have made a visual to be presenting on the screen at the time of the drill. However, at least I learned that my students know how to respond safely in case there ever were a tornado during remote learning.