Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Tornado Drill

"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. 

"What's happening?"

"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. 


  1. Some day, this comedian, will add this to the set list for the comedy routine

  2. I, in my mid-40s, am terrified of tornadoes. We've had a few touch down here in Central PA, but they aren't prevalant enough (THANK G-D!) that we have drills for them.

    Hindsight is 20/20. I think you did as well as you could considering the circumstances. Sometimes going with the flow, like you did, is the best thing to do.

  3. Just sitting here shaking my head...

    Loads of tornado drills in my neck of the woods.

    I can totally see this happening.

    But, hey! It's true-- they know what the siren means, which is a plus.

  4. I love reading these kind of conversations. It doesn't matter how much preparation to put out there, someone isn't going to be tuned in. You sounded so calm in your post. I can tell you've had lots of practice.

  5. This was so crazy to read because I had a student on remote learning today tell me he had to leave because there was a fire alarm! They were listening to a story clip and all of a sudden I hear "teacher, teacher!! I have to go outside! The fire alarm is going off.. Ok teacher is that ok?" I didn't want to take time to unmute so I gave him the thumbs up urging him to just go.. I'm not sure if his Papa burned lunch or they had an alarm go off in his apartment building.. But he lives across the street from the school and all was well when I checked so it must have been false alarm.. I totally forgot about that until I read your post..

  6. I love your responses.

    "Nope. Still just a drill," I repeat.

    You had me chuckling as it went on and on. And you worked so hard to ensure that everyone remembered. I love the upside perspective, at least their microphone do work and they actually are aware of how to respond - drill or not.



 Spring brings joyous change.  Walks, open windows, tennis, Gardens and sunshine. Sadly, my darn allergies make me only want my bed. _______...