We spent a good part of morning meeting talking about guinea pigs, Frank's birthday party, his new cat, and earthquakes.
When Frank asked, "What IS an earthquake??? HOW does it HAPPEN??" I was ready.
First, I thanked the Powers that Be for the ten years I spent teaching fifth grade, and was particularly thankful for the many years spent teaching geology, plate tectonics, layers of the earth, and earthquakes. ( And I was doubly thankful that my memory hasn't been completely destroyed. )
I described what happens, in terms they could understand, and then went on to talk about their classmate.
I told them most of what I knew, which wasn't much, but reassured them that she was most likely FINE, and wouldn't she LOVE it if we wrote her some letters? They smiled, and agreed.
We miss you ***. We hope you weren't close to the earthquake.
And then, right after lunch, I received the following email from another teacher who has received some crucial information about our girl's family.