For our first book of the year, we will read The Terrible Wave by Marden Dahlstedt. The book is a story of the Johnstown Flood of 1889. After the South Fork Dam gave way following an immense rainstorm, hundreds of lives were lost in this American tragedy. The Terrible Wave follows the journey of Megan Maxwell as she searches for her family that was lost in the destruction. She encounters new people who teach her not only how to survive, but about life as well.

The links on this page will take you to several sites that tell about the Johnstown flood. There are museums, memorials, newspaper articles and discussions about the flood all linked from this page. Find the link that you want to follow, give it a click and find out more about one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

Aftermath of Johnstown Flood

The effects of the flood


The comprehension skills that will be emphasized during this book include: noting details, comparing and contrasting, predicting outcomes and problem solving and decision making. The class will create a linear string to follow the details of the plot. That graphic will make it easier to analyze the events of the story. We will also be analyzing the writing style of the author and noting how descriptive she is in painting pictures for the reader. That will then be applied to a story that the students will write. We will also be using a number of the Habits of Mind with this book. The students will continue to use the ideas of the 21st Century Skills along with our universal theme of change. Of course, the prompts of depth and complexity will be central as we study this piece of literature.



Links to follow to learn more about the event



The Johnstown Flood~

The Day the Dam Broke-a YouTube video Old Photo of the Town
History of the Johnstown Flood The Relief Effort
The Johnstown Flood of 1889 America's Stories: The Johnstown Flood
The Day Johnstown Flooded The Cause of the Flood
Johnstown Flood-From the New York Times Survivor Stories
Before, During and After the Flood The Last Survivor of the Flood Dies
The Johnstown Flood from Wikipedia Facts about the flood

Frequently Asked Questions about the Event




Memorials and Museums~

 Johnstown Flood Museum
  Johnstown Flood Memorial Park

Brdige after Johnstown Flood

The bridge in Johnstown after the flood

Information about Floods~

"Floods" from the PBS series NOVA  Floods in Focus
How Floods Work Be Flood Ready


Boats on Lake Conemaugh before the flood.


Dams and Virtual Activities~

 Folsom Dam  Building Big-Dams
 Sim Science-Cracking Dams   Building Big-The Science Labs
 Everything You Want to Know About Dams
 Hoover Dam Panorama


Houses in Johnstown after the flood

The city after the flood


The Characters:

 Megan Maxwell     Tom Hewitt
 Brian O'Meara     Stephan
Septimus Shaw     The Maxwell Family
 Lottie Finley  
 Mrs. Alderson     Senator

Where would you place each in the Character Pyramid?