How to Teach: Caring For Your Body During a Period (Menstruation)

functional life skills how to teach life skills special education teachers teacher experience teacherspayteachers transition Sep 20, 2021
Importance of Period and Menstrual Care
Some bodies experience menstruation. Since they do, it’s important to address. While menstruation typically occurs once a month, some students may experience their cycle more or less frequently. Either way, students should know how to care for their period and body when they are menstruating. Unfortunately, due to the gap between experiences, the learning of skills is delayed because they aren’t constantly repeated.
Having appropriate graphics to teach this skill is vitally important and was a main focus of the mini lesson unit I created.
-When the body has a period (frequency)
-What happens to the body
-How to identify a dirty pair of underwear
-What supplies are needed and when/how to carry them
-Where the supplies (pad) go
-When to change the pad
-Who to safely change a pad
-How to wipe clean between pads
-How to identify a clean pair of underwear
Why Focus On These Skills
Students who menstruate are often uncomfortable addressing the needs of their period and so they don’t tell anyone about their body until it is more visible by others. Knowledge is power and giving students the vocabulary, awareness, and confidence they need to know when and how to keep their body clean and safe during a period is critical for self confidence.
When To Teach
Since this topic is specific to students who experience menstruation, you may cover this lesson in a 1:1 setting or through a small group. Depending on the age that you teach, some students may need this lesson as it occurs for the first time or periodically throughout the school year. Repetition of this topic can be key to building a comfortable confidence in their body.
I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (3 full lessons) and most appropriate for life skill lessons at the middle school, high school and transition level students. Below are some lesson unit highlights!
-Students will identify when their body is having their period.
-Students will identify the steps to changing their pad in a clean and safe manner.
Lesson Vocabulary
Change, clean, dirty, garbage, pad, peel, press, stick, timer, underwear
  • Pre and Post assessment
  • 1 page narrative explaining the skill with and without visual text supports (to incorporate functional reading)
  • 5 skill practice activities to learn and/or reinforce the focus skills
  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment
  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)
  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)
  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics
  • Homework sheet to encourage students to practice the skill outside of the school setting
  • Word search of key vocabulary terms
  • Visuals for focus skills with age appropriate colors and graphics
Ultimate Goal
Managing a period should not be a taboo topic of students who are menstruating. It happens and those students should feel comfortable with their body’s natural process and should have the language and supplies to tend to their needs.
*While periods and menstruating is often associated with only ‘girls,’ this blog post aims to be more inclusive and uses ‘students who are menstruating’ to account for all bodies that may experience this natural process.
Links to Curriculum

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