How To Teach: Safety Skills

functional life skills how to teach life skills special education teachers teacher experience teacherspayteachers transition Sep 27, 2021
Importance of Being Safe
The goal is to always be safe and protected from all of life’s disasters. Sadly, that isn’t reality and our students need assistance in knowing how to move forward in different situations.
Helping them to look at a situation and decide what next step to take can help them stay safe or get the help that they (or someone they know and love) may need. This skill should be taught and then reinforced in actual situations so students can generalize these skills.
If you are looking for kitchen and cooking safety, check out THIS LESSON UNIT!
-What does it mean to be ‘safe’
-Who are ‘safe strangers’
-Identifying who is in the safe circle of people
-Identifying situations that are safe and unsafe
-What is personal information and who is safe to tell that information to
-What/who do you call when there is an emergency
-Practice calling 911
-What are the 3 questions you will be asked by a 911 operator (and how to answer them)
-Steps to take when you are home alone
Why Focus On These Skills
Safety is often a top priority for parents and guardians. They worry about leaving their student home alone, they worry about how they would handle an emergency, and they worry about forming relationships with the right people.
While your students may be in a bubble when they are at school, they are definitely outside of that safe bubble when they exit or graduate from school.
While you can’t prepare students to know how to react to every emergency situation (because no human can possibly do that), you can give them steps to follow in the event of an emergency or unsafe situation.
When To Teach
I see safety as one of the top priorities in a schedule, so consider teaching it close to the start of the year so you can continue to build on what you teach and spiral back around to the concepts frequently.
I’ve created a complete lesson unit of materials for teaching this topic. The materials are comprehensive (5 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 people in their safety circle.
Students will identify safe strangers and appropriate information to share with them.
Students will identify 5 ways to stay safe when they are home alone.
Students will identify the 3 questions to be asked by 911 operators.
Lesson Vocabulary
Family, familiar, friend, emergency, help, lock, personal information, safe, stranger, where, 911
  • 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
  • Game for students to practice their skills (because learning is fun)
  • Boom Cards for practice or assessment
  • Student learning reflection worksheet (thumbs up or down)
  • Encouraging on-topic quotes (use as a classroom poster or starter for each class period)
  • 5 strategies for success (tips for being successful with the focus skills)
  • Coloring page with on-topic graphics
  • Skill mastery certificate for positive recognition and reinforcement
  • Data collection sheet on specific focus skills
  • 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
The ultimate goal is for students to look at a situation and make the best next decision. Do they talk to that person, do they not. Do they pick up a phone to call 911, do they know what to say when the operator answers. Do they open the door to strangers when they are home, do they not. It all comes down to decision making skills and this lesson unit covers exactly that!
Links to Curriculum

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