Teaching Environmental Signs

Hi teacher friends! I am here to talk to you today about my favorite functional skills instruction, environmental signs!  I just love teaching about signs!

There are quite a few curricula available for teaching signs in special education.  In my classroom, I use Edmark Signs Around You and Pro Ed's Survival Signs. Edmark teaches 100 words total and Survival Signs teaches 80 words total (40 indoor/40 outdoor). I generally run a functional skills class period, which includes sign instruction, with each of my students. I have created a word list of signs that my students should know now (in middle school). I split this list into 4 sections- warning & safety signs, indoor & lobby signs, community & outdoor signs, and directional signs.  Each section has 20-25 signs and I introduce 5-10 at a time, depending on the student. 

When teaching signs, I teach 3 things.

Like when teaching academic vocabulary, it's essential that students build comprehension and understand the meaning of the word. For example, if you can identify an employees only sign but don't know what "employees" are, it doesn't really matter that you can read the sign. Students must understand what each sign means. In addition, it's beneficial for them to know where certain signs are located. I also post as many signs as I can in my classroom, in natural locations.  

Here are some of my favorite resources for teaching signs.  They are all available in my store.


You can grab a free sample of my Reading in Real Life: Signs Task Cards here! Thanks for reading!

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